Blue waves behind the words Coast Colleges in dark blue

Weekly News Brief | December 11, 2020
From the Office of Chancellor John Weispfenning, Ph.D.

Chancellor Weispfenning, blue jacket and blue tie, in front of the Coast District building

Today is the penultimate or second to the last News Brief for the year.

The year 2020 gave us few reasons for cheer, with the pandemic leading to grief, isolation, and economic challenge, alongside political strife and continued brutality targeting Black Americans.

Yet, even confronting these harsh realities, I am cheered by the way the Coast District kept going. We continued to educate students. We remained a major employer for Orange County. Participatory governance and bargaining helped solve our shared challenges. Each College and the District took strides to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We're welcoming students to live on campus for the first time. We've completed new buildings and broken ground on others. Each new building points to the future, a future supported by our communities and neighbors.

I don't know what 2021 will bring. Yet, I do know that the new year offers hope. The pandemic will end. And when it does, we will all be grateful that the Coast District – that each of you – kept going.

Please stay safe and healthy as you celebrate the holidays and the arrival of the New Year.

Be well,


John Weispfenning, Ph.D.


Report from the Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees gathered around a conference table in conversation

On Wednesday, December 9, the Board of Trustees met in regular session. Orange Coast College Vice President of Student Services Madjid Niroumand presented on the status of on-campus student housing. More than 280 students moved into the Harbour at OCC this term. Scores more are expected in Spring 2021. Dr. Niroumand discussed COVID-19 protocols and the flexibility provided to students on lease agreements given changing plans due to the pandemic. He also addressed an ongoing fundraising campaign to reduce housing costs for highest need students and plans for enhanced student engagement activities for later in 2021.

Vice Chancellor Andrew Dunn presented the quarterly financial report for the Coast District. The report acknowledged ongoing uncertainty and concerning trends that may bring the District's end-of-year fund balance down to eight percent, which is below the policy target of 10 percent. On a more positive note, the Board acted to notice completion of the Kinesiology and Adaptive P.E. Project at Orange Coast. This is one of the final steps in closing the construction project made possible by Measure M.

Chancellor Weispfenning presented a new listing of reports, which separate and give emphasis to the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is in keeping with the Board's focus in this area and intent to highlight the work of the Coast District on these core commitments.

Internal Auditor Rachel Snell reported on the end-of-the-calendar-year status on various compliance projects.

Trustees expressed gratitude and appreciation for faculty, staff, and managers for navigating the difficult year. The Board adjourned in the memory of Don Cock and Russ Terry, who both dedicated themselves to decades-long careers in the Coast District. The Board additionally acknowledged all those lost in the Coast District community this year, as well as national figure Chuck Yeager.


Staying Safe for the Holidays
and New Year

Health authorities continue to urge that Americans avoid travel and stay at home. In addition to international restrictions across the US border, the State of California is urging those who travel out of state to self-isolate for 14 days. All faculty, staff, managers, and students are expected to follow this guidance.

If self-isolation interrupts work or class scheduled on site, travelers should contact a supervisor, dean, or faculty member. Accommodations for remote work and study are encouraged whenever possible, yet those whose work must be completed on site may need to use accumulated sick or vacation leave time after December 31 (due to the expiration of an expanded federal leave program). Academic accommodations continue to be at the discretion of faculty.

The Coast District is also continuing to apply the 14-day self-isolation standard for any documented or suspected exposure to COVID-19. Fourteen days of isolation remains the clearest and safest standard to prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Coast District will evaluate this and other precautions as new information is available.

All currently authorized programs for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 are being allowed to continue under the current stay-at-home orders. At this time, all new requests for on-site courses and activities are on hold. For approved activities, departments are asked to limit the number of people on site and limit the time any individual stays on site to the extent possible.

Positive vaccine developments provide a light at the end of the tunnel for this pandemic. The Coast District is taking steps to ensure that those who live, work, teach, and learn here – along with our families and loved ones – have the best chance possible to benefit from a vaccine.


Headlines and Accolades

Image of Cheryl Chapman, with short reddish brown hair

Cheryl Chapman, chair of career education for Coastline College, shares her expertise in creating student engagement online during a panel discussion hosted by University Business Magazine and covered by EdTech: Focus on Higher Education.

Read the article
View the panel discussion


Schedule, Week of December 14

Chancellor's Schedule

In the District, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
Dr. Andreea Serban is Acting Chancellor on Wednesday