Students Address Concerns at Recent Board of Trustees Meeting
Naomi Volcy – Central Bureau Chief
The Board of Trustees meeting was held March 29 on Broward College’s South Campus. The Board of Trustees, as described on the Broward College’s Board of Trustee webpage, are community leaders with diverse backgrounds that provide leadership to the college and its activities. In this meeting, various issues and updates on all three Broward College campuses were discussed. Student Government representatives such as South Campus President Gali Polichuk, Vice President Xiomara Campos, and North Campus President Devonte Caine were in attendance. These representatives highlighted issues the student body faced on their respective campuses and college-wide. These issues were gathered from approximately 2000 responses collected from the student body through surveys, emails, social media posts, campus events and walk-ins at Student Life.
A specific issue presented by Polichuk was student access to the fitness center. Polichuk noted that Leo DeAraujo, South Campus’s Student Life Director, was in communication with Associate Dean Forrester of Science and Wellness Education, who informed Polichuk and DeArujo that the only hindrance was a vacancy of an employee to supervise the center. Polichuk asked for an update on the department’s hiring process, the fitness center’s potential opening and operational hours.
Further, Polichuk questioned the level of accessibility students will have for the gymnasium, as a youth soccer program will utilize the space. Polichuk stressed that without adequate (potentially only one to two hours a day) access to the gymnasium, it will be difficult to build a recreation sports program. Polichuk made sure to point out the Board’s role in this issue as she tells,” Finally, it is worth sharing that when the college ended the athletics program, it was with the promise to the board that students would have access to play and compete in recreational sports. We do not see how this can be achieved if given such limited access to bldg. 65.”
A North Campus specific issue was the implementation of gender-neutral bathrooms. Caine provided an update on the progression of the implementation of two new gender-neutral bathrooms. Caine explained, “The issue of gender-neutral restrooms was first brought to our attention at the fall Townhall meeting, and then we saw it again in the survey results. At the time, there was only one gender-neutral restroom at North Campus and the location was at the Academic Support Center (building 62).” Caine worked closely with Dean Negron, Dean Murphy, and his team to find sites for two new restrooms. The two new gender-neutral restrooms are located in the Student Services building (building 42).
The Student Government representatives then discussed college-wide issues, such as: more online classes availability, improved financial support, more in-person evening classes and more on-campus food options. Polichuk returned to the podium to discuss the issue of more online class availability. She focused on the students’ positive attitude towards remote learning and their desire for this to be offered indefinitely. Polichuk asked the Board, “What can we do as an institution to assure that we are meeting this concern and need for students who wish to continue online/remote learning?”
Caine addressed the issue of improved financial support. He focused on students’ access to reliable transportation and the need for an expansion of the LYFT program. He explained that the LYFT codes offered at the beginning of the semester run out and have left students on a wait list for new codes. Caine asked the Board,” Will the college consider scaling this program to alleviate this burden?”
Campos took to the podium to address students’ desire for more in-person evening classes. Despite the push for remote/online courses, Campos provided a contrary need as there are students who enjoy social interaction and, “want to know that they can create a hybrid schedule that works best for them and are asking for more in-person evening classes.”
Caine discussed more on-campus food options as all three Broward College campuses have vacant spaces in their cafés. Students want a variety of affordable food options, rather than solely Subway and food trucks on campus. Caine asked the Board,” Can we be provided with an update to the college’s plan for permanently filling the vacant spaces in all the cafeterias?”
Lastly, a virtual student forum was conducted for students on North and South Campus to propose questions (pre-recorded) to the Board. Imani Imhotep-Gwynn, a nursing student, asked the Board if the school can provide more funding to update nursing labs and health science equipment at the North Campus. Dr. Jamonica Rolle, Interim Vice Provost (Academic Affairs, North Campus), explained that the equipment available should be adequate. The equipment available is there to provide a basic understanding of the concepts the students are learning in their courses. The on-site clinicals are where students use and gain knowledge on up-to-date equipment in a medical environment. This way, the school can keep student fees low.
Luidji Julien-Etienne, an international student, asked the Board if the implementation of “In-state tuition for international students” is possible. Caleb J. Cornelius, Vice President of Finance, acknowledged that, “In Florida, anyone who is not a resident of Florida is required to pay the full tuition of learning, which is backed by Statute.”
Christel Noel, a South Campus student, asked the Board for “more quiet studying space for students outside of the three available rooms at the ASC that are always booked.” Dr. Rolle clarified that there are 18 study rooms that are available for students, but few students seem to be aware. The conference room and classrooms will be made available for students to study in, if needed. The Board agreed that they will strive to better advertise all the available study rooms.
Joselyn Lopez-Lara, a North Campus student, asked if the Board would, “re-open the North Campus Child Development Center/Daycare, so that student parents can have their children in the program right on campus, and so that Education pathway students can volunteer, and conduct required hours as well.” John Dunnuck, Senior Vice President (Finance and Operations), explained that the childcare center was closed because of low participation and liability issues. Since it is now an occupied space, it will be closed indefinitely for childcare purposes. Although, the college is offering a grant program, CCAMPIS, which provides local childcare centers at a discounted rate for students who qualify.
Alisha Loiseau, a student, asked,” Are student professor evaluations being taken into consideration? If so, what actions are being taken to address issues?” Dr. Rolle confirmed that student evaluations are taken seriously, and associate deans are addressing these evaluations closely. Also, they work with the teachers’ union if needed.
Kahkashan Anasary, a student, asked “can international students have admission barriers removed if they are transferring or have received degrees from a local university.” Dr. Donald Astrab, Interim Vice Provost (Academic Operations, Analytics and Communication, South Campus), took to the podium to confirm that this issue had been corrected and was due to technological issues with the admissions system.
For more information on Broward College’s Board of Trustees, you can visit, https://www.broward.edu/about/leadership/bot/. For more information on Broward College’s members of senior management who answered student forum questions, you can visit, https://www.broward.edu/about/leadership/senior-management/. For more information on the CCAMPIS grant program, you can visit, https://www.broward.edu/academics/education/ccampis.html. To know when Townhalls or future Board of Trustees meetings occur, be sure to follow your campus’s Student Life Instagram page.