Disbelief swept the Jack Scott room of the Communication Education Center as the decision to eliminate winter intersession was made on Aug. 29.
After the vote, most in attendance â€” primarily faculty and students â€” left the building.
Many who were there left with mixed emotions â€” they were unsettled and shaken up by the events of the evening. Many were speechless.
Faculty Association representative Julie KiotasÂ â€” who delivered an impassioned address to the BoardÂ â€” admitted that â€œHow did you feel about the meeting?â€ was a tough question.
â€œI am disappointed that the Board is not more interested in what the students have to sayâ€¦. I was saddened. When you keep the students from talking, it denies their existence,â€ Kiotas said in an interview on Tuesday.
Newly elected FA Secretary Paul Jarrell felt that everybody lost sight of the primary goal of the discussion: an opportunity for students to get the classes that they needed.
â€œThe Board is far enough removed from the students because they donâ€™t see them on a regular basis. And when they do see them, we have outbursts like [Wednesday night],â€ Jarrell said in an interview on Aug 31. â€œAnd thatâ€™s what they see. They donâ€™t see students in classrooms, students waiting in line trying to get into a classroom; they donâ€™t see how things really affect [students].â€
Earlier in the evening, Kiotas presented a letter written by the leadership of the FA. (Read the complete text of the letter) According to the letter, “the decision to eliminate the winter intersession is a woefully disruptive action that would undermine both student success and access, causing academic regression for thousands of students.”
After the decision to cancel winter intersession was made, Jarrell told the Board that he was experiencing a range of emotions including disdain, embarrassment, anger and confusion.
â€œI was embarrassed from the Board stand point for notâ€¦allowing students to be heard,â€ he said Thursday. â€œThe other thing I am embarrassed about is that more students got escorted out of the room, than were allowed to speak. And thatâ€™s sad. [It] is disheartening that … we were willing to take more students out of the room than we were willing to listen to in the right way, even though they tried to speak in the proper way,â€ he said.
FA negotiation committee member Lynora Rogacs â€” who also spoke to the Board â€” wasÂ concerned with the impact on at-risk students: parents of young children, students with long commutes, and economically disadvantaged students. She felt that the calendar change was “institutionalizing sexism and classism.”
Jarrell was deeply saddened by the overall tone of the meeting.
â€œHindsight is 20-20; obviously things could have gone differentlyâ€¦[the arrests and ejections] could have been avoided,â€ Jarrell said.
After the meeting, Rogacs slowly paced around outside the Jack Scott room, isolating herself. She held her hands to her temples as she stared blankly into the distance. She forced a smile and said: â€œI am really, really not doing well.â€
The FA intends to continue fighting and planned to make a presentation on Wednesday that will show the college does not have a budget problem.
â€œOn a month to month basis we may be a little short in money, but we certainly have cash on hand to cover the shortfall,â€ Kiotas said via email. â€œThe state is slow in paying right now, but they have consistently paid usâ€¦. The district has maintained for years that [it has] been saving money each year for an emergency.Â It is hard to imagine a greater emergency.â€