Dr. Genethia Hudley-Hayes addresses the audience; (L to R) Camille Johnson, Associated Student Body Treasurer ECCC; Chancellor Dr. Jack Scott; Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas; Rev. Norman Johnson; Dr. Ramon Cortines.
Dr. Keith Curry, Interim CEO of CCC
Dr. Mervyn Dymally, sponsor of AB-318
AB 318, sponsored by former Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally has kept the college on the move. Last Friday, a group of educators, elected officials, staff, students and concerned citizens listened as the special trustee laid out the institution’s past, present and possible future.
By Yussuf J. Simmonds
Sentinel Managing Editor
Dr. Genethia Hudley-Hayes is the special trustee for the Compton Community College (CCC). She was appointed in 2010 by the Chancellor of the state’s community college system, Dr. Jack Scott, to oversee the college in order that it may regain its accreditation that it was revoked in 2006. As special trustee, Hudley-Hayes appointed Dr. Keith Curry as the interim chief executive officer of the college to assist her in returning the institution to academic normalcy, and regaining its accreditation.
To understand why CCC is now officially called El Camino College Compton Center (ECCC), it is important understand what AB 318 is and what it did.
In part, it read “… This bill would express various findings and declarations of the legislature with respect to the withdrawal of accreditation from the Compton Community College District and the impact the withdrawal would have on the students and residents of the Compton Community College District…”
In other words, AB 318 was a Dymally measure to prevent the school (Compton College) from being closed. With the legislation, then Assemblyman Dymally was able to get a $30 million loan for the college. A condition to keep the school open was to have an affiliation with an accredited institution – the role of El Camino Community College.
Enter Dr. Hudley-Hayes! As special trustee, she invited the community, elected officials, staff, students, and educators last Friday, to join her at the CCC, as she laid out a plan to fix the ailing institution and return it to an independent status. Also addressing the audience were Chancellor Scott, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and former LAUSD superintendent, Dr. Ramon Cortines. Rev. Norman Johnson gave the invocation and Camille Johnson emceed the event. Seated in the audience were Dr. Dymally, Dr. Curry, Dr. Willie Jones and Barbara Calhoun (Compton city council-members), Dr. Thomas Fallo (president of El Comino College), both El Camino and CCC board of trustees, and hundreds of concerned citizens.
After the invocation, the emcee introduced Dr. Scott who explained the there had been fiscal mismanagement at CCC and his role, as a state senator, along with Dymally, in securing the $30 million dollar to keep the college from closing its doors. He emphasized also that “… it is a loan and not a grant and has to be paid back.”
When Dr. Genethia Hudley-Hayes addressed the audience, she was articulate and forthright in every way. She explained why she accepted the challenge to turn CCC around, her background and her observations and analyses of the campus. In part, she gave the reason for the El Camino/CCC partnership and said, “… We are on life support and as a patient, if we get rid of El Camino, we are dead.” And she chided the community to stop complaining and to roll up its sleeve and help solve the problem: getting CCC back on its feet.
Furthermore, she added, “I saw young Black and Brown people with book bags and not bullets, trying to get an education and they were not on crack.” In her final moment addressing the crowd, Dr. Hudley-Hayes said forcefully, ” I am unapologetically an agitator.” Her husband of 41 years sat proudly in the audience and listened to her eloquent speech.
She was followed by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, whose role on the program was described as a ‘response to the state of the district address. However, he was quick in support her and the ambitious plan she laid out for CCC’s recovery. In supporting her, the supervisor said, “Where there’s a will, there is a way.” And in his conclusion, he rendered a philosophical tidbit:
“Candor counts; hope springs eternal.”
Dr. Cortines then offered some brief closing remarks.
In essence, the stated purpose of the address was to give a concise report on the condition of the District to the community and to provide an update on the progress and process that is in place to obtain independent accreditation for ECCC and return to the community of Compton. After all it is/was named Compton “Community” College.
As its primary benefactor, Dymally said, “It is my judgment that Dr. Genethia Hudley-Hayes is the right person for this institution at this present time. In her message to the community, she was very forthright; she laid out issues facing the college and emphasized, as did the State Chancellor, the number one issue for us is accreditation.”
And as an educator himself, Dr. Willie O. Jones added, “I am supportive of the college because it is such an important educational institution in our community and it has such a great and outstanding history. But I was pleased to hear from the California State Chancellor, Dr. Scott, to say that he wanted to make sure the college would move forward to full accreditation and to restore local control to the elected trustees. I was also impressed with the statement by the special trustee that her primary goal was to return the college to its full accreditation and local control.
And with support of Mark Ridley-Thomas, our supervisor, and El Camino’s Dr. (Thomas) Fallo, I am very hopeful that in the near future, we will have our college fully accredited and the governing board fully returned to local control.”
In addition to Compton, CCC serves the following communities: Carson, North Long Beach, Lynwood, Paramount and Willowbrook.