Candidates for ECC Board of Trustees reply to our questionnaire

 

Responses to the FVC4PNJ questionnaire for candidates for the ECC Board of Trustees:

We send the questionnaire to all four candidates.  Two responded.  Two did not respond.

Joyce Fountain

1) Is ECC doing a good job of protecting the health of students, faculty, and staff during the covid-19 pandemic?  What would you do differently to strengthen those efforts?

 I have been retired from ECC for approximately 15 months, but it appears that ECC is taking the important steps to protect the health of individuals that come to campus during the pandemic. Routine activities have been modified including most courses being taught virtually, many faculty have modified their styles of teaching to improve student learning and are in contact with students more frequently; all individuals’ temperatures must be taken to access the campus; most employees are working off campus and the campus is cleaned more regularly and effectively.

 2) Do Black Lives Matter?  What is your reaction to that phrase and that movement?

 The answer to this first question depends on to whom the question is being asked, and what they have learned, internalized and experienced regarding race in America.  As a Black woman with Black family members and friends, my answer to the question is ABSOLUTELY YES!

However, the social structures, systems, beliefs and behaviors in place in American society, often demonstrate the exact opposite. Housing, education, healthcare, employment, social status, mobility, voting and even our lifespans are all impacted by race. This society racializes humans, their value, options, opportunities and worth at inception; and employ laws, rules and limited resources to people who have long been determined to be inferior to justify opportunities today.

 I am also concerned about the implications of the phrase Black Lives Matter. Though the phrase is intended to affirm our value and humanity, many Blacks have also had to bear the burden of continuing to prove that their lives matter! 

3) What would you do to enhance the experience of African-American students at ECC?

 Systemically, I would like to see ECC develop, teach and require America’s “real” racial history and its consequences  become a part of required courses for students and employees. The enduring and racialized narrative of this society has been created, maintained and reinforced to provide privileges, opportunities and benefits for whites that are unavailable to people of color.

4) What would you do to assist undocumented students at ECC?  What is your understanding of the pressures affecting those students and their family members?

 We have many undocumented students the majority of whom came to America with their parents and are no longer familiar with their native country. They are in the position to become contributing citizens, and we should provide them with opportunities for them to be successful.

 5) Should ECC do more to help low-income students and students of color to succeed academically, to complete their programs, and to get their AA degrees?

 Absolutely ECC should and must do more to assist students in reaching their goals. Looking at the data of student outcomes and completion rates, there is no doubt that ECC as an institution has not identified or implemented adequate strategies for our most vulnerable students to become academically successful. Some of the reasons for students’ lack of success often involve lack of income, food and housing insecurities, as well as physical and emotional needs. Also, does ECC have enough skilled employees to fully address these unique needs that students and their families may be experiencing? These concerns often negatively affect their academic progress.

Adriana Barriga-Green

 1) Is ECC doing a good job of protecting the health of students, faculty, and staff during the covid-19 pandemic?  What would you do differently to strengthen those efforts?

 Most ECC courses have gone remote since March of 2020, the college has been monitoring for Covid-19 cases, and state and CDC recommendations to limit the spread of the virus are being followed.  However, the pandemic has disproportionately affected the lives of our minority ECC students (54% of students) and their families. Efforts to assist students should be increased, as many are facing hardships due to job loss, illness and death of loved ones from Covid-19, loss of childcare, food and housing insecurity, etc. Increased funds should be available for these students.  Many students will have a need for ongoing Mental Health services and support that ECC should provide for them.

2) Do Black Lives Matter?  What is your reaction to that phrase and that movement?

 I absolutely believe that Black Lives Matter. I support the BLM movement and what it stands for.  I will continue to be an ally for racial justice in any way that I can and will have an open door policy once in office to facilitate our work for racial equity.

3) What would you do to enhance the experience of African-American students at ECC? 

I would ensure that all advisors, faculty and staff have cultural competency/sensitivity diversity training.  I think African-American students at ECC should have additional mentoring and opportunities for advisory in order to support them and bridge the achievement gap that currently exists. I think that ECC should strive to increase minority representation in faculty, staff and the Board of Directors.

4) What would you do to assist undocumented students at ECC?

 I believe that education is a human right for all students regardless of their citizenship status.  I would strive to make funding available to these students so that they could complete their education at ECC. I believe it is critical to establish a coordinator/office that would be a safe space where undocumented students can find community and get connected to services which may be intimidating or dangerous for them to access otherwise due to their undocumented status. 

 5) Should ECC do more to help low-income students and students of color to succeed academically, to complete their programs, and to get their AA degrees

Yes, ECC should build out wraparound services to support low-income students and students of color in whatever capacity is required to meet their needs. Our college will thrive when all students are fully empowered to reach their academic and professional goals. 

 

 

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