The 29th Plenary Session of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges was held from October 30 to November 1, l997 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott. During that session, 105 Faculty Delegates, along with six (6) members of the Board of Governors, the Chancellor and portions of his staff, students and staff of the community colleges, reviewed and collaborated on the major academic, legislative and institutional issues facing the community colleges. There were 86 resolutions presented to the Plenary Body, of which 63 were approved.
The Legislative Committee of the Academic Senate proposed and presented three (3) breakouts to the body and invited experts within the state system to provide information and answer questions concerning policies and decisions, as-well-as the effects of the changes being proposed and implemented.
Chancellor Tom Nussbaum and former Chancellor Jerry Hayward discussed the ramifications and procedures for the reform and elimination of sections of the Education Code, for which Nussbaum has hired Hayward to take responsibility. Nussbaum and Hayward were asked about the impacts of this reform on the structures and functions regulated by those codes that are to be reformed or removed. There was also great concern about the process and procedures that will be utilized to accomplish this goal. Information given by both Nussbaum and Hayward appeared to be sketchy and left the participants with further questions and concerns.
Chancellor Nussbaum was asked about other issues such as the lack of compliance by colleges to the 75/25 Hiring Ratio and Shared Governance provisions, his unwillingness to include a Budget Change Proposal (BCP) for New Faculty positions to the Governor and expenditures for new technologies.
The Chancellor was asked to comment on the contents of the "State Of The System" address he had previously given to the Chief Executive Officers group. There were specific concerns about the Academic Excellence proposal the Chancellor presented to the Board of Governors, his legislative package for the community colleges and the effects new welfare reform legislation will have on the community colleges.
Patrick McCallum, Executive Director of the Faculty Association for California Community Colleges, and Christopher Cabaldon, Vice-Chancellor of Governmental Relations, presented a second breakout session for the Legislative Committee focusing on legislation and the state budget.
Patrick McCallum discussed the Governor's Budget for California Community Colleges and gave information on the politics of the legislature and the legislation passed by that body. He discussed the effects those bills will have on the community colleges and explained the political issues of the Board of Governors, the Department of Finance, the Chancellor's Office and the Legislature. He said that faculty have the ability to influence that process, and he encouraged increased involvement from all through advocacy.
Christopher Cabaldon discussed the legislation proposed and passed in this session of the California Legislature and shared his perceptions of the ramifications of the actions taken. He expressed his views on how the leaders within the community colleges could influence the Governor and the Legislature to gain more support from them. Christopher is a recent acquisition of the Chancellor's Office and indicated that he would report additional developments by way of the scheduled Legislative Advocacy meetings and the Consultation Process.
A third legislative session included Jennifer DuCray-Morrill, Deputy Chief Executive, Office of Governmental Affairs, Policy and Program for the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS), covered the issue of faculty summer and overload compensation being included as a part of the benefit deduction when determining the base retirement payment amount for retired faculty. This is an issue for the Legislature, the STRS and the Community Colleges.
Not only is the structure of the State Teacher's Retirement System being affected by the policies of the Legislature, but more and more, the community colleges are becoming inextricably connected to the Legislature.
The Legislative Committee of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges provides the avenue for faculty, students, and staff to become more active in this process. Feel free to contact the Academic Senate Office for more info.