Story by Nicole Villanueva and Ana Acosta
Palomar College will be putting a workgroup together to set a plan of action for overnight student parking.
Associated Student Government President, Linus Smith, presented the idea to form a workgroup surrounding the Overnight Parking Proposal at the Sept. 10 Governing Board meeting.
The workgroup’s main focus is to find answers to the questions and concerns being raised regarding the program, campus safety, and financial services that are needed to set the program in place.
Numerous faculty members and board trustees showed support for the matter. Vice President of the Board and trustee John Halcón even shared that he supported the proposal, is that he was once a student who lived in his truck while receiving his master’s degree at UC Santa Barbara.
“Living in my pickup truck (luckily, it had a camper shell) for a short period of time helped me understand how serious the issue of homelessness can be,” Halcón said in an email.
Halcón said that his personal experience with being a student who lived in their car influenced his decision to volunteer to be a part of the workgroup.
He also said that he volunteered to bring the Board’s perspective to the discussion.
Board trustees that were present expressed concerns regarding who would be admitted to the Overnight Parking Program, whether it’d be reserved solely for students or open to the community. They also discussed the costs of services that will need to be provided for students. The main concern shared was regarding campus and student safety, and what would happen in the case of an emergency.
Regarding financial concerns, Smith explains that the Palomar budget should not be a concern. He gave examples of other costly funds that the school budget has paid for, such as Governing Board retreats, including an upcoming retreat in 2020 that will cost $400,000.
“In my mind, it’s not a financial issue,” Smith said. “It’s an issue of priorities. We need to prioritize student success.”
Teresa Laughlin, Co-President of the Palomar Faculty Federation.
“We are all about our students, and if we can help them in any way, we want to,” Laughlin said. “Housing insecurity makes it very difficult for our students to succeed.”
Laughlin said that she has personally known students who live in their cars many times and that she wishes to help those students in any way they can.
Faculty, students, and staff of Palomar are not the only ones who want to see overnight parking come into fruition. The Student Senate for California Community Colleges has unanimously shown support for overnight student parking.
More specifically they want Palomar College to lead the way. According to Smith the SSCCC and other neighboring community colleges have voiced that Palomar should be the campus to set the precedent for what it means to support all members of the college community.
In response to the support that was present at the board meeting, President/Superintendent Joi Lin Blake, appointed Student Services to spearhead this motion.
Student Services of Palomar College are in charge of creating and implementing district policies and administrative procedures. As of Sept. 13, Dr. Star Rivera-Lacey resigned from her position as Vice President of Student Services. Her resignation has raised concerns among faculty members.
With no permanent VP in place for Student Services, the assembly of a workgroup for overnight parking will likely be halted until an Acting VP steps in. In the press release that revealed Rivera-Lacy’s resignation, it was announced that Aiden Ely, former interim VP of Student Services, will take her place until a permanent VP is hired.
Smith is hoping that the motion of a workgroup will be able to pick back up in a few weeks once the new changes have settled. Ideally, Smith hopes to have a set plan of action put in place by early Spring 2020.
- Screen Shot 2019-09-30 at 11.05.10 AM: Palomar Telescope | All Rights Reserved
- Screen Shot 2019-09-30 at 10.49.42 AM: Palomar Telescope | All Rights Reserved