Santa Monica College board sets special meeting on two-tier plan
The governing board of Santa Monica College will hold a special session Friday to consider a request by the state’s community colleges chief to postpone a planned two-tier education program.
The move comes a day after Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott called college President Chui L. Tsang to express reservations about the plan and its legality.
The college last month approved the concept, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, that would offer high-demand, core education courses such as English, math and history at a cost of $180 per unit, along with state-funded courses set at $46 per unit. The program was to be offered this summer with enrollment beginning next month.
Scott contends that the program violates state education codes that permit employers to offer so-called contract courses to fill specific needs but does not allow students to be charged differential fees for the types of courses Santa Monica plans to offer.
Scott has asked the state attorney general for an opinion.
Santa Monica college officials contend that the new concept is legal and will allow more students to obtain the classes they need to transfer and graduate.
College officials said the posting of the special meeting agenda 24 hours in advance complies with the open-meetings requirements of the Ralph M. Brown Act. The session will be held in the campus’ theater arts main stage at 10:30 a.m.
At a regular meeting of the board Tuesday, police used pepper spray to disperse student protesters, many of them angered because they were denied access to the small board room. Earlier Thursday, about 100 students demonstrated against the plan and have called for a referendum on the issue.
The trustees also will meet in closed session with the college’s legal counsel to discuss anticipated lawsuits stemming from the police response to demonstrators.
-- Carla Rivera