ASDVC expresses campus concerns to DVC President


(Emma Hall/The Inquirer)

President Susan Lamb listening to the questions and concerns brought up by members of ASDVC and the ASDVC board on Nov. 13. (Emma Hall/The Inquirer)

Emma Hall, Assistant Editor

As the fall semester comes to a close, Diablo Valley College President Susan Lamb visited the Associated Students executive board for questions and concerns on behalf of the student body on Nov. 13. Members of the executive board, along with ASDVC senators, brought many different questions forward to Lamb that have been a concern amongst the student body during the Fall 2018 semester.

Having classes during the aftermath of wildfires 

A letter was sent from ASDVC President Timotius Vincent entailing the concern for students regarding the smokey weather due to the aftermath of the recent wildfires, and other members of the executive board to Lamb.

Lamb explained that the administration has been monitoring the current air conditions, at the time of the meeting, the air quality was labeled as unhealthy for sensitive groups. She expanded on this point by stating that individuals with asthma or other afflictions that would hinder their health due to the weather are encouraged to speak with their professors regarding excused attendances. Lamb stated when the air quality reaches a purple level known as very unhealthy, the college will be closed.

“In that case where air quality becomes very unhealthy, we get affirmation from the state,” said Lamb “If it’s not safe or just unhealthy where a couple of individuals that might be impacted it means we would have to expand the semester.”

According to Lamb, the college must reach a specific amount of hours to have a full classified semester and taking a day off due to some individuals being threatened by the air quality would hinder and shift the entire college’s schedule.

Lamb also encouraged ASDVC students to donate to GoFundMe for students and faculty at Butte College in Chico who had experienced significant losses due to the fires.

Sexual harassment on campus

Lena Halloum, a member of ASDVC, had presented a concern on events that occurred last Spring regarding a male student who was harassing and targetting female students and teachers, to the point of threatening their lives. Halloum had expressed that she felt the administration did nothing in response to the incident citing that there was never an official statement of what happened with the case.

In response, Lamb had cited the Family Educational and Privacy Act, also known as FERPA, that protects the privacy of students. She explained that because of this law, the school would be violating a code of conduct by releasing how and if the student was punished for reported disciplinary issues.

“Every single situation we take seriously, it’s just that we can’t inform all these individuals what is going on with one individual,” said Lamb.

Freedom of speech

The subject of freedom of speech was brought to light by ASDVC member Edward Rountree on how to better bring forward all opinions and sides of a discussion on campus. It has been a common occurrence on the Pleasant Hill campus to see outside organizations promoting a specific message or cause, sometimes ones that are controversial.

“We have to allow them on our campus,” said Lamb. “It does set up a place for quite a lively dialogue. I have mixed feelings about this because I think some of these people come to campuses to get attention so I wondered what would happen if we just ignore them.”

However, Lamb also emphasized the importance of having a conversation with people of different viewpoints. She cited that as a member of the LGBTQ+ community she had her life threatened because of others’ prejudices. She explained how a conversation should start on why individuals hold certain beliefs.

More recently, on Nov.1, a mob of students surrounded a man holding a sign reading, “God is everywhere, men must repent or perish.” Some students cited that the man should have been escorted off campus because he was promoting a hateful message. However, because of the man’s first amendment rights and lack of physical altercation, he was allowed to be on campus.

Environmental affairs officer, Gerardo “Panda” De La Torre brought up this incident with concerns that the DVC student body was bullying the man and acting immature because of differing viewpoints. De La Torre asked Lamb if she had received complaints on how the student body treats those who visit campus. Lamb said that she has received complaints, but overall she explained that the administration will only step forward in situations when there are physical altercations.

Promoting diversity on campus

Diversity Affairs officer, Riho Ikeda, presented Lamb a question about how to create a more inclusive environment on campus. Lamb explained that because of current socioeconomic situations that force students to work and study at the same time, it’s difficult to maintain a social presence. She said that if ASDVC created events that brought people together would strengthen that bond amongst the study body. Lamb also said that if Ikeda and the Diversity committee had any specific ideas to bring them forward to her.

16 week semester change 

ASDVC member Chi Lo asked about the new 16 week semester change and its impact on students. He emphasized how the change is affecting students. Lamb disclosed that in the Spring the administration will be surveying students about their experience with the change of the semester system.