I hope you had a great weekend and an opportunity to spend it with family and friends, especially considering last week's tragedy. A week ago many of us woke up to the shocking news of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted by that senseless act. It's a stark reminder of the importance to remain vigilant on our campuses and report anything that seems out of the ordinary. The safety of our students and staff is of the utmost importance.
Orange Education Center (OEC)
Some of you may have seen a story published online by The Orange County Register on September 29, 2017 regarding the County of Orange's interest in the OEC as a possible homeless shelter. As you all know, the County is dealing with a very serious homeless problem and is looking at all possible solutions. Due to a special request, we permitted the County to visit the OEC just as they have visited other sites throughout the County. We understand the urgency to find a shelter for our homeless population and have empathy for them. Last week I spoke with the CEO of the County of Orange about their interest in OEC and we agreed that OEC would not be an appropriate solution. I reiterated during the conversation that it has been and continues to be the intent of the RSCCD, once the current contamination and other challenges that we are facing at this site are resolved, to continue to operate an educational center at OEC to serve the educational needs of the residents of this community.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Last night the Trump Administration released a memorandum with an aggressive list of priorities that it would like in exchange for its agreement to protect young undocumented immigrants that were brought to the United States as children. As Washington continues to use these young people - many of them our community college students - as political footballs and keep their lives in limbo, we are not simply sitting on the sidelines watching. On March 13, 2017 our Board of Trustees unanimously passed a strongly worded Resolution in support of DACA and on September 11th they reaffirmed their strong support after the Trump Administration on September 5th announced that it would be ending the program. In addition to speaking with several elected officials about the importance of protecting our students, I am working with Trustee Alvarez, as the chair of the Board's Legislative Committee, and Trustee Hernandez, on different advocacy strategies that we will implement depending on the direction Congress takes in the next few months. Finally, through the Orange County Community College Task Force, where I meet monthly with the other three Chancellors to discuss legislative issues impacting our colleges, we are drafting a letter that will be signed by all four us that will go out to key elected officials in support of our DACA students. I will keep you informed of our efforts as we move forward.
On October 20, 2017 we will have our first of two visits by a team with expertise in the areas of enrollment management, strategic planning and budget allocation models to assist us in reviewing and discussing best practices in these key areas. These teams, known as Partnership Resource Teams (PRT), are provided through a statewide Chancellor's Office initiative called the Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (IEPI) whose purpose is to assist colleges in implementing practices to enhance their ability to serve students effectively. Employees representing both colleges and all of our district-wide stakeholders have been invited to attend and participate in these meetings. Everyone's participation in these meetings is important as we begin district-wide discussions on our budget. In addition to these meetings, we will also have budget discussions at District Council beginning with our next scheduled meeting on November 6, 2017. Finally, in order to provide employees with an opportunity to ask me or the Presidents questions regarding the budget or any other issue of importance to them, I will be joining the Presidents at campus events already scheduled for employees this fall and spring. The first is Santa Ana College's Strengths Quest Workshop scheduled for October 31st from 2pm - 3:30pm and the second is Santiago Canyon College's Classified Hawk's Advisory Group meeting on November 9th from 12pm - 1:30pm.
Fires in Northern California
Please keep our colleagues in northern California in your thoughts and prayers as they deal with the many brush fires in northern California that are disrupting their lives.
Board Meetings at the Colleges
I look forward to seeing those of you who are planning to attend today's Board of Trustees meeting at Santiago Canyon College. The October 23 meeting will be held at Santa Ana College. The trustees and I appreciate the effort each college puts forth to host the meetings on campus.