WEDNESDAY l 3.14.18 OUR 68TH YEAR CONTRA COSTA COLLEGE SAN PABLO, CALIF.
Camilo Cisnerso was nominated to run unopposed as vice president of clubs
Alexander WalkerGriffin was nominated to run unopposed as ASU president
Chris Miller was nominated to run unopposed as vice president of the ASU
SECRETARY No one has been nominated for treasurer or secretary INFORGRAPHIC BY DENIS PEREZ / THE ADVOCATE
NOMINEES RUN UNOPPOSED Associated Student Union fails to fill positions By Ryan Geller
CCC and Middle College High School students can apply to become an ASU senator if they attend four consecutive ASU meetings, obtain 50 supporting student sigAssociated Student Union natures and maintain a 2.0 or higher GPA lacks student participation while registered for a minimum of six units. So far, all the candidates selected will be The Advocate takes a position on the elecrunning without opposition. According to tion cycle and calls for more transparency the ASU by-laws, candidates who are unopposed must still run in the yearly general and student involvement to address more campus issues election. PAGE 2 Many of the ASU members will be leaving at the end of this semester so this is an important election, ASU Vice President president, describes his platform as one of Esmeralda Topete said. ASU President Alex Walker-Griffin is inclusion. “I feel that we have done really good the only office holder who is running for work this past year supporting clubs so more re-election. “Typically, you can feel out who wants to students can become actively engaged,” move up the ladder, but this year we are in a Walker-Griffin said. “I am proud of standunique position with some MCHS students ing with students and getting the sanctuary graduating and other students transferring resolution worked out with other schools in the district.” out,” Walker-Griffin said. Advocacy is one of the most effective Walker-Griffin, who served as vice president in the 2016-17 school year and is now running for a second term as ASU SEE ASU, PAGE 3
With the lackluster participation in student governance this semester and the pending departure of many of the current office holders, the Associated Student Union is hoping to make successful recruitment tools out of Club Rush and the upcoming ASU general election. The ASU held nominations last week for applicants but several of the positions that are up for election remain without a candidate. The ASU will re-open the nomination process at their next meeting today to see if the remaining positions can be filled. The ASU’s issue seems to be finding candidates that have a full semester of service as an ASU senator — the prerequisite required to run in the general election. Positions that are without a candidate in the general election will be selected from ASU senators and voted into office by the ASU board, according to ASU adviser Joel Nickelson-Shanks.
Transparency concern tarnishes replacement Team rallies in final inning, fails to score PAGE 7
Professor mourned as inspirational figure, Jedi
Process raises issues involving hiring structure By Robert Clinton opinion editor
Near the end of the fall 2017 semester, it was announced that Dean of Student Services Vikki Ferguson would be leaving to accept the vacant position of vice president of student services at Laney College. After working at Contra Costa College for over a decade, Ferguson established herself as a major contributor toward enhancing student services and programs. Therefore, the person to fill her diminutive, yet significantly-salient shoes, would have to be an exceptional selection. At the time of her depar-
ture, CCC President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh said in the Dec. 18 issue of The Advocate, “The college will post the position soon and we will be recruiting to fill the dean of student services opening. In the meanwhile, the Vice President Ken Sherwood and the dean of enrollment services will take on the responsibilities on a short-term basis.” Their term was short-lived , as on Jan. 18 it was announced that Dean of Enrollment Services Denis Franco, would assume the newly labeled role of dean of students, formerly dean of student services. “After dean Ferguson left, the vice president (Sherwood) asked me if I was interested in the position and I said ‘yes,’” Franco said. “Counseling is my home. When people ask me what I do for a living I instinctively say counselor. Student conduct seemed like a good
As dean of enrollment services, Dennis Franco oversaw outreach, financial aid, Admissions and Records, the Welcome Center, assessment, international and veterans services. As dean of students, he is
“After dean Ferguson left, the vice president (Sherwood) asked me if I was interested in the position and I said ‘yes.’” Dennis Franco, dean of students
growth opportunity and a chance to broaden my horizons.” Although the decision to appoint Franco to the position of dean of students had near unanimous support, many in counseling and other departments voiced objections to the lack of transparency during the selection process. According to Sherwood, late last semester he conducted an infor-
mal poll of a few counseling department employees to gauge interest toward Franco becoming dean of students. “When the position became available, President Mehdizadeh and I planned to do a traditional search to replace Vikki. I was learning the process. It was the first time that I was SEE FRANCO PAGE 3
in charge of counseling, Student Life, DSPS, EOPS and transfer services. With an 8-year background in counseling, Franco said he has the perfect skill set to be successful at his new post. Also, the move will not be accompanied by a pay increase. INFOGRAPHIC BY DENIS PEREZ / THE ADVOCATE
PAGE 4 FACEBOOK: /accentadvocate
BELOW: Dean of Students Dennis Franco began his new position on Jan. 18 after then dean of student services Vicki Ferguson accepted a similar position at Laney College.
PHOTO BY DENIS PEREZ / THE ADVOCATE
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WEDNESDAY, MARCH. 14, 2018 VOL. 106, NO. 16
EDITORIAL ASU LEAVES CAMPUS IN DARK Divide between senators, students grows as election nears
n most college campuses, the hub of political discourse and the place for students to plan future endeavors is at a student government meeting. But, sadly, for students at Contra Costa College, legislative agendas that shape all of our futures are rarely exposed. Sure, students can rail against administrators who may not represent their best interests, but in a system of shared governance, senators elected to stand for us need to do a better job disseminating information to the rest of the campuses. The Associated Students Union does have a Twitter account, but the collection of student-representatives has not sent a tweet to constituents since Feb. 10, 2017. CCC senators show a smidgen more attention to Instagram with one post this semester, however, it is the only one since Feb. 28 of last year. Students elect ASU members to represent them, but without any interaction with those elected officials, how will they know which decisions are the most beneficial to students? Have ASU members ever conducted a poll? Are there briefings given to students about pending decisions or concerns surrounding changing curriculum? ASU President Alexander Walker-Griffin said he surveys the needs of students through the ASU suggestion box and by word of mouth. However, many students on campus don’t even know where the suggestion box is, or that there is even an ASU on campus. There is no way to be sure the perspective given by the student senators on campus actually symbolizes the will of the people. Walker-Griffin said, “In meetings here on campus or at the district or state level, I try to give the perspective of what I “hope” represents many students at CCC.” Last week, the ASU president attended a conference to learn about the Guided Pathways education plan and then attended meetings with the Faculty Association for California Community College Policy among other groups. During the talks, Walker-Griffin spoke in representation of all students at CCC, without ever truly finding out how they really feel. Following the talks, rather than post his opinion on these various pressing issues to his constituents using the ASU’s social media platforms, Walker-Griffin posted the information to his personal Instagram account. As of press time, none of the information from the ASU president’s account has been posted to any of the official ASU social media accounts. Despite having five fewer senators at their disposal than the group had this time last year, many of the ASU sponsored events have continued to occur with the usual reliability. With dwindling participation in student governance and the pending departure of many of the current office holders, the Associated Student Union is hoping to make successful recruitment tools out of Club Rush. A rained-out Club Rush will not solve the ASU’s participation problems. Only a concerted effort to become a visible part of the campus community can do that. What might help bridge the information gap is finding some way for senators to keep students informed of district actions and aware that their student government is working for them.
ISAAC BELIVARDES / THE ADVOCATE
Automotive classes teach necessary life skills
hen someone mentions general education classes you probably think of four subjects: math, science, English and history. The idea is that these four subjects will give you a base knowledge to survive in the world. This doesn’t seem adequate to me though. How are you going to learn about taxes and money — having a bank account or writing checks? Holding down a job? But most importantly, what if your car breaks down? For many students a personal vehicle is their only mode of transportation to work and school. Without it they lose their ability to learn or make money. With one car for every three people in the Bay Area, it honestly surprises me that hardly anyone knows how to fix them. Many of the problems we encounter with our cars are quite simple to fix by yourself. Requiring students to take a basic automotive class would help them fix these simple problems without having to pay hundreds of dollars for a mechanic to fix them. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of issues beyond the scope of the average student’s intelligence that requires special training, however, things such as worn belts, bad brakes, batteries and plenty of other issues, can be fixed by almost anyone with very little training.
edge, students can also help others who are having car troubles. I would take personal pride in using skills learned at Contra Costa College to help someone else in need. The community of cars and car people is like no other and having a class The most valuable skills like this would introduce to be learned here are critstudents to others who have ical thinking and problem an undying passion for what solving. they do. Before you can fix a probStudents are also always lem, you looking for solutions. I think The have to figthis would be a great way to ure out what community save money, time and frusis actually of cars and tration. wrong. The class wouldn’t be Beyond for everyone, but it would car people that, you certainly be helpful for daily then have is like no life. And you would have to decide students who walk away whether you other and with some extra knowledge can fix it having a that will help them at some yourself or if point or maybe help somea mechanic class like one find their dream career. is needed. Automotive major Craig this would Should Yannow is a perfect example you decide to introduce of this. try and fix it Growing up, he never on your own, students to thought he would be into you then cars. But now he owns his have to work others who own car and works in the through how have an industry. If it weren’t for the to fix it. skills he learned through Physical undying cars, he wouldn’t be where problem passion for he is today. solving is You could try to make one of the what they this argument for other best ways to classes, but I don’t believe learn because do and are any class would be as useful if you make in a real world application. always a mistake I have always believed that you have to looking for people learn better with undo and fix hands on instruction and an the problem solutions. automotive class provides a again. perfect medium. An automotive class provides the perfect platform to Andrew Weedon is a scene teach these sort of problem editor for The Advocate. solving skills. Contact him at aweedon. By holding this email@example.com.
CAMPUS COMMENT Since marijuana has been legalized, how has your experience with it changed?
“I feel like it’s a more relaxed subject now. After it got legal it’s like the dispensaries are a candy shop.” Ana Gamero nursing
JESSICA SUICO / THE ADVOCATE
“Nothing has changed because I am breastfeeding at the moment and don’t use marijuana.” Maria Carlon psychology
“I am less paranoid when I do smoke. I want to go to a dispensary to get that feel. I haven’t been to one yet.” Dumara Rodriguez physics
“Nothing has changed for me because I don’t use marijuana.” Humberto Andrade liberal arts
“I don’t smoke so it’s whatever to me. I haven’t seen much change for myself with this subject.” Jonathan Torres electrical engineering
“Every public place smells like weed to me now and there is nothing wrong with that as far as I’m concerned.” Ociris Williams African-American studies
campusbeat NEWSLINE n WORKSHOP
RYSE CENTER HOSTS WORKSHOP AT CCC Faculty and staff are invited to visit Fireside Hall on Saturday for a dialogue centered around trauma, justice and healing to gain a better understanding of how to help students who have been impacted by these issues. Breakfast and lunch will be served at the event, which will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. A RYSE representative will be the first Keynote Speaker at the event. For more information contact Jenna Carlsson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MEXICAN FOLKLORE PERFORMED AT KNOX The Knox Center will be closing out the spring semester with “The Cries of La Llorona,” which is based on the Mexican folklore of an immigrant family overcoming life’s obstacles. The play was written and directed by drama department Chairperson Carlos-Manuel Chavarria. Performances will be April 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and April 8 and 15 at 3:00 p.m. For more information or questions contact email@example.com.
n PERSONAL SAFETY
DISTRICT ATTORNEY SHARES ONLINE TIPS Deputy District Attorney Lauren Whalen hosts a cyber safety workshop at Fireside Hall today from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. The workshop offers safety tips about social media, cyber-bullying along with tools to prevent campus sexual assault. For more information call the Contra Costa County district attorney office at 925-957-2224.
CRIMEWATCH Tuesday, March 6: Someone was reported at 7:20 p.m. for being publicly intoxicated outside of the Applied Arts Building. Thursday, March 8: There was a larceny-theft reported at 10:50 a.m. by the bus stop near the tennis courts. Friday, March 9: Vandalism was reported near the Police Services Office in the R Building at 4:29 p.m. — Denis Perez
Correction In the Feb. 14 issue of The Advocate on page 5 in the story, “Free Breakfast program begins” the location where tickets for free breakfasts can be redeemed Monday-Thursday mornings is stated as the Brix cafe in the Student Dining Hall. The correct location is Pronto cafe in the first floor of the Student Administration Building. In the same issue of The Advocate on page one in the article “Wood Removes President,” it was reported that Dr. Sally Montemayor Lenz replaced Contra Costa College President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh as executive vice chancellor of education and technology. In fact, Dr. Andrew Jones replaced Mehdizadeh in the position. The Advocate regrets these errors. — The Contra Costa Community College District is committed to equal opportunity in educational programs, employment, and campus life. The District does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, parental status, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status in any access to and treatment in College programs, activities, and application for employment.
WWW.CCCADVOCATE.COM 3.14.2018 l WEDNESDAY l THE ADVOCATE
Course advances math skill Fast-track learning emphasizes transfer
n “Math 122 allows students to
come in at any level and hopefully do well.” — Sherry Sharufa, math professor
By Dan Hardin staff writer
The fast-paced Beginning and Intermediate Algebra for STEM (Math 122) combines two levels of algebra into one course and allows students to experience a glimpse of trigonometry to help them succeed in future Pre-Calculus and Calculus classes. Math 122 is one of Contra Costa College’s answers to Assembly Bill 705. “Math 122 is not targeted at the so-called high scoring standardized test takers and placement test takers, but to that student who wants to get in and get out quickly, yet willing to put in many long hours of study.” Contra Costa College math professor Terrill Mead said. There are no prerequisites for Math 122 unlike Math 120 as students normally understand requisites; Math 122 is an accelerated course targeted for the STEM student. Also, Math 122 is designed for people who need Intermediate Algebra as a pre-requisite for business, nursing or any of the STEM field courses. “The course reduces the burden of performing well on tests as the singular most important criteria for getting into a degree applicable course,” said professor Sherry Sharufa. “Math 122 allows students to come in at any level and hopefully do well.” A new policy requires all community colleges to include high school grades as a primary indicator for placement in a class such as Math 122, counselor Robert Webster said. The new policy is due to Assembly Bill
left floundering in developmental education. AB 705 reduces the burden of performing well on a test that has hard cut-off scores as the one most important factor for a student to get into a degree applicable course like Math 120. Although the test scores will not be entirely eliminated from the equation, a student’s past success or lack of can be used to determine a student’s potential and to help him or her advance toward their goal. But of course developmental education has its place and shall remain as an alternative mean for those needing more corrective education to prepare themselves for tougher courses. “Students taking Math 122 have the option of participating in the Math Jam Program. They’re also eligible to get their math textbook paid for by the STEM grant through the STEM Office,” math professor Sue Van Hattum said. “Professor Sharufa and I produced a lab manual and course pack for the class so that the students would take the lab seriously,” she said. “We are challenging them to write and type their thoughts in full sentences on how they arrived at their solution to a given problem, rather than just working the sequential process and arriving at the answer.”
705, which was unanimously passed by the California Assembly’s Committee on Higher Education, “According to AB 705, high school profiles will also be used to determine a student’s success potential, The high school profile would include academic and extracurricular accomplishments and is a more accurate predictor of potential and success.” Webster said. Before AB 705, the standardized tests and placement tests were the barometers for deciding which students were placed in credit-bearing or degree applicable courses. However, due to using standardize testing and placement testing only as criteria for placement in a credit-bearing cours- PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY DENIS PEREZ / THE ADVOCATE es many students are
ASU | Election cycle looms, candidates are sparse Continued from Page 1 powers of the ASU according to Walker-Griffin. “By law, all committees that make decisions involving students must have a student present and it is ASU members that go to those committee meetings. In meetings here on campus or at the district or state level, I try to give the perspective of what I hope represents many of students at CCC.” Walker-Griffin said that he surveys the needs of students through the ASU suggestion box and by word of mouth from students on campus. During the development of the Guided Pathways program, which is intended to streamline a student’s path to graduation, Walker-Griffin said that he urged administrators to take into account students with more life constraints like work or family, and to consider students who have failed or dropped a class. Political science major and COPA Club member Chris Miller is an ASU senator who is running for vice president. He said he plans on working to diminish mistakes
of time management by the ASU board. “I come from a background that is music focused. I have been in a band for seven years. I think it would be great to coordinate a schedule of student performers in the campus plaza or even hire local musicians to liven up some of our campus events,” he said. Miller said that CCC is more than just a place to come to school and quickly move on. He sees unique potential in CCC’s creative community. Camilo Alberto-Cisneros is a culinary student who is currently running for vice president of clubs. “I would like student government to connect more with the culinary department where I am also a student leader,” AlbertoCisneros said. “The Food and Wine Event is coming up on April 22 and I am helping with the organizing.” “I think it’s important for ASU and clubs and students to come out and support. I think its important for all of us to support the events here on campus.”
FILE PHOTO / THE ADVOCATE
Sociology major Minerva Arebalo writes information about the ASU elections on the white board inside the Student Lounge in the Student and Administration Building on April 17, 2017.
FRANCO | Dean shifts assignment, responsibilities Continued from Page 1 going to hire a dean at this college and as we were doing that, we were approached by a faculty leader,” Sherwood said. He said the “faculty leader” came to he and Mehdizadeh relaying a message from the counselors that they think Franco should be their dean because he used to be a counselor and the counseling department chairperson. “We talked about it and it would certainly be an easier process for us and he was thinking about applying for the job anyway,” he said. Sherwood did not disclose, for confidentiality reasons, who the “faculty leader” in question was. Although the decision to select Franco for the position was not in question, the process that facilitated that decision was. Many in the counseling department who were not part of the informal poll felt their opinions, however valid, were not taken into consideration. Counseling faculty, including members of Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS), EOPS, general and transfer employees wrote an email to the president and vice president expressing concerns about the process. In part, the email read, “During the week of Dec. 11, 2017, two counselors were informally ‘pulled aside’ by the VP during end-of-the-year celebrations to chat. However, the entire counseling department never was formally invited to a meeting/discussion about any an upcoming lateral management move. “Many in the department were not privy to these informal chats and learned about the lateral move either one day before or after the email announcement was made public to the general campus body,” the counseling faculty
“It sucks that it got to the point where there were some toes stepped on. Certainly, I don’t want there to be strife on my account.” Denis Franco, dean of students
email read. “We are not questioning the specific individual hire but rather the process, determining the assignment for the dean of students, as it sets a precedent in the wrong direction.” The consortium knows faculty consultation was not needed for a lateral personnel move, however, after being contacted, the United Faculty also agreed that counseling faculty should have been consulted or provided an opportunity to give feedback or suggestions. “A commitment to shared governance, equity in hiring practices as it relates to diversifying faculty and management positions at the college and trust in senior management and its communication toward a transparent and inclusive process were all jeopardized by this selection process,” the email read. Attached to the email was the Contra Costa Community College District Equal Employment Opportunity Plan, 2016-2019. Highlighted were sections 12 (“Recruitment and Hiring Procedures to Ensure Equal Employment Opportunity”) and Section 15 (“Maintaining Institutional Commitment to Diversity”) which the group said speaks directly to their overarching concerns. Franco and Sherwood both agree the move
was made to condense two selection processes down to one. Franco said if he went through the normal process for applying for the dean of students position, it would take more time to fill and leave him serving in both Sherwood positions longer, with no help. As vice This way, the only selec- president tion and hiring process will of student be for the open dean of affairs, enrollment position. he began “It sucks that it got to a working point where there were some at the coltoes stepped on. Certainly, I lege in July don’t want there to be strife 2017. on my account,” Franco said. “I know people say it’s not about me, but it still feels like I’m the cause of something. It’s unfortunate. It’s the part I’m sad about.” Sherwood said that he and Mehdizadeh have met with the counseling department and with folks from other divisions to apologize after finding out employees wanted a more formal selection process. “We didn’t investigate far enough. Part of it was because no formal process is required in this situation. This kind of movement happens in colleges all over the state, all of the time,” Sherwood said. “Because I’m new, I don’t know the internal culture enough to know that it was going to be so important to folks. The conflict is cultural and not moral or legal. They had a set of expectations that I just didn’t know existed.”
WWW.CCCADVOCATE.COM 3.14.2018 l WEDNESDAY l THE ADVOCATE
Beloved professor dies Campus mourns death of companion, colleague By Anthony Kinney associate editor
After bravely battling melanoma for 14 months, adjunct professor Michael Durr Shannon passed away in December in the loving embrace of his family and close friends. He was treated by professionals at the Stanford Oncology Center and Hospital who tried everything they could to aid Shannon back to health. Born in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, Shannon was a smart child who continually astounded his parents with his deep and broad intellect. After his family decided to move to California, he graduated from Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton. He earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Cal State-East Bay in 2008. He worked in several professions, including a job as a research assistant at Weldon Owen Publishing and an assistant marketing coordinator for 2K Games, where he worked on video games such as “BioShock 2,” “Borderlands” and “NBA 2K11.” However, his desire for progression pushed him to obtain his master’s degree in English composition from San Francisco State University in 2013. Shannon discovered his passion in teaching and became an adjunct English professor here at Contra Costa College and San Francisco State University soon after graduation. Possessing a remarkable versatility in his craft, Shannon taught an assortment of English courses on the college level from Composition and Reading to Critical Thinking and Advanced Composition. Liberal Arts Division
STUDENTS ENGAGE IN ACADEMIC JOURNEY Study abroad program targets European cities
Dean Jason Berner said Shannon’s strong work ethic and enthusiasm about teaching made him a reliable addition to the department. “Most adjunct professors just teach their classes and go home,” Berner said. “But Shannon always ensured he was visible on campus. He went far and beyond for his students.” Shannon was also the part-time faculty representative in the United Faculty local teachers union. He earned the reputation on campus as a respectable, caring and approachable professor and although he struggled with the pernicious skin cancer for the last year, Shannon still found the spirit to stoke his passion for teaching English while undergoing chemotherapy. Rarely seen without his NASA pin pierced stylishly on his jacket, Shannon was known for his cheerful personality and unfaltering desire to help his students and peers. Former student Lindsey De Leon said Shannon was always enthusiastic and passionate in the classroom, even after revealing his condition to his class. “It was really tough when he told us, but I could tell he wasn’t letting it bother him because he kept his same personality and attitude,” she said. “You couldn’t even tell he was going through chemotherapy. He was never sad about it.” Shannon was also an avid fan of the “Star Wars” fran-
By Xavier Johnson scene editor
The opportunity for students to live and study in London to broaden their educational experience is available for the fall 2018 semester through the Northern California Study Abroad Consortium. The program managed by the American Institute for Foreign Study holds annual study abroad program for four Northern California community college districts, including the Contra Costa Community College District. The application deadline for the program is Wednesday, June 13. Students depart from the United States on Sept. 6 and return Dec. 7. There are two stay options that affect the cost of the pro-
gram. The cost of the program with the homestay option is $8,595 and for the student apartment option is $9,995, both prices excluding tuition. However, there are scholarships available for students apply to aid the cost through their respective school’s Financial Aid offices. Diablo Valley College Interim Dean of Applied and Fine Arts Toni Fannin said AIFS gives the consortium members advice on which cities are most likely to attract 100 total students from the four participating districts. She said the top three study abroad destinations in the world are England, Italy and Spain. For that reason the program alternates between Barcelona and London in the fall semesters
“Michael was such a gentleman. The world was a better place with him here.” Joy Eichner-Lynch,
English department chairperson
chise. Described by his close friends as a Jedi, Shannon took pride in knowing everything about the Star Wars saga. And when he wasn’t in the classroom teaching his favorite subject, Shannon was honing his skills as a Jedi Master at the Levy Dance Studio with the Bay Area Star Wars social club, The Golden Gate Knights. Along with his fellow “Jedi,” Shannon would train Star Wars’ light saber sword play and practice sword dueling techniques. De Leon said she’s going to miss Shannon’s outgoing personality and witty sense of humor in the classroom that made his lesson plans entertainingly captivating, and also his unwavering hunger for helping others. English department Chairperson Joy Eichner-Lynch described Shannon as one of the nicest people she ever worked with. Reminiscing on Shannon, Eichner-Lynch couldn’t recall a moment where he didn’t show his peers the utmost respect and courtesy, even during disagreements. “Michael was such a gentleman. The world was a better place with him here,” she said. “He will be truly missed by all the staff and students who were lucky enough to experience his wonderfully contagious sense of humor and loving charm.” Shannon’s parents are asking for those moved to remember him to do so by making a donation in his name to either the Stanford Cancer Institute or The Planetary Society.
and Florence every spring. Barcelona was the study abroad location for last fall. Journalism major Vanessa Flores said attending Barcelona changed her perspective on multiple levels. She said the trip was her first time visiting Europe. “I was able to follow their politics and see how they talk about us. I was able to really see how the world views the United States. Sometimes you can’t understand that unless you’re a part of it,” Flores said. Four instructors from DVC, Santa Rosa Junior College, American River College, and Cañada College will be teaching English, anthropology, history and business courses during the study abroad program. Flores said the courses on Spanish culture she took taught her a lot about Spanish tradi-
LEFT: English professor Michael Shanon Durr died in December after battling melanoma, a form of skin cancer.
tions, languages, holidays and the typical day-to-day life. English professor Lisa Orta said the courses she’s teaching in London, Critical Thinking, Introduction to Literature and Drama and Performance as Literature are the same as the ones she teaches at DVC, with a few differences. “My curriculum will be based on using London as an extension of our classroom. The reading materials, assignments, and field trips will all be related to our location,” Orta said. “For many it will be their first experience living away from home, and in a densely populated city,” said Orta. “In London we will be speaking English, but we will be living in a very different cultural and social setting.”
DC Freedom Solar brings bright lights to campus By Dan Hardin staff writer
In a partnership with educational institutions, DC Freedom Solar Trailers will bring mobile solar generators to college campuses — including Contra Costa College. DC is taking outdoor lighting and display signage to the next generation, by offering digital engagement platforms that are solar powered. Building and Grounds Manager Bruce King said, “Two of my concerns with the trailer is where do we put it and how do we secure it?” There has been talk of storing it in close proximity to the Applied Arts Building, near the college president’s former parking stall. “There have been a few other locations discussed,” he said, “but for now I think everyone is leaning toward the AA Building.” Another of King’s concerns is keeping the equipment safe from vandals. It would be nice to have this piece of equipment, but a lot responsibility will come along with it. It would increase the lighting in that particular area, but the lighting could also attract vandals and entice bad behav-
n “DC Solar Freedom is ded-
icated to the environment and seeks to help promote the sustainability of natural resources.” — Ray Pyle,
District Chief Facilities Planner
ior, he said. Mariles Magalong, director of business services, said, “DC Solar had offered a display screen and pole as part of the package. At what additional cost I could not tell you.” “I am unaware of the project’s cost,” she said. “Ray Pyle, the chief facilities planner at the District Office, is in charge of acquiring the lighting trailer that is solar powered, and there maybe some additional cost involved if we include the display accessories.” The display screen could be used for college announcements, like the marquees currently in use, and since the solar trailer will not be attached to anything, it could be used for a variety of events. The committee discussed the screen in some detail, and then decided more information regarding the display screen
was needed. They decided to think about it for a while before coming to a decision, Magalong said. Pyle said this is the technology of the future. “This venture was brought to my attention by a board member who provided me with the information. I needed to investigate and research this opportunistic and lucrative merger,” he said. “DC Solar Freedom is dedicated to the environment and seeks to help promote the sustainability of natural resources.” Pyle said DC Solar is able to cover the rental cost of each trailer, at no charge to CCC or its sister campuses. “There are aspects of this venture that we are still looking into, such as the cost of accessories and which protocol we must follow,” Pyle said. DC Solar Freedom is a Californiabased benefit corporation. Benefit corporations are specifically designed for companies who wish to achieve success while incorporating community and planetary responsibility. They also allow corporate officers and directors to take into account the people and planet when making business decisions, as opposed to focusing primarily on the bottom line.
Solar Eclipse SCT20 Hybrid LT n Battery-based diesel
hybrid n 86,000 lumens of light n WiFi capabilities n Two 120-volt power outlets n Capable of running 24 hours/day – with or without sunlight n Provides coverage area of up to 6 acres n Easy to set up and deploy – typically in less than 5 minutes
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY DENIS PEREZ / THE ADVOCATE
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National festival invites growth
Five students from the Contra Costa College drama department attended and competed at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Spokane, Washington.
Drama department competes against four-year institutions By Michael Santone associate editor
Six students and two professors from the Contra Costa College drama department converged onto the 49th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Spokane, Washington in February. The festival assembled drama, journalism and technical theater students from community colleges and four-year universities across the country as workshops, performances, competitions and an award ceremony framed the week-long extravaganza. “We were busy every single day, competing, attending workshops, meetings, watching plays, trying to stand the damn cold frozen temperatures,” drama department Chairperson Carlos Chavarria said. “At the end, we did not win anything, but considering the department was competing against four-year colleges and graduate schools, it was tough.” Three students nominated for last semester’s play “How We Got On,” include Umi Grant, Oz Herrera-Sobal and Akilah Kamau. Aside from the nominated play, five students competed in competitions ranging from acting, journalism in theater and technical theater. First-time festival attendee Xavier Johnson, who placed fifth out of 21 writers, said it was all the knowledge he’s obtained in the journalism department that helped him excel. “There are different ways to write about theater and when I was there I saw so much art and experienced so much art,” he said. “All the stuff I learned in here (journalism department) helped me stand out and that set me apart from other students competing.” Johnson said he watched about seven to 10 performances throughout the duration of the festival while having to write a review before 9:30 a.m. the next morning. “Competing felt like what it would feel like to cover a big convention like Comic Con. It was pretty tiring,” he said. “It made me think what are my strong suits as a writer and what
do I need to work on.” For the CCC drama department, this was the first time having a student compete in the journalism and technical theater aspects of the festival. Last year the department only competed in the acting portion. “We did really well for a community college competing against some of these schools that have more resources. I think we did a really good job,” technical theater student Cody Poehnelt said. Poehnelt who competed in lightning design was 1 of 24 students throughout the whole festival, but unfortunately was not picked to continue to the next round. “I think I did well, even though I — I definitely had a lot to learn for sure. Just being there I learned a lot and made a lot of connections with a lot people. Handed out my business card and all that stuff,” he said. “I think it was more making my display look good. I didn’t have the professional photos like other people had. The look of my display wasn’t as good as some of these other peoples’ but they obviously had help. It was my first time and I think it was a good experience for me.” Although this was only the second time the CCC drama department participated in the festival, Chavarria has been involved with KCACTF for over 15 years. “We (CCC) have only been to the festival twice. We are very green. We are babies as a department,” he said. “Students get the opportunity to audition to four-year colleges, graduate programs, and professional theatre companies. They get to be interviewed by people from “the business” who are
looking for interns and new blood to join their ranks.” Adjunct drama professor Angelina LaBarre, who helped students prepare for their scenes and monologues, said, “I chose monologues and scenes to suit each student’s talents and skills within the tight time constraints of each round in the Irene Ryan competition. We focused on diaphragmatic breathing techniques in order to support the voice, particularly under the time constraints, and also to connect and ground the emotional arcs their characters had to take.” LaBarre said although the drama department did not win any awards, everyone did a great job and the experiences gained at the festival is paramount. “In addition to the competition, the students also have so many opportunities to take workshops in numerous concentrations in the theatre field from expert professionals.” Drama major Diego Loza said the atmosphere was nothing like how he expected it to be while at the festival. “I was already pretty nervous as it was, so having a strong positive environment really brought my nerves down a few notches,” he said. “But then my nerves went back up because my partner who was actually nominated for the competition was very sick.” Loza competed with Kamau in the scene “5 Women Wearing The Same Dress,” by Alan Ball. “Once it was our turn and we got on the stage though it was like her sickness just got locked out of the room because she did not cough once during our scene and her energy was on fire.” LaBarre said Chavarria and herself have moved forward with their regional festival so that the CCC drama department can become more invested in the drama community.
PRESIDENT APPOINTED AFTER RESIGNATION Contra Costa Community College District Ward I Trustee John Marquez was elected president of the Governing Board on Monday after the resignation of former president Timothy Farley.
By Michael Santone associate editor
At a special meeting held Monday at the District Office in Martinez, the Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board voted 5-0 to approve Trustee John Marquez as interim board president. The action also approved the move of Secretary Gary Walker-Roberts to interim vice president and Vicki Gordon to interim secretary. The reconstruction of the Governing Board comes in lieu of the sudden resignation of former president Tim Farley two weeks ago. In a Feb. 26 letter addressed to Marquez and the Governing Board, Farley resigned effective immediately stating the reason as “a pressing personal family matter.” “It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter officially resigning,” Farley stated. “It has been an honor and privilege to serve the students and families of Contra Costa County as well as the residents of Ward III.” Marquez who was vice president, has been president of the board twice in the past. Timothy A new Governing Farley Board member to represent Ward III will be elected in The former November. president of “Farley’s position is the Contra going to be open,” Marquez Costa said. “Instead of us appointCommunity ing someone, someone is College going to have to run in his Governing ward.” Board “We will just work this resigned his way until the election in position in November,” Marquez said. February. “In working for the board, a lot of the work falls on the shoulders of the president and the secretary. The vice president is there
DENIS PEREZ / THE ADVOCATE
in case the president isn’t there,” he said. “So me being president now, I’m going to have more responsibilities.” Farley had 10 months left in his term, which expires in December 2018, and was expected to run for re-election as he began to fundraiser for his 2018 campaign. Governing Board member Greg Enholm said, “It was sad, but I talk regularly to him and I understand his situation. He does have a full time job. “I hear the stress that he was under and when you have a family emergency come up as he did, sometimes you look at that and ask yourself, do I need to be 100 percent committed to my work, 100 percent committed to my family or 100 percent to being an elected official?” Enholm, who has known Farley for over
n “I was shocked that he decid-
ed to give his resignation. He just became president and I think he’s the shortest running president on the board.” — Gary Walker-Roberts, trustee
a decade, said he has been a big supporter of his. “I talked to Tim (Farley) afterward and he felt he made the right decision and I agree with him,” Enholm said. “I was not surprised, given I’ve known him for a decade and he’s been on the board for almost four years. He made a decision that many other
people made.” Farley’s resignation was announced at the Feb. 28 Governing Board meeting where he was not in attendance. Marquez sat as the acting president as he announced Farley’s resignation through the letter, which he read aloud. Board members expressed their deep sentiments of sadness at Farley’s sudden resignation. Board Trustee Gary Walker-Roberts said, “I was shocked that he decided to give his resignation. He just became president and I think he’s the shortest running president on the board. But we are moving forward. We have a job to do and it’s not the first time the board has faced sudden changes.” Ward III encompasses an area including Martinez, Concord and Pleasant Hill.
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OBDII scanner: Used to scan error codes contained on a car’s computer.
Craig’s Automobile mechanic’s checklist Automotive student Craig Yannow checks the fluid levels in the engine of his 1995 Camaro Z28 while in the automotive department in the CTC Building.
Clutch alignment tool: Used to align the clutch with the pressure plate. Hammer: A specialty hammer used to repair and work sheet metal on cars. Bumper bag: Used in combination with a hammer to repair sheet metal.
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ANDREW WEEDON, DENIS PEREZ / THE ADVOCATE
Cars fuel passions By Andrew Weedon scene editor
The humble story from skateboard to Camaro is an example of how your true calling might not be what you expected. Contra Costa College automotive student Craig Yannow, 20, didn’t expect his dream job to be working on cars. “When I was younger I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” Yannow said. Born in Vallejo and raised in El Cerrito, Yannow spent quite a few years skating the hills of the East Bay on his custom skateboard. “I spent a lot of time just walking up the Berkeley hills and blasting back down on my board,” he said. After a while, however, he said his body decided to give up on skateboarding because of the constant physical strain it put him under. “Even though I stopped skating, I still loved the community and how tight-knit it was,” he said. Yannow says he wasn’t the best
student throughout his academic career. “I went to Spectrum Schools for a bit but eventually my teachers and parents realized it wasn’t the place for me,” Yannow said. “I finished high school at Tilden Preparatory School, which was a great experience.” Yannow said he was grateful for the fact that his parents were able to pay to have him attend Tilden. “I never really wanted to go to a university. It just didn’t sound like my thing,” Yannow said. His life changed course when, at age 16, he was asked by his neighbor to help fix a car. “It was a 2001 Dodge Intrepid that had a cooling problem,” he said. After three days, he and his neighbor were able to get the car working and driving again. “The feeling of accomplishment you get from fixing something is amazing. It’s like a drug,” he said. This set Yannow on path that he never thought he would go down. When it came time to search for a college to attend he began
Singer creates artist network Performer organizes showcases for local talent By Alondra Gallardo opinion editor
In a city of pride and purpose, local artist Nancy Garcia finds her purpose in helping local artists come together and showcase their work. Although Garcia is a Contra Costa College student pursuing her major in business, she is also a new up and coming artist herself. Putting together networking events in the city of Richmond, Garcia hopes to create a platform for new artists in order for them to have a place to express and practice their work. “It kind of just happened naturally on its own,” she said. “I had the idea to throw a party with all of my friends who happened to be artists and that’s kind of how and when it all fell into place.” Stage lighting designer Abigail Armendaris said, “Recently (Nancy) started organizing these events. She does them
so that other artists within the Bay Area can make connections and thrive with each other.” Garcia said she wanted to provide a space for people who create. “It is not just for performing artists — any type of artist is welcome as long as they are local.” Garcia, who is very involved in the community, wants to give back. She works at the UC Berkeley Theatre and the East Bay Center for Performing Arts. “I’m creating an opportunity for the artist to get recognized and I really feel like we need that here in Richmond,” she said. “There is so much talent and unknown artists here but rarely any events are held in this city.” She said the artists contact her through the “artnmuseic” Instagram handle if they want to be featured and be part of the event. Armendaris said it has helped her create connections as a stage lighting designer. “I had people contacting me and needing
looking at an automotive school in Alameda, but when he saw the automotive department at CCC his decision was made. “I was incredibly impressed with all of the new equipment CCC had to offer and that’s what helped me make up my mind to attend the college,” he said. Despite an inherent interest in cars, Yannow said that he really wants to make sure people get repairs done properly on their vehicles. This compassion for others doesn’t stop at vehicles. Yannow volunteers at a local church to serve food to those in need and also works with the Western Service Workers Association. Now working in Berkeley, Yannow recently bought his first car, a 1995 Camaro Z28. With the help of automotive professor Bobby Sturgeon, he was able to find problems with the car to help talk the price down. “I think it’s really cool that he had a dream car, then worked and saved money to buy it,” Sturgeon
said. Sturgeon said that Yannow does really well in the automotive program because it’s a different type of learning. “I’m really proud of him. Not everyone is able to do these type of things we ask students to do in the program,” he said. Cristhian Cano, an automotive major enrolled in the same electrical class at CCC, said that Yannow is a fun guy who makes everybody laugh. Cano said that Yannow is smart but has the mentality of a life-long learner, as he is constantly striving to expand his knowledge in many different areas. As Yannow prepares to take a job at a Firestone Tire shop, he still makes time to recall fond memories. “I remember driving up to Grizzly Peak Boulevard (in Berkeley) one night a while ago. I had forgotten to bring a jacket, so I sat on the hood of the car and the engine kept me warm. The area was foggy but I could see more stars than I ever had before.”
my help, which is awesome. And it’s all very helpful because when you’re just starting out as an artist you don’t know where to start or who to contact and these events do that for you. They form a huge web of (local) connections.” Local artist Ehemiah Murray said, “(Nancy) is definitely ambitious and focused. It would be her to come up with a safe space for local artists to showcase their work and bring the community together.” Murray said he performed at the two networking parties and also helped Nancy do what she needed to do to make the event happen. Armendaris said, “It really takes someone in the community to step up and want to make it better and that is definitely Nancy, who looks at the community and says ‘OK, we are going to come together and make this happen’.” Garcia said that since she started creating these events not only has she helped other artists, but she has also helped herself. “Since I started these events I’ve been able to connect with a lot of people and I’ve been asked to actually host other events aside from mine.” Around 100 people attended the first event she organized, and the second attracted around 300. “We have all types of artists partaking in the networking party from break dancers, singers, poets, photographers, videographers, painters, comedians, basically anyone who creates really,” Garcia said. She said to expect another networking party soon at a bigger venue since the number of people attending these events is increasing.
SPECIAL TO / THE ADVOCATE
Business major, artist and local promoter Nancy Garcia addresses the crowd during her last showcase event in the East Bay Performing Arts Center.
sports ■ OFF THE RECORD
ATHLETES EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT GUN LEGISLATION
s the best professional boxer of the 20th century, and renowned activist, Muhammad Ali once said, “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” National Basketball Association (NBA) all stars Lebron James and Kevin Durant have lived up to that. They proved their value with their responses to Laura Ingraham, a Fox News commentator, who recently went on a rant about how James and Durant should “shut up and dribble” instead of using their platforms to initiate positive change. Her outrage was sparked after an interview with the pair on the TV show “Uninterrupted” where the two athletes spoke about the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida that ended with 17 people dead and 14 others injured. The interview resulted in mass outrage and slander toward the athletes by rightwing media outlets. Ingraham said that James is too uneducated to speak about these issues. She even stated that James dropped out of high school early to join the NBA — a claim that is patently false. However, her comments backfired because even more coaches and athletes have spoken out about the country’s broken gun laws. Professional athletes should continue to voice their support for reforming gun laws. Historically, athletes have been the people who inspire the masses by creating social movements with grass-root foundations. In the days of Jackie Robinson, Bill Russell, John Carlos and Tommie Smith athletes were expected to shut up and play their sport. They had to choose between speaking for what’s right or remaining silent. In that time, much like today, the climate of the country was a constant reminder that anytime they spoke up, the potential of being blackballed by people in their sport increased in probability. Victims of gun violence support the likes of James and Durant or anybody who has spoken out against conservative gun policy and the National Rifle Association (NRA). Attempting to shift the moral compass of Republicans, or the all mighty lobbying power of the NRA, is a tough task. The NRA and GOP will continue to push manipulated narratives through tools like Fox and Breitbart News. As those entities undermine the public’s gun-reduction sentiment, athletes need to follow the lead of James and Durant Every time these men speak on social issues, they always present their arguments eloquently and they dismiss their detractors with class. The NRA does not want athletes to speak up on gun control because, ultimately, they understand the true power of athlete’s voices. Efrain Valdez is the social media editor of The Advocate. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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TEAM FALLS FLAT AT HOME Comets fail to best Eagles in close duel By Denis Perez editor-in-chief
With three runners on base, two outs, down by one run in the bottom of the ninth inning and a three-game winning streak on the line, the baseball team failed to execute a walk-off win during a 1-0 loss against Mendocino College (8-8 overall) on the Baseball Field on Thursday. The Comets, (3-11 overall) gained momentum after the seventh inning with five runners finding their way to the base path on two hits a walk and a wild pitch. The intensity climaxed in the ninth inning when Comet shortstop London Pendland was caught in a rundown between third and home and instead of running toward home plate in hopes of scoring the tying run. Pendland ran back to third and was forced back toward home. The shortstop was eventually tagged out in a squeeze play to end the game. Pitcher Jake Dent threw a complete game for CCC , while allowing one earned run, no walks and striking out five Eagle batters. In his best pitching performance of the season, the Comet bats failed to bring any run support for Dent. Assistant coach Michael Felder said, “Our pitchers threw strikes and their pitchers threw strikes, but in the end, it came down to execution.” The only score of the game came in the third inning as Dent surrendered a hit to Eagle center fielder Jacob Alvedirez. The single scored left fielder Karter Kimberly who reached base on a fielder’s choice.
LEON WATKINS / THE ADVOCATE
Comet outfielder Mychael Jamison stops Comet infielder London Penland from attempting to score in the ninth inning of Thursday’s loss to Mendocino College on the Baseball Field. The Comets lost 1-0.
After three innings Mendocino led 1-0. Being down by only one run for the rest of the game, the Comets played small-ball to piece together plays and advance runners on base toward home. However, all the Comet attempts fell flat at crucial moments. CCC did attempt to respond to the Eagles’ third inning run. In the bottom of the third inning, the Comets stranded a
n “Our pitcher
threw strikes and their pitcher threw strikes, but in the end it came down to execution—
Michael Felder, Comet coach
man on base after a single and a Mendocino wild pitch. The failed scoring attempt was followed by a montage of Comet batters
making contact on Eagle pitches that were easily caught by Eagle fielders. Comet third baseman Mychael Jamison said, “The team could have adjusted by waiting for the ball a little more. The opposing pitcher was throwing curve balls that the hitters wouldn’t go for and then he would throw balls out of the zone and the hitters would swing.” In the bottom of the seventh inning, Comet first baseman Tyler Brown
earned a walk. When Comet second baseman Dylan Wilson grounded out as a sacrifice, Brown advanced to second. Third baseman Jared Jackson grounded to the shortstop for the Comets, moving Brown to third. Jamison then grounded out to first, killing Brown’s and the rest of the team’s effort to score and tie the game. CCC hosts the College of Marin Thursday at 2:30 p.m. on the Baseball Field.
softball team folds after losing players By Robert Clinton opinion editor
DENIS PEREZ / THE ADVOCATE
Comet Mi’Jai Wilson prepares to throw the ball to the pitcher during softball practice on the Softball Field. The BVC will field just three softball teams this season after the Comets folded their season on Monday.
For the second year in a row, the excitement surrounding the start of the Contra Costa College softball season was short lived as the Bay Valley Conference quartet of teams was reduced to three following the Comets’ season dissolution. There were signs that BVC softball was in trouble in the weeks leading up to the proposed opening day date of March 13 as only Los Medanos College, CCC, Yuba College and Solano Community College had teams slated to play this season. “The season didn’t end because of the league, it was us,” CCC Athletic Director John Wade said on Monday. “We don’t have enough girls to play, even though the forms say that we did. Two of the girls were not eligible. One barely missed with a 1.94 GPA.” Wade said the participation numbers dwindled down from 11 to nine, then two more players quit due to injury or scheduling conflicts. For many of Comet softball players, 2018 would be their only opportunity to play the sport at this level. After the cancellation last season and the impending spring graduation, this was their last shot at eligibility. “I found out this morning that we wouldn’t be playing because we don’t have enough players,” Comet pitcher Nancy Bernal said. “This is my last season and last semester. I’m conflicted. I still want to practice but without a season, I’m not sure why?” Bernal said she was excited to play this season after undergoing meniscus surgery and was ready to test her newfound mobility in live action.
With so many teams dealing with the same participation problems, or lack thereof, solutions need to be found to offer some semblance of support to the BVC and women’s sports overall. CCC softball coach Karolyn Gubbine said, “A lot of it has to do with the reduction of community recreational league games. Travel ball has grown so much that girls are told, if they can’t make a travel team, they shouldn’t be playing. “Those are the athletes who thrive at this level.” The coach said she broke the news to the other three BVC teams Monday morning and heard some of those coaches were also dealing with lackluster participation numbers. The Yuba softball team, which has played 13 games this season, has been as woefully outscored as CCC was in its previous season. Many players believe the struggle of competing on a losing team contributes to women not flocking to the field. “It’s a downer to have players go through getting the life kicked out of them and expecting them to come back,” Gubbine said. “Sports aren’t fun for them if they aren’t winning.” Gubbine said it was tough to deliver the bad news to her team, many who had been practicing with the coach since last fall. “It’s unfortunate, I feel like we had a great crew. They were coachable and they were getting along,” she said. “We’d add some and they would quit. It went back and forth. We would gain a player, then an injury. We were teetering with small numbers, then it fell apart.”
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“No matter what happens with DACA, California has protections in place like AB 540.” — Norma Valdez Jimenez, Contra Costa College counselor
Fremont resident Mayra Alcaraz (left) wipes tears from her eyes while surrounded by friends and community members during a vigil at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, California on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, hours after news leaked that President Trump would repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival order. DENIS PEREZ / THE ADVOCATE
DACA DECISION HALTED Renewal applications continue on injunction By Ryan Geller news editor
Thousands of people march in San Francisco to show support for DACA recipients during the closing rally of an impromptu march to City Hall on Sept. 6, 2017.
President Trump was unable to sunset the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program due to the rejection of his administration’s fast-tracked appeal by the U.S. Supreme Court at the end of February. Trump had set March 5 as the date that those protected under DACA would no longer be able to renew applications, but a California District Court ruled that Trump’s reason for ending the Obama era executive order was flawed. This decision called for the DACA program to remain in place. DACA recipients can continue to obtain renewals. However, new DACA applications are not being accepted. The Trump administration took the unusual step of appealing this decision directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. They were trying to do an end run around the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals because it is a more liberal court while the Supreme Court is majority conservative with the recent confirmation of Neil Gorsuch under Trump, Contra Costa College political science department Chairperson Vanna Gonzales said. The Supreme Court did not agree to take the case, they said that it must go through the normal channels, this means that it will go back to the 9th circuit appellate court. It is likely that the Trump administration will appeal again to the U.S. Supreme Court if they do not receive a favorable decision from the 9th Circuit Court, “because (otherwise) he would look weak and he is a man with a big ego,” CCC La Raza department Chairperson Agustin Palacios said. The 9th Circuit Court could hear the case as early as May but by some estimate it could be well into next year before a decision is rendered. March 5 was an arbitrary date that Trump set as a timeline for congress to pass a reform bill, Gonzalez said. But Congress’ schedule is not set by the president. That was just a way for him to say he is waiting for congress to address the issue because his whole argument for ending DACA is that President Obama used an unconstitutional form of executive overreach to set up DACA in the first place. According to the U.S. District Court orders by Judge William Alsup, the court ruled that Obama’s executive order was within the law. The injunction from the California District Court as well as a similar ruling in New York District Court and the refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case out of the normal order is seen as a victory but also only as a delay. Even
if the more liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals offers a favorable decision for DACA recipients, Trump can appeal once again to the U.S. Supreme Court after the lower courts have heard the case in the proper order. However, a delay may be what is most needed for the future of the DACA program. Congress has been unable to come to an agreement on immigration reform in part because Republicans who control both the house and the senate are pushing for billions of dollars in funding for a border wall and limitations on family reunification programs that allow immigrants who have obtained citizenship to sponsor family members for citizenship. These programs are also known as chain migration. Many Republicans want these provisions to be attached to a permanent resolution for DACA. What many people in the immigration movement are asking for is a Clean Dream Act that includes a path to citizenship with no ties to funding for a border wall or other legislation designed to criminalize immigrants, CCC counselor Norma Valdez-Jimenez said. You also hear a lot of Dreamers saying that this is not just about themselves because their parents and family are also facing immigration problems. The current narrative about protecting DACA students is one that criminalizes their parents. That is really a jarring statement for dreamers to accept as a means of gaining legal status, Valdez-Jimenez said. An extension of DACA may be included in a package of funding bills that Congress needs to pass by March 23 to prevent another government shutdown. But Republicans are sure to attach their immigration reform measures to any DACA extension. If the injunction from the two district courts holds until the end of the year and democrats are able to win more seats in the House and Senate there might be more hope for legislation that resembles a Clean Dream Act. But with Republicans in control of Congress this kind of legislation is unlikely. Immigration lawyer Hamid Yazdin Panah discussed the consequences of a possible termination of DACA for California students. “Although this administration has claimed DACA recipients will not be targets for enforcement, we have already seen these young men and women used as political pawns in negotiations, so it is not a stretch to imagine that they could be used for other political purposes including enforcement,” he said. “If DACA does end, in theory applicants would lose the right to be legally employed. If that does happen it will be interesting to see what the community response is both here in California and throughout the country. “The best way to protect and prepare is to know your rights, obtain a legal consultation so that you understand your options and promote power not panic in these difficult times,” Yazdin Panah said. “No matter what happens with DACA, California has protec-
Quotes from DACA Recipients If DACA continues, the program will add roughly 5,400 physicians who would otherwise be ineligible to work in the United States over the next few decades. Anirudh Rao, immigrant doctor The Washington Post “If we don’t stay here, which is our home, the United States, then where do we go? After March 5, there will be 1,200 DREAMers expiring every single day which opens them up for deportation at any moment.” Parthiv Patel, lawyer National Public Radio “As a teacher, you need to be a mirror or a window for students,” he said. “I want them to see that you can play the game of life and be successful.” Paul Yumbla, Denver teacher Vox tions in place like AB 540,” ValdezJimenez said. “Students will still be able to apply for the California Dream Act and the state legislature recently expanded who qualifies.” Contra Costa County has launched a rapid-response deportation-defense 24-hour hotline at 925-900-5151. According to a press release from the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors this program, run by Office of the Public Defender, is known as Stand Together Contra Costa. It offers information, verification and rapid response to deportation activities. More information is available at StandTogether ContraCosta. org.
DENIS PEREZ / THE ADVOCATE
Published on Mar 14, 2018