Students put Chong in hotseat at SGA forum

More+than+30+students+crammed+into+the+Santa+Rosa+Junior+College+Senate+Chambers+to+voice+their+concerns+to+SRJC+President+Frank+Chong+over+the+administration%27s+now-scrapped+plans+to+effectively+cancel+summer+term.+The+Student+Government+Assembly+%28SGA%29+hosted+the+forum.

Dylan Kerzin

More than 30 students crammed into the Santa Rosa Junior College Senate Chambers to voice their concerns to SRJC President Frank Chong over the administration's now-scrapped plans to effectively cancel summer term. The Student Government Assembly (SGA) hosted the forum.

Dylan Kerzin

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Students crowded into the Santa Rosa Junior College Senate Chambers to express their anger and bewilderment following the administration’s Thursday announcement to cut the majority of the planned Summer 2018 curriculum and their Friday reversal of that decision.

The Student Government Assembly (SGA) broke its usual meeting format to host the public forum so students could directly address SRJC President Dr. Frank Chong.

Chong, who sent an email Friday cancelling the planned cuts after student and faculty blowback, had the opportunity to respond to students’ concerns following each of their comments.

Students voiced concerns about lack of shared governance in the decision-making process, increased management salaries at a time of systemic cuts and potentially devastating effects on students’ educational plans.

Vice President of Student Life Dori Elder criticized the administration for not involving students in the decision and failing to inform them after the fact.

“I was wondering why students were not told about this,” Elder said. “There are still students who are just finding out about this so students—in my mind—weren’t even taken into consideration at all, even down to the point of the email being sent out. We had to find out in other ways.”

Dr. Chong admitted the administration made mistakes in the process.

“It’s a failure of communication,” Chong said. “It’s something that I have to talk to my team about—improving our communication. I am committed to working more with students, with faculty, with classified and all the constituent groups—so I own that. I won’t be here if I do that again.”

Student government representatives plan to put a resolution on next week’s agenda that would serve as a vote-of-no-confidence for Chong if passed.

Faculty members will discuss a similar vote in the Academic Senate meeting Wednesday.

Senior Vice President Dr. Mary Kay Rudolph, who announced the cuts to the summer term in an all-faculty email, said they could save SRJC $2 million and help to offset a possible $6.5 million structural deficit caused by years of low enrollment rates.