We are now solidly into the winter term and all things considered, the college has managed well. We are appreciative of the decision by the college to focus on learning continuity and to allow flexibility for both students and faculty. Although there is still a lot of anxiety about the current variant and any new variants that may pop up, most people have settled into the term and have their focus on the daily work of serving students and of spring that is assuredly around the corner. Kudos to faculty and department leaders for working so hard to do right by their students under circumstances that continue to be stressful and difficult.
Heavy Mechanical Trades at Annacis Island
Faculty and staff in the Heavy Mechanical Trades Department are working through their remaining two months as VCC employees at the Annacis Island Campus. It is to the credit of these individuals that they have continued to show up and teach and carry on delivering excellent programming under these conditions. The Board of Governors doesn’t involve itself in operational matters, and yet operational matters are everything to those of us who work in the institution. They are the effect of policies and mandates and agreements and understandings, some of which come to the Board. And operations, of course, have to do with the people who do the teaching and learning at the institution. They are the reason we are all here.
I need to point out that again and again this administration has had the opportunity to work with the VCCFA to ensure the transition for this group of faculty, to whatever is next, is done with respect, care and consideration, and it instead has focussed almost solely on the bottom line. One faculty member who used to work in the department reported to me that he is “ashamed” of the way VCC is treating this group of individuals.
There is still time to turn this around. None of us want former employees speaking of VCC in that manner. This situation came about as the result of the former administration. It was the result of a terrible deal signed by people no longer here, but this administration has their mess to clean up, and the most important part of that is ensuring that the people who have worked out at Annacis since 2014 are treated well.
The equipment has been sold, the commercial deal done, the landlord dealt with. Now it is time for this administration to make the people top priority, to come to the table ready to talk to us and with the aim of doing right by these individuals. As the Board of Governors, I suggest you might be appalled to hear that this group feels the college has paid far more attention to the transfer of assets than to their well being. It is shameful that a group of long-standing employees feel this way as their department is dissolved. We can and must do better.
Community Action Committee Donations for December
1. Developmental Disabilities Association -Art Program. $500.00 towards the purchase of art supplies including paints and canvasses. The Developmental Disabilities Association provides social, housing, skill development, and employment programs to persons with intellectual disabilities living in Vancouver and Richmond. The Art Program currently provides art instruction to 65 participants of varying skill levels and is especially important for those who have difficulty with verbal or written expression. Many of the artists participate in various art shows throughout the year including the Kick-start Disability Arts and Culture Festival and the Annual Inclusion Art Show. The artists both show and sell their artwork and keep 100% of the sales.
2. BC Schizophrenia Society – $500 towards the production of an educational video about schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder to be shared on-line with nursing students, educators, bus drivers and others. Three people will be talking in the video: a person with lived experience of a serious mental illness, a family member, and an educator. Being able to share the online video will reach many more people than a live presentation as was done prior to Covid.
3. Canadian Mental Health Association’s UROK Program: Urban Resilient Opportunities for Kids – $500.00 for monthly activity fees for the children and youth who either have a mental health disability or live with a parent who has a mental health disability. This program serves up to 84 families and provides a structured activity program where participants learn social skills and build resilience while being supported by adult role models. The donation will cover transportation, activity snacks, and beverage costs for the program.
4. Carnegie Community Centre Association – $1000: $500 for their Coffee Cart program and $500 for the Ladies’ Tea Party program. The Coffee Cart provides coffee, hot chocolate, water and juice, along with current information about local services (e.g. vaccination clinics and housing information) as the cart moves through the community between Carnegie and Oppenheimer Park. It serves many poverty-affected seniors, Indigenous and women daily. Funds would be used to support this program and the volunteers working alongside staff. The Ladies’ Tea Party is a weekly low barrier afternoon program at Oppenheimer Park. All who identify as Ladies gather for fellowship, support, arts and craft and seasonal celebration. Funds would be used to purchase tea, healthy snacks and small gifts for the women who attend the program.