Fresno City College’s Speakers Forum Could Experience Financial Issues Next Year.

An example of a Speakers Forum event with speaker Susan Burton regarding Women’s History Month at FCC’s OAB Auditorium on March 23.

Photo by: Marco A. Hernandez

An example of a Speakers Forum event with speaker Susan Burton regarding Women’s History Month at FCC’s OAB Auditorium on March 23.

Story By: Marco A. Hernandez, Reporter

Fresno City College’s Speakers Forum program can face financial challenges for the next year due to unrenewed grants, and the unconfirmed state budget. However, that does not mean they will stop bringing speakers onto campus.

Chair of Speakers Forum, Ernie Garcia, said the committee has not been approved as to what will be allocated from the California Budget of 2023-24 for education.

“We are waiting to see what the state budget is going to look like when the Governor’s May Revise comes out,” Garcia said.

Speakers Forum funds consist of two sources, the California Lottery Funds and the grant funds provided by Fresno Building Healthy Communities organization under the California Endowment.

“That is what we have been using for the last year and this school year. But that’s just about to run out,” Garcia said.

Garcia hopes to partner with the same organization for continued funding.

FCC’s Public Information Officer, Kathy Bonilla says the program is not afraid of this issue, recalling challenges with previous state budgets. 

“Even though we didn’t have funding during that time,” Bonilla said. We were able to find speakers who came at no cost and we were able to put together a good program for the year.”

Bonilla expects there will be challenges in gathering funds. 

The Speakers Forum has brought speakers such as Dr. Jessica Harris, culture historian and author of High on the Hog, and Susan Burton, founder of A New Way Of Life, an organization that helps previously incarcerated women.

“This is a great opportunity for our students to be able to hear varied opinions, and varied subjects. It gives them a good perspective on different ideas, different issues they might’ve never thought about before,” Bonilla said.

Sol Banderas, an FCC business administration major, who attended Ms. Burton’s presentation talked about how she learns from these speakers.

“I feel like stuff like this really shows students a different perspective and these different types of things that they normally wouldn’t get online or in the classroom,” Banderas said.

Another FCC student, Zoey Muller, a business management major, attended Burton’s speech and it was her first time attending a Speakers Forum event.

“[Speakers Forum] should be getting funding and if there are going to be improvises that have to happen, then that should also get attention,” Muller said.

Speakers Forum’s next event ‘A Conversation With John Cho’ will be held on April 18, at the OAB Auditorium.

For more information on the Speakers Forum, visit FCC Speakers Forum.