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    President Mandelman, LGBT Soiree, Violence Report, and Shame on BART

    Rafael Mandelman

    Rafael Mandelman

    Shame on Them

    Shame on the BART Board of Directors. On Thursday, February 12, the Board voted to ask the Alameda County DA to criminally prosecute the #blacklivesmatter protesters who shut the system down back on Black Friday. Having engaged in my fair share of civil disobedience over the years, including helping shut down Van Ness for hours on the day of the Supreme Court’s Proposition 8 decision, I have been cited several times but never criminally prosecuted. This is the Bay Area after all; we don’t prosecute peaceful protesters. Or so I thought.

    For BART, just a few short years after a BART police officer shot and killed an unarmed and handcuffed Oscar Grant, to insist now on the prosecution of a group of young black people peacefully protesting racial injustice is outrageous.  Kudos to BART Directors Tom Radulovich and Rebecca Saltzman for trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to convince their colleagues to drop the charges.

    That’s President Mandelman to You

    On January 22, the members of City College’s Board of Trustees met formally as a Board for the first time in more than a year and a half. You may recall that back in July of 2013, in the wake of the ACCJC announcing its decision to terminate City College’s accreditation, the State Board of Governors suspended the local Board and authorized State Chancellor Brice Harris to appoint a Special Trustee who would govern the College in its place.

    With the accreditation threat now somewhat diminished, the State Chancellor has begun moving to restore local control of the College (the Accrediting Commission in early January announced its decision to grant City College an additional two years to meet accreditation standards.)

    Although almost all of the Board’s powers are still being exercised by the Special Trustee, the City College administration in December initiated a training program for the Trustees (four of whom have been elected since the accreditation crisis began) as the first step in a phased plan for resumption of local control. The Board members’ mostly non-voting participation in the January 22 meeting marked another step under the plan, and in the coming months the Board is expected to take on responsibility for various aspects of the College’s governance, beginning with student affairs and academics, then all other non-financial matters and, finally, budget and finance.

    The one action the Board was allowed to take at that meeting was to elect new officers. Thanks to my colleagues for electing me President, and congratulations to our new Vice President, Thea Selby. With enrollment continuing to decline, staff and faculty morale at a nadir, contract negotiations looming, and a seemingly endless stream of news stories about the College’s facilities and other challenges, I am quite certain the road ahead will be a rough one, with plenty of stomach-churning twists and turns. I also remain, perhaps naively, confident that with the continuing support of a public deeply committed to the College’s survival and success, we will make it through. We just have to.

    LGBTQI Violence Prevention Needs Assessment

    On February 10, two days after the tragic murder of Taja Gabrielle DeJesus, the LGBT Community Center, in partnership with Learning for Action and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, issued a groundbreaking study of the impact of harassment and violence in the LGBT community.