Equity Taskforce to Meet to Prioritize Needs

Story By: Cresencio Rodriguez, Editor-in-Chief

A task force designed to address student equity at Fresno City College will meet on Feb. 27 to identify and begin to prioritize the needs of students — specifically, African-American males, according to Gennean Bolen, instructor of English and co-chair of the task force.

The FCC Student Equity Plan was approved in December according to president Tony Cantu. The California Community College Chancellor’s Office made available $1.3 million for FCC and this plan will govern how that money is spent.

The plan will address five key areas which are focused on improving student success outcomes for groups of students experiencing disproportionate impact.

The areas the college is focused on for closing the gap in student success are, basic skills, course completion, transfer and degree completion and access.

Bolen says access is the only area where African-American males have a higher reach — the other areas are at a much lower reach for African-American males compared to other students on campus.

In an effort to change that, the plan contains language about increasing the number of African-American students who successfully complete courses attempted, among other ways the college plans to close the gaps in student success.

The data shows that African-American males are the most severely impacted of all students on FCC campus in all but one of the five target areas, according to Bolen.

When describing the challenges faced by African-American males on campus to complete their education, Bolen says some of those challenges include lack of preparation, time constraints and even lack of family support.

Bolen says this meeting will gather up representatives from different student groups on campus to identify the underlying causes of low success rates in hopes of closing student success gaps at FCC.

“Our goal as the task force and the committee when it comes on board is to identify it,” Bolen says.

An official student equity committee will come together by spring break according to Bolen.