Brief: Academic Senate discusses in-person meetings

Valley’s Academic Senate discussed having its meetings face-to-face, as the college’s Brown Act assemblies are returning to campus.

Valley College’s Academic Senate discussed a mandatory in-person meeting next month as California Governor Gavin Newsom’s extension to the state of emergency comes to an end on March 31.

Due to the omicron variant, Newsom signed an executive order in January extending the state of emergency he declared in March 2020. The order extended the state of emergency for teleconference meetings until March 31, giving the Brown Act more flexibility for the public to attend assemblies. This allowed public agencies to continue meeting online. Under the Brown Act, local governments have to conduct meetings open to the public. The Academic Senate’s next meeting is on April 21, meaning the senate will have to meet in-person.

Academic Senate President Chauncey Maddren opened the discussion for senators on whether they would be comfortable with in-person meetings. The main concern among the senate is meeting quorum. Over two-thirds of the members would have to show up for a meeting to proceed. The senate needs 15 of its members to meet quorum – with 67 percent willing to meet in person, the senate has barely enough of a majority to do so. Maddren would like to have a virtual participation component, as he does not want senators to give up their right to vote.

Transfer Alliance Program Director Yih-Mei Hu expressed her thoughts and concerns about the possibility of a hybrid meeting..

“I think considering how many things happen in each of these monthly meetings, we can not afford to lose a meeting,” said Hu. “I’m totally fine with coming in-person. If we have the option of a virtual and then we have a roll call vote, that will complicate it.”

— Natalie Metcalf