ARC holds preliminary town hall meeting for Equity Plan

President Thomas Green (left) disscusses happenings at the Equity and Inclusion Town Hall Summit with Joshua Moon Jonson, dean of student services (right) in the Student Center at American River College on Oct. 26, 2018. (Photo by Tracy Holmes)

An Equity and Inclusion Town Hall Summit, hosted by the Equity Programs and Pathways department on Oct. 26, sparked a gamut of conversation amongst a diverse group of people. The goal of the summit is to make American River College a more equitable campus and to improve the success of its students by coming up with an equity plan according to equity plan organizers.

The Equity Summit will be followed by 20 stakeholder listening sessions with different groups on campus before the equity plan is put together.

The first sessions were with Native American people hosted by First Nations and American Indian on Oct. 31. The second were multiracial and biracial people session in the HUB. The next were people with disabilities, hosted by Disability Services and Programs for Students and lastly an African American session hosted by Umoja Saku on Nov. 7.

The next sets will happen on Nov. 15, with the Muslim Student Association focusing on religious and spiritual minorities at 4 p.m. in the Center for Technical Learning. Feminist United will host the listening session for women-identified individuals at 3 p.m. in the Student Center club room.

The Equity Programs and Pathways’ listening sessions are set up with dates through Nov. 29 for 10 groups and dates of to be announced for the other 10 the groups. After the sessions are finished, the heads of the various groups will then comb through the information to see what’s going to be used according to organizers.

Joshua Moon Johnson, dean of Equity Programs and Pathways (EPP), opened the session by acknowledging that the school stands on native land. He explained that the campus is working on short and long term goals toward equity on its campus.

“Today will be a dialogue amongst our community … to further understand what we might do with our campus.” Moon Johnson said. “[It is also to] help us to create plans for how we are moving forward with our long term and short term goals to make sure that ARC continues to move toward a more equitable and just campus.”

President Thomas Green provided context for why roughly 100 people attending the event gathered to have a conversation with one another. He also thanked participants for partaking in the discussion.

“[About three years ago] we asked this question to the institution about what it would take to significantly improve the success of all students,” Green said. “In particular close the opportunity gaps for our students that have been historically underrepresented and marginalized in our colleges and institutions and higher learning.”

Green also said that he thought about the question for some time and realized that it wasn’t going to be just one program or initiative that would spark the change that is necessary.

“If we were truly going to do that, we were going to have to go in and redesign the institution,” Green said.  

Green also expressed that the campus community is ready to put in the hard work to get the equity plan started.

The three hour long discussion during the summit started sparking questions of what equity at ARC looks like; what challenges students, staff and faculty face on campus and how the school can implement the changes to fix them.

Lucy Chaipez, an instructional assistant for the legal assistance program who graduated from ARC in 2014, shared her feelings about the equity plan.

“I’m happy that it’s a start to something that needs to be addressed on this campus,” Chaipez

said.

The Pride Center on campus is part of the stakeholders who will be taking part and paying close attention to what is happening with the equity plan.  The LGBTQ+ community is invited to contribute to the listening session for LGBTQ+ groups. The session will take place Nov. 28, at 12:00 p.m. The room will be announced at a later date.

The Pride Center sent out a Campus Climate Survey on Oct. 15. All students should have received an email at their Los Rios email account to partake in the survey. If not, there is a link on the Pride Center’s web page.

Emilie Mitchielle, coordinator for the ARC Pride Center, said that the survey will have some impact on the equity plan.

Information that we obtain from the Campus Climate Survey will be shared with the Dean of EPP, who is on the equity plan committee.” Mitchell said. “The Pride Center will be present at the listening sessions which are being held by the equity plan committee.”

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About the Author

Tracy Holmes
Tracy Holmes is a second year student on the Current. She is an editor of the opinion section and assistant photo editor and a third year American River College student. Tracy is a journalism major. After finishing her AA/AS degree and certificate requirements, she plans to transfer to a California State University, Sacramento in the spring of 2019 to work on her bachelors of arts degree.

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