Multi Cultural Festival: Not Just Another Club Bash

Ben Harthum / The Jibsheet
Ben Harthum / The Jibsheet

On Wednesday, May 12, the BC Board of Trustees convened for its regularly scheduled meeting.

Doug Brown, faculty representative, was first to present to the Board. He emphasized the somewhat underappreciated role of the library faculty on campus.

“The library faculty are integral to the teaching enterprise,” said Brown.

The library faculty has provided the students with opportunities to discover better, more dependable resources rather than relying on ones like Wikipedia.

Melissa Sitzenstock presented next, representing the classified staff.  Sitzenstock mostly discussed the recent professional development training and workshops that have been helpful, but there was a more recent issue that Sitzenstock found a bit more concerning.

“Another thing I would like to mention is the direction administration is taking on limiting state employees to using the tuition and fee waiver at the college,” said Sitzenstock.

Currently, classified employees do not have a limit on the number of credits for which they can use a state tuition waver.

“As a representative of the classified staff, I have to tell them I will fight this tooth and nail. That, in essence, is taking away some of the bargained rights we have come to expect which is to have unlimited access to use that waiver,” said Sitzenstock.

“Taking away any of our opportunities to get more knowledge and get more experience in education is something I am really passionate about,” said Sitzenstock.

Sitzenstock continued to point out that, of the classified staff enrolled in college classes for spring quarter, only one is taking more than ten credits.

“The college cannot be losing a whole lot of money because of one five-credit class. And I know that’s the arm they’re going to use, the ‘oh we’re losing money because you’re not paying tuition to the college, and we’re not getting FTE’s from the state for your enrollment,’” said Sitzenstock.

BC President Jean Floten offered the Board’s perspective on the issue.

“We are looking at our own internal processes for professional development and we’ve come up with a structure we want to propose where we’re giving each classified staff 40 hours release time every year to par in training opportunities on campus,” said Floten.

As this was the first time this issue had been discussed, Floten wished to table any more specifics to be discussed outside the meeting.

“We were going to have that deeper discussion with Melissa and certainly hear concerns the class staff may have, and I understand her concern, but we have some positive things as far as professional development,” said Floten.

ASG President Joseph Root came forth to present the student report. The first thing on his agenda was a discussion about the ASG BBQ, which occurred last week.

“Over 1,000 students come and participate in this event, which is more than we’ve ever had before. What that event really showed us in student government, now more than ever, students are chomping at the bit to become engaged,” said Root.

“It illustrates to me, that so many students were engaged in this one event, our campus could do much better at connecting with these students. It also encourages me that we have some serious opportunity to connect with these students,” said Root.

“We are inundated in student programs with requests for students and clubs to put on events. I think our campus needs to redirect its vision to see the many students here looking for ways to get involved, not only in their academics, but extra curricular activities as well,” said Root.

After the S&A committee meetings, two new programs were added to the BC lineup. One of which was the BC Veterans Association, which Root discussed next.

“We’re seeing more and more veterans returning from the war. Those veterans need to come to Bellevue College and come here with the support and services they need,” said Root.

A final point presented by Root was unsurprisingly related to student tuition.

“The State Board adopted the tuition increase proposal, which would be a seven percent tuition increase. We are really working on galvanizing our students around the need for higher education to be funded in this state,” said Root.

As the current ASG term is winding down, Root and his team are putting emphasis on sustaining the high level of engagement and advocacy seen in the past year to future generations of students and the upcoming ASG.

Other issues included budgetary breakdowns and the long-awaited presentation of the restructured S&A budget. Time was short because the Board needed to attend the Margin of Excellence award ceremony, so latter issues did not receive as much attention.