Preamble: Winter before the Freeze

The Importance of Winter Intersession to Student Success

  • Prior to 2004, PCC utilized a three-term calendar composed of a fall and spring semester and two summer sessions. In 2004, a four-term academic calendar with a winter intersession was instituted only after a lengthy analysis and discussion with all campus constituents regarding its pedagogical benefits and operational implications for students and faculty. The Winter Intersession, which was a 6-week term between Fall and Spring, was developed to allow students to either accelerate their transfer/graduation or make up a class they couldn’t enroll in or had underperformed in during the previous fall semester.
  • Numbers released by the PCC Institutional Planning and Research Office (IPRO) as well as the Chancellor’s Office conclusively prove that academic years with a winter intersession provided greater student success and retention than academic years without a winter intersession (please see the chart below). It should be noted that the numbers below were NOT provided nor released by the PCC administration at the time when winter was cancelled.

A Steady and Deliberate Decrease

  • While President PCC President, Mark Rocha, publicly stated that Winter would not be cut, the decisions of his administration spoke otherwise. While a prior administration had already cut Winter by 43%, the administration reduced it further by another 23% claiming it was a financial necessity.  This turned out to be untrue. The administration essentially proceeded to starve the winter session.

Number of Winter Intersession Sections and enrollment

2008-2009

2009-2010

2010-2011

2011-2012

2012-2013

597

340

352

271

0

Cancellation and Imposition of Three-term Calendar

  • February 21, 2012 – Students staged a massive 300+ walkout in response to the cancellation of more than 50 classes and firing of 45 teachers less than a week before the beginning of the Spring semester.
  • February 22, 2012 – Students took their discontent to the Board of Trustees meeting. The Board refused to listen to all student concerns, and students became upset. The Board shut down video recording and retreated behind closed doors after students continued to speak-out.   The college responded by establishing a greater police presence at future Trustee meetings.
  • July 12, 2012 – President Rocha himself presented a budget document at the Budget and Resource Allocation Committee meeting (BRAC) which indicated that if the PCC Faculty Association (PCCFA) would agree to the elimination of winter intersession and change to a trimester calendar, the college would save $1 Million.[5] However, a later document indicated that canceling Winter 2013 would only save the college $589,000[6], a mere 0.05% of the entire PCC budget for 2012-2013.
  • July 2012 – Meanwhile, during contract negotiations with the faculty union,  the administration demanded that the union sign off on an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would have canceled the Winter Intersession or threatened that the STAFF (not faculty) would face immediate furloughs. The faculty union rejected the MOU.[7] Furloughs did not happen because there was not a financial necessity.
  • August 2012 – Because the alleged cost-savings rationale for canceling Winter was unfounded, the administration released documents now claiming that cancelling winter and instituting a trimester calendar would ensure “student success” and offer students more classes by pushing the start of the Spring 2013 semester earlier to January instead of late February.[8] The only evidence provided to the Board was a document related to the K-12 system, statements made by PCC management, and statements generated by the administration itself.[9] NO statistical documentation was released at this time.
  • Moreover, the administration FALSELY claimed to the Board that it was the Calendar Committee itself that had recommended the change to the three-term calendar.[10] Minutes from the committee meeting in January 27, 2011[11] as well as statements from committee members themselves[12] indicated that during the meeting on the abovementioned date, President Rocha himself had asked the committee members hypothetically, if the Winter were to be canceled, what other alternative calendars would they support.
  • Numerous faculty and students urged the Board of Trustees [13] to hold off on canceling Winter until they had more data and vetting from the campus.
  • August 29, 2012 –  Only four months after having approved the original 2012-2013 Academic Calendar, the PCC Board of Trustees approved a brand new “Student Calendar” that eliminated the Winter Intersession. The unilateral cancellation of Winter and imposition of the three-term calendar is a reversion back to the academic calendar as it was almost a decade ago.[14]. Read a transcript excerpt of how it went down, or watch video footage of police ejecting students from the meeting.
%d bloggers like this: