Once considered one of the best community colleges in the nation, the City College of San Francisco is on the verge of collapse. CCSF is likely to be another one of the many casualties of the lack of adequate funding for education in our state. In response to this lack of investment, California community colleges have been taking steps to push their students through the system as quickly as possible and penalizing them when they do not fit that ideal.
This practice -— which places an emphasis on merely getting students to transfer and graduate — this mindframe continues even after students have gone on to their respective universities and programs. Transfer students work particularly hard to overcome major hurdles in getting to UC Berkeley, only to find very limited support once they get here.
The Transfer, Re-Entry, and Student Parent Center at UC Berkeley has been offering wonderful and necessary services to the transfer community. But outside of the center, transfer students receive little outreach or consideration for various opportunities and student representation in the ASUC. Transfer students make up over 25 percent of the overall student body but hold just under 10 percent of representative positions in the ASUC. The end result is a student government and administration that is often blind to the specific needs of transfer students, which is a loss to the campus as a whole.
Ideally, the campus would immediately make transfer students’ interests and needs a top priority, provide them with proportional representation and work on fully integrating transfers into the campus community. However, this kind of change requires planning and input from both students and the administration. The formation of a Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Transfer Students, Re-Entry Students, Student Parents and Student Veterans would empower UC Berkeley to address all of the above.
Chancellor’s advisory committees have proven to be successful for both the environmental community and the queer community on campus, and the transfer community would benefit all the same. Establishing an advisory committee for transfer students, re-entry students, student parents and student veterans would provide us with a direct and immediate tie to the top of the administration, ensuring that there is dialogue on the needs and desires of our campus community. We would be able to express exactly what we want to see changed, how we would like to see it changed, and do so with the authority and support of the community.
Currently, I am working on a bill in support of establishing an advisory committee and its charter, which will be submitted to the ASUC Senate for consideration. Once this bill passes, we will need support and data from the community to take to Chancellor Birgeneau.
As a transfer student from Long Beach City College, I am personally invested in advocating on behalf of the transfer community. Please help us gather the information needed to make this change effective by filling out our very short survey on ASUC Senator Nolan Pack’s website (nolanpack.com). Help us help you.
If you have any questions or concerns, or you simply wish to speak with me directly, I will be holding office hours in TRSP on Wednesday, Feb. 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (You can also contact our office at [email protected]) Stop by and help our community’s voice be heard by providing yours.
Brett Bruhanski is the director of transfer community advocacy in the office of ASUC Senator Nolan Pack.
Contact the opinion desk at [email protected]