Daisy Gonzales visited Valley College on Tuesday Oct. 19 to hear out student concerns.
By Luis Flores, Staff writer
While touring seven of the 116 community colleges in California, Acting Chancellor Daisy Gonzales visited Valley College to hear students' concerns
Around 40 students attended the on-campus listening tour voicing concerns to Gonzales who holds the title of student and academic senate for the California Community Colleges system (CCC) and is also a member of the board of governors. Valley was one of seven campuses in the CCC system visited by the chancellor. The event began with the introduction of the listening members and proceeded with students taking the stage.
“All you have to do is sit down and listen to students,” said Gonzales. “They know what they need to succeed.”
The purpose of the event was to better understand the barriers faced by students and learn why enrollment numbers are struggling. The chancellor said she heard really good ideas to help improve the system serving students.
Disabilities, mental health and the lack of African American students returning to campus were the main issues brought up during the listening tour. Gonzales voiced her awareness towards homelessness and the lack of resources for undocumented students as issues faced prior to the event. According to Gonzales, 60 percent of students faced food and housing insecurities and 19 percent were homeless before the pandemic.
“We are not disabled, we are unstoppable," said student William Craig after talking about resources for disabled students. Craig, who takes part in the Abilities Club at Valley, called for more transportation for disabled students as well as extended gym operating hours.
“I think that we do need to focus more on our students with disabilities,” said ASU President Sandra Sanchez. “What we need to focus on is what makes students happy, what students really need.”
Sanchez hopes the CCC system will ensure DACA students with the financial assistance they need, as well as Umoja Black Scholars and similar underfunded programs.
Information gathered from the listening tour will be presented to the CCC in a statewide webinar in January. Gonzales and other listening members will share their takeaways with California lawmakers, informing them of the advocacy the board of governors will be doing over the next year.
“It’s a really good function to have a place where students can express their grievances about things that are holding them back,” said ASU Commissioner of Political Affairs Kai Haaland. “It's their [listening members] responsibility to do whatever they can to make it easier for students to want to attend community college and beyond.”