Tag Archives: Aftermath

Board of Trustees Review Committee Report

At its meeting on Saturday, May 12, 2012, the Pomona College Board of Trustees voted to accept as written the report from the Board subcommittee that reviewed the facts and circumstances of the February 2011 complaint and subsequent work authorization investigation. The Board also voted to distribute the report to the Pomona College community, along with the whistleblower and complaint response procedures approved by the Audit Committee on May 11, 2012. The Board is currently developing procedures for ensuring a smooth transition and “hand-off” of issues between committee chairs and between Board meetings.

To view the full Review Committee Report, please click on the following link:

Link to pdf

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The Huffington Post: Turning Oppression into Power: Fighting Pomona College and Community Division

From The Huffington Post: Link to original article

By LAURA E. ENRIQUEZ

Ever since graduating from Pomona College in 2008, I have proudly declared my connection to the college. When people compare their colleges and mascots, I am happy to say I am a sagehen, our odd yet loveable mascot, and even have a sagehen stuffed animal in my office. When Pomona announced their revised policies towards undocumented students, I was even more proud. My alma matter was one of the growing number of higher education institutions that was tackling immigration issues and doing the socially just thing — accepting and funding undocumented students. However, over the past few years, I have become increasingly ashamed of my connections to Pomona College as they resisted unionization efforts by the dinning hall employees and fired seventeen undocumented workers.

I have received letters, emails, and phone calls from both sides trying to convince me which is right or wrong. Pomona has erupted in controversy; a lot more controversy than when they announced their new policy regarding funding undocumented students. Pomona used to turn a blind eye when it came to undocumented students and undocumented workers. But now, they have adopted opposing policies: support undocumented students and turn their backs on undocumented workers who have dedicated years of service. Why? Continue reading

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The Claremont Portside: Unions, Rep. Chu, and Community Rally For Workers for Justice

From The Claremont Portside: Link to original article

By JEREMY MERRILL, JONATHAN RICE, AND JEANY LARSEN

“I love working at Pomona. Being here makes me feel a sense of possibility,” said Rolando Araiza, a food service worker at Pomona College. “All we have wanted was for our voices to be heard.”

But, Araiza said, “I never knew how hard it would be to have my voice heard, but the College does not want our voices to be heard.”

On Friday, workers, clergy, students and community members from Los Angeles and the Inland Empire rallied at Pomona in support of dining hall workers who, like Araiza, are seeking a union and in support of 17 workers who were fired in December after they were unable to show authorization to work in the United States.

In a fact sheet distributed by Pomona’s Director of Media Relations Cynthia Peters, Pomona says that it only re-audited employees’ work authorization documents because “a complaint was made […] alleging it was a policy of the President and administration not to verify work authorization documents as required by law.” Workers who had been hired prior to the start of Pomona President David Oxtoby’s tenure in 2003, were nevertheless asked to show their work authorization documents. Some of the fired workers had worked for Pomona for over twenty years. Continue reading

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The Huffington Post: For Cesar Chavez Day, Can Pomona College Give Peace a Chance? Si, Se puede!

From The Huffington Post: Link to original article

By MARIA ELENA DURAZO

It would be Cesar Chavez’s 85th birthday. Every year, his holiday is an opportunity for us to reflect on his legacy. But Cesar’s legacy is not just the thousands of lives he helped change, it’s also values that he stood for, and reminds us of our obligation to continue to champion those values wherever they are threatened, even today. We honor Cesar’s legacy every day we fight for justice for workers, when we march with them for change. That is why I will spend this Cesar Chavez Day at Pomona College, standing side by side with that college’s dining hall workers.

Through organizing, strikes, and boycotts with the United Farm Workers, men and women stepped out of the shadows and into the moral reckoning of an entire nation. The fact that the food we eat was harvested with suffering, transformed how Americans think about food. The movement work of the ’60s and ’70s continues to resound today in fields, supermarkets, and kitchens, as well as on the tables of millions of Americans.

Farm workers made gains through bravery, courage and solidarity. Like generations of immigrant workers who came before, the farm workers laid claim to the American Dream by founding a union of their own, to secure in a contract, fair wages, safe working conditions, and respect for their very humanity. And like those previous generations of workers who organized, the farm workers’ status as immigrants to this country was a vulnerability that growers used to intimidate, terrorize and divide them, just as textile mill owners had done the same to the men, women and children from Italy and Eastern Europe who they once relied on to be docile, silent and unwilling to protest. Continue reading

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The Los Angeles Times: Pomona College Protest’s Party Atmosphere Belies Strife

From The Los Angeles Times: Link to original article

By PALOMA ESQUIVEL

The protest at Pomona College on Friday was much like a big outdoor celebration. Tables were set in the middle of the street, a mariachi played, and electrical and grocery union workers served carne asada. But beneath it simmered a dispute between dining hall workers and the administration that has placed the small liberal arts college on the map of the nation’s battles over labor and immigration policy.

The quarrel over a unionization effort, which had endured for two years, took a dramatic turn in December when the school fired 17 immigrant workers because they could not provide proper paperwork.

The firings galvanized workers, many students and some faculty. Months later, the unrest continues. For several weeks, some students set up tents in front of the campus in protest. Others blocked an intersection and were arrested. They have demanded that the workers be reinstated and that the school accept a neutrality agreement with union organizers. Continue reading

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The Student Life: César Chávez Day Rally Draws Hundreds in Support of Workers

From The Student Life: Link to original article

By ANNA PETKOVICH AND JEFF ZALESIN

Hundreds of students, workers, immigrant rights advocates and union organizers gathered at Pomona College on March 30 in support of the dining hall workers’ efforts to unionize. The rally, which came in the wake the controversial firing of 17 Pomona employees in December, was organized by Workers for Justice (WFJ), UNITE-HERE Local 11 and other labor groups.

The protesters called for the Pomona administration to rehire the 17 fired workers and to commit to neutrality in WFJ’s union-organizing campaign. UNITE HERE Local 11 leaders estimated that more than 800 supporters attended the rally.

“Today is César Chávez day, which is a special day, and that’s why we want to highlight that what he stood for was to protect all workers, no matter their immigration status, and to do the right thing,” said Tom Walsh, President of UNITE HERE Local 11. “We believe it was wrong for the college to respond in this way. It’s gone against all the traditions of Pomona College.”

The event culminated in what the organizers called a “Dining Hall in the Streets,” with lunch cooked and served by union members from outside Claremont. It also included a march from Shelton Park in the village to campus, musical performances and speeches by WFJ supporters and Congresswoman Judy Chu, Democrat of California. Continue reading

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Inland Valley Daily Bulletin: Rally supports fired Pomona College workers

From The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin: Link to original article

By LORI CONSALVO

CLAREMONT – Months after the firing of 17 Pomona College dining hall workers, hundreds of people came to downtown to protest the action.

A number of organizations, along with students and community members, protested the decision by rallying at Shelton Park in downtown Claremont and then marching through campus chanting “If you throw us out, we’ll come back” in Spanish.

“It’s an injustice what they’re doing to their employees,” said Mary Lou Rodriguez, an Ontario resident who joined the march.

Pomona College on Dec. 2 fired the cafeteria workers after an investigation into their work status.

The workers were fired after they could not provide proof of legal eligibility to work in the United States. The action came following complaints the college was not checking such eligibility of workers as required by federal law.

Some of those workers had worked at the college for decades.

“They demanded workers who served for years to show documents. Three weeks later, they fired the workers who didn’t reproduce their documents,” said Leigh Shelton, communication coordinator for Unite Here.

Protestors called upon the college to restore peace on campus, obtain a pledge of neutrality and rehire the workers who were fired.

“Regarding the stated goals of the event, that the college `sign a pledge of neutrality’ and `re-hire the 17 fired workers,’ Pomona College has already pledged to rehire any of the 17 former employees who present Human Resources with the work authorization documents required by law, by June 30, 2012,” according to a statement from college officials.

Cynthia Peters, director of media relations for Pomona College, said the firings had nothing to do with the worker’s desire to form a union, as some have suggested.

“The college’s position has been guided by the principles that our employees have the right to decide for themselves whether or not they wish to be represented by a union and that they should be able to do so in an atmosphere free from intimidation,” according to the statement.

Erica Reiss, a third year student at Pomona College, and a group of her friends showed up to show their support and urge to school to do what they say is right.

“For us, it would mean we could be proud of the college we love so much,” Reiss said. “We really care about our school being honest and consistent.”

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Feldblum: Trustee-Student Task Force on Campus Community Communication Final Recommendations and Next Steps

Dear Students,

On behalf of the Trustee-Student Task Force on Campus Community Communication, we would like to share with you the six Task Force Recommendations, all of which were accepted – with revisions to the details of two of the recommendations – by the Board of Trustees Student Affairs Committee last Friday.   The six recommendations of the Task Force are as follows, and you can read the full Task Force report on the Dean of Students Sakai site:

1.       Enhance the Board of Trustees website to include information on how the Board works. Specifically, information about Board members, Committee rosters including information about the Trustee Committee Chair and Vice-Chair, and contact information for student representatives, contact information for the newly re-envisioned Student Affairs Committee and institutionalized communication channel.  Post agenda of Board of Trustee Committee meetings concurrent with mailing to trustees to allow students to triage their comments on any of these topics to student representatives on the respective committees. Post on the website soon after Board meetings the action items that were taken during the board meeting (in draft form if need be).  Post as appropriate links to reports or executive summaries from reports.

2.       Add students to specific Board Committees, including 1 additional student representative to the newly re-envisioned Student Affairs Committee, and 1 additional student to the Academic Affairs Committee, and add 2 student members to the Finance Committee (where there is currently no student member). This will increase the number of student slots on Board committees from 6 to 10.

3.       Re-engineer the Student Affairs Committee into the Student-Trustee “College Affairs” Committee, whose mission would be enhanced as a vehicle of communication between students and trustees and by including all the student representatives from the different Board committees.  The student Co-Chair would be the ASPC President and would work closely with the Trustee Chair and Dean of Students to advise on agenda items related to student life and general issues of communication with the student body.  The Trustee Chair would serve as the primary Trustee-Student liaison for the Board.

4.       Create opportunities for formal and informal dinners between small groups of students and trustees. Particular attention should be paid to setting up dinners during the year with members of the student leadership groups focused on community building on campus.  Opportunities for such interaction could include quarterly Board of Trustee Meetings and whenever trustees are on campus such as for Task Force meetings, etc.

5.       Institutionalize a visible channel of communication for students to give feedback throughout the year or provide comments regarding specific issues. This channel would be connected to the newly re-envisioned Student Affairs Committee. Create a process by which comment periods can be initiated to address issues.  Create an email alias as part of this institutionalized communication channel to which students would send comments or other feedback, and receive confirmation that their messages were received.

6.       Review these changes after a year to ascertain if they are effectively addressing the issues identified by the Task Force.

The full Board received the Task Force report, and approved a motion to support the additional student member positions on Board Committees as outlined in the Report so that the Trusteeship Committee can move forward with its work  of making recommendations for bylaw changes for the Board to consider, and  so that there could be spring elections for the 3 new positions.   Nate Brown will be sending out additional information regarding these new elected positions.

As always, if you have any questions about the revisions or other issues, please feel free to email me.  Or, you also can contact one of the students on the Task Force.

Sincerely,

Dean Feldblum

Members of Task Force:

Jason Rosenthal, Co-Chair, PO ‘92

Lynn Yonekura, Co-Chair, PO ‘70

Leslie Appleton, PO ‘12

John Bonacorsi, PO ‘12

Maya Booth, PO ‘14

Nate Brown, PO ‘12

Alice Chan PO ‘14

Miriam Feldblum, VP and Dean of Students

Kathy Lu, PO, ‘14

Meg Lodise, PO ‘85

Frank Sánchez, PO ‘13

Francine Scinto, P ’09, ‘11

Michael Segal, PO ‘79

Emi Young, PO ‘13

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The Student Life: Board of Trustees Must Release Internal Report

From The Student Life: Link to original article

We commend the time, thought and deliberate discussion that the Trustee-Student Task Force on Campus Community Communication spent developing its recommendations (to be voted on by the Student Affairs Committee today) to the Pomona College Board of Trustees to enhance dialogue between students and trustees. However, in order to live up to the stated purpose of the task force, the board must do more than the minimum that would be required in order to comply with the recommendations. Once the board has completed its internal review of the events that led to the firing of 17 Pomona employees last semester, it should publish the full text of the report produced by this investigation.

The task force has recommended that the board publish some version of the investigation’s findings—either the full report or a summary. We believe that publishing a summary of the report would not suffice. The board should publish the full report for three reasons. First, the publication would be an immediate and vital fulfillment of the stated charge to the task force: to promote “communication, responsiveness and understanding” between students and trustees. Continue reading

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