It is interesting to note that the defenders of the shutdown of Emeritus College’s winter session all have some connection to the administration: the Executive Council members and instructors. The average Emeritus student, who was left out of the process that led to the shutdown, does not share their enthusiastic support.
Jerry Schneir (“Worried about Emeritus,” Letters to the Editor, Jan. 22) would like to see everyone docilely accept whatever the administration decides. He seems to envision anything less as “seniors picketing and yelling at college trustee meetings,” something that never happened except in his mind. On the contrary, when Emeritus students exercised their democratic rights to address their public officials at a December trustees meeting, they expressed their disapproval in a respectful manner.
While educating college age students is a primary concern, even closing Emeritus College would not mean all Santa Monica College’s fiscal issues will magically disappear. California community colleges have a mandate to serve all segments of the community. Santa Monica, a city that promotes a “lifetime of learning,” has a large senior population that deserves attention.
Rather than buy into top-down actions by the administration, Emeritus students want to have a collegial approach to decision-making. SMC students were able to influence their college to reverse a decision to end its winter session by negotiating directly with the administration. Emeritus students want the same access. Towards that end, we are organizing the Emeritus Students Union which will give seniors, who are most directly affected, a voice in future actions. Working with the administration, we hope to find ways to keep Emeritus open and functioning as fully as possible.
Harriet P. Epstein