With a new year and a new semester, we also have new leadership this year at Southwestern.
I was honored in December to be elected by my colleagues as Board President for the coming year, and Trustee Griselda Delgado was elected as Vice President. Together with new Trustee Roberto Alcantar and continuing trustees Nora Vargas and Norma Hernandez, this Board is committed to making “students first” more than a slogan or a goal.
The new semester also brings the beginning of new Superintendent/President Dr. Kindred Murillo’s leadership. I’m excited to see her guide Southwestern College during these challenging times. Dr. Murillo is highly experienced and has a track record of successfully confronting institutional challenges and helping community colleges reach their potential. Although no one can do everything instantly that needs to be done, Dr. Murillo is committed to listening seriously to the ideas of employees, students and community, and helping all of us make our college the best it can be. Please help me welcome her to the community and join me in supporting her as she goes about the work of moving our college to a higher level.
Employee of the Quarter
Congratulations to Tammy Ray for being the Employee of the Quarter, January-March 2017. Ray is the production coordinator in the theatre arts department and has been described as the “go-to person” for the department’s multiple year-round events and performances. Ray has a long list of duties and responsibilities behind the scenes of many performances inside Mayan Hall. Her skills and expertise may be behind the curtains, but the campus community knows the amount of effort and care she puts into her job. People she works closely with have praised her dependability, her insight and her humility. Congratulations, again.
Prop. Z and the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee
The Governing Board was happy to accept the results from the County’s Registrar of Voters of November’s Proposition Z election. More than 70 percent of the community voted in favor of Prop. Z. It gives us great assurance that the college is on the right path, and is looked upon as a worthwhile investment in the local community.
The Governing Board passed a resolution that will allow the Proposition R Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee to also oversee the district’s new bond, Proposition Z. The committee was created to oversee the expenditures of Prop. R, and now Prop. Z, and includes community and student representatives. Proposition R is the $389 million general obligation bond passed by voters in November, 2008. It is currently being used to build new infrastructure at Southwestern College, including the new Wellness & Aquatics Complex on the corner of H Street and Otay Lakes Road and the new Math, Science and Engineering building. Proposition Z is a $400 million general obligation bond passed by voters in November to help upgrade Southwestern College’s infrastructure and build new state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities, including a new Performing Arts & Cultural Center.
New Governing Board Member
In December, we welcomed Roberto Alcantar to the Southwestern College Governing Board. Alcantar won a seat on the Governing Board in the November election, and is a lifelong advocate for higher education. Most recently, he worked for former State Senator Marty Block. I was inspired by Mr. Alcantar’s remarks during his welcome reception, including his emphasis on student access and support and the importance of inclusion for all our students regardless of race, ethnicity or religion. We are grateful to have Alcantar joining the board.
Strengthening the Safe Learning Environment All Students Deserve
Already a month in, the campus is filled with life and energy now that our student body is back. The Associated Student Organization again held their popular Welcome Week events with many Southwestern College employees staffing their Ask Me tables. I thank everyone who helped welcome our new students to the new semester.
The Southwestern Community College Governing Board has passed three resolutions that broaden the foundation for creating a safer learning environment for all students, regardless of race, religion, immigration status and sexual orientation.
Resolutions No. 1984, No. 1988 and No. 1992 outline efforts the district will take to protect the privacy of student information, including immigration status, and bolster current district policies that celebrate a diverse campus culture.
In passing the resolutions, it was the Governing Board’s intention to ensure all students felt Southwestern College was a welcoming learning environment where students’ immigration data would not be released. Furthermore, the Governing Board said it will not cooperate with any effort to create a registry based on protected characteristic such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation. The Board will work with our administration, Police Department and employees to marshall community resources and give meaning to the words of our resolutions.