Volume 133 - Issue 3
LACCD passes LGBTQIA+ Bill of Rights
See page 3
Round oundup www.theroundupnews.com
Ballot box at Pierce College
See page 4
Free food options in Los Angeles
See page 6
Friday, Oct. 16, 2020
Men's basketball coach gets fulltime position
See page 10
Mildred Adebowale, a co-sponsor for the North Hills community fridge, organizes the food and drinks outside Toyin's African Market in North Hills, Calif., on Oct. 15, 2020. Photo by Katya Castillo.
Roundup 6201 Winnetka Ave. Woodland Hills, CA 91371 www.theroundupnews.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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Katya Castillo Samantha Neff Lindsey Whittaker Benjamin Hanson Cecilia Parada Angelica Lopez Shehreen Karim Victor Bretado Arielle Zolezzi Joey Farriola Pablo Orihuela Paola Castillo Felipe Gamino Josh Price Alejandra Aguilera Giselle Ormeno Peter Villafane Sherry Irani Taleen Keuroghlian
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2020
EDITORIAL From the desk of the Roundup
Recording Zoom lectures should be mandatory
oom has become the primary platform for lectures. Students taking multiple classes may end up with “Zoom fatigue” from back-toback classes. To relieve added stress, Pierce should make it mandatory for instructors to record all Zoom lectures and upload them to their Canvas shells. Prior to COVID-19, students could exchange numbers with other classmates easily to update each other in case they missed class. Now, online courses create a disconnect with students and
their classmates and exchanging numbers is even more difficult. This could make it harder for those who can’t make it. Students may be facing an economic burden with the ongoing pandemic and may be struggling with balancing work and classes. With fewer work hours available to employees, students may have to work. The pandemic has exposed the digital divide students may face with problems such as unreliable Wi-Fi connections and unreliable computers to attend Zoom classes. If a student’s WiFi cuts out, they may miss an important part of the lecture.
Without recording Zoom lectures, students may struggle to take notes and participate in discussions while trying to retain the information. Recording lectures allows students to be present in class discussions rather than hustling to jot notes. For professors, recording zoom lectures can be used as a resource to use in future online classes. Uploading zoom lectures from previous years can help students understand the material more and help them prepare for online discussions. To protect the privacy of students, recording lectures should not be in a gallery view
and instead should only record the instructor. Recorded Zoom lectures should be uploaded onto the classes’ Canvas shell so all students can access it. Mandatory recordings of Zoom lectures already have been implemented for courses at Harvard Law School. Recording lectures also allows Pierce administration to investigate potential “Zoom bombers,” and that disruption can be edited out of the recording.
Too young to vote? Should people vote yes or no on Prop 18?
Letters to the Editor Policy: Letters and guest columns for or against any position are invited. Letters should be kept as brief as possible (300 words or less) and are subject
to editing. Letters must be signed and include a valid mailing address and telephone number.
on Prop 18
Pseudonyms or initials will not be used, but names may be withheld upon request and approval of the Editorial Board. The Roundup publishes “Letters
on Prop 18
BY GISELLE ORMENO
BY RYAN FLEISHER
to the Editor” that are not obscene or libelous and do not contain racial denigration. Writers are given the opportunity to revise unacceptable letters. The Pierce College Roundup will not publish, as letters, literary endeavors, publicity releases, poetry or other such materials as the Editorial Board deems not to be a letter. The deadline is 11:59 p.m. the Sunday prior to the issue date. Editorial Policy: The Pierce College Roundup position is presented only in the editorials. Cartoons and photos, unless run under the editorial masthead, and columns are the opinions of the creators and not necessarily that of the Roundup. The college newspaper is published as a learning experience under the college journalism instructional program. The editorial and advertising materials published herein, including any opinions expressed, are the responsibility of the student newspaper staff. Under appropriate state and federal court decisions, these materials are free from prior restraint by the virtue of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. Accordingly, materials published herein, including any opinions expressed, should not be interpreted as the position of the L.A. Community College District, the college or any officer or employee thereof.
ore than 27% of young Californians voted in 2018, an 8% increase from 2014, according to an NBC report of California Civic Engagement data. That number could increase even more if Proposition 18 passes. The proposition allows 17-year-old Californians to vote in primary and special elections if they will be 18 and eligible by the next general election. Young Americans use social media platforms such as TikTok to amplify their thoughts and sentiments, from Black Lives Matter protests to organizing a mass false-registration movement for a Trump rally in Tulsa, Okla., where many seats were unfilled. Many of them who participated in the mass false-registration movement were under the age of 18 and expressed that this was the only way to make their voices heard. Proposition 18 comes at a critical moment to break the cycle of young Americans not voting and give 17-years-olds who want to participate the ability to do so. NPR reports that there's a political mindset among youth voters as to why they don't show up to vote. Politicians promise change for them, but don’t deliver once they are elected, thus disappointing young voters, and in return they stop showing up to vote. If Prop 18 passes, it will allow teens who will be first time voters in an election cycle to participate
from the beginning, which could increase voter participation and interest among Gen Z. There are already many teens working and paying taxes, so giving them the ability to vote if they are eligible at 17 makes sense. As well, there are at least 19 states, including Washington D.C., that allows 17-year-olds eligible to vote for the next general election. Prop 18 can also be the first step to transform civic education in California schools. Schools are currently structured by following the "bubble sheets civics," meaning that schools focus their attention on teaching facts and figures about politics, government and history. This type of approach doesn't draw future young voters to become informed about current local and federal politics. Instead, it can deter young people from voting. Voting can appear unnecessarily complicated for young people, but if teens at 17-years-old are allowed to participate in the voting process, they can realize that voting isn't that hard. Instead, it's a great way for the voices of young Americans to be heard and make sure that change happens. So, why not give 17-year-olds the opportunity to vote? email@example.com
or the last 50 years, the minimum voting age requirement in America has been 18, thanks to the 26th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Lawmakers in California are now asking with Proposition 18 to decide whether or not 17-year-olds who will turn 18 at the time of general elections should be allowed to vote. The age registration requirement should remain 18 because minors are not mature enough to make decisions that impact the lives of everyone in the state. It is important to note that most 17-year-olds are still in school and are under the care of their parents. According to the California Official Voter Guide for the California General Election on Nov. 3, 17-year-olds should not be able to vote because “the logic and reasoning area of their brains is not fully developed.” Also, allowing 17 yearold voters would not come without a financial cost. Statewide county costs
would see an increase of up to $1,000,000 every two years. There would also be an additional cost of several hundred thousands of dollars to update the current voter registration system if Prop 18 were to pass, according to the voter guide. There are also many issues on the ballot that regard tax paying, and it is unfair to other voters if someone who has not had to pay taxes yet has a say in how their tax dollars are going to be affected. The law in California states that the day a person turns 18 they are no longer considered a minor, because it is at that time that their brain has developed enough to make logical and reasonable decisions. The right to vote is sacred in this country and allowing a 17-year-old, who is still a minor, to vote will not have a good impact on elections in California.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2020
Pride takes the spotlight
LACCD approves adoption of LGBTQIA+ Bill of Rights
Photo illustration by Katya Castillo The LACCD unanimously approved the LGBTQIA+ Bill of Rights on Oct. 7, 2020.
“Your approval of the bill will send a firm message to each LGBTQIA+ student, administrator, faculty and staff ... that the Los Angeles Community Colleges welcomes us, values us, supports us and sees us.” - Monica Castillo LA Trade Tech Faculty
BY KARLA AVALOS
or the first time, the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) has formally addressed the needs and rights for LGBTQIA+ community. The Board of Trustees unanimously approved new protections for the LGBTQIA+ students in the district. To embrace diversity, inclusivity and equality, members of the board officially adopted the LGBTQIA+ Bill of Rights. Students, faculty and staff joined the celebration through emotional testimonials of the significance behind the bill. “I live my life as an out
lesbian, as someone who puts themselves out there for other people to come,” said Rin Kahla, an East Los Angeles College professor. “I read this bill, and this is going to make our students a whole lot safer, a whole lot supported and recognized as full human beings.” Another testimonial came from South Gate Council member, Denise Diaz, who said the bill echoes the importance of providing “a safe and supporting college environment for the LGBTQIA+ youth and their families to advance their education, economic and professional success.” “This Bill of Rights is about the academic success that will give my community
the educational equity that we need and deserve,” said Jesus Suatan, an East Los Angeles College student and member of the Latino Equality Alliance. “It will bring services to my community that still experiences marginalization.” The bill was spearheaded by Trustee David Vela, who chairs the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee of LGBTQIA+ Affairs. “This Bill of Rights is really important because it will make us look at our antidiscriminations policies,” Vela said. “We are going to celebrate pride officially each year by flying the pride flag, celebrate LGBTQIA+ History Month in October. Faculty will recognize the value
of cultural responsiveness and training so that people understand pronouns, and we will also implement gender neutral language so students are called what they would like to be called, not what their name says.” The official adoption of the Bill of Rights will promote inclusivity by providing solutions to the lack of support in the nine colleges’ websites, but it will also list relevant services on campus and in the community for LGBTQIA+ students, faculty and staff. Faculty member of the Los Angeles Trade Technical College Monica Castillo personally worked on the resolution. Castillo expressed her
appreciation for adopting the bill because it will allow the LGBTQIA+ community to no longer be invisible in the eyes of the school district. “The lack of official presence has been silencing, but for those who are not out, it must feel isolating,” Castillo said. “Your approval of the bill will send a firm message to each LGBTQIA+ student, administrator, faculty and staff and it will say to us that the Los Angeles Community Colleges welcomes us, values us, supports us and sees us.”
Anti-systemic racism resolution still unresolved
School senate continues to debate a formal statement on discrimination BY PAIGE CHESNUT AND TRISHA ANAS
he Pierce College Academic Senate discussed a notice motion approval about the AntiSystemic Racism Resolution on Oct. 12. The Board examined amendments and possible additions to the document, which is being constructed to address systemic racism at Pierce following George Floyd’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement. After a debate, the senate approved language to the resolution to name the Administration of Justice Department specifically regarding fighting against systemic racism. Senior Administrative Analyst Mofe Doyle said that
including administration of justice is not an indictment of the department but rather an indictment of the criminal justice system. “It is a shame that we have to have this conversation at Pierce College because it points to the fact that Pierce College is still not where it should be when it comes to race relations,” Doyle said. “The administration of justice in America has been used to keep Black people down and is still being used to do that. If we vote against the resolution, it is a minimization of all the pain and suffering that we continue to live with as Black people.” Chair of the Modern Language Department Margarita Pillado disagreed. She said it’s unnecessary to include the Administration of Justice Department in the resolution because one
discipline should not be single-handedly deemed responsible for systemic racism. “This resolution is against systemic racism,” Pillado said. “Systemic racism does not occur in the administration of justice, systemic racism is everywhere... it’s all discipline, so I am deeply troubled by making one particular discipline the responsible party.” Associate psychology professor Angela Belden said that the Administration of Justice Department should be included due to the course content that is taught. “I view this new motion as a way to call in this discipline as experts in the field,” Belden said. “The fact of the matter is the administration of justice is the only discipline on campus that uses the word police or policing in their
course outlines of record.” The Board also talked about the Armenian Genocide and how Aremenian students and faculty have experienced racism at Pierce. “As a tenured, full-time member at LA Pierce College, I have been personally attacked in the past by another faculty member in a leadership role at Pierce for being Armenian,” instructor of music Garineh AvakianAkkus said. “I recognize the distress this can bring on and why our campus needs this resolution.” The Senate could not vote on the Anti-Systemic Racism Resolution because of a meeting procedure and a lack of substantial time. It has been postponed to the next meeting on Oct. 26. firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
“The administration of justice in America has been used to keep Black people down and is still being used to do that. If we vote against the resolution, it is a minimization of all the pain and suffering that we continue to live with as Black people.” - Mofe Doyle Senior Administrative Analyst
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2020
Ballot box at Pierce College Mail-in ballots can be dropped off at Winnetka and Victory BY TRISHA ANAS
ierce College’s campus may be closed, but for those in the community looking to exercise their right to vote, the college is offering a way. A new ballot box has been placed on the corner of Winnetka Avenue and Victory Boulevard. California Community Colleges Vice Chancellor for Communications Paul Feist said in a Zoom interview that many colleges would also serve as voting centers with modifications through the Safe Presidential Election Plan. The locations open starting Friday, Oct. 30. According to a flyer released by the L.A. County RegistrarRecorder’s office, voters who plan to vote in person are encouraged to verify their voter registration in advance and pre-mark selections in their sample ballot to limit time spent in the voting center. Other precautions include requiring voters to wear face coverings, enforcing social distancing and providing hand sanitizer upon entry and exit of the voting centers. Mike Sanchez, the public information officer of the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder’s office, wrote in an email that voters should vote as early as possible. Sanchez also wrote that voters can be notified when their ballot is mailed via a tracking system online. “Voters can receive automatic alerts when their ballot is mailed via text, email, or robocall with Where’s My Ballot,” Sanchez wrote. “If a voter returns their ballot by mail, Where’s My Ballot will also provide alerts when the ballot is in the mail received by the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, and when it’s tallied.” Sanchez wrote that no postage is required for the mail-in ballots since the ballots can also be dropped off at either the ballot box locations or voting centers. CCC Chancellor Eloy Oakley said in a Zoom interview that California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has partnered with CCC’s Student Senate to organize a voter
BY PAIGE CHESNUT
Photo by Bala Subramaniyan Kulia Neves (left) and Celese Gutierrez drop their ballots at the drop box at the Pierce College entrance on the corner of Winnetka Avenue and Victory Boulevard in Woodland Hills, Calif., on Oct. 14, 2020. registration bowl in an effort to engage students to register to vote. “Much of that is done through email outreach, text outreach, things like that connecting them to the Secretary of State’s office making sure that students have the information on how to make sure that they're registered to vote and keep track of their mail-in ballots,” Oakley said. “We will continue to support the California Secretary of State in any efforts that they’re trying to make to get the word out and to get students registered and then get them to vote and hopefully vote early.” The Ballot Bowl, which was first launched by the California Student
Vote Project sometime before the 2018 general election, was launched on Aug. 17. The deadline of the ballot bowl is on Election Day, Nov. 3. The winners of the ballot bowl will be awarded on Nov. 16. “The purpose of creating this friendly challenge is to incentivize campuses to adopt policies and practices that boost civic engagement, to inspire students to get involved in voter registration campaigns, and to acknowledge those who are leading the way on civic engagement at California’s colleges and universities,” Padilla wrote in a brief overview regarding the California Students Vote Project ballot bowl.
The last day to register to vote in California is Oct. 19. However, according to L.A. Manager of Civic Engagement Jeff Klein, voters who miss the deadline will still be able to vote in person using the Conditional Voter registration process which will be available at any voting center. Klein wrote in an email that approximately 75 voting centers will open early on Oct. 24, six days before the official voting center opening day. More information about the voting centers and the Ballot Bowl can be found on the Los Angeles voting website and the California Secretary of State’s website.
Los Angeles voting website https://lavote.net/home/votingelections/voting-options/voting-inperson Secretary of State Ballot Bowl https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ ballot-bowl Safe Presidential Election Plan h t t p s : // l a v o t e . n e t /d o c s / r r c c / election-info/Safe-Vote-CenterPlan_November2020.pdf Where's My Ballot? https://california.ballottrax.net/ voter/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Race and policing reevaluated
LACCD creates document about law enforcement training BY NICHOLAS GARSIDE
uring a recent media teleconference, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley suggested those in attendance make a careful examination of the Los Angeles Community College District Framework for Racial Equity and Social Justice first published on July 8. “In my day in the neighborhood, I had a long experience with the Los Angeles County Sheriff, so I understand the sensitivity,” Oakley said. “Take a look at the call to action from the Chancellor’s office. We lay out some very specific asks to all of our colleges. One of them is to take a hard look at law enforcement training.“ Signed by 21 members of the Chancellor’s cabinet, including LACCD Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez and Los Angeles Pierce College President Alexis Montevirgen, the document includes a commitment to “engage with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Community College Bureau to begin an
DJs and influencers keeping you in school
immediate review of the bureau’s contract for services,” according to the press release. The document includes topics such as community policing, de-escalation techniques, risk assessment and establishing mandated cultural proficiency, antibias and cultural responsiveness training, according to the press release. It also addresses developing student leadership opportunities within the program. “Students should be at the center of advising the college leadership on what we expect policing to look like on every college campus,” according to Oakley. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Community College Bureau was formed, and their policies are what is currently seen on campus at Pierce. There is a working pool of sheriff deputies and sheriff security officers and cadets. Cadets are uniformed, non law enforcement personnel who are employed part time by the district. They work hand in hand with the Sheriff's Department. As such, the district is their immediate supervisor. Under the guidance of Team
Leader Sheriff Deputy Nick Saldivar, Pierce’s cadets are responsible for a variety of tasks on campus, but the requirements of the program are that they remain fulltime students of the college. Currently, the cadet program is still active, and there are between two to five working on the campus. The type of the training they receive is strictly on the job. They are given support and guidance from the deputies that call Pierce College home. Saldizar said the cadet program, so far, has been a success. “Based on our security officers, our deputies who work here, and our cadets, we’ve been able to keep crime on the low end,” Saldivar said. “I’d always like to see more law enforcement personnel on campus, especially a campus of this size, however, with what we have, we’ve made it work exceptionally well.” With a large student and faculty population, and a 426 acre campus situated within a dense metropolis to patrol, there are almost always concerns for the team at Pierce. “Regardless of whether we have students on campus, faculty on campus or absolutely nobody
on campus, we are not an island,” Saldivar said. “Everything in our surroundings has the ability to come onto the campus.” The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) was established by the California legislature in 1959 to set minimum selection and training standards for California law enforcement officers. The deputies who work for the LASD at Pierce have to attend a 20 week POST certified police academy as part of their basic training. Both the LASD and the Los Angeles Police Department operate their own officer training academies. It is POST’s responsibility to update and to modernize training methods for law enforcement officers employed in the State of California. Their training bulletins are routinely sent out to sheriff and police departments, according to Administration of Justice professor Kathy Oborn who was selected to serve a three year term on the California Commission on POST. The commission draws additional expertise from all three branches of the criminal justice
system and an advisory board. “In my experience, they (POST) are constantly reviewing, constantly monitoring and modernizing their training bulletins,” Oborn said. “They spend all of their time making sure that law enforcement agencies have the best practices.” When agencies receive those revised POST standards, they bear the responsibility to ensure their officers are in compliance with them. Olborn, who once served with the Los Angeles Police Department, commented on the importance of the Continuing Professional Training requirement (CPT) mandated by POST. “When I was with the LAPD, we had training once a month,” Oborn said. “We had a training day where we would learn new techniques or practices, or review protocols or procedures.” The effectiveness of CPT and POST is measured by the actions of individual officers out in the field and of the agency they work for in ensuring their employees are in full compliance with the latest POST standards. email@example.com
alifornia Community Colleges (CCC) have launched the “Stay Enrolled, Succeed Online” campaign from the state Chancellor’s office amid a drop in enrollment rates. The campaign was created to increase new enrollments through advertisements and social media. During a Chancellor Student Media Teleconference, CCC Chancellor Eloy Oakley spoke about a current drop in enrollment rates across the district, despite an initial increase in the summer session. “The fall enrollment is much softer than we had hoped for,” Oakley said. “We're seeing around a 5-7% decline so far.” The decline is primarily attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the toll it has taken on the economy. In an email from the Chancellor’s office signed by Paige Dorr, the Director of Communications and Marketing of CCC, Dorr wrote about the likelihood of a drastic change in environment due to current circumstances. “We are working closely with our creative agencies to prepare for what is anticipated to be a recession-like environment for current and future students” Dorr wrote. Pierce and CCC are working to spread the word about late start classes and eight-week sessions so students know it isn’t too late to sign up. Doreen Clay, Pierce Public Relations manager and photographer for the campaign, said during a phone interview exactly how they are advertising to students. “They have an advertising agency who developed materials to keep students going and keep them enrolled, even in this difficult time of COVID-19,” Clay said. “There's radio spots, DJ and inf luencers, digital banners, those are all for the state and then we had our ad agency make our own digital and banner ads.” Associate psychology professor Angela Belden said in a phone interview that the campaign focuses on student retention. “When you stay enrolled, it causes you to make more progress toward your ultimate goal,” Belden said. “When students drop class, after class, after class, then those W's start piling up and you start to stall on your progress.”
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2020
Department home shakeup Building projects undergo redesign BY PAIGE CHESTNUT
ierce has changed the construction plan of the MultiPurpose Academic Workforce Education building (MPAWE), including the development of a new name and two separate structures. The decision to split the structure came after faculty expressed concern over traffic and safety hazards. Some thought one building would be inadequate to house the math, psychology, computer science, art and media arts departments. Currently referred to as the Academic West and Academic East buildings, the West structure will be located in place of the old library while the East location has not yet been determined. Those responsible for leading these efforts are primarily College Project Director Marco Tarantino, Project Engineer Sonia Babian and management from the Jacobs Engineering Group Construction Company. Still, in the initial stages of programming, the buildings are not scheduled to begin construction until December 2022 and are expected to near completion by the first quarter of 2026. Rolf Schleicher, the Vice
President of Administrative Services and TaskForce leader of the projects, wrote in an email that there are still many programming and design steps the team must go through before construction can begin. “These two projects that are estimated to reach $130 million in total expenditures are very significant structures that will need to go through all the steps of programming, design, State Architect’s approval, builder solicitation and contract award before any construction can begin,” Schleicher wrote. Schleicher wrote the biggest challenge the team has seen since they last spoke to the Roundup staff in May was making the changes needed to accommodate two buildings instead of one. Associate psychology professor Angela Belden said in a phone interview that she and other faculty members have been in favor of two buildings since the administration first proposed the building plans several years ago. “Think about all the course offerings that we have, 30% of them coming in and out of a single building is way too much for the traffic flow,” Belden said. “There's no reason to cram everybody into a single building when we have the space to spread out.”
New sexual health resources available Health Center oﬀers safe virtual services through Family Pact BY ZOE RAMIREZ
any Pierce students worried about their sexual health may gain more peace of mind through a new program that addresses several needs virtually. Family Pact is state funded and allows access to sexual health services at no cost. If a household income qualifies for the program, the student has access to birth control, condoms, STD testing and other sexual protection necessities. Beth Benne, the director of the Student Health Center (SHC), said in a Zoom interview that Family Pact also provides something that many students find important. “Let’s say you are 18 and are sexually active,” Benne said. “If you want to go on birth control because you don’t want a pregnancy but you’re concerned about your parents, you would qualify for Family Pact because you need confidentiality.” Benne explained that the signup process is simple. After completing an application and answering a few questions, the office managers at the SHC can learn within minutes whether or not students qualify for the program. From there, they would be referred to a nurse practitioner to discuss concerns or possible needs. Because of the restrictions made on campus, the SHC has been able to adjust to the changes and offer the program virtually. Nurse practitioners are currently able to meet with students through Zoom calls, where they can order or request birth control, condoms and various types of STD or STI testing. Although the program has become helpful to many at Pierce, Benne hopes to assist more students who are unaware of it. “It’s huge,” Benne said. “It’s our population. Young people are sexually active and they run the risk of pregnancy and STIs.” Kira Shteyman, a nurse practitioner at Pierce, said in a Zoom interview that this program
is important to have especially on a college campus with a majority of young students. “It’s safe, confidential, convenient and we are always right there and you can always stop by,” Shteyman said. In addition to the program’s perks, Shteyman also said that a qualification from Family Pact can allow students to access other clinics. This can be useful considering that practitioners are currently unavailable to meet with students in person. “Clinics, or even planned parenthood,” Shteyman said. “That insurance or plan can help you access other services that we would usually provide.” Shteyman’s overall goal is to inform students at Pierce that this service is available and that it’s important to take precaution to prevent unwanted pregnancies. “I always tell my patients, please be proactive,” Shteyman said. “If you are sexually active, please get birth control, so you can concentrate on school and other aspects of your life.” Deborah Sargent, another nurse practitioner at the SHC, also wants to remind students that her referrals to other clinics can provide services for free because of the Family Pact. “I have really good clinics that I have a hookup with,” Sargent said. “I have had nothing but excellent reports, so I usually send my students there.” Although nurses at the SHC do make referrals for students to receive abortions, Sargent said she aims to promote safety and prevent unwanted pregnancy in a cost-effective way. “We don’t want people having abortions all the time,” Sargent said. “We want them to get protected first. It’s so imperative to me to have Family Pact so we have a place to send students.” For more information on how to sign up for Family Pact, visit the Pierce College Student Health Center website.
“There's no reason to cram everybody into a single building when we have the space to spread out.” - Angela Belden Psychology professor Jennifer Moses, an associate professor of psychology and statistics, voiced her concerns over the original building plan in an interview. “I was going to be moved into the new building, so I made myself aware of the issues going around it,” Moses said. “It was important to me and on behalf of my students that we had a workable plan moving forward. One that was healthy and safe, and functional for all the affected disciplines that were going into those buildings.”
Brahma Pantry switches gears Online referrals for food and housing BY ZOE RAMIREZ
espite school closure, Pierce’s Brahma Pantry still strives to provide services to students who may need help during the pandemic. The Brahma Pantry provides services designed to help students succeed by addressing their physical, emotional and mental needs. Crystal Kiekel, the faculty chair for the Student Success committee, said in a Zoom interview that a student’s ability to do well in school has many factors. “Our ability to be successful in schools is affected by many things,” Kiekel said. “Students need to feel safe and secure. So the Brahma Pantry quickly expanded beyond simply delivering food, to being connections to these many services.” D’arcy Corwin, who operates the Brahma Pantry, said in a Zoom interview that the program continues to be a helpful resource despite it being online. “We really want to address students with food, housing support, health and wellness and financial support resources,” Corwin said. “We really want to support them with any resources during this time, as we know life can be very stressful as a student.” Corwin said that many students may need the pantry’s resources, but
restrictions on campus have made it more difficult for her to engage with students. “When I was on campus, I saw so many students, just because that was the nature of the community we have,” Corwin said. “Now I feel like I’m not able to connect with everyone like I used to. But there is still a high need.” Corwin said it’s important for students to reach out if they need help. She said education is critical and wants to ensure that there are no roadblocks to derail a student from achievements. “If you don’t have a full stomach, and you can’t concentrate, or you're worried about how you’re going to pay rent, those are all really stressful things,” Corwin said. “I want students to know that they have a space where they can talk through all of those challenges.” Michelle Reyes Leal, an intern who works with Corwin at the pantry, said in a Zoom interview that students come from a variety of socialeconomic backgrounds. She said that the pantry helps level out the playing field so that students don't have any barriers holding them down. “If you need job training, or if you need healthcare for lower-income families, the pantry can help you with that,” Leal said. “I feel like that helps equal out everything. You may have school, you may have families, and the pantry can help lessen out your stress.”
Screenshot by Bala Subramaniyan Dʼarcy Corwin poses on Zoom in Woodland Hills, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. Leal also said the pandemic has brought many conflicts among Pierce students. “A lot of what we are working through is cash assistance,” Leal said. “Many people are laid off, so that’s a big resource that many people have been needing. A lot of people just don’t have jobs.” Students can schedule one-on-one virtual appointments at the Brahma Pantry website for more information
6 PHOTO ESSAY
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2020
Manny Mireles, a shop owner, arranges f
Photo by Bala Subramaniyan Jose Dillanes takes food from a community fridge in the Arlington Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 9, 2020.
Photo by Katya Castillo A sign on Sepulveda Boulevard points to the community fridge in North Hills, Calif., on Oct. 15, 2020.
Photo by Bala Subramaniyan People walk by a community fridge in the Arlington Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 9, 2020.
Photo by Jose Samour Flor Morales looks inside a community fridge in North Hills, Calif., on Oct. 8, 2020.
PHOTO ESSAY 7
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2020
Cool relief for a hot LA Refrigerators and food stands in the city provide for those in need BY ALEJANDRA AGUILERA
Photo by Bala Subramaniyan food in the community fridge in Arlington Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 9, 2020.
Photo by Katya Castillo A refrigerator is stocked with free produce and ready-to-eat meals on Sepulveda Boulevard in North Hills, Calif., on Oct. 15, 2020.
Photo by Katya Castillo A sign reads "You are NOT alone. Thank you for staying strong during these times. Stay encouraged. Love you," next to free menstrual products in North Hills, Calif., on Oct. 15, 2020.
fter walking for miles on Sepulveda Boulevard in search of cans and plastic bottles to trade for income, Jose M. frequents a refrigerator painted in a tiedye design and installed on a parking lot in North Hills, California. He grabs a water bottle to hydrate from the heat, an apple for a quick snack and a premade meal to eat once he returns home. To passersby, the fridge may look out of place because it’s surrounded by mechanic repair shops. But for Jose, who didn’t reveal his surname because he’s undocumented, and other residents in Los Angeles county it’s where he receives free food and other basic needs from the Los Angeles Community Fridges (LACF). The LACF is a mutual aid project that stations refrigerators and pantries throughout Los Angeles county. It’s not a non-profit, rather the work of samaritans who donate goods to keep necessities in stock. This one in North Hills has a motto painted on it: Take what you need, leave what you can. “A young lady told me, ‘You can grab whatever you’d like,’” Jose said in Spanish. “I feel less stressed that the little I make collecting cans doesn’t have to be spent on food for myself.” The LACF began when a group of Angelenos were inspired by a phenomena spreading across New York boroughs in June: the appearance of fully stocked refrigerators offering free food on public sidewalks. Karin Nord has volunteered at the LACF since its beginning and said in a Zoom interview that there aren’t founding members in this project. She said it was established as a community to serve people who aren’t receiving assistance during the pandemic, such as undocumented people and those without employment history. Nord has been affected too, with her receiving a weekly unemployment check of $150–a quantity Nord said is unsurprising. “The city is too busy doing street sweeps and taking homes away from houseless people. They’re not really focusing on providing any sort of relief which is disappointing,” Nord said. “That’s why it’s so important to have mutual aid groups like this so we can pick up the slack.” As of yet, the LACF has established 18 refrigerators. On its website, people can search for the nearest fridge, what’s in stock and what needs stocking. Volunteers donate food such as bread, fruit and beverages. Restaurants and other meal organizations donate prepared meals. Some fridges also have a pantry to provide canned goods and sanitary items.
There’s a process in placing these fridges. Since the LACF works as a resource for communities, they often receive Instagram DMs inquiring about beginning a fridge in certain neighborhoods. Then the LACF interviews small businesses that are local and not contributing to gentrification. “People who we are serving may not necessarily feel comfortable going and frequenting these types of [gentrifying] businesses,” Nord said. “We want to put them where people are already going so that they can feel safe.” In the North Hills location, Toyin's Fashion and African Market provides electricity to power the outdoor fridge. Mildred Adebowale is the 17-year-old daughter of the store owner and said that they sponsor the fridge to assist people who are experiencing food insecurity. "We wanted to have a dignified way to serve the homeless and we felt that with the refrigerator, anyone can come, shop and serve themselves as if they were at home,” Adebowale said. But how does one acquire so many fridges? In the beginning, the LACF would buy them on Craigslist. Now that the project is gaining momentum, people have donated their used fridges. Nord says that at the moment she has about 10 fridges on her driveway, waiting to be placed in needed communities. A common theme among the refrigerators is how it's adorned with artwork. Nord said the LACF collaborates with local artists who are often people of color, women or gender non-conforming. Yajaria Sesmas is an Angeleno who painted two fridges at the Arlington Heights location. Inside the flower and clothing shop of Yeaj Yalhalhj: Floreria Aquino, a merchandising refrigerator is decorated in Oaxacan florals. Outside on the sidewalk, another fridge sits. It's similar to an average fridge, except it serves as a canvas for a handpainted blue exterior that’s aligned with palm trees, a replica of the Los Angeles skyline and an assortment of fruits. Sesmas said in a Zoom interview that she’s happy to display her art anywhere, but she was drawn to the LACF because she also believes the government isn’t providing basic needs. “It’s great that community members feel like, ‘You know what, let’s do it ourselves,’” Sesmas said. “If we have the resources to fend for ourselves and each other, then let's go ahead and do that because we– unfortunately–can’t rely on these government structures.” In the LACF mission statement, it explains that the network isn’t governmentfunded because the city has “shown repeatedly that they will actively work against” them.
"We wanted to have a dignified way to serve the homeless and we felt that with the refrigerator, anyone can come, shop and serve themselves as if they were at home." - Mildred Adebowale Co-sponsor for North Hills community fridge
This is in response to fridges receiving citations from public health officials, resulting in the closing of locations such as in Compton and Long Beach. Health and Human Services Environmental Health Manager Judeth Luong from the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, said in a phone interview that the department received an anonymous complaint about the local LACF fridge and assigned an inspector to investigate it. “We did not shut it down or ask them to discontinue it because of the complaint,” Luong said. “We asked them to discontinue using it because they had not secured a proper permit for that and because we felt that the safety of the food could be jeopardized.” Lounge said concerns about the food potentially being compromised included whether it was stored in the correct temperature, the uncertainty regarding the sources providing food and the possibility of vermin contaminating food. To prevent further citations, Nord said the LACF is communicating with city officials. Despite not having a permit at the moment, the Los Angeles Community Fridges continue their effort to make basic needs accessible. They’re planning on opening more locations in the San Fernando Valley and are in the early stages of designing a solar powered fridge to place in a homeless encampment. “It’s so important that we take care of each other and that we don’t just set up the fridges and leave them there,” Nord said. “We need to continuously work on keeping them stocked, clean and dignified so that it can be a long term resource.” firstname.lastname@example.org
8 LA LIFE
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2020
Photo by Bala Subramaniyan
Kyla Graham rehearses over Zoom for the Facing Our Truth play in Chatsworth, Calif., on Thursday, October 15, 2020.
Artistic response to racial violence
Theater department explores injustice through six short plays LAPC THeATRE
UPCOMING PLAYS devised theatre created by Anna Steers and the Company Virtual perfmances begin Oct. 16, 2020
Photo by Bala Subramaniyan Kyla Graham rehearses over Zoom for the Facing Our Truth play in Chatsworth, Calif., on Thursday, October 15, 2020.
facing our truth by A. Rey Pamatmat, Dan O'Brien, Dominique
“Racism is coming more to the forefront, people are protesting, but the nuances of racism between minority communities isn’t talked about as much. And so these plays dive into that deeper level, past the surface level of ‘racism is bad.’” - Topher Ngo Cast member
BY KAMYRN BOUYETT
rayvon Martin, a Black 17-year-old, was killed in 2012 by George Zimmerman, who was a part of his local neighborhood watch. In response to Zimmerman’s trial, playwrights of color wrote six pieces to channel their emotions on the case’s not guilty verdict. The Los Angeles Pierce College Theatre department is addressing racial injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement in the upcoming play “Facing Our Truth: Short Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege.” Topher Ngo, a cast member and a Vietnamese born American student, said the play tackles subjects that influence minorities. “Racism is coming more to the forefront, people are protesting, but the nuances of racism between minority communities isn’t talked about as much,” Ngo said. “And so these plays dive into that deeper level, past the surface level of ‘racism is bad.’” Director Shaheen Vaaz said that the department wanted students to express their frustrations of the current conditions in America into their work. “They were written by different playwrights of color, and they range from the absurd to the heartbreaking,”
Vaaz said during their Zoom play rehearsal. Loida Navas is featured in two pieces of the play. She said that it's important to raise Black voices through different mediums. “After a long time of oppression and everything, I think it's just important to raise that awareness and to raise these perspectives written by these great wonderful writers,” Nava said. Norman Thatch, who acts as Trayvon Martin in one of the shorts, also shared how he’s been profiled because of his clothes and skin color growing up. “They’re all different perspectives, and they all have the same kind of goal,” Thatch said. “Raising awareness as well as telling the story of Trayvon Martin and how that chaotic time was for others and also for him as well as Zimmerman's side.” “Facing Our Truth: Short Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege” will be a live performance, with one performance titled “No More Monsters,” being a prerecorded piece. It will be streamed via Zoom on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The final performance will be on Nov. 1 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Morisseau, Mona Mansour, Winter Miller, Marcus Gardley, Tala Manassah, Quetzal Flores Virtual perfmances begin Oct. 30, 2020
a streetcar named desire by Tennessee Williams Virtual perfmances begin Nov. 20, 2020
barbecue by Robert O'Hara Virtual perfmances begin Dec. 4, 2020
Tickets available online @brownpapertickets.com
LA LIFE 9
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2020
COVID-19 places additional strain on international students ISS helps with visa and employment status BY JOSHUA BLEIWEISS
he news of the transition online was a sigh of relief for many, but not for international students who are at risk of losing their student visas. Pierce College’s International Student Services (ISS) helped welcome international students to the campus by assisting with academic, employment and F-1 status advisement through counseling and workshops. When classes went remote, Director of International Student Services Abigail Watson assisted students with the abrupt transition. “When the online change occurred, many students were scared about losing their status,” Watson said. “Others were worried about maintaining their grades. International students must still maintain a full-course load of 12 units during the pandemic.” Some of the requirements international students have to maintain their F-1 status include having a valid passport, being enrolled in 12 units with only three units allowed online per semester, and attending the school listed on their I-20 Certificate of Eligibility. “It is my job to help the students understand the federal regulations and rules that come along with obtaining their F-1 Student Visa and help them to maintain their F-1 student status while here in the United States and attending Pierce College,” Donna Covarrubias, F-1 advisor and 15 year veteran at the
ISS, said. While some international students had to return to their home countries because they were unable to meet those qualifications, Watson said they’re allowed to maintain their international student status and continue taking online classes at Pierce. However, economic burdens have put a strain on international students, causing some to withdraw from school. “Like many families, their parents have not been able to work since the start of the pandemic,” Watson said. “Some students awwere also struggling with homesickness and loneliness. Most of our students have decided to stay in the U.S. while taking online courses, and many of these students are away from their families.” Lorenzo Mangantulao, peer mentor and international student from Cauayan City in the Philippines, said ISS has been helpful during the online transition despite finding it more difficult than in person classes. “Some classes are really hard to learn online. It is frustrating, in a way that some stuff is longer and confusing,” Mangantulao said. “I still like the old fashioned way of learning. It’s more intimate and the connection with the professor and to the materials is better.”
Student services on virtual display Annual fair hosted through Zoom BY ZOE RAMIREZ
tudent success, particularly in community colleges, frequently depends on what happens inside the classroom and outside as well. Pierce College employs a variety of organizations meant to increase engagement in the college experience, and many of those participated in the Annual Student Services Fair on Oct. 1 on Zoom. ASO, the Umoja Program, the Health Center and the Dream Resource Center were part of the many groups that provided information in breakout rooms. ASO Club Council President Sofia Zaragoza said her job is to take care of the chartered clubs on campus. “We’re part of the Student Engagement Center at this point, so we’re part of just really being there for students,” Zaragoza said in the Zoom breakout room. Umoja Program coordinator Kalynda McLean talked about how the program hosts events and provides support for their students. “The Umoja program continues to provide services to students although we’re working remotely,” McLean said over Zoom. “We have online counseling for students that are available through Cranium Café.” The Umoja Program has Zoom “Porch Talks” where students
discuss and collaborate on a certain topic. Last week their topic was voter education. The Brahma Food Pantry discussed how they provide food help, housing, mental health assistance, scholarships and financial aid for students regardless of their immigration status. In the Health Center’s breakout room, family nurse practitioner Debbie Sargent notified students that they can receive services over Zoom. She explained that the Health Center can administer STD testing, birth control, condoms and prescription medication which can be retrieved without having to go on campus. For mental health counseling, students are given six virtual and confidential sessions per semester. Sargent also examined a student’s rash and was able to help her virtually. “It’s amazing how much we can do virtually, I don’t think any of us realized how much we actually can do,” Sargent said. To contact the Health Center, students can visit their student portal at piercecollege. studenthealthportal.com. Brahmas can find more student services at the Los Angeles Pierce College website.
Coffee, conversations and computers President holds online chat for campus community P Photo by Cathy Pia International Student Lorenzo Mangantulao, 21, from Cauayan City, Isabela, Philippines is studying Civil Engineering at Pierce College.
Photo by Cathy Pia Abigail Watson is the Director and Counselor for Internation Student Services at Pierce College.
“Some classes are
“Like many families,
really hard to learn
their parents have
online. I still like the
not been able to
old fashioned way of
work since the start
learning. It’s more
of the pandemic.
intimate, and the
Some students were
connection with the
also struggling with
professor and to the
materials is better.”
- Abigail Watson
and peer mentor
BY AURORA RIVAS
ierce College President Alexis Montevirgen virtually opened his doors on Oct. 14 to host the second Zoom session of Coffee and Conversation with the President. Montevirgen said he continued these events during the pandemic with the goal of uniting the campus community because it’s become more difficult to feel connected. “Pre-COVID, being a new campus president, what I really wanted to do was provide an opportunity to get to know and interact with every member of the campus community,” Montevirgen said. “It’s great for me to have these opportunities to look at issues through a different lens, and what I’m trying to do now is to have it so students have additional avenues to still be involved.” Montevirgen made sure that those attending the virtual event felt welcomed to voice their experiences or concerns. Kristine Ayvazyan from the Graduation Office brought up the need for a new graduation evaluator to be hired. According to Ayvazyan, Pierce is one of the largest colleges in the district. Since students are preparing to transfer in the fall, the number of graduating students is growing. “I really appreciate the fact that he allows everyone to be able to reach out to him and give us a contact point for him instead of trying to make an appointment,” Ayvazyan said. “It gives us the
opportunity to point out that we are a large school, we have a large transfer population for students and we are requesting to hire another graduation evaluator to help separate and balance the workload better.” Academic Senate President Barbara Anderson says that Montevirgen’s virtual events are excellent opportunities for faculty and students to engage with each other and feel supported. “Everyone is trying to do their best to meet the needs of students. We all need extra support during this time, and the coffee with the president is a great example of that,” Anderson said. “The President is trying to help students and staff process the concerns that they’re facing. It’s symbolic of how supported students and faculty are. It conveys the message that we can get through this together.” The upcoming Coffee and Conversation with the President events will be on Zoom next week on Oct. 19 from 4-6 p.m. and Oct. 22 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The Zoom ID is 747 9405 5729. Montevirgen said he encourages and invites the campus community to participate in these virtual events. “I think we are making the best darn lemonade that we can out of the lemons that is COVID-19, and there’s no shortage of sugar or sweetener with the faculty and staff we have,” Montevirgen said. email@example.com
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2020
File photo by Benjamin Hanson Head Coach Charles White and his players watch from the sideline during a game against the College of the Desert Roadrunners on Ken Stanley Court in Woodland Hills, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2019.
Keeping the ball in the court Interim basketball coach appointed to full-time position BY FELIPE GAMINO
File photo by Benjamin Hanson Head Coach Charles White during a game against the Moorpark College Raiders on Ken Stanley Court in Woodland Hills, Calif., on Jan. 11, 2020.
fter years of coaching under an interim basis, Charles White will now have the opportunity to continue leading the men’s basketball program. White was confirmed to stay in May by Interim Director of Athletics Susan Armenta and Dean of Athletics Genice SarcedoMagruder. “I had tears in my eyes,” White said. “I jumped in happiness because they had finally given me the position.” White took over for Casey Weitzel, who left to be an assistant coach at Midwestern State University. But, this is not the first time he had to step in. In 2015, White took over Ed Babayan, who resigned his position. Before Babayan’s resignation, White was apart of the basketball program that won the conference title in 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons. Also he helped the program make the playoffs for the 2010-11 season. White is excited about the new faces that will come to the program and agrees with the possibility that basketball will get moved to the spring. “This will give the players the time to focus on their academics and when we begin practice, they will be eligible to participate,” White said. White said once they overcome the pandemic, he plans on bringing back summer tournaments and camps, which they haven’t had in years. He plans on getting the community more involved. White said some of his players were surprised that he was named permanent. “While to some it was no surprise, others were saying, ‘We thought you were the head coach already,’” White said. “They didn’t know I had the interim tag on.”
White said that the current roster and former players wished him the best in the permanent role. In a statement released by the department, Armenta wrote what it meant to have White continue as head coach. “Coach White continues to be an integral member of this athletic department,” Armenta wrote. “He’s usually the first coach to arrive and the last coach to leave. He has a proven record as a head coach and as an assistant coach, while maintaining longtime ties to the local community. I have been very impressed with his dedication to his athletes, on and off the court. We wanted to ensure that studentathletes benefited from having stability and continuity within the coaching staff and that Coach White knew Pierce College was his home.” The original plan was to conduct a search for a permanent coach after the season came to an end. “When COVID-19 hit and everything became so uncertain in athletics with the cancellation of all spring sports, we wanted to provide some continuity and stability,” Sarcedo-Magruder wrote. “Naming Coach White was an easy decision because of his effort transitioning his basketball class to remote delivery, continued dedication to his players, our campus, and department and his work as the athletics student success coach.” Sarcedo-Magruder said she sees White recruiting a strong team, continuing his support for the student-athletes and taking the Brahmas to the playoffs. In addition to coaching the men’s basketball team, he is also an employee with the Los Angeles Unified School District. Recently, the LAUSD released a tentative timeline to return to sports conditioning on Nov. 2. Even though it is preliminary, White is hopeful that the plan moves forward. “We are still waiting on the
“I had tears in my eyes. I jumped in happiness because they had finally given me the position.” - Charles White Head coach men's basketball
LA County Department of Public Health and the guidance they give us. We are still in the purple tier,” White said. Depending where we are in the coming weeks, hopefully the plan can progress and our student-athletes can return.” White is eager to get the Pierce team back in the gym, however he prioritizes the health of his players. “It would be ideal that we can use our facilities and get the team working together. Of course working out virtually is not the same. I always remind them to stay safe and take the necessary precautions,” White said. “Their safety comes first.” Eric Bushner, point guard for the team, said in a phone interview that he was happy that White was named permanent head coach. “He is a great person. He cares about his players. The experience of playing for him last year was great,” Bushner said. “I was actually surprised that he didn’t get the permanent job right away.”