Chancellor Eloy Oakley Speaks About California Advocacy Week, Other Upcoming Events for California Community Colleges

Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. Photo from California Community Colleges website.

Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. Photo from California Community Colleges website.

During a student media teleconference on April 19, California Community Colleges (CCC) Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley met with students to discuss upcoming events and changes in the college system. In particular, Oakley said he and other administrative colleagues had recently met with members of the state legislature and student ambassadors for Advocacy Week to consider college budget priorities for the 2022-2023 year.

“We had some amazing students who spent time with the members of the legislature and talked about their stories and why advocacy for the California Community Colleges is so important right now,” said Oakley.

He reiterated that the CCC chancellor’s office is continuing to put students’ needs first by advocating for Cal Grant reforms, stronger mental health services, basic needs for housing, and other economic concerns facing students as they struggle to make ends meet two years into the pandemic.

According to Oakley, Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed a state budget for the CCC system that includes making sure the state’s colleges remain well funded, supporting student enrollment, increasing support for Black student success, expanding foster youth programs for foster students, and improving equitable hiring and health insurance benefits for faculty.

Oakley specifically mentioned AB 1746, a bill sponsored by California State Assembly Member Jose Medina that would allow more than 120,000 additional community college students to qualify for Cal Grants.

He also emphasized the importance of SB 1141, sponsored by State Senator Monique Limon, which seeks to support undocumented students in their efforts to transfer to four-year colleges.

“The chancellor’s office continues to advocate the funds that support our students, as well as important policy changes…to better help our students to complete their educational goals,” said Oakley.

Oakley also talked about Black Student Success week, celebrated this week across the CCC system from April 25 through 29. The events include daily webinars, held from 12 to 1 p.m., called the “black hour.”

“The webinars will serve as professional development and advocacy opportunities for our administration, for our staff, and for our faculty and student leaders,” said Oakley.

Addressing Cal Grant reforms, Oakley said that students in the CCC system can now submit their Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by Sept. 2 to qualify for those grants and other forms of financial aid.

Mental Health Action week, which runs from May 2 to 5, will also feature daily webinars geared toward supporting students and improving the classroom climate. Oakley said the state’s community colleges are taking action on mental health to address concerns that have arisen during the pandemic.

“Mental health continues to be a big issue for our students,” said Oakley.

“The vision for our success causes the elimination of barriers to a student’s educational success. Mental health is clearly a challenge for many of our students in helping them to complete their educational goals.”