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Palomar is coming into a golden period, but concerns remain

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Students study, eat lunch and hang out at the cafeteria. (Leila Figueroa The Telescope)

Students are entering the semester to a brighter and more optimistic academic year than they’ve had for the past two years.

We have a returning Associated Student Government President, Malik Spence, who looks to use his previous term as a learning period for what he hopes to achieve this year at the college. The governing board found, within a two-month period, and hired over the summer the most desirable presidential candidate who fit their ideals on diversity.

The summer also saw the topping out of the new Learning Resource Center and the grand opening of the new Early Childhood Education Lab School.

The college has hired an adequate number of staff and educators this year after they struggled to fill vacant positions from the mass exodus brought on by the golden handshake of 2014, a retirement incentive program offered to faculty and staff as former president Robert Deegan was leaving office and left his prominent position leaderless.

Our accreditation is near secure, the campus is becoming a towering mecca for education with luscious vegetation surrounding our steel and terracotta paneled buildings, the college is expanding into new territories and enhancing educational opportunities to first time students.

The academic year is looking brighter and more optimistic.

Yet, students are facing the repetitive concerns they have faced in the past: the inadequacy in parking options and services, an inadequacy in the offering of diverse food options on campus, the lack of one-on-one time with adjunct faculty members and spaces that will better enhance educational outcomes, and the biggest of all is the lack of transparency from our college’s governing board and the proper preparedness and planning for major decisions.

All these concerns could have been easily remedied if we began to have a conversation at all levels on campus.

Our governing board continues to renew a contract with food provider Aramark that provides little satisfaction to the student body. They offer limited resources to provide our adjunct faculty in assistance in enhancing student’s education outside the classroom, assistance that is more easily offered by full-time faculty members.

Parking has not been dealt with in a meaningful way on campus; instead the college has offered temporary overflow spaces that are far from a reasonable distance to major campus buildings and has cut down one of the biggest and heavily trafficked parking lot on campus due to construction.

When it comes to the presidential search, we have said this time and time again, transparency has been negligent and planning has been poor. The first search offered vetted candidates who could have taken on the position when needed yet were scrapped, at the time for unknown reasons, and countless manpower was wasted.

All we are asking for is to have a seat at the table, to foster conversation and inform our student body. We cannot do that in a reasonable manner if we cannot have those conversations or be included in them.

The new academic year is looking brighter and more optimistic than in the past and to keep it that way we need to maintain communication throughout all bodies of our campus.

 

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Palomar is coming into a golden period, but concerns remain