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Rebekka Wiedenmeyer

Staff Writer

In an Academic Senate meeting held on Dec. 12, the Senate discussed options as to if and how Las Positas College will be offering the new AA-T and AS-T transfer degrees.

On Jan. 31, LPC will be required to present an outline to the state as to how it will be dealing with these transfer degrees. As of now, no option has been definitively agreed upon.

“We are in the infancy of this structure,” Sarah Thompson, Academic Senate president, said.

There were three options discussed by the Senate at the meeting: creating a total of 12 transfer degrees, presenting a comprehensive plan of which courses will have the transfer degrees or making the transfer degrees for all courses.

“It will create an incredible flurry of work,” Thompson said, referring to the creation of new degrees. “Students don’t necessarily benefit from having absolutely crazy faculty.”

At the meeting, the Senate wavered between the options of creating a total of 12 degrees and presenting a comprehensive plan of which courses will have the transfer degrees. Currently, only math, sociology and ECD (Early Childhood Development) have these transfer degrees, and while no final decision was made at the Senate meeting, discussion was held about the level of difficulty that will be reached if any new degrees are created.

“The state’s not making it easy,” Thompson said. “They’re requiring us to do it, but they’re not facilitating the process.”

Lack of facilitation by the state is not the only issue. Classes will have to be added if transfer degrees are added, and in a time when classes are being added and cut simultaneously, tension is created.

“In English, we are being asked to cut,” Elena Cole, Senate vice president and English instructor, said. “We are pressured immensely to serve students. We are beyond maxed, and if we add this degree, we have to add classes. That is a contradiction that is upsetting. It’s disturbing and unethically really, really bothering. That is a huge pressure, and for us to have to add classes at a time when we can’t even serve basic 1As, this is a problem.”

The Senate has until Jan. 31 to decide which option to choose. In the end, it will come down to what best serves students.

Angelica Estacio

Staff Writer

During the town hall meeting held on Dec. 5, Las Positas College President Kevin Walthers featured some positive updates for the LPC community regarding the passing of tax initiative Proposition 30.

Those who doubted that the passage of California’s tax initiative, Proposition 30 would have positive effects on the state’s educational system are having the proverbial pie thrown in their faces.

During the town hall meeting held on Dec. 5, Las Positas College President Kevin Walthers outlined three ways in which Prop. 30 is already benefitting the LPC community, opening of spots for more students, reviving previously eliminated faculty positions, and offering more classes for students to take.

Walthers  said that the tax initiative stabilized the drop of state funding and aided in the  opening of spots for more students, reviving previously eliminated faculty positions, and the school can now offer more classes for students to take.

“It just really gets us to the base line,” Walthers said.

Proposition 30, which was voted in by Californians during the Nov. 6 elections, prevented a could-have-been 9.7 M worth of budget cuts that threatened more program eliminations and suspension of personnel in many California schools, including Las Positas.

The President explained that the district plans to use the money they will receive to restore the $50 M dollar worth of workload reductions during the last state budget cuts.

These reductions meant the cutting of classes and faculty layoffs.

Because of Prop. 30 Las Positas College and Chabot College can add an additional 156 full-time enrolled students (FTEs) to their population by the end of Spring semester.

The President considers this a positive change.

Last year the student population declined by 13 percent  at LPC.

“The good news is,” Walthers added. “More students mean more classes.”

And more class offerings can mean better and faster advancement opportunities for the students.

Though Prop. 30 brings needed funds, not everything can be fixed overnight.

“We still have a decision to make with regards to the suspension of two dean positions (during the budget cuts),” Walthers said.

Aretha Welch

Editor-in-Chief

Craig Kutil, current coordinator of the Mathematics Department has announced his candidacy to run for Academic Senate President for the 2013-2014 school year. Should he win he will be taking over from current president Sarah Thompson.

“I’m basically running because we needed someone to run,” Kutil told the Express.

Kutil currently sits on the Senate but would move into the leadership role if the elections, which will be held at the end of the Spring semester go in his favor.

Thus far he is running unopposed but said should the position be contested he might step down.

“Basically it’s a pretty heavy workload and you are under a lot of scrutiny in the role,” he said, explaining why he would not contest if someone else wanted the job.

The President heads the  school’s academic senate.

LPC’s Academic senate operates under the guidelines set out by the statewide Academic Senate for California Community Colleges  and helps set out grading policies, degree and certificate requirements, budget planning processes and educational program, development.

Travis Danner

Managing/OpinIONS Editor

On the teacher’s window is a hand that appears to be smeared with blood but it is not a sign of horror but of hope. There are a number of these red hands smeared across faculty members windows here at LPC and any student in need of help can now just reach out for that red hand.

The Helping Hands program is run and created by Nico Portugal, student and Inter-Club Council Chair. What the program aims to do is create a campus-wide support system for students experiencing any number of personal issues. Students in need of someone to talk to can contact any teacher who is part of the program who will help counsel them or direct them in a positive direction.

Students looking for help can contact any teacher or staff member on campus who displays a red hand sticker on their office door or window. That person will either talk to the student directly or point them in the direction of someone on campus who can help them.

The program’s creator was deferential to the staff who participates in the program when describing its mission, which seems to serve a dual-purpose.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with a lot of staff members,” Portugal said, “and I didn’t want students to feel that staff doesn’t care about students on campus. In addition, I don’t want students to feel like they don’t have anywhere to go if they’re going through difficult times.”

Portugal said that the idea came from a program at Wells Middle School  he described as “similar but not to the extent I wanted to see it done in college.”

He was drawn to the implementation of such a program by personal experience, after having seen the effect that counseling for students in difficult situations can accomplish.

“I’ve had a few friends who’ve suffered from depression, or were on 72-hour watch,” Portugal said. “I wanted to students give a source they can go to for help.”

The program is purely voluntary and the staff and faculty who participate in the program all do so on that basis

In order to ensure proper care, many students are referred to the LPC’s Student Health Center, and its site administrator, Dayna Barbero.

“Particularly in this time of the year with the stresses of the holidays and finals,” Berbero said, “we’ve see more people in distress. The goal is to guide (students) to proper community resources.”

Currently, the school lists 22 teachers and campus staff that are part of the program. Any student interested in seeing who is involved can visit the school’s web page, the “Student Government” link and find the section labeled “Helping Hands” next to the red hand. Those involved has their name plus their office and phone numbers listed.

In addition to Helping Hands, the Health Center can counsel student’s on many different issues they may be experiencing. The Health Center’s section on LPC’s webpage features a variety of links for students with potential issues, such as stress, smoking, drugs, sexually-transmitted diseases and suicide-prevention.

When asked what she would say to any student who may be apprehensive, Barbero didn’t hesitate.

“There are people out there that truly care,” Barbero said, “and are going to be there in a non-judgemental way and to know that when you see that red hand, you can be assured that these are people that really care. You can know it’s a safe place to be.”

Both Barbero and Portugal stated that the program has been gaining steam as more people are beginning to utilize the services available through the Health Center.

According to Barbero, more people who have seen the red hand and know what it’s about have been coming in to seek help for a variety of issues.

The next step, Portugal said, is to keep the program running and begin to publicize it more.

In the end, Portugal stated that he wants to paint a good picture of the school and give assistance to people in need.

“I created the program because I think sometimes Las Positas has a bad reputation,” Portugal said. “I want to show the community that Las Positas is diverse and understanding to different types of people. I just want to help students in any way I can.”

Angelica Estacio
Staff Writer
Sebastian Williamson identifies as queer, or someone who does not have a preferred sexual orientation. The 19-year-old graphic design student is a part of the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
“I know a few students that would refer to me in female pronouns when they already were educated on my preferred pronouns,” Williamson said. “They just didn’t care to make me feel comfortable and kept at it as if it were a game.”
Although Williamson merely finds this kind of occurrences annoying more than offensive, the same cannot be said about many Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) students in California and the whole country.
According to  the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), six in every 10 LGBTQ students in the country reported feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation, while four in 10 felt unsafe because of their gender expression.
This should change if the state has its way. Along with the new year, California also welcomes a new state legislation targeted to help put an end to bullying and harassments due to gender expression and sexual orientation.
“We’ve really moved away just from recognizing we’re not a hetero-centric world to moving towards policies of equity,” LPC Academic Senate President Sarah Thompson said.  “It’s not just individual recognition but treating sexual minorities as individuals with the same full rights as sexual majorities.”
The Equality and Equal Access in Higher Education Bill (Assembly Bill 620), which is tentatively expected to be implemented on Jan. 1, requires schools to identify a point-person who will be responsible for LGBTQ-related concerns on campus.
Although LPC is still in the process of selecting the person for this position, favorable effects can be expected from this step.
In “Gender Non-Conformity and School Safety: Documenting the Problem and Steps Schools Can Take,” a research conducted by The California Safe Schools Coalition, results showed that both LGBTQ male and female students who “know where to go to for information and support to gender identity and expression” felt safer in their schools.
The 2011 National School Climate Survey published by the GLSEN also showed positive results of community support and intervention in schools, concluding that “8 out of 10 LGBTQ students experience harassment” in the country, “but school-based resources and supports are making a difference.”
In addition to forming a good community support system, AB 620 also requires colleges and universities to strengthen legal support system in schools. Each school’s security department will have to start separately filing hate crimes reported that are of sexual orientation or gender expression discrimination in nature.
At LPC, the campus crime log dating back from 2009 to present reflects no record of hate crimes towards LGBTQ students or staff. Nonetheless, Thompson stresses the importance of this change.
“It is really important to identify and make separate criminal acts that are done not for personal reasons or personal gain, but are done because a person is a member of a group that that individual happens to despise.  So this fight for equity requires that kind of consciousness,” Thompson said.
Another change that AB 620 will bring is the inclusion of extensive and expanded definitions of “gender” and “gender expression” to cover terms that were not covered by school documents and policies before.
“The spirit of the law is that to make sure that we are specific to the documents that we give to students about definitions of these terms,” Thompson said.
And this is, of course, to address unintentional discrimination and bullying happening in schools because of people’s lack of understanding of certain gender and gender expression terms.
“Having a society and students who are ignorant really does not help,” Williamson said.
“People have told me stories about being bullied mercilessly at school, being treated rudely or unfairly by strangers in public, and instances of the same nature,” Northwestern University senior student Camille Beredjick said.
The 21-year-old studying Journalism and Gender Studies is a nominee to receive a scholarship worth $10 thousand from CollegeScholarships.org for her single-handedly established blog GayWrites.org.
Beredjick began GayWrites.org in June 2010 in hopes of having a personal outlet for her interest in LGBTQ equality issues. Within two years, her blog evolved to be a news and resource pool, earning her a following of more than 40 thousand LGBTQ members and allies all over the world, many of which she says have reached out to her to share personal experiences of bullying.
“LGBTQ people sometimes don’t come into their identities until college, and that transition can be very difficult for anyone, gay or straight. Bullying and harassment are very real problems in every facet of life, especially in education, and college is no exception,” Beredjick said.
“College students should be able to learn in a safe environment,” Williamson added. ”And truthfully the only way to even get that started is by creating laws and rules that say we are all equal and (LGBTQ students) shouldn’t be made to feel less than anyone else — mentally or physically.”
However, many California students admit they are not fully confident the new mandate will solve bullying problems.
“The added protection of the law is indeed important, but just because a law is set into place doesn’t mean people are going to follow it,” 22-year-old Karishma Bendale said.
The fifth-year Nursing student from San Jose State University identifies herself as pansexual or someone who gets attracted to people regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
Bendale, who has been a member of SJSU’s Queer and Asian Club for three years, actively advocates through reaching out and educating people about gender and gender expression.
“However, it is important to have these rules in a way that they help bring awareness to the issues of gender, gender expression and sexual orientation,” Bendale said.

Bill Charuhas
Staff Writer
When it comes to outgoing Las Positas College President Kevin Walthers’ job search — mum is the word.
On the heels of Walthers’ admission that he had been in contact with job search consultants, he has now officially announced his resignation. The resignation will be effective by Dec. of 2013, contingent on Walthers finding a job at another school. Walthers has only provided limited comments on these developments. Once Walthers has left the school, LPC will begin the search for yet another chief executive.
In recent weeks, the Express has attempted to contact President Walthers for an update on his job search. That request was denied.
On Oct. 12, an article published in the Express titled “President Walthers on his way out,” highlighted a controversy surrounding his administration brewing among school officials. Some school officials and staff openly questioned Walthers’ perceived negative leadership style and decision-making.
In the wake of the article, the Express received a letter signed by 40 teachers which expressed disapproval for the article and expressed support for the position of LPC school President.
Another article, published on Oct. 26, titled “President defends his tenure,” the only comment provided by the President on the content of the article was that it was “not something (he) want(ed) to dwell on,” and that his “focus is on doing what’s best for students.”
In the meantime, Walthers will continue to guide the school and the district will eventually begin a search for another President.
That President will be the school’s sixth in nine years.

Rebekka Wiedenmeyer
Staff Writer
Along with the grand opening of the brand new Paragon Outlets of Livermore comes new job opportunities, more shopping turf, and freeway congestion that has only just recently begun to clear.
LPC students are among the hundreds of employees hired to work at the Outlets, as well as students at Ohlone College and Merritt College, to name a few. Parents and fellow residents have also taken advantage of the opportunities that the Outlets present.
“I went to the job fair on October 23 (at Robert Livermore Community Center) with my daughter and we went through two rooms of lines,” Cathy Chin, fitting room attendant at Last Call by Neiman Marcus, said. “It was worth the wait.”
According to the San Francisco Business Times, the Paragon Outlets will bring in a total of 2,800 jobs and approximately $2 million in sales tax revenue. Job fairs held at Robert Livermore on Sept. 11 and Oct. 23 and hiring booths on the LPC campus helped to fill all the necessary positions.
Among the new hirees are high school students such as Chin’s daughter, showing that employment opportunities presented by the Outlets benefit those from all across the board.
“My daughter was hired and she’s seventeen,” Chin said. “It’s a neat opportunity for them to start. There were 1,700 people at that first job fair. What kind of opportunity can you see so many vendors, so many different employers who you can interview within one hour?”
As to whether or not the Paragon Outlets will compete on the same level with Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton, only time will tell.
“I think it’s a little different audience, personally. I think that here caters to a bit higher, more upscale clientele. I don’t see it as much of competition ‘cause we have so many more — we have Gucci, Prada, Chanel — it’s amazing what we have,” Chin said. “Christmas time will tell. I think we’ll do really well because we’re in a location that’s central for everybody.”
Since its opening on Nov. 8, the Outlets have been clogged with shoppers curious as to whether or not the stores live up to their expectations.
“It’s been a ten (on a scale of how crazy it’s been),” Jazmen Callum, employee at the GAP factory store and student at Merritt College in Oakland, said. “It dies down at night, but it’s been crazy over the weekend.”
With the holiday season coming soon, the Paragon Outlets are sure to see a continuing steady flow of customers. Each store has its own opening time on Black Friday, some even opening as early as 10 p.m. on Thursday night.
“Every store is different,” Chin said, “but after pumpkin pie, come over here and celebrate with us!”