SF Green Party Community College Board Endorsement Questionnaire 2015
yCandidate Name: Wendy Aragon
Phone Number: (415)350-4765
Web site: wendyaragon.com
Name of Campaign Manager: N/A
Signed voluntary spending limit:
Campaign Manager: N/A? Dotty LeMeiux - Green Dog Campaigns (consultant)
Major Endorsements: AFT 2121, California Federation of Teachers, San Francisco Tenants Union, Sierra Club, San Francisco Labor Council, San
Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council, Assemblymember Phil Ting,
Former Mayor Art Agnos, Jane Morrison, Supervisor Eric Mar
Favorite Incumbent College Board Member: I'm equally partial to Rafael
Mandelman, and John Rizzo, but I have an extra fondness for Brigitte Davila
because we ran this race together last year.
Least favorite: redacted at the request of the candidate
1. Could the current accreditation crisis have been foreseen and potentially
averted? How could the board have done better?
I believe that the accreditation crisis is a political attack on City College of San
Francisco. The State Chancellor and Board of Governors for community colleges
in California has implemented policies to downsize community colleges across the
State and CCSF is the biggest feeder school in California. I think that because the
Board of Trustees stayed committed to our open access and broad mission and
cut administrator salaries during the 2008 budget cuts is part of the reason why
we are seeing this attack. The board should have brought in legal support
experienced in accreditation at the beginning of the crisis and I have great
concern that they voted against being a "Real Party of Interest" in the City
Attorney and CFT's legal action. I also think that they should have taken a
stronger position about protecting an affordable, accessible education at a college
which has provided excellent academic quality without sanction for almost 80
2. What is your stance on public and private partnerships within the college?
CCSF needs to enhance our partnerships to create more clear pathways to jobs. I
want to strengthen our capacity to sustain employment partners. This includes our
nursing, fire science, culinary, fashion, construction management and trades
programs. I also want to develop and strengthen new employment pathways and
work with city departments to stop investing in College of San Mateo and have
their employees trained at CCSF. But I also believe that private business has to
be a good neighbor and freely give CCSF opportunities for their graduates without
expecting something in return. I want to develop a win-win situation for the
business community, the entire campus community and for the city San
3. What is your position on tuition and fees, for in-state students and for
international/out-of-state students? Will you actively campaign against tuition
increases on the state level?
I support the effort to make community colleges free of charge. If elected I will
work to end the backwards registration policy and CCSF's relationship with
NelNet, which is a financial aid broker that has a reputation of leading students
into debt. This policy requires that students pay their fees within 72 hours or they
will dropped from the classes they registered for. This is not reflective of the
mission of community college and I will actively campaign on the state level to
address this issue. It's especially difficult on our undocumented students who do
not qualify for regular tuition under AB540 and as a result, are paying out of state
4. What is your position on getting the CCSF Foundation to divest from harmful
corporate stocks (GMO, tobacco, oil) and into socially-responsible firms located in
San Francisco? How will they ensure that the Foundation provide transparency concerning their holdings?
I know that the Board of Trustees wrote a resolution to divest and to stop banking
with Wells Fargo. The State implemented Special Trustee who makes all
governance decisions right now dissolved the resolution and kept the college in
business with Wells Fargo. I believe that the college should have a social
responsibility policy in terms of all of partnerships and investments. I would direct
the Foundation to provide all information regarding the holdings and hold public
town hall meetings about this issue.
I am also in favor of removing our soda
machines and snack vending machines in favor of healthier and equally affordable
5. If elected to the Board, how would you ensure that you and the public would receive the college's draft budget with a sufficient time to review it thoroughly
before adopting it?
I believe that this is a simple logistics issue. I would work with the other board
members to develop a budget timeline and publicize the budget to community
stakeholders to solicit feedback. We also need to restore our Citizen Oversight
committees that weigh in on bonds, parcel taxes, and state allocated funds.
6. What is your position on selling campus properties?
I have tremendous concern over the potential sale of 33 Gough to unscrupulous
developers like CBRE. Yes, we were promised 30% affordable housing, but it's
going to be completely privatized and we left a proposal from another contractor
on the table that would have provided 50% affordable housing and a
homelessness transitional program that could have benefited those receiving
services from our Homeless At-Risk Transitional Students program. I am a
proponent of having a new proposal submitted. We need to be prioritizing
affordable housing and ensuring that our faculty, staff, and students have first
7. Do you feel there is enough transparency or public disclosure of the Board and
the college? How would you change things?
I believe that the Board can continue to work with the community to ensure that
the voice of the people of San Francisco is heard. The board is mandated to have
citizen advisory committees for all of our voter approved bonds and if elected I
want to make sure those committees become active. I think that during the
accreditation crisis we have seen a lack of transparency and public disclosure. I
also feel that we should go back to videotaping the meetings so that people who
cannot attend in person have access to the meeting online.
8. Have you attended the Community College Board meeting? Would you change
public comment policy at the meetings? If so, how?
I have not attended any recent Community College Board meetings due to a
scheduling conflict, but I have taken classes at the college. I believe that on
substantive changes the board should allow for multiple processes that ensure the
voice of the public is heard in policy decisions. I think that we should take verbal
and written comments into account when making decisions. I also think that we
should organize listening sessions about major decisions at the college.
9. How will you improve outreach and increase access to San Francisco
Community College to low-income people, people of color, people with disabilities
and students with prior drug felony convictions who are not eligible for financial
I know that City College has services for these populations such as Second
Chance for those with drug convictions, Disabled Students Programs and
Services, Extended Opportunities Programs and Services and support programs
for students of color. The issue is that these programs need more funding to serve
more students and with more funding they will be able to conduct more outreach
to students. The State cut funding for categorical programs in 2008 by 55% and
we have not seen those funds restored. I would advocate for more funding. I am
also using my position as Chair of the SFPUC Citizens Advisory Committee to
push through a resolution to create academic partnerships with CCSF, SFSU, and
SFUSD when the department moves their offices from 1800 Evans to a new
facility at 1550 Evans.
10. How would you eliminate the barriers to full access to noncitizens to all
classes offered by City College?
I believe that the college needs more funding for counselors that can help
noncitizens navigate the system. Also at this time students that are
undocumented can enroll in classes but do not have access to financial aid. i
would advocate for more scholarship funds for these students or find a way to
mitigate the out of state tuition that they pay.
11. What is your position on expanding the Local Activism, Community Service,
Labor, Ethnic, Women's, Disability Rights and GLBT courses and departments?
If supportive, how do you intend to do it?
I believe that the civic engagement portion of our mission must be restored. San
Francisco has a long tradition of civic engagement and to lose that portion of our
mission is unacceptable. I also want full funding for all of our Diversity Studies,
studies show that these programs help low income, marginalized students to
become engaged in higher education. Right now, many of our sections are down
by at least 50%. Meanwhile we emphasize STEM programs, and while STEM is
important, it's not a one size fits all field of study.
12. What is your stance on gender inequity and how would you ensure that
transgendered students feel safe and supported on campus? How will you make
positive changes to serve this growing community?
City College of San Francisco has a program called the Gender Diversity Project
which advocates for gender equity and safe space for transgender students. I
want to work with this effort to ensure that all students are welcome at City
College. Over a dozen trans women of color have been brutally murdered this
year, including in our own city and the average life expectancy of a trans woman
is 35 years old. That's not the future that I want for our transgender students.
13. How will you increase quality child care at ALL campuses?
I would advocate for more students to pay the $5 Student Activity Fee which funds
services like the Family Resource Center (FRC). The FRC provides childcare to
low income students. I know that childcare is at times the deciding factor for
individuals who want to attend school and do not have the resources to obtain
private childcare. I believe that all students, no matter their situation, should have
access to education. Once the board is able to access the parcel tax money, I
want to advocate for additional funding.
14. How will you create more campus work opportunities for students? What is
your position on having the college provide health insurance for students?
I believe that the college has to enhance the student employment program at City
College and increase work opportunities. I want to ensure that student workers
earn a fair wage and receive respect on the job.
CCSF has a Student Health Center which provides low cost health and
15. Do you support expansion of job training for careers related to local energy
efficiency and clean energy installation?
Much of my platform is around CCSF as a means to elevate people out of
poverty. And while matriculating students into the university system is what
community colleges do, they are also a vehicle for workforce training. I'd like to
see the SFPUC, which leases space to CCSF, take the lead in creating a pipeline
into a growing industry like clean energy and sustainability.
16. How will you work to counter and prevent profiling and police harassment on
campus? What is your position on police firearms on campus?
The college needs to provide cultural competency training to all of the campus
police. I think that we need to talk to students to see how they feel about campus
police having firearms. I have been criticized by the classified staff chapter of
SEIU for being against arming our campus police, although the rest of the union
sees eye to eye with most everyone else. Unless campus police can assure me
that they are able to successfully make black and brown students feel that they
are there to keep them safe and not harm them, the subject of firearms on
campus is not on the table for me.
17. What is your position on allowing noncitizens the right to vote in College
Board and School Board elections?
I think that we should absolutely allow non-citizens to vote in these elections. Just
because someone is undocumented, it does not mean that they don't have the
right to represented.
18. What is your position on giving the student trustee full Board Membership and
I believe that the Student Trustee should have a vote. How can the largest
constituency at the college not have an official vote? This has to be changed on a
State level and I know that students are working hard to change this.
19. What are your views of transportation and pedestrian safety to, from and
around City College campuses? What, if anything, would you change, and how
would you go about making those changes?
I think that we need to do a study on this issue. There have been recent changes
to Phelan Street in terms of the new bus turnaround for the 49 and 8x transit lines.
I think that the light at Phelan street takes too long to change causing pedestrian
to have to "jaywalk" which results in a ticket and safety being compromised. We
also need to get with the program and provide shuttle services between
campuses like other colleges in the city do.
20. What is your position of recruiting for the military on campus?
It is unfortunate that because the college receives federal funding that military
recruiters must be allowed to recruit on campus. I would like to talk to students,
especially the 1500 veterans that attend City College to see how they feel about
this issue. And I think that it is important to address the issue that the targets for
military recruitment are people of color and lowincome students. We should not
be enticing students to enlist by dangling fully paid for college tuition in front of
21. What criteria will you use in deciding whether new cell phone antennas will be
installed on top of City College buildings?
I think that we need to research the health and environmental impacts of the
project and conduct surveys with the campus community.
22. Please describe how you make your political decisions. What is the main
basis for your decision making (e.g., consultation with your constituents, political
consultants, colleagues, unions, businesses, donors, or your gut feelings)?
I believe very deeply in local authority and that individuals must always consult
their constituents in decision making. I also have a strong relationship with labor
and so it's important to me to ensure that CCSF is worker friendly.