LANCASTER — Antelope Valley Community College District trustees reaffirmed AV College’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
The Board passed the resolution on a 4-1 vote at its June 14 meeting with Trustee Michael Rives dissenting.
“I believe our focus should be on the college promise programs that concentrate on the students in their need to succeed,” he said. “We don’t need to be diverted from this goal with the desire to have specific ratios in hiring and only help certain students. Every student matters.”
AV College’s actions to support diversity, equity and inclusion include efforts to support students’ voices to inform Board policies and actions related to faculty and staff diversity and statements by the Board in support of diversity, equity and inclusion, according to the resolution.
AV College adopted local Vision for Success goals centered on improving students success.
In addition, the AV College Human Resources Department has identified actions to address underrepresentation in current staffing. The Board will also “review and update the Equity Plans with the goal of infusing actions to uplift the most vulnerable and socially disadvantaged students in our system,” the resolution said.
Antelope Valley College is at the forefront of diversity,” Rives said.
He noted in his research that 81% of AV College’s student population is composed of minorities and students of color. He added 28% of students attend class full-time and 85% receive financial aid. The college also has a food distribution program and can provide housing for students through an arrangement with a local hotel chain.
“More recently, this Board has hired two vice presidents who are a minority or a person of color and also the most qualified people for the job,” Rives said, adding the college’s staffing levels do not reflect the ethnic composition of students. “If you are looking for diversity, equity and inclusion you are preaching to the choir because Antelope Valley College is practicing what others dream of. If there’s a disparity in the composition of staff it’s not helping that those who want to change the staffing ratios want to retain the current system of hiring.”
He suggested applicants should compete for positions with a written and oral exam. The top candidates would then be interviewed by Board members who would make the final determination.
“I believe the (diversity, equity and inclusion) push is interfering with college promise programs, which are geared to helping students attend, stay in and complete college,” he said.
AV College Academic Senate President Van Rider praised the Board for approving the resolution affirming the college’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
“I look forward to being part of those discussions as we move forward in terms of the diversity initiative and the actions outlined in the resolveds,” he said.
Antelope Valley College Federation of Teachers President Aurora Burd also praised the Board’s decision.
“We fully support the commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” she said.