So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

From 'boom town' to bust at the community colleges

Michael Juliano/KPCC

The public community college has transfer arrangements set up with 10 historically black colleges and universities. In general transfers out of El Camino have become more difficult as budget cuts have decreased course offerings.

When Sean Donnell began teaching at El Camino College in 1998, it was "boom town." The community college system was growing, teachers were receiving a cost-of-living allowance (now frozen), and students were flocking to enroll.

"We all know what happened," Donnell said. The recession.

"And community colleges in particular get hit very hard because its kind of hard to justify taking money away from a kid going through compulsory K-12 education and its funded through the same money. But out of all the higher education systems in the state, we serve the most, we serve more than UC and CSU combined."

Donnell is not only an English professor at the college, but he is also the chief negotiator for the El Camino College Federation of Teachers, Local 1388.

These days, on the the first day of classes, Donnell is used to now seeing a line 30 students deep outside his class hoping to get in — inside sit the other 30 students already signed up.

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El Camino College 'Occupy' student group wants administrators to take pay cuts

Michael Juliano/KPCC

El Camino College

A couple dozen students who make up "Occupy El Camino" are working to cut administrator salaries at their community college.

At a Monday night meeting of the El Camino Community College District Board of Trustees, fourth-year student Robert Dewitz presented the following handout to the trustees and requested they consider a "reasonable" 20 percent cut that would match the type of cuts made to course sections and other school services.


In a brief presentation to the trustees Dewitz outlined the group's stance.

"It's only reasonable to consider an equal cut in administrative salary," Dewitz told the trustees. "...We want fair cuts, and so far, the people paying a price for the economic crisis are students and teachers."

A 20 percent cut to administrative salaries would free up about $250,000, Dewitz said. This is newest campaign for the group, that fought to save the school's 2013 winter session from being cut. However, the college still plans to eliminate the winter 2014 session because of steep budget cuts.

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UC Davis police chief says she will retire; 'this chapter of my life must be closed'

Occupy Pepper Spray

Wayne Tilcock / AP

File: In this Nov. 18, 2011 file photo, University of California, Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad in Davis, Calif.

The police chief who oversaw the UC Davis Police Department during the November incident in which peaceful protesters were pepper sprayed said today that she is retiring. 

Annette Spicuzza told the Sacramento Bee today in an email statement that she does not want the incident to define her or the university and so she is stepping down "in order to start the healing process."

"My 27 years in law enforcement have been dedicated to the ethical and committed service to the departments and communities I have been proud to be a part of," the statement read. "For the past seven years, I have accomplished many good things for both the Police Department and community here at UC Davis; and am grateful to those of you who have remembered this. As the university does not want this incident to be its defining moment, nor do I wish for it to be mine. I believe in order to start the healing process, this chapter of my life must be closed."

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Task force recommends full review of UC Davis Police Department

AP Photo/The Enterprise, Wayne Tilcock

In this Friday, Nov. 18, 2011, photo University of California, Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses pepper spray to move Occupy UC Davis protesters while blocking their exit from the school's quad Friday in Davis, Calif. Two University of California, Davis police officers involved in pepper spraying seated protesters were placed on administrative leave Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011.

The task force report on the use of pepper spraying of peaceful UC Davis protesters in November included recommendations for a full review of the campus police department, including an assessment by an outside agency of its command structure, personnel numbers and use-of-force protocol.

The report also recommends a review of the police chief's job description, a review to bring the department's practices up to date, and the creation of annual competency trainings and annual performance evaluations.

The 32-page task force report was released online at noon today but the task force held a public meeting this afternoon to present the information and answer questions.

At the roughly 1.5-hour meeting, which was broadcast live from Freeborn Hall at UC Davis, students expressed concern about the lack of specificity in the recommendations and a need for a change in campus culture across the UC system to avoid such incidents. 

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Details: Task force releases report on UC Davis pepper spraying incident

Occupy UC Davis Protests Police Pepper Spray Incident

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

DAVIS, CA - NOVEMBER 21: UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi (C) is escorted to a car after she spoke to Occupy protestors during a demonstration at the UC Davis campus on November 21, 2011 in Davis, California.

The task force charged with investigating the November pepper spraying of peaceful protesters at UC Davis publicly released their report today finding the incident "should and could have been prevented" and that a breakdown in communication and leadership, plus a lack of proper protocols.

The 32-page report includes a hefty appendix with the 131-page independent inquiry by New York-based investigative firm Kroll, which details the events leading up to the pepper spraying incident on Nov. 18, and also includes interviews with campus officials and police officers, whose names have been redacted.

The 13-member task force, headed by former California Supreme Court Associate Justice Cruz Reynoso, was tasked with reviewing the Kroll findings and incorporating them into a report "assigning responsibility for these events."

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