Welcome + Updates

Sept. 18, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I look forward to seeing you this Thursday and Friday for our district and college Opening Days. Both are valuable opportunities for us to reconnect with each other and welcome new colleagues into our community. In addition, this year marks De Anza College’s 50th anniversary, with the theme “Engaging the Future: The Next 50 Years.” Upcoming special events and programs will celebrate what we’ve become, and look ahead to what more we can be.

Next Monday we welcome back our students, and the campus will be abuzz with their energy and enthusiasm — a time we all look forward to. My deepest thanks to the many classified professionals working to prepare the campus for the students’ arrival. Some great news: The Flint Garage will be open for the first day of fall quarter.

At the same time, it will be a year of hard work on multiple fronts. The political climate is dire, and the images and sounds of Charlottesville continue to reverberate across the country. Our African American students heard sanitized and superficial debates over statues of men who sought to maintain slavery, while being confronted daily with experiences of racism and reports of violence. Jewish students heard the chants in Charlottesville echo the Third Reich. And all of our students, with their diverse backgrounds and histories, endure the sudden legitimacy afforded white supremacy by a profoundly ignorant and mean-spirited president. If we act as if none of this matters because it happened in Virginia or elsewhere, we delude ourselves. These events harm human beings. These events are shaping dialogue across the country. And we do well to respond with care and concern to what our students tell us they are experiencing.

This is critical now for our undocumented students, who are reeling from the recent announcement from the Trump administration that it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides some protections for those who came to the United States as children. Among our own undocumented students there is palpable fear, and some have said they may drop out. Organizers in HEFAS will be working to inform their fellow students about resources offered through the college, and to reassure them that the college will not cooperate with federal inquiries regarding immigration status. HEFAS students and VIDA staff will also be tabling at both district and college Opening Days. I ask that we all familiarize ourselves with DACA and the deadline for eligible DACA holders to renew: Thursday, Oct. 5. Scholarship funds are available to offset the $495 application fee. Please see comprehensive resources on our own website at www.deanza.edu/students/undoc-students.

Meanwhile, our daily work at the campus continues. Reports show that enrollment continues to be approximately 5 percent lower than last fall. This is despite our always careful class scheduling, extensive outreach and comprehensive marketing. Clearly, there are multiple regional dynamics affecting enrollment, including smaller graduating high school classes, and increased housing costs and traffic. We surveyed non-returning students last year, and will continue to examine and take action on possible interventions.

Enrollment is closely tied to the college’s budget, and the board has approved a three-year districtwide budget reduction target to bring expenditures more in line with projected revenue. To be clear: There will be no layoffs this academic year. We will use our shared governance process to establish our campus priorities and expenditures. Some of what we must do is immediate — adjusting our offerings where we have to — while the longer-term strategies will take more time.

A final note on the most near-term item: accreditation. Thank you to the many governance groups and individuals who made significant contributions to the Institutional Self-Evaluation Report (ISER). The evaluation team will visit the campus Oct. 9-12, which we’ll talk more about on Opening Day. In the meantime, the report and more information are available at www.deanza.edu/accreditation/2017. See you Thursday.

Best wishes,
Brian Murphy

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