November 13, 2019
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City East Harbor Mission Pierce Southwest Trade Tech Valley West Emeritus

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Presidents Column
Posted On: Oct 18, 2019

Coming Through in Times of Need 

For the second time in as many years, our colleges — our community colleges— served the communities in which they reside. In response to the recent Saddleridge Fire, Pierce College served the community as a refuge for large animals (a good reason to leave the Pierce Farm as open space, not as developed space, as has been proposed). Mission College was closed because once again, it was in the center of the firestorm. Valley College closed out of recognition and respect for the freeway closures that kept many from getting to the college and to protect Valley students, faculty, and staff from having to breathe dangerous levels of particulates.

These situations -- fire, rain, and heat -- remind us to be “Ready…Set…Go.” And they also remind us of the increased challenges these events put in front of our students. We have an opportunity to acknowledge these challenges and barriers and help our students overcome them. Did your students lose many needed hours at work? Are they cleaning up after damage to their places of residence? Have the changed demands of family limited the time they have for school? Has this fire so close to the last one triggered mental health issues?

Be part of their safety net. Extend deadlines for assignments. Offer creative changes for coursework. Within the framework of your job in the District, help them process what they have been through. You know what to do.

In Solidarity,

Joanne Waddell

AFT 1521 President


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