CCC Chancellor’s Office files lawsuit against Department of Education

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Chancellor of California Community Colleges Eloy Ortiz Oakley held his second coronavirus-related virtual press conference with student media on May 12, 2020.

Thomas Cathey, Managing & Feature Editor

California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley and Vice-Chancellor Marty J. Alvarado hosted a ConferZoom press conference with student media on May 12, announcing that—among other news and updates—the CCC has filed a lawsuit against the United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

According to a May 11 press release from CCC, the purpose of the lawsuit is to limit the eligibility restrictions placed on students in order to recieve emergency aid as a result of the hardships from the COVID-19 pandemic. The press release referred to the restrictions as “arbitrary.”

“In the interpretation of the Department of Education, many students, many of our students, were left out of having access to that emergency aid,” Oakley said during the May 12 press conference.

“Essentially what they did was they limited the number of types of students that could receive emergency aid,” Oakley continued. “So, the outcome [of the lawsuit] would be some sort of an injunction that allows us to exercise flexibility at a local level to determine which students should get the aid, and open it up for essentially all students depending on their need.”

In addition to the news about the lawsuit, Oakley also suggested that the fall semester for all CCC campuses will also most likely be held online. On May 11, the Los Rios Community College district announced via email that its campuses would “move to a fully online fall schedule with extremely limited exceptions for courses that cannot be converted.” Oakley expects the same for all community college campuses in the state.

“We are telling our colleges to be prepared to continue to expand their online instruction through the fall semester, and perhaps even beyond,” Oakley said. “This public health crisis, while things are improving and you are seeing and hearing from the governor that they’re working towards slowly opening up the state again, nonetheless, we expect there will be a social distancing protocol in place for the foreseeable future.”