Letters to Editor
From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 4
I am a former student of Long Beach City College and a lifelong Long Beach resident. The colors of black and red were a symbol I was once proud to wear, they stood for pride, hope, and the ability for me to better myself. Every time I would hear "LBCC" I would think about the fact that I am the first out of my household to achieve a college education, but now those dreams have been snuffed out by months and months of disappointment.
I started the Commercial Audio Engineering program in Fall of 2004. I began taking classes full time and thought that studio engineering would be the career I would keep for the rest of my life. In 2006 I was hired by Cedar Fair as a "Day Operations Show Technician". I would run sound and lighting on several of the shows performed at Knott's Berry Farm, and this would not have been possible without the guidance of Nancy Allen and the vast network that she laid before her students. At this point in time, my class load had to be lightened due to the fact that Cedar Fair kept promoting me to better and higher demanding positions. At the end of 2006 I was a full blown theater technician in the Charles M Schultz theater, this was a very sought after job in the Farm. Everything was going well until the stock market crash in 2008, what was a "living wage" got reduced to much less and Cedar Fair was no longer a viable option to sustain. At this point in time, any job in my field was flooded by people willing to work as low as minimum wage. Nobody would give overtime or even a full time work schedule, so my education in commercial engineering would prove useless until after 2010.
On my return to LBCC, I had decided to retool myself for a profession that would be much more recession-proof. Diesel Technology was a wonderful program with some of the most experienced teachers to have worked in the field. I started taking a heavier workload and even began to meet with a counselor in order to make sure that I was on the right track for graduation. I had regular meetings with Mr. Micheal Hubbard on the PCC campus where once per semester I would meet with him to make sure that I was meeting all of the requirements necessary. During the registration process of the Fall 2012 semester, I learned that Governor Jerry Brown had signed into law a bill that would force students in the community colleges with more than a certain amount of units to the back of the registration line. Since I had done a change in majors, I was well over 100 units at LBCC alone and was given a priority registration appointment so late that I would not be capable to register for any of the classes I was in need of. I got into contact with Dean Myashiro, and with paperwork from Mr. Hubbard stating that I only required two more classes, Dean Myashiro moved my priority registration to a time that I would be able to register for the two classes I was told would be all that I had required. I was informed that this would have been the only time I would be able to have the rules bent to my benefit.
Finally, in the Fall of 2012 I was ready to graduate with an A.S. in Diesel Technology, an A.A. in Commercial Engineering, a Certificate of Accomplishment as a Studio Assistant, a Certificate of Achievement in Recording Engineering, and a Certificate of Achievement in Diesel Technology. It didn't take very long to receive a response from Admissions and Records telling me that I was not capable to receive anything more than my Certificate of Accomplishment as a Studio Assistant. I immediately met with Jay Fama at the LAC Admissions and Records department and he showed me a list of reasons I was not ready for graduation, I asked for a copy and was informed that "it is against policy for A&R to hand over documents." I next made a beeline to the office of Micheal Hubbard, he couldn't believe the situation and started working to help me immediately. Mr. Hubbard was able to help me get my certificate in Diesel Technology locked down, but the rest was over his head, so he referred me to Dr. Byron Breland (Associate Vice President).
At the point when I met with Dr. Breland, I only had to take care of a math course (Complete Math 120# or 130# or 130A# OR a more advanced level of Mathematics#.) and a Music 82 course. My counselor was unaware that even though I had tested out of mathematics during the LBCC assessment test, I was still required to take a high school level math course. I was informed in December that Dr. Breland would contact Richard Weber (Math Department Head) on my behalf and sort out the problem with my math requirement, I was to contact Dina Humble (Dean of Creative Arts and Applied Sciences) about the issue with Music 82.
I immediately got into contact with Ms. Humble and was directed to the Music Department Head in order to either sign off the class or test out. I was then directed back to Admissions and Records for any paperwork I would need. Upon my arrival at A&R, Mr. Jay Fama informed me that I would be unable to test out of that class since it was not on the list of classes that students have the capability to test out of. I decided to try to contact Dr. Breland in order to try to find a solution to my problem, he finally got into contact with me after a month of leaving messages and making daily calls to his office assistant Mary. He informed me that he really couldn't help me with the issues I had with the Music 82 course, he told me to get back into contact with Dina Humble. He also told me that as far as my math proficiency went, he was still working on it.
I am still waiting on a response from Dina Humble to my February 15th email requesting any and all help that I can get for my cause (the Music 82 class). Since I was getting restless waiting for Dr. Breland (since December) to get into contact with Richard Weber, I decided to see how difficult it would be to get into contact with him myself. I sent him an email and by the next business day I had gotten a response, I met with him that same week. After consulting with Mr. Weber, he directed me to Mr. Paul Creason (Dean of Health and Science). It has only been a few days since I was last in contact with him and my hopes are very high, I feel that eventually somebody will help me find a way to graduate.
My issue right now is that Long Beach City College has put my life on hold. I was unable to sign up for the Music 82 class that I needed due to my volume of credits and as of June, that class will no longer exist. Nancy Allen (my former music teacher) informed me that she knew that I am more than competent in this subject and that she would test me out of it (if she were given the option).
As far as math goes, Math 120 is geometry and math 130 is algebra 2 (both are classes that I passed with A grades in high school). The degrees and certificates that I have worked toward and earned would have ensured my gainful employment at the end of December, I don't know what else to say. Long Beach City College, stop holding my future hostage!
LBCC President Responds
Thank you for continuing your education at Long Beach City College and I apologize that you are having difficulty in completing your goal. I will have someone respond to your question this week. I hope that you have a good rest of your weekend.
Eloy Ortiz Oakley