Good morning, Bakersfield.
It is Saturday, April 27, 2019… A great day to be a Renegade.
Thinking of Sri Lanka
While the rest of the world was celebrating Easter Sunday with their families, the people of Sri Lanka were fighting a senseless tragedy.
As of Tuesday, more than 300 Sri Lankans were reported dead and 500 more were injured in a series of eight coordinated attacks on churches and hotels, according to an article by Vox. Six of the eight attacks happened in the capital city of Colombo, and attacks also occurred during Easter Sunday church services in Negombo and Batticaloa. The Guardian published a timeline and visual guide to the bombings, which are being blamed on terrorist groups seeking retaliation for the attack on Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand in March.
Sri Lanka is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, located southeast of the Tamil Nadu province on the Indian subcontinent and close to Kerala, the area where I grew up. I last visited Sri Lanka in 2011, and my heart goes out to all the people who have lost loved ones in the attacks.
Moments like this remind me of Mahatma Gandhi, whose 150th anniversary is being celebrated around the world in 2019. He elevated human consciousness by recognizing our infinite capacity for kindness and dignity to counter our species’ infinite potential for violence and devastation.
At BC, wellness and community are part of our core values, and our faculty and staff inspire thousands of students every day to be beacons of light out in their families and communities, spreading love, knowledge and kindness.
In the wake of senseless tragedies such as these, it’s important to consider ways that we can come together to build bridges even in our differences. The battle against hostility and divisiveness starts in our hearts, with our family and friends, in the classroom, outside the classroom — and education is the tool that can help us understand our differences and yet unify us as a people.
My mom and I spent Christmas 2011 in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and split our time between Batticaloa and Columbo, Here is the 200-word piece featured in the 2018 Christmas Edition of The Bakersfield Californian.
Notre Dame Cathedral Catches Fire
Last week, the world mourned the partial destruction of a historical landmark, as Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral went up in flames.
The roof of Notre Dame caught fire on the evening of April 15 and continued for 15 hours, causing significant damage. However, a lot of the core structure of the building was saved, and there were no deaths or injuries in the fire.
Thanks to approximately $1 billion in donations, the cathedral will be restored to most of its previous glory, but this historic building that has existed for more than eight centuries will never be the same.
Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference
Bakersfield College was extremely proud to be a part of this year’s annual Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference, which was chaired by our very own Director of Communications Norma Rojas-Mora! Norma put her heart and soul into this event, and it was easy to see her touch in so many different areas.
The Women’s Business Conference was celebrating its 30th anniversay and Norma asked me to introduce the video. Here it is.
The year was 1989.
Imagine a group of women, twenty-something and thirty-something, coming together at the Home of the Renegades, talking about what it was like to be a women working in our community….. talking about work environments that may or may not have been supportive of women and mothers, talking about gaps in opportunities for women, about behaviors that were considered unacceptable only because you were a woman….talking about general societal issues of the time.
Imagine these women…exceptional professionals, wanting to transform our community by empowering all women, but particularly those who were young and just getting started in their professional career…..unleashing the power that is a woman – helping women Believe in the Power of You.
Phyllis Hullett of Bakersfield College came
up with the idea of a conference for women.
She was known to move with conviction, and once she started on a path no
obstacle, however large, however daunting could deter her from reaching her
destination. But Phyllis was certainly not alone. She recruited co-conspirators, Lynn
Hall, Kay Meek, Cindy Pollard, Sheryl Barbich, Cynthia Icardo, Judy Salamacha,
and Mary Jo Pasek. These women became the co-leaders, the Mothers of the first
Women’s Business Conference here in Bakersfield.
The title – “Options Unlimited.”
To honor this 30-year anniversary and the founding mothers, we have a short video. Let’s quiet our minds, breathe in and out, and immerse ourselves in our history as told by some of the 7 visionary women leaders from our community, who first made it happen.
Thank you Manny de Los Santos and Monika Scott for putting together this video.
I was also asked to introduce this year’s Keynote speaker, Shannen Doherty. Here are excerpts…
I am here to introduce to you a woman who has grown up in the public eye….. no easy task. A woman who has engaged with life fully, exuberantly, fearlessly, passionately, ….. and yet with a quintessential sense of openness and vulnerability.
In 1991 young America fell in love with Brenda Walsh, the young woman who moved with her family from Minnesota to Beverly Hills where she tries to fit into the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
In 1998 America was Charmed by Prudence “Prue” Halliwell, a powerful and responsible witch who protected the innocent and defeated the forces of evil.
In the past week, as the Shannen Doherty story unveiled itself to me through third party narratives, I discovered the sheer power and boldness in this “petite” 5 ft 4” person who appeared to mesmerize the world around her ….whatever world that might be at that time.
In the most recent chapter of her life, Shannen Doherty teaches us about overcoming severe adversity.
Falling down is an inevitable part of life. But getting up and engaging with life with a ferociousness when it appears that you don’t have a drop of life remaining in you….. now that is the story of our keynote speaker.
From becoming a child actress and financially supporting her family to building a booming television career, to receiving a devastating cancer diagnosis, and later slaying the disease and entering remission, Shannen Doherty is living proof that she is not defined by her lowest moments but by the absolute drive to lift up, take off and soar high.
I am also struck by her spirit of hope and gratitude…. Her propensity for creativity, her fearlessness in trying new things, and her bravery in sharing her journey. America fell in love with Brenda and Prue decades ago, but I find myself in awe of the woman Shannen Doherty is today: Survivor, animal rights activist….. inspirational and fearless.
And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong, and full of fire – and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears. [Post theshando, March 8, 2019..quote attributed to Mark Anthony]
Bakersfield, I give you the indomitable Shannen Doherty!
In her honor, the conference focused on encouraging women to be proactive about their health and get mammogram screenings. It is so easy for us to focus on others, our jobs, our families and forget about our own self-care. I was extremely honored to be a part of an event with this message, and also very proud of all of the hard work Norma put in! It was a wonderful event!
Andrea Thorson was a rock star with her presentation. I had a young woman who rushed up to me and said that I had a great dean at BC and that she was just coming from Andrea’s presentation. We are BC!
Early College Initiative Award Presented at SGA Student Leadership Dinner
For the first time, dual enrollment students were included in our annual SGA Student Leadership Awards Dinner. The Early College Initiative Award was created in a collaboration between our Dual Enrollment and Student Life departments to recognize high school students who have shown early initiative in taking college courses and starting on their college pathway. Out of many nominations that came in from across all high school districts, five finalists were selected to attend the awards dinner with their families, nominating instructor, and principal.
The first recipient of the award was Osvaldo Casillas from Mira Monte High School. He was nominated by dual enrollment instructor and BC English Adjunct instructor Kathy Rowland who wrote, “Osvaldo continuously demonstrates a keen dedication to attendance, thorough completion of assignments, and thoughtful contribution to class discussion/analysis. For almost 4 years, he has strategized a plan for post-secondary education knowing that he will make strides in engineering to broaden opportunities both for himself, family, and his mother who has been detained in Mexico for an extensive timeframe. Nonetheless, he has found a method, a coping mechanism that harnesses all his personal struggles and heartaches into the surety of an academic pathway to success. He is one of the finest young men I have ever met in my 20 years of teaching.”
The second recipient was Mariano Balbueno from Delano High School. Mariano was nominated by his dual enrollment instructor Mario Nunez who wrote, “Mariano has completed a total of 10 dual/concurrent enrollment courses, and is currently working on four more during this second semester of his Senior year. He has earned a total of 32 general education credits towards an associate degree, all while he has been in high school. At the end of his senior year, Mariano will have earned a total of 44 college units.”
Both students received BCSGA student leadership medals that they will be able to wear with pride at their high school graduations this spring. As we continue to embrace our early college students into our campus culture, events such as this are such an amazing way to welcome our high school students into our Renegade family, and to show everyone on our campus just how much our students and our communities benefit from early college opportunities.
Second Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference
The 2nd Annual Jess Nieto Memorial Conference took over the Panorama campus this week to honor the history of Chicano Studies programs and the 50th anniversary of the founding of MEChA.
This year’s conference was expanded to three days, packed with panels, speakers, art, music, and film celebrating Chicano culture. Octavio Barajas brilliantly organized all of the programming that happened between Tuesday and Thursday.
Jess Nieto was an activist, philanthropist, and instructor who founded the Chicano Studies program at BC in the 1970s. He also founded Heritage for America, a non-profit organization that helps immigrants with achieving citizenship.
When Nieto passed away just before his 70th birthday in 2017, a team of educators who were inspired by his contributions to BC and the Chicano community founded this conference in his name. The theme for this year’s conference was based on the MEChA motto of “Self-Determination for the Liberation of Our People.”
Students from the newly-created BC organization Project Conexiones talked about the founding of their group, which seeks to create a bridge between MEChA, LUPE, and other campus organizations that support Chicano and undocumented students through their education.
CSUB political science professor Mark Martinez spoke of Gonzales’ gregarious personality and told stories from his time as a CSUB social studies teacher toward the end of his life. Steve Barber, Gonzales’ campaign manager from 1972, talked about Gonzales’ important work in petitioning to redrawing the district lines in Kern County to maximize Latino representation, as well as conducting demographic research that would lead to the creation of Cal State Monterey Bay. Gonzales’ daughter Emily ended the panel with a tearful discussion of his passion and discipline for learning.
After the Ray Gonzales panel, local artists Jorge Guillen and Juan X shared their poetry about the Chicano struggle. Guillen made a portrait of Ray Gonzales in honor of the conference and shared some of his murals in Rexland Acres Park. He also talked the influence that BC professors such as Jack Brigham had on his development as an artist.
The first day of the conference moved to the Administration Courtyard, where attendees ate a delicious spread of enchiladas and tacos provided by Food Services. During dinner, the BC Jazz Ensemble performed in the courtyard with Louie Cruz Beltran, a percussionist, singer and BC alum who has played alongside Tito Puente, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Macy Gray, and some of the most famous entertainers in the world. Paintings of historic Chicano figures by Guillen, BC students and professor Diego Monterrubio were also displayed in the courtyard.
Day one of the conference concluded with a keynote presentation by Sean Arce, a teacher who revolutionized Chicano Studies instruction at the elementary and high school levels. He also represented Tucson high school students in challenging Arizona’s ban on ethnic studies instruction, which was overturned by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Arce v. Douglas.
Arce shared some demographic information about educational attainment rates broken down by race, and explained how Ethnic Studies programs can help to increase educational attainment rates by allowing students of color to see their experiences reflected in the curriculum.
On Wednesday night in the BC Forum, the Jess Nieto Memorial Conference screened the PBS documentary “The Rise of the Brown Buffalo,” about Chicano lawyer and activist Oscar Zeta Acosta.
“The Rise of the Brown Buffalo” was directed by veteran PBS filmmaker Philip Rodriguez, using actors to portray Acosta and the major figures in his life. The film juxtaposes talking head testimonials from the actors with actual photos and footage of Acosta. In the film, Acosta is portrayed by Bakersfield native Jesse Celedon.
Acosta was an influential part of the Chicano movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s as a bold and boisterous lawyer representing activists and Chicano militants in Los Angeles during a time of rioting and intense racial strife. He was known for his wild and unorthodox methods of practicing law, and he cross-examined 100 judges, an unprecedented act that demonstrated how the jury selection process for his cases was biased against Chicanos. He also ran for Sheriff of Los Angeles County in 1970.
Acosta’s books didn’t do well commercially despite critical acclaim, and in 1974, he hand-wrote a last will and testament and disappeared in the deserts of Mexico. He was never seen again and is presumed dead.
The last day of the conference focused on student presentations. Current members of BC’s MEChA gave a current update on everything they’ve done this year and testimonials about how the club helped them connect with their Chicano heritage. Graduate students Randy Villegas from UC Santa Cruz and Francisco Beltran from UC Santa Barbara gave presentations of their research. BC students Jose Bello and Tania Bernal moderated a panel on immigration, and Levan Student Award recipients gave presentations as well. The conference ended with a special baile by Project Conexiones students.
I’d like to thank Octavio Barajas for organizing all of the programming, as well as all of the students, staff and panelists who came out to support such an amazing, legendary man.
Third Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast
On Wednesday, April 24, BC attended the 3rd Annual Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast at Hodel’s Country Dining. The Cesar Chavez Legacy Breakfast is one place where community champions who quietly work behind the scenes are illuminated for their phenomenal dedication.
This year’s honoree and recipient of the Cesar Chavez Legacy Award was Dolores Huerta, who was born on April 10, 1930 in Dawson, New Mexico, but spent most of her childhood and early adult life in Stockton, California. Dolores found her calling while serving in the leadership of the Stockton Community Service Organization (CSO), when she founded the Agricultural Workers Association (AWA). In 1955, she met CSO Executive Director Cesar E. Chavez. The two shared a common vision of organizing farm workers, which was an idea that did not necessarily follow the CSO’s mission.
In 1962, Cesar and Dolores launched the National Farm Workers Association, where Dolores’s skills were vital to the growth of this organization. In addition, she was instrumental in the enactment of the Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, as well as working as a lobbyist to improve workers’ legislative representation. Later, she fought to elect more Latinos and women to political office.
Dolores has received many honors and accolades over the years, including the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award in 1998 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. As of 2015, she was a board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation, Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, and President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.
The breakfast was hosted by Danny Morrison, who is a social and community activist, motivational speaker, and multimedia personality and host of The Danny Morrison Radio Show with the NEW 103.9 The Beat in Bakersfield and the NEW Forge 92.5 in Fresno. Born and raised in Bakersfield, Danny spends his time mentoring children, performing motivational speeches, and giving back to the community.
It was wonderful to see several members of our BC leadership come out to celebrate Huerta’s accomplishments, including Abel Guzman, Brenda Valdez, Corny Rodriguez, Olivia Garcia, Victor Diaz, and Lisa Robles. We are BC! Si, se puede!
Project Conexiones Students Participate in Leadership Conference
Participants attended various workshop topics ranging from career development, political consciousness, social and community activism, supporting undocumented students, systems of higher education, cultural resiliency, unity among students, and learned from many powerful keynote speakers, authors, and influential community organizers.
Students began their morning at MacArthur Park with an appreciation of their indigenous cultural roots as they were greeted by a traditional Aztec danza.
After the final day of the conference, Conexiones students enjoyed a relaxing and fun day at Malibu Beach.
Special thanks to the EOPS and CalSOAP staff who contributed greatly to the planning process. Big shout out to Octavio Barajas (History), Francisco Llamas (History), and Marcela Gamino (EOPS) for serving as advocates and mentors to the Conexiones students.
Business Pathway Career Expo
On Wednesday, Bakersfield College held its Business Pathway Career Expo in front of the library for students to interact with professionals regarding the careers they would like to pursue.
Students talked to people in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship, Computer Science, and Law Enforcement. These days, employers are looking for more than an education. They are looking for skilled workers with job experience, so the Business Pathway Career Expo gave students a chance to learn about job prospects and internships before they finish college so they can get a head start on their career. The expo also allowed students to interact with several local business owners and industry partners.
Cool t-shirt. Thank you.
Pre-Law Student Celebration
The Bakersfield College Pre-Law Program is pleased to report that we have 11 students who completed the Pre-Law program this year. We have students transferring to CSU Bakersfield, CSU East Bay, UC Davis, and Washington State. Best of luck to our Pre-Law graduates!
EOP&S Student Celebration
Last Tuesday, April 23, the EOP&S Student Celebration took place at Hodel’s Country Dining. Check out these great photos!
Community Voices: Tom Burke
Check out this piece by Chancellor Tom Burke in The Bakersfield Californian about celebrating community colleges. Like the chancellor, I’m very proud of the work we have done to serve our community college students.
Community Voices: Jack Hernandez
Last month, Jack Hernandez wrote a touching piece in The Bakersfield Californian on the topic of suicide. His words touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes as he wrote about his personal experience dealing with suicide. As he states in the first paragraph, suicide is a “terrifying, endlessly sad word.”
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
William Harland Boyd Gets Plaque
This weekend, a plaque will be dedicated on campus in memory of Dr. William Harland Boyd, who was a history professor and department chair at Bakersfield College.
In addition to his BC duties, Dr. Boyd was a co-founder and editor of the local historical society in Kern County, being affiliated with this group for more than fifty years. This wonderful plaque will be displayed inside our Humanities area, so be sure to stop by and take a look! We are BC proud!
Geology Club Rocks the Sequoias
Francis Benavente, who recently joined the Bakersfield College Geology Club, sent over these great photos of a wonderful field trip they took to see rocks in Sequoia National Park. Under the direction of geology professor Chris Benker, they hiked up the river to Brush Creek, and got a lot of really awesome pictures. I’d like to give a special thanks to Chris for providing these amazing opportunities for our students!
BC Drumline Beats the Competition at WGI World Championship
Last week, I wrote about our amazing BC Drumline winning the gold medal at the WGI World Championship Competition in Dayton, Ohio. Director of Marching Arts Ensembles Tim Heasley and Drumline Media Manager Jimmie Taliaferro sent over these videos of the students warming up for the competition. The actual performance couldn’t be recorded because of copyright reasons, but as Tim puts it, “You had to be there!” Congrats, again!
Math and Science Retirement Luau
Retirees from the Math and Science Departments were celebrated with a retirement luau on Wednesday, April 24, and I was happy to participate in the festivities. Patrick Fulks from the Biology Department is also retiring this semester, but was unavailable for the picture.
Thank you to Stephen Waller and Janet Thomas and the Office of Instruction Staff, as well as fellow faculty members of the math, biology, and physical science departments, for putting on the luau party. Aloha!
Celebrating Earth Day with ‘Eating Animals’
Last Monday night in the Levan Center, Professor Beth Rodacker and Professor Emily Wilson hosted a viewing and discussion of the film Eating Animals to celebrate Earth Day 2019.
The film, which was released in 2017, has received fine reviews and takes a close-up look at factory farming. Based on the bestselling book by Jonathan Safran Foer, narrated by co-producer Natalie Portman, and directed by Christopher Quinn, Eating Animals takes an eye-opening look at the environmental, economic, and public health consequences of factory farming.
Spotlighting farmers who adopt more humane practices, Eating Animals offers attainable, commonsense solutions to a growing crisis.
Thanks to Beth and Emily for giving our students a chance to view this great film.
Spotlight: Office of Institutional Effectiveness
At Bakersfield College, we take pride in our high-touch, high-tech approach to working with our students, and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness has been instrumental in the development and evolution of that approach since its inception in 2016.
Institutional Effectiveness conducts research, collects data, and provides reports on everything from accreditation, program review, and enrollment strategies to data coaching, grant funding, and student learning outcomes. This data is used by executive leadership and program managers to inform decisions, track outcomes and effectiveness of initiatives, and direct the daily activities of staff.
This year, the office has launched the Institutional Review Board and developed a process for faculty and staff to request research projects. The Institutional Review Board helps college personnel attain higher education credentials, facilitates applications for federal grants, and maintains ethical standards of research projects at BC. So far, the office has received 385 research requests through the Institutional Review Board during the 2018-19 academic year, Hayward said.
After compiling the information for this year’s Scorecard, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness has noticed an increasing proportion of younger students in the BC student body over the past five years due to the growth of the Dual Enrollment and Early College programs. The shift in curriculum via metamajors and the establishment of Completion Coaching communities has resulted in a significant increase of Hispanic/Latinx students receiving Associate Degrees for Transfer, as well as increases in the number of students attempting 15 or more units in their first term and completing transfer-level math and English in their first year. These are important momentum points in both the guided pathways model and new state funding formula for community colleges.
Institutional researchers have shared BC’s high-tech, high-touch strategies across the nation, including the state Chancellor’s Office, EMSI, the Center for Urban Education, and the RP Group conference this month. In May, researcher Amber Hroch will be presenting at ACCJC’s Partners in Excellence conference about program review.
This year, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness developed Cognos reports that will help the EOP&S and Veterans’ Services departments streamline the work they do to support students. They’ve also launched the first phase of a project that will create a centralized data warehouse for all of the information collected across Banner, Starfish, eLumen, and other programs utilized by BC faculty and staff.
I’d like to thank all of the brilliant minds in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness for providing concrete data analysis that continues to drive innovation at BC.
Fun Photos: BC Entrepreneurship Team
Manny Mourtzanos shared a fun photo of the team after the Entrepreneurship Workshop that was offered to BC students following the Business Pathway Career Expo on Wednesday. They enjoyed two very successful events–it’s a good time to be a Renegade!
Fun Photos: Power Luncheon
Check out these great photos from Wednesday’s Power Luncheon with Jean Fuller.
Fun Photos: College Budget Meeting
Our College Budget Meetings are always an exciting time, as you can see in these wonderful photos.
The annual Army All-Star football game at Rabobank is a huge community event that we had the opportunity to sponsor this year. Athletics Program Manager Darrell Ballard and student worker Daniel Kraskey manned a table representing the college before the game and Associate AD Keith Ford presented the Offensive Player of the Game Award at the conclusion of the game. Over twenty of this year’s players are coming to BC this fall to play football for Coach Chudy. We look forward to seeing them on campus!
If you missed watching the Renegade Report live this last Thursday at 11:00 a.m., check out the segments from this week’s show from the links below. This week’s highlights include segments from BC Baseball and Softball, who are both Western State Conference Champions!
Segment with BC Baseball Coach Tim Painton
Segment with BC Baseball’s Kamron Willman and Alejandro Murillo
Segment with BC Assistant Softball Coach Aryka Chavez
Segment with BC Softball’s Natilee Parrish and Ashley Hernandez
Renegades of the Week
Renegade Athletics is proud to announce this week’s (4/14-4/20) Wells Fargo Renegades of the Week:
Daran Towns, Women’s Swimming
Was named WSC Co-Female Swimmer of the Year, winning all three of her individual races and breaking school records in all three. (500 Free, 200 Free, 100 Free) She was also on the winning 800 Free Relay along with 3 other top 4 relays.
Jacob Whitby, Men’s Track and Field
Placed first in the discus with a throw of 46.63m at the WSC Championships for back-to-back conference championships in that event.
Renegade Volleyball is Tearing it up on the Sand
The Renegade Women’s Beach Volleyball team hosted both Santa Barbara City College and Glendale College at the CSUB Beach Volleyball courts on Friday and came away with two dominant victories, 5-0 over SBCCC and 5-0 over GC. KCCD General Counsel Chris Hine was at the match to witness the dominating play by our student athletes. View a full album of the matches.
Women’s Soccer Student Athletes Moving On
Renegade Women’s Soccer student athletes Reagan King and Drew Hallum will be continuing their academic and athletic careers at the Division I level this coming season. King has signed with the University of Louisiana Monroe and Hallum, who originally committed to Emerson College, has signed with Appalachian State University. Congrats and good luck!
Jacob Whitby Grabs Back-to-Back WSC Discus Championships
Congrats to Renegade Student Athlete Jacob Whitby who won the Western State Conference Discuss Title that last weekend with a throw of 46.63m. This is now Jacob’s second title in as many years. Congrats, Jacob and good luck the rest of the season!
Roundup of Athletics Events This Week
As always, it was a full week of athletics events for our Renegades teams. Highlights from the week include:
- Softball Finishes Perfect in Conference Play
- Golf Finishes 5th at WSC #9
- Men’s Track and Field at the WSC Prelims
- Women’s Track and Field at the WSC Prelims
- Women’s Swimming at the WSC Championships
- Men’s Swimming at the WSC Championships
- Beach Volleyball goes 2-0
- Baseball Clobbers Cerritos, 10-1
- Softball Cruches Cuesta, 8-0
Stay Connected to Renegade Athletics
Be sure to stay connected with Renegade Athletics by following us on social media.
- Facebook – ‘Bakersfield College Athletics’
- Twitter – @GoGadesGo
- Instagram – @gogadesgo
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
the luckiest and happiest college president ever