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Board has four finalists for two seats

Board of Trustees

Members of the LCC Board of Trustees worked toward filling the two vacant trustee seats during their gathering on Monday, Jan. 22.  Photo by Mallory Stiles

Mallory Stiles

By Mallory Stiles
Editor in Chief

Two LCC Board of Trustees meetings occurred the evening of Jan. 22. The first, referred to as a “special meeting,” began at 5:30 p.m. and was held to select the final candidates to fill two open board positions.

Out of 25 applicants, four were selected to possibly replace former Trustees Andrew Abood and Ryan Buck, both of whom resigned at the end of 2023.

The four finalists for the two LCC vacancies are: Terry Frazier, Ronald Gillum, Becky Brewer and Noel Garcia Jr. The two people appointed to these unpaid positions will hold office until Dec. 31, 2024.

The election to fill the remaining two years of Andrew Abood's position and the remaining four years of Ryan Buck’s position will be held at the next general election in November of 2024.

A special meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 29 in the Administration Building to interview candidates and make a final decision on the vacancies.

What was referred to as “the regular meeting” began at 6 p.m. After the row call and the Pledge of Allegiance, LCC President Dr. Steve Robinson kicked things off with his usual President’s Report.

First, he warmly welcomed all new employees, specifically naming LCC’s new chief diversity officer.

“As I mentioned last month,” he said jovially, “I was looking forward to this meeting so I could welcome and introduce you to Dr. Dale Dan, our new chief diversity officer.”

Dr. Dan approached the podium swiftly, and quietly but warmly introduced herself. She ended her introduction by reiterating her gratitude for the position.

“I just want to thank you all sincerely for having me on board as your chief diversity officer,” she said.

Shortly after Dr. Dan had once again taken her seat, Board Chair Angela Mathews said she was deeply moved by Dr. Dan’s words at another meeting. She said Dan had inspired her greatly and agrees that “our babies need us.”

“They belong here and we will help them get there, wherever there is,” Mathews said.

After the introductions, Robinson gave an update on a new creation known as the “Enrollment Management Taskforce.” This is a league of individuals specifically assigned to get students in the door.

He mentioned that the only snafu so far was too many people signed up to help.

“The primary metaphor we are using in this taskforce is one of renovation and what I call the ‘loadbearing wall,’” Robinson said. “The concept of a loadbearing wall is really important. There are some walls (where) you can take out a sledge hammer and knock them right down; we have done that before. There are some walls that can move, but maybe they have plumbing or electrical behind them. It’s going to take time and resources to move them.

“But there are loadbearing walls that can’t be moved at all. So, when we look at these obstacles, we are going to be asking that really important question, ‘Is this a loadbearing wall?’ If we are able to, we want to get that wall out of the way of our students.”

President Robinson ended his report by discussing the coming renovation of the Brent M. Knight Arts & Sciences Building, scheduled to be unveiled in spring of 2024.

After his report, it was time to discuss the newly reported, annual adjustments in course fees. Secretary LaShunda Thomas inquired immediately about the fluctuation with tact and grace.

“Some were higher, some were significantly lower,” Thomas said. “For instance, Chronic Care in the Community went from $725 to $560. Is there a specific reasoning behind how they jump?”

Mathews also spoke to ask about possibly lowering course fees as a whole. She stressed she was only asking because she is sincerely worried about the economic hardship students face.

“The question,” she said, “is always ‘How can we alleviate some of the financial pressure on our students?’”

Professor and Accreditation Liaison Officer Mark Kelland responded. He said that not increasing course fees on an annual basis could lead to a structural deficit, and eventually a tuition increase that could be in the double digits.

He also said that by adjusting course fees, extra costs are assessed to the student who owes them, not to the student body as an overall general increase in tuition.

There was a motion that passed to increase the number of electronic car charging stations on campus to be used by student and staff as the need is steadily growing.

Trustee Samantha Vaive, commended LCC for this courageous step into the future.

Finally, Chief of Police Daryl Gaines was summoned to the podium for a brief safety report, though nothing of consequence was reported.

After he was done speaking, Treasurer Robert Proctor raised his hand to signal he had a question.

“What was that elevator thing about?” he asked.

Chief Gaines said that his department responded to a complaint made to student compliance about a disturbance in an elevator. He also said that police responded, but no further details could be given out.

“The investigation is still ongoing,” he said.

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