City Colleges faculty rally to fight to past program cuts disparately affecting Black and Brown students

“It just doesn’t seem like anybody’s doing anything,” said Shandra Outlaw, a professor at a City Colleges of Chicago satellite location.

SHARE City Colleges faculty rally to fight to past program cuts disparately affecting Black and Brown students
Protesters hold up signs during a rally to protest cuts to popular degree programs at campuses across the city at the Kennedy-King College on 6301 S Halsted

City Colleges faculty, students and union representatives rallied Thursday at Kennedy-King College against years-old program cuts they say have slashed enrollment numbers.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Shandra Outlaw started working at Kennedy-King College on the South Side in 2012. Robust enrollment and broad opportunities marked a healthy school in the City Colleges of Chicago system.

Less than a decade later, Outlaw — a tutor at Kennedy-King and professor at the school’s satellite Dawson Technical Institute — said she fears the school is nearing a breaking point where they won’t have enough students to stay open.

“Those students are me,” said Outlaw, who went to Harold Washington College — a City College campus — after flunking out at Western Illinois University. “The campus is so vital to the community. If campus goes away, I’m just trying to figure out where the young people will go.”

City Colleges faculty, students and union representatives rallied Thursday afternoon at Kennedy-King against years-old program cuts they say have slashed enrollment numbers year after year, especially in schools primarily serving Black, Brown and immigrant students. The rally comes amid City College’s budget discussions. Chief among the group’s complaints were consolidating nursing programs and moving the dental hygiene program to Malcolm X College on the Near West Side.

Katheryn Hayes, City Colleges spokeswoman, said in an email these program cuts and consolidations took place four to 10 years ago under a past administration. City Colleges is “actively” addressing enrollment declines, including adding technology programs at Kennedy-King, Hayes said

“Under Chancellor [Juan] Salgado’s leadership, City Colleges is deeply committed to the success of Chicago students, including the Black and Latinx students who comprise more than75percent of City Colleges’ student population,” Hayes said.

Outlaw proposed a rally because “it just doesn’t seem like anybody’s doing anything,” the Roseland resident said. Rather than having myriad options at local community colleges, some programs are only offered at select campuses, causing students to make a choice between long commutes or different career paths, she said. Many of Outlaw’s students are housing-insecure or single parents, so long commutes aren’t feasible, she said.

The loss of these programs “flies in the face of what a community college is supposed to be,” said Randy Miller, president of the City Colleges Contingent Labor Organizing Committee, a union representing the schools’ part-time faculty and staff.

“The location of the City Colleges is an opportunity for students to be taking courses and earning degrees at their local colleges with the support of their family and their communities,” Miller said. “Bring community back to the community colleges.”

The Latest
It was a bleak picture painted by the half of the GOP primary field — venture capitalist Jesse Sullivan, businessman Gary Rabine and state Sen. Darren Dailey — who squared off during a live debate hosted by WGN-TV.
Candace Parker led the way with 16 points, six rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and three steals.
During a rapid-fire “yes or no,” segment, Max Solomon and Paul Schimpf agreed that the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 were not an “insurrection.” But Richard Irvin touted his credentials as a lawyer and said, “I don’t think it’s a ‘yes or no’ question.”
The Cubs’ power-hitting duo of Patrick Wisdom and Frank Schwindel has combined for eight home runs in the last five games.
If only so many weren’t too lazy and incurious — and triggered by discussions of race — to click on an easy-to-find three-year-old story so that they might gain an actual understanding of the context.