The classified workers for the Yuba Community College District will enjoy a winter break for the first time in seven years, from December 24, 2005, through January 8, 2006. This benefit to the classified staff may, however, pose a problem for students. This is a crucial time for students, during which many usually take placement exams, register for classes and undergo orientation. This year, the three college campuses will be closed.
Many students and faculty members are upset with the sudden closure. “The first week is traditionally devoted to the matriculation of students, so they can call for registration appointments, take placement exams, see counselors or go to the bookstore and obtain books,” said Yuba College Professor Timothy May.
“This year could be a real problem, because all of the matriculation is pushed into one week,” the English professor continued. “Some of us on the Academic Senate believe it is going to be messy.”
The counselors will be forced into a tough situation. They are left with the overwhelming task of registering the same amount of students in half the time. “I don’t know how they are going to do it,” said Yuba College student Jessica White. “I have a hard enough time trying to make an appointment with someone now. This is just another good reason why people don’t want to go here.”
Julie Morgan, a counselor at Yuba College, said she supports the classified workers time off “100 percent.” She admitted, however, that “it puts a crunch on us (the counselor) because we only have one week to do registration for spring.” Morgan added that “(the closure) does put a lot of stress on the faculty.” She said that the situation was “like a double edge sword.”
Lisa Jensen-Martin, professor at Yuba College, also expressed her concerns with the closure. “What I think it’s going to do, and what most people think it’s going to do, is affect registration,” said Jensen-Martin. “There won’t be enough people to register students the week before school opens. What we are going to have, possibly, is a big problem.”
Jenson-Martin added that the closer “may cause some students to find another institution to go to.”
Instead of submitting grades in traditional print form, due to the winter closure all instructors must now submit grades using Web Advisor, an online grade-submission system.
The Yuba Community College District was going to convert to the new format soon anyway, but instead of a gradual transformation, the faculty will now be rushed to adopt the online procedure.
Though many professors are familiar with submitting grades online, some are not and will have to be trained in a workshop or one on one. Students are also highly encouraged to register for classes online or by telephone.
For this closer to go smoothly student registration on Web Advisor is key. Yet, out of 100 students polled by The Prospector, only 28 percent said they would register for Spring 2006 online.
On October 13, the Yuba College Academic Senate held a special meeting to discuss the subject of the extended holiday closer. Vice President Paul Mendoza addressed the Senate and apologized for the lack of communication regarding the decision of the closer.
Then Vice President Mendoza asked Human Resources Director Al Alt to answer questions about why the decision to close was made. Alt informed the Senate that this decision was made because the District negotiation team wanted to offer something unique to the classified employees. Alt also stated that there was not a lack of communication among administration regarding this issue.