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De Anza President Murphy, DASB Senate President Zarate welcome staff4 min read
October 10, 2016
Every year, De Anza College leadership holds an Opening Day ceremony to honor the staff and faculty and usher in the new school year. This year was no different, with College President Brian Murphy laying out new plans and policies for De Anza.
“We have 22,000 returning students this year,” Murphy said in his speech. “Enrollment is down at colleges across the state, but it is a direct result of higher transfer and graduation rates.”
Murphy began the ceremony by honoring long-serving faculty and staff members at the college, including Forrest O’Brien, an automotive technician who has taught at De Anza for 45 years, and Christoph Newell, a design and manufacturing technician who has taught here for 40 years. The longest-serving faculty were met with applause and cheers.” I want to take this time to acknowledge our long-time faculty,” Murphy said. “They have spent the best part of their lives dedicated to us.”
Murphy spent much of the ceremony honoring such faculty and staff, but also introduced members of the Academic and Student Senate, including DASB Senate President Matthew Zarate.
Zarate took the time to introduce new policies designed to help students on campus.
“Last year, a new tech committee created a way to livestream senate meetings on the internet,” Zarate said. “This makes government more accessible to students.”
The tech committee also worked with the school to redesign De Anza’s website, which often was difficult to navigate for new students. Zarate introduced plans to find a cheaper way for students to get educational materials, and create a new navigational application in conjunction with Google Maps to assist students in finding their way around campus, which will be available in 2017.
“I will place emphasis on projects that expand awareness of sexual assault and forms of consent through educational presentations,” Zarate said. “We are also working to protect students from termination because of the excessive unit quota, and improving on quarterly events to expose students to various programs and departments our college offers.” With a noticeable drop in enrollment comes a loss of revenue for the college. According to Zarate, the DASB Senate has a budget of $1.3 million, which goes toward student activities and programs. Zarate introduced the creation of an economic task force.
“The Budget Advisory Committee would work hand in hand with directors and experts in our community to develop initiatives for increasing our external revenue for the further funding of various programs sponsored by the DASB,” Zarate announced in his speech. “The committee will present objective recommendations and strategies for the DASB to maximize our funds and guarantee that every single program has the opportunity to thrive in the upcoming years.”
Murphy also had good news for the staff this year. With the loss of revenue and the tough economy, the school has had to cut staff and student activities, including PE classes on campus. Despite this, Murphy was optimistic.
“This college has been buffeted by budget cuts, which really hurt us, and one of the ways it hurt us was through the loss of positions or the inability to hire new ones. It is an enormous pleasure to see that we are hiring again.”
Murphy revealed smaller changes to make student and staff life on campus more convenient.
“In response to criticisms that nobody knew what the Community and Student Services Building was, it has now been renamed the Registration and Student Services Building,” Murphy said. A common topic brought up by students and staff so far in the quarter was the parking situation on campus. Murphy revealed changes to staff parking that would benefit both students and staff.
“A huge problem we face is the Flint parking renovation annoyance,” Murphy said. “I assure you that there are still the same number of staff parking spots as before, but they are contained at the Drop and Go at the soccer field. There are still a limited number of self-parking spots for staff. Please don’t park in student spots, because they are in the same drama as you are, and they are trying desperately to find a spot.”
Murphy encouraged staff to be understanding of students who are late to class because of the parking situation, and also to urge students to carpool or use the VTA Eco-Pass to get to school, which would lessen the effects of traffic on campus.
“Upgrading Flint Garage is necessary to the safety of everyone and was non-negotiable,” Murphy said. “The longer we waited, the more expensive it was. Luckily, the firm that is conducting the renovation is on time to complete the garage by next fall.”
Murphy thanked the Athletics Department for sacrifices and hard work in ensuring the baseball and soccer fields are utilized for extra parking.“The parking situation has demoralized students and encouraged them to go elsewhere,” Matthew Zarate said. “Over 60 percent of our students commute here from San Jose. The parking has also put pressure on the athletics department, which means the soccer team has to play on the football field.”
The close of the Opening Day ceremony was spent urging staff to educate students on the process to register to vote. Brian Murphy has been especially vocal in politics this year, telling staff it is important that they educate their students on the importance of voting in the upcoming elections.
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