Equity Conversations Highlighted at District Board of Trustees Meeting

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Equity was a main topic of conversation during the Wednesday, June 24, 2020, District Board of Trustees meeting as Collegewide Faculty Association President Stanton Reed presented an emotional and sobering video that he explained captures the feelings of many Valencia faculty and staff as they’d like to discuss equity but fear push-back. The video, “This is the Paradigm Shift That Could Stop Racism” by Robin DiAngelo — author of “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism,” affiliate faculty at the University of Washington, and consultant, educator and facilitator on issues of racial and social justice — discusses how we can’t jump over the difficult personal work required to examine our own role in racism’s presence in society.

“It’s sobering, yet I want it to be hopeful, but it’s my life experience,” Stanton explained.

Watch the video below:

“We are being pushed in places,” Stanton said. “We’re in the perfect storm. Now is the time to hold ourselves accountable as we journey into experiences in a new way.”

President’s Update
College President Sandy Shugart also discussed equity during his President’s Update.

“We think of Valencia as a leader in equity, including our history of being born out of the movement for equal rights,” referring to Valencia opening our classrooms to minorities from our very first day in 1967— a time when there was little choice for Blacks to attend college locally.

Sandy explained that the College is committed to the work and making space for the challenging conversations in which we must engage to understand how we experience our shared lives differently and find ways to create a place where each of us can expect to be treated with respect, courtesy, equanimity and equity.

During his update, Dr. Shugart also shared that:

  • On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, he will represent Valencia on a call with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and community college presidents regarding how the College responded to the coronavirus.
  • West and Downtown Campus President Falecia Williams has accepted a new role as president of Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) in Maryland, near Washington, D.C.
  • All trustees were invited to attend Valencia’s 2020 Commencement Recast on Sunday, June 28, 2020.
  • Some Valencia students that have been on campus have tested positive for COVID-19. For additional information, view the College Update. 

CARES Act Emergency Student Aid Update 
Executive Vice President and Provost Kathleen Plinske provided an update on Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act student aid funds. As of the Monday, June 15, 2020, Round One deadline, 17,083 students submitted an application. Each eligible student who submitted an application during the Round One application period, received an emergency grant of $750. A total of $12,812,250 of emergency aid was disbursed.

The United States Department of Education issued an interim final rule on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, that has again changed the requirements for students to be eligible to receive CARES emergency grants. The new rule specifies that students must be, or could be, eligible under Section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) to participate in programs under Title IV of HEA in order to be eligible to receive a CARES Act emergency grant. Although the change will not be enforced in Round One, the new rule will require the College to alter plans for Round Two as it will render several thousand students ineligible to receive a CARES Act emergency grant, largely due to their not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.

The College will issue Round Two applications in early July for CARES Act emergency aid to students who are eligible under the new interim rule and who did not receive emergency aid in Round One. Additionally, the College will collaborate with the Valencia College Foundation to make emergency aid available to degree- and certificate-seeking students who are currently enrolled, who did not receive emergency aid in Round One and who will not be eligible to receive a CARES Act emergency grant under the new rule. For more information, click here.

CARES Act Institutional Stability Funds and Minority Serving Institution Funds
In addition to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act student aid funds, the CARES Act allows a portion of each college’s funds allocation to be used for institutional costs to help cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. Of the total CARES $29.3 million grant, Valencia may use up to $13.8 million in Institutional Stability Funds to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus, such as expanding remote learning programs, building information technology capacity to support online programs, and training faculty and staff to operate effectively in a remote learning environment.

Additionally, Valencia may use up to $1.7 million in Minority-serving Institution Funds to defray expenses and lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff training, and payroll.

The board authorized the College to disburse CARES Act Institutional Stability Funds and Minority-serving Institution Funds in accordance with the funds disbursement plan that was presented. To view that presentation, click here.

2020-2021 Operating Budget
The board approved the 2020-2021 operating budget, including a pay raise for employees. For details, read the College Update. To view the full 2019-2020 operating budget, click here.

Roadmap for Reopening
Vice President of Organizational Development and Human Resources Amy Bosley, along with co-presenters Executive Vice President and Provost Kathleen Plinske and Vice President of Operations and Finance Loren Bender, presented Valencia College’s Roadmap for ReopeningTo view the presentation, click here. 

Campus Enhancements
The board authorized the College to:

  • Enter into an agreement with Weatherproofing Technologies, Inc. (Tremco Roofing) and its subcontractor, R.F. Lusa & Sons Sheet Metal, Inc. to replace the West Campus Student Services Building roof. Read more here.
  • Enter into a contract with Presidio Networked Solutions LLC to enhance East Campus’ Wi-Fi. Learn about the project here.
  • Engage Trane to replace Chiller two on East Campus. Click here for details. 

Capital Improvement
The trustees approved Valencia’s Capital Improvement Plan for the Fiscal Years 2020/2021 through 2025/2026. View the plan here. 

Valencia College President’s Performance Evaluation and Contract 
The trustees enthusiastically and unanimously commended Dr. Shugart for his leadership and substantial accomplishments over the past year in support of Valencia’s mission.

The board approved a four-year contract that reflected no increase in salary for the upcoming year and no incentive compensation as earned last year, at the request of Dr. Shugart. In declining the increases, Dr. Shugart stated that all senior staff (including him, campus presidents and vice presidents) asked not to be given raises this year.

Dr. Shugart Recognized for 20 Years at Valencia College
Following his performance evaluation, the board celebrated Dr. Shugart’s 20th anniversary as Valencia’s fourth college president. The trustees presented a commissioned painting by Florida Highwaymen artist Willie Reagan.

2020 – 2021 Academic Calendar and College Catalog
The board approved the 2020-2021 Academic Calendar and College Catalog. To view the Academic Calendar, click here. For a  summary of substantive editorial and curriculum changes in the catalog, click here. 

Lake Nona Campus Report 
Lake Nona Campus Executive Dean Mike Bosley shared an overview of the Lake Nona Campus. Annually, the campus serves approximately 8,845 students. Of those students, about one-third are Dual Enrollment students. For more Lake Nona Campus statistics, click here. 

Policy Adoptions
The board approved amendments to the policies listed below to update and better align with applicable laws and regulations, to eliminate obsolete language, and to reflect current and improved practices:

Public Comment 
A question was raised with respect to organizing efforts among some part-time faculty members, and although not on the business agenda of the meeting, it was noted that the College is following the State mandated process in addressing the matter.

For more information on the meeting, visit the meeting webpage.

The next District Board of Trustees meeting will be held online on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, via Zoom.

1 Comment

  • Krystal Barrett said:

    Thank you so much for speaking up, Stanton! What a powerful video and message you have shared.

    AMThu, 02 Jul 2020 10:14:54 +0000Thu, 02 Jul 2020 10:14:54 +0000am20,10:14 am

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