Mt. SAC Board of Trustees Candidates Address Racial Injustice

BOT candidates asked what they will do about racial injustice at virtual meeting


Hernandez Coke

From left to right, Trustee member Rosanne M. Bader, M.S., President and CEO William T. Scroggins, Ph.D., Trustee member Manuel Baca, Ph.D., Trustee member Jay F. Chen during Board of Trustees meeting in Building 10, Founders Hall on Wednesday, May 9, 2020. Photo Credit: Hernandez Coke/SAC.Media.

Candidates vying for a seat on the Mt. SAC Board of Trustees on Friday were struck with a question from the public regarding racial injustice in a public Zoom forum: what is the role of the Board of Trustees in addressing issues of racial injustice and how can Mt. SAC effectively addresses the issues? Dr. Manuel Baca and Jay Chen, incumbents for Area 7 and Area 5 respectively, were present to respond to questions in hopes of being reelected.
Baca iterated the need for an examination of Mt. SAC to ensure that the institution has a culture that is receptive to all in its community, including incorporating ethnic studies into its curriculum. He believes the Mt. SAC community is at the forefront in confronting issues about racial injustice.
Chen said the Board has a responsibility to speak up, participate and attend events relating to social injustice and support resolutions that address issues. He also said he supports ethnic studies, so that students can have access to a comprehensive view of United States history regarding minority groups.
All other candidates in attendance, Robert Carder, Peter Hidalgo, and Fabian Pavon, are vying for seats in Area 1, Area 1, and Area 7, respectively.
Carder, a business owner, said that the Board needs to make sure that leaders and policies make positive steps to eliminate racism, including going out in the community. “Racism continues to be a systemic problem that is built into institutions,” Cader said. He added that it is important that a board member expects changes to be accomplished.
Hidalgo, a communications executive, said that, “racial injustice is a significant concern. If we don’t name what’s broken, we can’t fix it.” He also iterated the importance of hiring diverse faculty and listening to communities the board members would represent.
Pavon, a recent alumnus of UC Santa Barbara and Mt. SAC, presented the idea of centering historically marginalized populations in the curriculum, creating a hub for students on campus, and providing resources in the communities surrounding the college.
The public also asked questions regarding the role of trustees in promoting sustainability on campus, and their opinions on participatory budget meetings involving faculty and staff at Mt. SAC.
Each candidate made a case for endorsement during closing remarks. Baca said he wishes to continue representing Area 7 to combat the pandemic and social justice issues. Chen said he would work to push resources out into the community. Carder said that he wants to be able to give back. Hidalgo indicated his partnerships acquired through the San Gabriel Valley qualifies him. Pavon said he wants to elevate student voices.
The next public forum regarding Board of Trustee candidates is to be announced.