Plans are underway to create a more inclusive, anti-racist environment for students.
By Aimee Martinez, Valley Life Editor
Valley College and the Los Angeles Community College District join colleges across the country as they evaluate how to address racism on campus.
According to a Sept. 9 news release, the District Board of Trustees approved a resolution supporting the requirement of ethnic studies in the student curriculum. The proposal asked for Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez to collaborate with the District Academic Senate to create a committee composed of faculty with an expertise in ethnic studies. They would determine the possibility of an LACCD version of Assembly Bill 1460, which requires CSU’s to include courses and ethnic studies as part of the graduation requirements starting in the 2021-22 academic year.
“Given the massive demographic shifts in California and the nation, an ethnic studies requirement at LACCD is timely and beneficial to our community colleges and to our society as a whole – particularly during the current national discourse around, race, equity and inclusion,” said Second Vice President, District Board Trustee and co-author of the resolution Gabriel Buelna in the statement.
Earlier this year, a June statement released by the District’s executive office listed five areas to take action against structural racism. These recommendations proposed by California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Oakley include: a system wide review of law enforcement officers and first responder training and curriculum; open dialogue hosted by campus leaders with discussions that address the campus climate; an audit of the classroom climate and plans for inclusive classrooms and anti-racist curriculum; the review and update of the Equity plan by the District Board; and a shortened time frame for the full implementation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Integration Plan.
Valley has formed a committee dedicated to finding ways to promote anti-racism. The college plans to build upon the foundation it has with current programs like ethnic studies, Umoja Black Scholars and the Dream Resource Center.
“We’re fortunate where we have a really strong ethnic studies program, including Chicano Studies and African American Studies,” said President Barry Gribbons. “Nonetheless, we need to do more.”
The Sheriff’s Department will also be given anti-racism training.
“We need to ensure that Valley College becomes an anti-racist campus, and that will include a lot of different efforts,” said President Gribbons.