Student registration drives planned
From news conferences to campus voter registration drives, CCA chapters are recognizing the importance of the upcoming election and are joining in the statewide campaign to pass Proposition 30 and defeat Proposition 32.
“There is so much at stake. One election could end it. Proposition 32 would prevent our union from being able to advocate for our students and our profession. It would even prevent us from advocating for vital funding initiatives like Proposition 30,” said CCA President Ron Norton Reel.
Getting students to vote
“One aspect of community colleges is that our students can vote, said CCA Vice President Lynette Nyaggah, who has been coordinating the CCA campaign. “That’s why we are actively involved in voter registration drives on our campuses. It’s crucial that our members do everything they can to encourage their colleagues and their students to vote.”
Faculty at San Joaquin Delta College has taken that message to heart. They are joining with La Familia Vota, an Hispanic voter registration organization, to encourage Latino students and their families to vote No on 32 and yes on 30. The faculty association is also working with Rock the Vote to increase student registration. Activities planned include a voter registration drive “competition” between student clubs, a presentation on the importance of registering to vote, and banners around the campus.
“We want our students to know they can make a difference,” said CCA Board Member Elizabeth Maloney, a Delta College faculty. “If they want to have a voice in their education and work towards improving the quality of education, then the way to be heard is to vote!”
CCA Secretary DeWayne Sheaffer took his presentation to his church, where his message was warmly received.
“There were several retired teachers and folks from other labor unions who came up to me after service wanting not only support but to canvas the neighborhood and place information on the door steps of houses,” he said. “They really want prop 30 to pass and to defeat 32.”
Sheaffer said his pastor even conducted a call and response to the congregation at the end of the service to remind them how to vote.
Faculty associations at Hartnell, Gavilan and Monterey Peninsula have put together a local plan to get out the vote and will be working with the area’s Labor Federation as well. Hartnell Faculty Association President Ann Wright also spoke at a news conference launching the No on 32 campaign this summer during CTA’s Presidents Conference at Asilomar.
Pointing to the severe cuts in community college programs and student services, Wright said, “We know we can’t just ask for education funding, we have to advocate for it. The loopholes in Prop 32 will allow special interest groups and PACS to spend millions on campaigns and exert their influence, while hobbling unions who are the major groups who defend the middle class. Proposition 32 is touted as campaign reform, but is unfair in its very design. Some reform!”
Resolutions of support
Several faculty associations, including Rio Hondo, Long Beach, College of the Canyons, and College of the Siskiyous have presented resolutions supporting Prop. 30 to their Boards of Trustees, most of whom were more than willing to comply. CCA’s Board also approved a resolution in support of Prop. 30. Unnlike another funding initiative, Prop. 38 on the ballot, Prop. 30 would help prevent further budget cuts to community colleges.
Other college faculty associations are participating in local trustee elections while working on the Prop. 30 and 32 campaign. The Southwestern College Faculty Association is working to elect two trustees and is involved in the Prop. 30 and 32 campaigns at the same time. Along with working in coalition with the local labor federation, faculty members have committed to site visits, gathering voter commitment cards, walking precincts and phone banking.
Eric Maag, the interim president of the Southwestern faculty association, observed that there is still some work to do when it comes to educating faculty and the public on Prop. 32.
“We were finding that a lot of our members thought that Prop. 32 was about campaign finance. Once they knew the details, almost 100 percent changed their minds,” he said.
WHERE WE STAND
YES President Barack Obama
YES Prop 30: Schools & Public Safety Act
NO Prop 32: Special Exemptions Act
YES Prop 40: State Senate Redistricting
NO Prop 31: State Budget Cap
YES Prop 35: Californians Against Sexual Exploitation