Norco College student aims for shared governance

By Erik Galicia

The No Saddles Committee, a student activist group at Norco College, is aiming to add two more student trustees to the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees consists of five trustees and one non-voting student trustee.

“The idea of shared governance doesn’t feel like it will be accomplished, but we are going to try anyway,” Thalia Moore, an Norco College student that started the No Saddles Committee, said. “One non-voting representative is not going to accomplish that.”

Moore started the No Saddles Committee to advocate for former Norco College President Bryan Reece after the Board’s decision to fire Reece on June 11. Many Norco College students and faculty protested Reece’s firing and argued that the college’s autonomy was under violation.

“Since the board is not likely to reverse its decision on Dr. Reece, we have had a difficult time over the summer on finding our biggest objectives,” Moore said.

According to Moore, the committee plans on “expanding protection for all students.”

“Several students asked me to speak on their behalf at the board meeting,” Moore said, referring to the June 11 board meeting at which protesters spoke on behalf of Bryan Reece.

Moore alleges that students were advised by some faculty “not to speak negatively at the board” because of the possibility that they would be disciplined by the district.

“Students should be able to speak out without punishment,” Moore said.

After the district’s decision to not move forward on an application for $24 million in state funding for housing at Norco College and Reece’s termination, Norco College students and faculty put forth the argument that there is a lack of financial equity in the district. However,  Moore alleges that there is also unfair treatment of Norco student transfers to Riverside City College.

RCCD Chancellor Wolde-Ab Isaac has disputed these claims repeatedly and urges students to show up to discuss their concerns with him during his visits to the district’s campuses.

The district chose former RCC vice president of Planning and Development, Monica Green, to be the interim president of Norco College on June 20. Prior to accepting the position at RCC, Green served as Norco College’s vice president of Student Services. This will be Green’s second stint as interim president. She previously led Norco College in 2016-2017.

“I am hoping that Monica remains an advocate for Norco College students,” Moore said.