The Associated Students at Orange Coast College Advocacy Committee organized a panel of various leaders at OCC to address students' concerns through a series of Q&A’s. This included questions regarding parking permits, student services, campus safety and the soon-to-be updated COVID-19 mandates.
The town hall on April 27 featured OCC leaders, such as President Angelica Suarez and Vice President of Student Services Madjid Niroumand, to discuss the future of learning at OCC.
“We not only want to hear students' concerns about the future of learning at Orange Coast College, but also show them that their administrators care about their experiences and what they have to say,” Political Science Honor Society Vice President and Advocacy Committee member Monika Gerges said.
A question that seemed to weigh on a few students’ minds was the limited availability of student services and the desire for an extension of library hours and other resources for students who work late.
According to Vice President of Instruction Michelle Grimes-Hillman, longer student service hours will slowly be integrated starting in the fall semester, and will attempt to complement course offerings based on the volume of students.
With the recent news of the Coast Community College District updating the vaccine mandate June 1, Niroumand did not rule out the possibility of the mandate being reimplemented if there is a resurgence of positive COVID-19 cases.
“We will look at the health guidelines very carefully, and if things change, we will start these discussions [on the vaccine mandate] again,” Niroumand said.
The panelists cited high vaccination rates in the district and 85% of students submitting proof of vaccination as reasoning for the mandate to cease to continue.
Students had several questions about the topic of online course availability for the panelists, and Grimes-Hillman specified that about 20% of the courses offered at OCC will be online in the future.
“We have heard from the students, and the clear message is that you want options,” Suarez said.
To ensure the safety and well-being of students and faculty while they continue to implement more in-person classes, OCC is working to improve the quality of air conditioning with a new HVAC system that will include a sterilized mist to improve air quality and enhance COVID-19 cleaning efforts in all buildings, according to Vice President of Administrative Services Rich Pagel.
When asked about campus safety, the panel wanted to remind students that campus security is available 24/7 and officers will answer calls and direct them towards officers in charge during any given shift. There is also a 24-hour public safety escort that is available to walk students to their vehicles anytime they might need it.
OCC is also working on improving the camera system and working with the Orange County Vehicle Task Force to catch the thieves known for taking the catalytic converters off cars. They are setting decoys out with VIN numbers on catalytic converters in attempt to catch those responsible.
For more information regarding parking safety, COVID-19 resources and other student services, visit OCC’s resource center online.