The Great Divide: students make us feel “uncomfortable”

If our students make *anyone* at the Alamo Colleges feel uncomfortable, then those people truly do not understand the key District value of “students first.” From our colleagues at PAC AAUP:

In what can only be seen as profound exasperation toward the widening disconnect between District and student/faculty concerns, PAC student Gilbert Perez rips his diploma in front of Board Members during citizens to be heard.  Watch the video (link below) to witness PAC students revisit ongoing concerns and call on Chancellor Bruce Leslie’s removal.

Amidst an agenda filled with ceremonial activities and feel-good, “data-driven” presentations, the most important “data” may have been dismissed by District as a trivial inconvenience that gets in the way of the “real” business of the Board.  Have they forgotten that the “real data” of the community college are ACTUAL voices of REAL students, especially those who have the courage to bring forth real stories emanating from the colleges? Has misuse of data become the curtain that separates harsh reality from illusion?

Evidence that the student-first triangle, with students purportedly at the top, has been inverted was clearly on display at the Board meeting.

Watch the Board meeting video to witness the powerful statements from students as they implore upon the Board of Directors that the chasm between the charts and bar graphs presented to Trustees and REAL concerns of students at the colleges can only be seen as a modern Great Divide.

Folks, during the Board meeting I overheard someone say that the students’ presentations were uncomfortable.  Indeed!  Must we be reminded that anguish resulting from economic depravity and opportunity-denied hardly EVER feels comfortable.  Has the disconnect between District (and possibly some Board members) and the students become so wide that listening to real students with real concerns is experienced as uncomfortable?

I was not around during the civil rights movement of the 60’s, but I have to wonder if the protests of the poor made people feel uncomfortable..

Maybe we need leadership that values an education which does not de-emphasize courses in history, social work, sociology, Mexican American studies, African American studies, and other Humanities courses that teach and remind us what poverty, social injustice, and the struggle for economic opportunity really feel AND look like.  I don’t think their struggles were comfortable.

My hats off to the Student Leadership Coalition members who have not ceased to remind who we are supposed to serve – THE STUDENTS – regardless of how “uncomfortable” they make anyone feel.

Citizens to Be Heard begins at 4:08:00

http://acms.alamo.edu/Mediasite/Play/c23c19521f194e7e9b7f28cd183cace51d

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