Blue waves behind the words Coast Colleges in dark blue

Weekly News Brief | February 11, 2021
From the Office of Chancellor John Weispfenning, Ph.D.

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

Last week, the Board of Trustees adopted a budget advocacy strategy document that connects policy priorities of California Governor Gavin Newsom to District goals and examples of actions already planned at each College.

The governor is suggesting more than $415 million in one-time funding for basic needs, retention, equitable success, work-based learning, and pandemic assistance.

There is real potential to find initial sources of funding for a stronger response to food and housing insecurity, adoption of best practices for retention and equity, new programs for traditional and non-traditional students, and financial aid reform.

As with so much in our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic requires that we rethink our advocacy approach. Please know that your successes and ongoing efforts are leading the way in our conversations with policymakers.

Turning to sad news, we've learned of the passing of one student from Coastline College and two students from Orange Coast College this week. Both OCC losses are suspected drug overdoses. You may have heard speculation or seen media coverage. I am including President Suarez's message to students sharing what we can at this time.

Grief counseling is being made available, as is the supportive Employee Assistance Program (EAP). With the loss of family, friends, students, and colleagues, we all feel the weight. It is important to acknowledge and share those emotions.

Be well,


John Weispfenning, Ph.D.

Dear Students,

I am deeply saddened to share with you that a second student residing at The Harbour has passed away. The student was found unresponsive today in their housing unit. Costa Mesa Police and the Orange County Coroner's Office were contacted and have responded to both deaths.

Out of respect to the families, we are not sharing the names of the students at this time, but can disclose that they are both deemed suspected drug overdoses. Our sincere condolences are with the family and friends of the students. We ask that everyone respect the privacy of the family during this most heartbreaking time. Orange Coast College is providing counseling services onsite and remotely to students at The Harbour through the Student Health Center.

Considering the potential cause of these tragic events, I urge you to stay away from illegal substances, the use of which can put you in extreme danger that can lead to death. If you have friends who are thinking about trying these kinds of drugs, please remind them of the dangers.

If you are aware of people distributing illegal substances on campus, please alert OCC's Campus Safety office at (714) 432-5555 or the Costa Mesa Police Department at (714) 754-5252. If you or someone you know needs help with addiction please contact the OCC Student Health Center at (714) 432-5808 or call the Orange County Narcotics Anonymous 24-hour helpline at (714) 590-2388.

Thank you and be well.
Angelica L. Suarez, Ph.D.


Powerful Educators Shaping Our World

Background of red, yellow and green in geometric patterns with the words join us in celebrating Black History Month accompanied by twelve images of prominent Black educators

The Coast District is proud to celebrate Black history and the contributions of Black educators. This Black History Month's newsletters will feature national figures who have forged the path we follow.

This week, we honor the youngest of the nine students known as the Little Rock Nine, Carlotta Wells LaNier. LaNier would become the first Black female to graduate from Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. She, along with the other Little Rock Nine, is the recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP, and the Lincoln Leadership Prize.

We honor the first Black graduate of Salem State University in 1856, Charlotte Forten Grimke. Grimke was an abolitionist, educator, writer, poet, translator, and women's rights activist.

We also honor Mary McLeod Bethune, who in 1904 opened the Daytona Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls, known today as Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Bethune founded many organizations, including the National Council of Negro Women.

We look to these examples of the power of educators to transform lives and change society as a whole.


College News

Coastline logo Coastline is inviting students to join their National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) chapter, which is fully online. Each fall and spring term, eligible students will receive an inviation to join. Students will have access to many benefits including, access to scholarships, a job bank, retail discounts, and mentoring. The deadline for students to submit an application is Friday, February 19, 2021. If you know a student who is interested in NSLS, but is unable to afford the registration fee, please encourage them to apply for the NSLS fee waiver scholarship. This scholarship is offered through Coastline Student Life and the Associated Student Government (ASG). A limited number of scholarships will be available each semester and is contingent on available funding. Please visit the Student Life page for more information.

GWC logo Everyone is online and on their devices more than ever before. While abuse has become increasingly tech-savvy, the ways in which we prevent and address it have not. This 3-part series is designed to empower attendees to identify, prevent and address the myriad of ways people experience harm online and via their devices.

OCC logo OCC Physics Professor, Arnold Guerra, has been nominated for the UCI Lecturer of the Year award. Guerra has been with OCC since 2002 and has been a lecturer at UCI for many years. The nomination for the award comes from his colleagues, such as Director of Faculty Instructional Development, Dr. Andrea Aebersold. Dr. Abersold says, "Since he began teaching at UCI, his evaluations in these courses have been consistently among the very highest of any instructor in the department. In evaluation comments, students often cite his energy and enthusiasm in class as making the material more interesting and approachable. Students frequently mention that he is one of the best professors they've ever had and express the desire to take more courses from him."

Schedule, Week of February 15

Monday, February 15, 2021, is President's Day and a districtwide holiday.

Chancellor's Schedule
In the District, Tuesday through Friday