COC board talks facilities, programs at meeting

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The Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees is moving forward with plans to update campus facilities and implement initiatives about preventing sexual assault on campus and engaging students in the election process.

The initiatives and projects were discussed during the board’s joint, biannual meeting with COC’s Associated Student Government (ASG) Wednesday afternoon.

“We look forward to this every year,” said Bruce Fortine, board president.

California Student Vote Project
The board unanimously passed a resolution supporting the California Students Vote Project, a statewide initiative encouraging students to register to vote and participate in elections.

“This project is designed to promote best practices in voter education,” said COC spokesman Eric Harnish.

Board member Joan MacGregor expressed her surprise that many students were unaware of the election process for local elections like the Santa Clarita Community College District and the Santa Clarita City Council.

“I am amazed by the amount of students that don’t even know we exist or are elected,” MacGregor said.

Patty Robinson, faculty director for civic engagement and community engagement initiatives, said COC will host voter registration drives, a candidate “meet and greet” and a debate night watch party to support the California Students Vote Project.

“The latest focus is we received a $10,000 grant from the California Community Colleges Civic Impact Project to get people out there and vote,” Robinson said.

The grant was used to purchase six tablets and six “hot spot” devices. These tablets will be used to register students on both college campuses with the goal of registering 300 students on each device, or 1,800 students in total.

Prop 55
The board also voiced its support for Prop 55, a proposition that will extend

the temporary personal tax increase on California’s wealthiest taxpayers first enacted in 2012 by Prop 30. Prop 55 will uphold the personal tax increase on those who earn more than $250,000 until 2030.

The ASG also voiced its intention to write a resolution supporting the proposition as well.

Prevention campaign
The college’s LEAP team will launch a sexual assault prevention awareness campaign at COC this spring.
Its goal is to raise awareness of the issue and inform students of resources available to them.

“Students need access to information and need to know where to report it,” said Justin Wallace, technical assistance provider for logistics, manage one of the grants.

Wallace said the campaign will encourage students to seek help when needed and speak out in defense of their peers with its slogan of “U Matter Speak Up!”

“We want to create a culture of ‘upstanders’ not bystanders,” he said. “We want to create a culture at COC where people stand up for each other and for what’s right.”

The campaign will include posters, banners, brochures and a website, as well as training for all of COC’s administrators on how to adequately respond to a report of an assault.

“In my mind this is one of the most important LEAP projects we will ever do,” Fortine said.

Facilities updates
Jim Schrage, assistant superintendent and vice president of facilities, planning, operations and construction, said the campus is working on implementing modernizations and beginning construction on Measure E-funded projects.

The first of these projects would be the creation of a parking structure at the Valencia campus.

“With the passage of Measure E, the development of the parking structure is our first major project,” he said. “It’s going to be a three story building adding 1,000 spaces.”

Schrage said other updates include the modernizations of Boykin Lab and the creation of a second permanent building on the Canyon Country Campus.

The four-story, science building will hold lecture halls, labs, conference, rooms, a lecture theater and storage space. It will also include an outdoor amphitheater that will later connect to another permanent building.

“This project will go to DSA at the end of November and hope to be breaking ground on this in the fall of ’18 or the spring of ’19,” Schrage said.

Already completed projects included a turf soccer field, Bonelli “Deanery” renovations, exterior LED lighting and the construction of an additional parking lot at Canyon Country campus.

Additional meeting items

  • The Student Health and Wellness Center is continuing to address student homelessness, food insecurity and health insurance coverage. The hiring of a case manager and linking to local provides has improved the quality of services provided to hundreds of students in need
  • ASG is pursuing its semester goal to provide more quality events to reach a wider range of students through events about voter registration, texting and driving, music and club collaboration
  • The COC nursing program is changing its accreditation to a program more focused to two-year nursing programs
  • COC is exploring ways to apply the California College Promise Innovation Grant to the campus by researching other colleges that already implemented the promise
  • The board approved general repairs to the Valencia and Canyon Country campuses including replacement of rubber stair treads, fire alarm repairs, office lock upgrades and floor replacement
  • The board approved other service learning agreements, dual enrollment programs, upcoming conferences and educational workshops

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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