PAC students express dismay over removed majors

By Alexandro Luna
Pulse Staff Reporter

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Palo Alto College students take part in Student Coalition protest on Nov. 5, 2015. Photo by Alexandro Luna.

Many students and staff at Palo Alto College expressed dismay over the Alamo Colleges’ Board of Trustees decision to do away with majors.

The Board, which oversees the administration of the Alamo Colleges, passed the policy on Oct. 27 in a unanimous vote of 9-0. The direction of the policy is given as “proactively taking steps to ensure that “every course counts” and advances the Alamo College’s completion agenda by reducing the student’s cost and time of attendance.”

Dr. Michael Flores, president of Palo Alto College, defends the new policy.

“Our intent at Palo Alto College is for all students to successfully earn an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of Applied Science, or Associate of Arts in Teaching and then transfer to a university to ultimately complete a bachelor’s degree. We want to ensure students take the courses they need with us to satisfy their degree requirements while also preserving their Financial Aid benefits when transferring to the university,” said Flores.

Although the policy attempts to clear a pathway for students to graduate sooner and with less cost, students studying Psychology, Sociology, Kinesiology, Humanities and various other majors can expect to find the name of their field of study missing from both transcripts and diplomas.

Ismael Dovalina, associate professor of Psychology at Palo Alto, will see his Psychology majors of 2016 work toward a degree that will not have their declared major written on their transcript or their diploma.

“Since I began teaching here in 1988, Psychology students have had their major proudly displayed on their transcripts and diplomas. The policy removes several majors, including Psychology. I cannot see how this enhances the value of the degree…,” said Dovalina.

Policy E. 1.3 and several other policies were decided that same night on Oct. 27, in a 7-hour meeting that brought Palo Alto’s Student Leadership Coalition group to the boiling point.

SLC is a student-led organization at Palo Alto and, according to their Facebook page, is organized “to raise awareness and act effectively on important student issues and concerns.”

Devin Rodriguez, a sophomore Criminal Justice major and a member of the SLC, has fought against the policy. Rodriguez believes that the college has “failed to inform the student body” about this initiative.

Members of the SLC held an active protest on Nov. 5 in between the Student Center and the Executive Offices after being refused a chance to speak at the Board meeting on Oct. 27.

Gilbert Perez, Palo Alto alumni, came back to the campus to stand up against what he believes is deception. At the Nov. 5 protest, Perez dressed in his Palo Alto graduation gown with both his eyes and ears taped shut grasping a sign that read “PRESIDENT MIKE FLORES TAKES AWAY MAJORS & FREEDOM OF SPEECH.”

“The administration is not making the policy plain for the eyes to see. In light of this, students need to speak up and defend their right to their major. This isn’t law, this is just an idea,” said Perez.

Policy E. 1.3 will go into effect in the spring semester of 2016. For more information regarding this policy change and a list of all majors removed, click here. For more information on the SLC, visit their Facebook page and their Twitter stream.

 

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