Board Report: September 24, 2020

September 25, 2020 | San Diego Community College District

Special Report to the public:

Sean Elo-Rivera, J.D.

Trustee Sean Elo-Rivera said that he appreciated comments made by Student Trustee Taylor Carpenter and emphasized that the Board values her contributions. He also complimented Continuing Education President Carlos O. Turner Cortez for the Continuing Education campus presentation. Trustee Elo-Rivera also stated his concurrence with the public comments regarding racial injustice and the need for improving the policing situation in the nation.

Mary Graham

Trustee Mary Graham also thanked Student Trustee Taylor Carpenter for her comments, noting the importance of civility in all forms of interpersonal discourse. She also shared that there are many challenges facing today’s world and reassured those making public comments that their comments are taken seriously by the Board.

Craig Milgrim

Trustee Craig Milgrim encouraged people to vote, and cited a large increase in voter registration following the September 18 death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Trustee Milgrim reported that he has been working with numerous individuals and groups focused on San Diego’s children, youth, and families. He informed the Board about a recently released concept paper that outlines the implementation of a proposed executive Office of Child and Youth Success in the City of San Diego that would help coordinate the efforts of multiple entities providing services and access to those most in need. He requested that an agenda item and a resolution be prepared for the next Board meeting in support of this direction, which would include the District as one of the partners in this effort.

Bernie Rhinerson

Trustee Bernie Rhinerson thanked President Carlos O. Turner Cortez and the Continuing Education administrators, faculty, and classified professionals for their campus presentation, and said he wished it could have been done in person.

Dr. Maria Nieto Senour

Trustee Maria Nieto Senour shared her appreciation of the presentation by Continuing Education. She also commented on remarks made by the public and members of the Academic Senate with regard to the current review of SDCCD Police policies and police training and stated that she looked forward to a constructive outcome. Trustee Senour participated in the September 14 virtual meeting of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association (SDICCCA) Board Alliance, where the topic of COVID-19 and its effects on institutions and enrollment were the main topics of discussion.  She also commented on the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and adjourned the meeting in her memory.

Dr. Constance Carroll

Chancellor Constance Carroll reported that the Governor signed the budget trailer bill, SB 820, which included flexibility to use Lottery funds for electronic equipment such as laptops. She also indicated that the bond rating agency Moody’s has once again given the District its highest bond rating: Aaa. The Chancellor reported on enrollment, indicating that enrollment is down at almost all community colleges in California and the nation, ranging from 5% to 10%. Most of the districts in the San Diego region are down about 11%. SDCCD enrollment is currently down about 5%, but there are still 8-week classes and the intersession ahead, which will add to the enrollment base prior to the spring semester. Dr. Carroll reiterated that, due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, both the intersession and spring semester classes will continue to be online, with an expanded number of hybrid components on campus. The Chancellor introduced two new administrators, Susan Topham, Vice Chancellor of Educational Services, and Gregory Smith, Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, both of whom made remarks. Dr. Carroll also voiced her support of the remarks made by Student Trustee Taylor Carpenter regarding the need for civility in all interactions, especially involving students.

Taylor Carpenter

Student Trustee Taylor Carpenter thanked Continuing Education for its campus presentation, which she found enlightening and impressive. Student Trustee Carpenter also referenced an incident that took place during the September 15 Mesa College President’s Cabinet Meeting in which she felt that hateful comments were directed at her and said it was an opportunity for deep reflection regarding how students are treated. She reported that Associated Student Governments at all campuses were busy encouraging students to register and vote. 


At its regular meeting of September 24, 2020, which was conducted in a virtual format, the Board of Trustees:

- Held a campus meeting in virtual format with Continuing Education that included a welcome from President Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Academic Senate President John Bromma, and Classified Senate President Neill Kovrig; a presentation on Online Teaching, Learning, and Student Success by Vice President of Instruction Michelle Fischthal, Dean of Business and IT Michelle Gray, IT Professor Richard Gholson, Vice President of Student Services Star Rivera-Lacey, and Counselor Denise Munoz; a presentation on 7 Pillars and Development by Foundation Executive Director Laurie Coskey, student Diana Decker, and ESL Professor Caron Lieber; and a presentation on Entrepreneurship by Dean of CTE and ABE/ASE Lorie Crosby Howell, Clothing and Textile Arts Program Chair and Professor Shirley Pierson, and Executive Director of the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation Kurt Buske; and a closing tribute to the late President Emeritus Robert Matthews by President Carlos O. Turner Cortez.

- Heard public comments from seven individuals relating to the merits of re-allocating funds from police to student support programs and of removing police presence from campuses, as well as a comment from Brennon Pierson regarding the need for more support for students in Title V and Title IX disciplinary cases. City College Academic Senate (AS) President Paul Alexander complimented Continuing Education on its presentation and reported that students and other members of the community continue to be impacted by national events such as this week’s decision by a Kentucky grand jury not to press charges against the police involved in the death of Breonna Taylor. He said it is important for the Board of Trustees and Chancellor to continue to speak out on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement and expressed concern about the SDCCD Police Facebook page; Mesa College AS President Manuel Velez shared that the college faculty and Academic Senate are dealing with an unfortunate incident and, while recognizing the need for due process, feel compelled to express their condemnation of any language rooted in hatred while affirming their support of students; and Continuing Education AS President John Bromma shared that he supported the comments made by his Academic Senate colleagues.

- Approved the appointment and employment contracts of Gregory Smith as Vice Chancellor, Human Resources; and Susan Topham as Vice Chancellor, Educational Services.

- Heard a report by Vice Chancellor of Student Services Ramon Knox on Voter Registration Activities, with remarks by City College President Ricky Shabazz, Mesa College President Pamela Luster, Miramar Collage President P. Wesley Lundburg, and Continuing Education President Carlos Turner Cortez; and by Vice Chancellor of Instructional Services Stephanie Bulger on Districtwide Grants Activity during Fiscal year 2019-20.

- Approved new or revised courses and programs.

- Authorized agreements with health care agencies for use of clinical facilities by students enrolled in District health occupations programs; with Regents of the University of California for the Puente Project Cooperative Agreement at Mesa College; with California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) for Miramar College to provide the Academy Instructor Certification Course (AICC); and a services agreement between Miramar College and Biocom Institute under the AMGEN Biotech Experience to San Diego County High Schools and Community Colleges.

Approved various personnel actions including the certification of short-term personnel service effective on or after September 25, 2020; and the reappointment of Leslie Bruce, Mike Frattali, Shandon Harbour, Bob Kiesling, and Yen Tu to the Propositions S and N Citizens’ Oversight Committee to serve a two-year term from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2022.


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