SF Green Party Community College Board Endorsement Questionnaire 2014


Candidate Name: Brigitte Davila
Phone Number: 415-531-9743
Web site: www.davila4citycollege.com
E-mail: brigitte@davila4citycollege.com
Name of Campaign Manager: Nadia Conrad-Huayta
Signed voluntary spending limit: N/A
Major Endorsements: Supervisor John Avalos (D11), Supervisor David Campos (D9), Supervisor Eric Mar (D1), AFT2121, Harvey Milk Democratic Club, Latino Democratic Club. I
will be updating the endorsement list on my campaign website.

Favorite Incumbent College Board Member: Rafael Mandelman is exemplary as a Board of Trustees community liaison. He outreaches to all the political clubs and neighborhood groups to advocate for and update on the status of CCSF.
Least favorite: If you take a look back in the records, it is clear that Lawrence Wong did not take his Board of Trustees responsibilities seriously. He was absent for more than half of his meetings. City College needs trustees who are serious about meeting the needs of the college. That includes showing up and taking responsibility.

1. Could the current accreditation crisis have been foreseen and
potentially averted: How could the board have done better?

There are two distinct, but related, problems with the accreditation
issue. First, there is no doubt in my mind that the accrediting agency
the ACCJC has overreached on so many levels. This is best understood
in the court documents of the litigation challenging the ACCJC’s
mandate, justifications and procedures. It is clear to me that the
ACCJC appears to have an agenda when it comes to San Francisco City
College. Second, as a faculty member at San Francisco State
university, I have participated in several accreditation reviews as
they are scheduled in 6 month cycles. Therefore, I know that the
college and the board had to have an idea from the self-studies and
the external review reports of problem areas. All large universities
and colleges have legitimate areas they need to improve. The Board
should have taken this seriously acted sooner on these issues.

2. What is your stance on public and private partnerships within the college?

I am wary of public/private partnerships, but not completely opposed
if it benefits students. For example, I am generally in favor of
training programs for entry-level jobs with solar or other sustainable
companies or unions. I am opposed to jumping on any education
bandwagon de jure of some new “disruptive” technology that promises
without any substantiation or research to save money and provide the
same level of quality education. I am referring to MOOCS in this case,
but there will no doubt be some new snake-oil in a year or two. I say
this as an instructor who avidly employs technology in the classroom
and teaches online classes. I am opposed to jumping on any for profit
trend that does not serve our students. I am also philosophically
opposed to private, for-profit colleges as student success and civic
engagement is not their first concern.

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?

My position on tuition and state fees for a community college is that
they should be set as contemplated by the California Master Plan for
Education which was developed in the 1960's to provide a free or low
cost education to anyone with the motivation to learn and develop.
Although I came from a working class family, I had it so much better
than many of my students and I did not have to acquire the equivalent
of an educational mortgage in terms of loans. Latinos now comprise
over 50% of public school students, California absolutely needs to
educate this group in the manner they afforded in the 1960's and 70's
when the beneficiaries were largely the white middle class. The best
feature is that all Californians, not just Latinos, will benefit from
low-cost/free tuition.

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?

It is so important to the students of City College (with an average
age of 33) that the Foundation takes their long term interests into
account, including decisions regarding the gradual disinvestment in
GMOs, tobacco, and oil. More importantly, investments should be
directed toward sustainable socially conscious companies, with a
positive return. The Transparency Act, passed in 2011 by the
California legislature and signed by the Governor requires sunshine on
all auxiliary units and foundations attached to public colleges and
universities. The board needs to work with this Act and implement
policies and explicit procedures to maintain a clear understanding of
not only finances and investments on the part of the Foundation, but
all decisions made by the Foundation board.

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 the college's draft budget should be published on a website
with summary reports in time for all stakeholders to review and
comment.

6. How will you work with the state to protect Proposition 98 funds
for community colleges?

Proposition 98 is the largest chunk of the budget. The 'pot' is
determined by a formula and one of the factors is the number of
students enrolled. City College has seen an erosion of students due to
the accreditation snafu. The first thing that must be done at the
local level is stemming the loss of students who fear their units will
not transfer or be honored. After years of working with the
California Faculty Association on public education budget issues, I
have developed organizing and lobbying skills and relationships with
legislators supportive of public higher education. I will employ these
skills and relationships to protect Proposition 98 funding levels. We
cannot forget that when the pot looks tempting to solve some other
crisis politicians will not shy away from trying to dip into it.

7. Do you feel there is enough transparency or public disclosure of
the Board and the college? How would you change things?

No, I do not.

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, but I have viewed videos of board meetings. I
think a public comment period is important to keep the board "in the
loop" and there are presently enough policies and procedures in place
to deter disruptions. I have more concern about board members
attending the meetings they were elected to attend.

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 aid?

I have worked with students who match the above descriptions for the
last 20 years. My students often are the first in their families to
attend college. I understand them as I was n their shoes years
earlier. I was the first person in my Mexican-American family (and my
neighborhood) to go on to higher education after high school. The
community college gave me my start to go on to graduate from UC
Berkeley. I understand the support and resources they need to keep on
going. Recruitment is one issue, but just as much attention should be
paid to retention. Marginalized students have a much higher percentage
of attrition. I will work to improve resources and counseling to
assist students. I am presently involved in a unique project at San
Francisco State that provides education resources to formerly
incarcerated students. I was unsure initially, but I am now one of
their most fervent supporters. I would like to see this type of
support and counseling at City College.

10. How would you eliminate the barriers to full access to noncitizens
to all classes offered by City College?

I am assuming that the term noncitizen identifies members of our San
Francisco community who have not been able to adjust their immigration
status to citizenship, for whatever reason. Three examples of what I
would prioritize are as follows: 1.) I will support non-citizens
voting rights in school board and city college board elections. 2.) I
will work with faculty to create resources and programs that look at
language learners as starting with a language already instead of being
categorized as simply deficient. 3.) I will work to create resources
for undocumented students, which include DREAMers

Undocumented students brought here as children

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?

As an adjunct professor in the College of Ethnic Studies, I fully
support the above named departments. I know first-hand how courses
like this can change a student’s life. Exposure to the themes and
topics presented in these courses are negligible to non-existent in
mainstream courses.

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?

Transgender students should expect a safe non-bullying collegial
atmosphere, an opportunity to share their reality and to use the
restrooms of their choice. I have mentored several transgender
students in my own classes.

13. How will you increase quality child care at ALL campuses?

Currently, childcare is very limited. Only CalWORK students are
completely covered. The oncampus slots are very limited and only
available at the John Adams, Mission and Main campus. This situation
does not benefit the very students who are most in need of an
education or training. I dealt with this same issue as a single mother
when I was at UC Berkeley. Access to childcare can make all the
difference to the future success of a family while I was in school
believe we should expand child-care access to all campus

14. How will you create more campus work opportunities for students?
What is your position on having the college provide health insurance
for students?

Many students are now eligible for Covered California. I understand
there is currently representative at the main campus health center. I
will work to create resources for students to understand the
complicated landscape of health care eligibility among Healthy SF,
Covered CA, eligibility under parents insurance and other health care
options.

15. What will you do to create more venues for student activities and
community meeting centers on all campuses?

I will advocate for more venues for student & community activities for
several reasons. One, I have seen a university designed with the
express intent of not having a natural gathering or meeting area for a
large number of students. I was appalled at that deliberateness of
preventing students from meeting and organizing. Two, students are
important stakeholders and should be encouraged to develop leadership
skills by providing locations to meet and deliberate. Three, providing
meeting places on campus for community groups brings the community to
the college and create more awareness of what City College actually
does. In addition, there are surprisingly few free or low cost meeting
places in most Districts of San Francisco, so this will provide a real
service to the community.

16. How will you work to counter and prevent profiling and police
harassment on campus? What is your position on police firearms on
campus?

I realize this question was created before the events regarding the
police murder in Ferguson, Missouri, but that situation certainly does
illustrate the point. Often, youth of color are automatically assumed
to be criminals. In sum, I do not believe that campus police should
carry firearms. In the case of security risk like Virginia Tech, the
campus police have access to guns and can call in the SFPD.

17. What is your position on allowing noncitizens the right to vote in
College Board and School Board elections?

As I stated previously, I 100% support access to San Francisco School
Board and Community College Board of Trustees.

18. What is your position on giving the student trustee full Board
Membership and voice?

Since students are important stakeholders the student trustee should
have full board membership. I also think that there should be seats
for faculty and staff representatives. This will greatly assist board
decisions as the board will have the input of major stakeholders and
therefore avoid some of the problems encountered in the past.

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?

For this question I will focus on the main campus. I know as a bike
rider, it is very difficult to bike up Ocean Avenue. There is a very
dangerous freeway exit and the sharrows aren't really cutting it. I
believe there should be dedicated bike paths leading into City
College. Presently, much of the focus is on cars with huge swaths of
land dedicated to parking. Giving more attention to bikes and walking
will gradually reduce the number of autos. Although there are several
bus lines and muni metro lines

20. How will you ensure that the administration and faculty reflect
the diversity of the San Francisco Community College's student
community?

I will work to implement innovative approaches to this issue. For
example, in the 1970's in Latino communities and other communities of
color, peer-to-peer recruitment was an excellent method of outreaching
to the exact communities who need information and guidance. I am
living proof, as I was working in the same factory my mother worked in
upon graduation from high school. If it were not for MEChA recruiters
I would not have begun my educational journey that started at a
community college and ended with two degrees from UC Berkeley.

21. What is your position of recruiting for the military on campus?

I'm not in favor of it.

22. What criteria will you use in deciding whether new cell phone
antennas will be installed on top of City College buildings?

Science will be my number one criteria. The board should examine data
on health impacts of cell phone towers. I realize it seems like easy
money, but health must be the number one criteria.

23. Please describe how you make your political decisions. What is the
main basis for your decisionmaking (e.g., consultation with your
constituents, political consultants, colleagues, unions, businesses,
donors, or your gut feelings)?

I make my decisions based on my core values of fairness, truth,
creativity, intellectual curiosity and effectiveness. I try to use
these as guidelines for all my personal and professional
decision-making. To make informed decisions, I will seek the input of
all stakeholders.