On April 3, voters in the Glendale Community College district will elect three people who have the power to determine the future of GCC for the next four years.
District residents vote for members of the Glendale College’s Board of Trustees every other odd year. This year, three seats of the five-member board are contested and in 2003, the remaining two seats will be up for election.
The Board of Trustees is the college’s most important and influential governmental body. The members of the board set the college’s standards and policy; act as a bridge and buffer between the college, community, government and single interests; and handle all of the college’s major financial decisions. Money cannot be transferred from one department’s budget to another without board approval. They even have the power to select a new college president.
The five candidates running for board seats are Victor King, Mary Hamilton, Armine Hacopian, Phillip Kazanjian and Remy Altar.
King, the current board president, is running for reelection. He was a GCC student in the ’80s and is currently an adjunct political science teacher on campus.
During his term, King supported the new school calendar, which, starting in the fall, shortens the fall and spring semesters and adds a six-week winter session, making it possible for students to take more classes each year. He has also pressed for increased security on campus and the acquisition of more computers for the college.
“If you’ve been a teacher and a student, it gives you certain perspectives,” said King.
Hamilton, also running for reelection, is a former board president and is currently serving as vice president. Her son is a former Glendale College student.
The issue that concerns her most is the growth of Glendale’s student population. During her past term, she was an avid proponent of changing the school calendar in order to make more class sections available throughout each school year.
“We’re going to have to be very prudent as to how we move forward,” said Hamilton. “We’ll have to find more places in the community to park — and think about scheduling more classes on Fridays and Saturdays.”
Hacopian is a first-time candidate for the Board of Trustees. She has a doctorate in Educational Administration, and she has worked in education-related fields for the past 30 years at all levels. She has two daughters who have attended Glendale College.
One of Hacopian’s major concerns is campus safety. She hopes to make courses on personal safety and disaster preparedness available to students.
With respect to student population growth, she notes that GCC is the only community college out of the 107 community colleges in California that is built on a slope. Since the hill prevents the college from expanding, she believes that “satellite campuses” and “a variety of different schedules” are key to solving this problem.
“I’m very passionate about the college, and the community college serves a very specific role in the community,” said Hacopian. “I will bring [the district] fresh ideas and a fresh attitude.”
Kazanjian, a former trustee who served on the board for 14 years, is running for election after taking four years off.
At the heart of his campaign is a creation of a public “round-table” that involves students, faculty, administration and community members. He feels that the best way to discover innovative ideas and solutions to problems is to have everyone contribute to discussions.
“We need to work as a group, as a roundtable because all of you [the community] have the answers.”
Altar is a retired teacher and school administrator, but for the past two years, she has been a Glendale College student. She is also currently a member of the superintendent’s advisory committee.
Her major concerns include gearing college courses towards the top 20 job fields, improving safety on campus, and providing students with financial aid for health problems.
“My life has been all education,” said Altar.
The April 3 election decides members of the Board of Trustees, Glendale city council, and Board of Education for Glendale Unified School District.