Bergen SGA, students and faculty expressed concern regarding pay-to-print

Bergen SGA, students and faculty expressed concern regarding pay-to-print

 

By: Luis Lopez Wei, Staff Writer

The most pressing issue that came up on Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting was discussing the proposed resolution for pay-to-print. While it had been since removed from the agenda prior to the meeting, and is currently going under review,  students and faculty alike discussed with Trustee members their dissatisfaction with the plan.

Championed by: Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. William Mullaney; Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Nadeen Gonzalez-DeJesus; and Executive Director of Information Technology, Sharyne Miller, it would have required students to pay 10 cents per black and white copy they print and 25 cents per every color copy at any public location on campus. The justification for this, as stated in the original resolution is: “Due to rising material costs and to cut down on waste.”

Critics of the proposed resolution cite that students already pay a technology fee with their tuition, along with the potential for Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco newly presented budget staying intact.

President Walter(left) and Chairman Corriston(right) address the public commenters.

President Walter(left) and Chairman Corriston(right) address the public commenters.

That would mean the school’s annual funding would increase to $19.6 million ($5million more than 2014). Dissenters feel that pay-to-print would not add much more towards school funding and instead would become more of a hinderance for students.

Attending her last BoT meeting, Student Government Association president Laura Hoyos gave a 2014-15 Academic year report. Month by month, she highlighted the things that SGA had accomplished this academic year and what had been done to help out in the community and educate the student body.

After completing her report on the accomplishments of this past year, president Hoyos continued her presentation, “Now I would love to be able to say bye right now and sit down on a good note,” she said, “but unfortunately, I am not able to do that. I am here to speak to you about the pay-to-print initiative.” She thanked the board for taking the initiative off the agenda, but wanted to convey the concerns of the students and let the board know why there is so much upset over the proposed initiative.

“Anything that requires students to pay anything extra concerns us because we do have students here who are homeless. There is a reason why we have a food pantry, there is a reason why we have the process of [Center for Food Action] here, because we have students who don’t have the resources necessary to be students,” she said.

SGA senators voiced not only voiced their concerns about the initiative, but offered potential solutions and ideas that could help avoid paying to print. A big concern was that the college never reached out to let students know there was a problem in the first place before proposing this.

The senators proposed that the library educate students on what affect all their printing has, possibly set a limit on how many papers a student can print before having to pay, and even that maybe the faculty should no longer require students to print because for many students, 10 cents is a big difference.

“You can’t have a student make the hard decision of, ‘am I going to walk home today? Because I need those 10 cents for the bus, or am I going to print my research paper?’” said President Hoyos, as a student who takes the bus herself.

“You can’t have a student make the hard decision of, ‘am I going to walk home today? Because I need those 10 cents for the bus, or am I going to print my research paper?’”

The committee members told the SGA that they would bring the concerns and ideas back to their committee and return with an adjusted proposal – Hoyos shared that SGA had not been contacted.

The proposal was place back onto the BoT agenda without amendments , which Hoyos learned the day after attempting to contact the two committee members.

She expressed the offense taken by students that after being told they were being heard and their opinions taken into consideration.

“We just want to be listened to and we wanted to be respected,” she said.

The SGA also began a campaign to raise awareness about the pay-to-print resolution, putting up fliers and posters around the school and garnering support from other clubs as well.

Chairman E. Carter Corriston responded saying, “You have to understand, because something gets put on an agenda, that doesn’t make it written in stone.” The chairman said he had not been aware the proposal was on the agenda and shortly after learning of it, it was pulled.

When the meeting was opened for public comment, other student leaders also went to the microphone and voiced their concerns about the pay-to-print initiative, all echoing the things said by Hoyos and reflecting the feelings of many in the student body.

“We cannot implement pay to print if our students are hungry,” said Vice President of SGA Natasha Piñeros.

Alumni and former Editor-in-Chief of the Torch, Ricardo Montero-Hernandez made an appearance and spoke, “other colleges do charge for printing,” he said, “but most of them have higher tuition than here because we are a community college, for the students, by the community.” He highlighted the fact that even after leaving, the issues at BCC are still important to students who have attended.

Alumni and Former EIC Ricardo Montero-Hernandez shared insight into fixing burnt Admin-student bridges.

Alumni and Former EIC Ricardo Montero-Hernandez shared insight into fixing burnt Admin-student bridges.

BCC’s Phi Thetta Kappa chapter, Alpha Epsilon Phi, was recognized for all the awards it won at this year’s PTK Middle States regional and national conventions. BCC President B. Kaye Walter read a list of all the awards the chapter won, and encouraged them to show their awards to the rest of the board.

PTK president Rhonda Richardsen received recognition for being selected to join the 2015 All-USA Community College Academic Team and as the 2015 Coca Cola New Century Scholar from New Jersey, and for being selected as one of the top 20 community college scholars in the nation.

Two PTK members, Natasha Piñeros and Masha Alibekova merited special recognition for winning Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarships. The JKCF Scholarship is awarded to transferring community college students, it is for $40,000 annually for three years, and is the largest private scholarship for community college transfer students in the country.

Three professors from the math department, who serve on the college’s developmental education council, which was awarded this year’s college innovation of the year award were also recognized. Professors Linda Cass, Melanie Walker and Robert Fusco were recognized for their exemplary work conducting assessments of developmental math courses. Through their work, they have brought the pass rate in developmental math courses from 45 – 67 percent and have reorganized the course so that students can finish developmental math courses at their own pace.

During public comment, Robert McDonald, parent of a student shared an account on how two men, not Bergen students, had gone into one of his daughter’s classes and been allowed to stay. He brought up the Virginia Tech shooting from 2008 and said he did not want to see another Virginia Tech.

“This is a very safe campus,” said William Corcoran, Executive Director of Safety, Security and Crisis Management, when asked what he thought of McDonald’s concerns. “Our numbers prove it’s a very safe campus.” Corcoran is not a proponent of locking down the campus, but he does believe people should have to wear badges and has been talking with President Walter about it. He believes that BCC is the only community college with a police department on campus and said his door is always open to someone to come speak about safety concerns.

 

 

Absent BOT members prevented a quorum from being reached.

Absent BOT members prevented a quorum from being reached.

The meeting ended with confusion among the board due to trustee  Phil Ciarco’s absence, and there was no longer a quorum, meaning business could no longer be conducted. The chair of the board had to call Ciarco and have him on speakerphone to end the meeting, taking about 10 minutes

to finish. Nearly all the seats at the meeting were filled; students really turned out to show that they are against the pay-to-print initiative, and make sure that they’re heard.

(Photos courtesy of Henry Fowler)