With all the composure of a judge, LBCC President Greg Hamann started the two hour forum speech.
LBCC President Greg Hamann addressed faculty, staff, and students on April 19 in Forum 104 during his semi-annual “state of the college” forum. Among the topics were the school’s budget, safety and free speech on campus.
First on the list was an overview of progress on Guided Pathways, a program that is being implemented in all types of colleges, LBCC among them. It highlights a more focused path to graduation for student, by specific program layouts for degrees.
LBCC is one of 30 schools nationwide implementing the Guided Pathways through a grant from the Gates Foundation. LBCC’s goal is to have the program in place for Fall Term 2018.
The next topic on the agenda was the school budget for next year. Statewide, community colleges are expected to receive about $556 million, which would be $6 million more than last year.
Part of next year’s LBCC budget will go to hiring three new faculty — in biology, communication, and writing.
One of President Hamann’s concerns is that our college would have to cut programs, due lacking funds.
“If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll end up in the hole,” said Hamann.
Though there are concerns about the budget’s future, Hamann said, “If we base the budget on what we need versus what we can afford, I think we’ll do more for our students.”
Hamann also talked about recent recommendations from the college’s just completeed accreditation renewal process. These recommendations included: Putting the current mission statement in action, reducing the number of objectives, and combining strategic planning with budget planning.
To these requests, Hamann said, “We are already in the process of addressing these recommendations.”
The next topic was LBCC’s safety policies.
We have about 150 security cameras on campus and other facilities,” said Hamann. “We try to use technology to make campus a better place.”
Though we don’t have law enforcement officers assigned to campus, Hamann assured that all law enforcement branches can reach LBCC within three minutes.
The safety conversation quickly turned to information on the topic of “sanctuary” for students.
“Student information protection is your right,” said Hamann.
According to procedure, faculty and staff do not need to give student information to law enforcement, even when they are pressured.
The question then came up about the security of freedom of speech on campus.
“We get excited to protect free speech we like, not so for free speech we don’t like,” said Hamann. “Free speech is a principal of learning … your education depends on hearing ideas you’ve never heard of.”
Hamann believes that LBCC needs to promote free speech, and that it shouldn’t be stopped, even though people might be offended.
“We have to feel okay being disagreed with … I have to go into a conversation able to change my mind,” said Hamann.”We need to be in a place where all free speech is valued.”
Hamman focused on faculty and the need for trancparency among them, so students will be encouraged to do the same.
Story by Constance Jones