City Col­leges fac­ulty rally against cuts that dis­parately af­fect Black, Brown stu­dents

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY CLARE PROC­TOR, STAFF RE­PORTER cproc­tor@sun­times.com | @ce­proc­tor23

Shan­dra Out­law started work­ing at Kennedy-King Col­lege on the South Side in 2012. Ro­bust en­roll­ment and broad op­por­tu­ni­ties marked a healthy school in the City Col­leges of Chicago sys­tem.

Less than a decade later, Out­law — a tu­tor at Kennedy-King and pro­fes­sor at the school’s satel­lite Daw­son Tech­ni­cal In­sti­tute — said she fears the school is near­ing a break­ing point where they won’t have enough stu­dents to stay open.

“Those stu­dents are me,” said Out­law, who went to Harold Wash­ing­ton Col­lege — a City Col­lege cam­pus — af­ter flunk­ing out at Western Illi­nois Univer­sity. “The cam­pus is so vi­tal to the com­mu­nity. If cam­pus goes away, I’m just try­ing to fig­ure out where the young peo­ple will go.”

City Col­leges fac­ulty, stu­dents and union rep­re­sen­ta­tives ral­lied Thurs­day af­ter­noon at Kennedy-King against pro­gram cuts they say have slashed en­roll­ment num­bers year af­ter year, es­pe­cially in schools pri­mar­ily serv­ing Black, Brown and im­mi­grant stu­dents. The rally comes amid City Col­lege’s bud­get dis­cus­sions. Chief among the group’s com­plaints were con­sol­i­dat­ing nurs­ing pro­grams and mov­ing the den­tal hy­giene pro­gram to Mal­colm X Col­lege on the Near West Side.

Kath­eryn Hayes, City Col­leges spokes­woman, said in an email these pro­gram cuts and con­sol­i­da­tions took place four to 10 years ago un­der a dif­fer­ent ad­min­is­tra­tion. City Col­leges is “ac­tively” ad­dress­ing en­roll­ment de­clines, in­clud­ing adding tech­nol­ogy pro­grams at Kennedy-King, Hayes said

“Un­der Chan­cel­lor [Juan] Sal­gado’s lead­er­ship, City Col­leges is deeply com­mit­ted to the suc­cess of Chicago stu­dents, in­clud­ing the Black and Latino stu­dents who com­prise more than 75% of City Col­leges’ stu­dent pop­u­la­tion,” Hayes said.

Out­law pro­posed a rally be­cause “it just doesn’t seem like any­body’s do­ing any­thing,” the Rose­land res­i­dent said. Rather than hav­ing myr­iad op­tions at lo­cal com­mu­nity col­leges, some pro­grams are only of­fered at select cam­puses, caus­ing stu­dents to make a choice be­tween long com­mutes or dif­fer­ent ca­reer paths, she said. Many of Out­law’s stu­dents are hous­ing-in­se­cure or sin­gle par­ents, so long com­mutes aren’t fea­si­ble, she said.

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