Cypress College Among Initial Members of New USC-Based Equity Leadership Alliance

Cypress College is among the initial members ​of the California Community College Equity Leadership Alliance, an initiative from the USC Race and Equity Center formed in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd and nationwide protests. The alliance is an effort to move from words to action.

“Cypress College is committed to addressing institutional racism and improving the experiences and outcomes of our Black employees and students,” said Cypress College President Dr. JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D. “We have always focused on ensuring our students of color have access to a welcoming environment, a quality education, and successful results in the classroom. But we must do more.”

In the past week, the college’s Associated Students held a town hall, and plans are in place for similar forums throughout the coming academic year. A series of employee town halls have been organized and a campus wide equity retreat — originally planned for March, but delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic — is being re-scheduled in a remote format for the fall semester.

“Our students and employees want to know they will be seen and heard, and we must all be part of the solution to make sure we not only create a space for meaningful dialogue, but are a campus that allows for engagement to flourish,” Dr. Schilling said. “Our vision is to ensure we have the best people working here at Cypress and continue to hire dynamic and diverse employees who demonstrate compassion for, and commitment to, ensuring equity and student success.”

Joining the alliance is a significant step in forwarding the college’s goals on equity. The alliance will: help Cypress College improve professional development related to equity issues; provide access to a racial equity resource portal with tools for all campus employees; and administer a national campus climate survey to measure metrics such as belonging, encounters with racism, cross-cultural interactions, and more.

The alliance was formed by Dr. Shaun Harper, who directs USC’s Race and Equity Center. He is a nationally recognized expert on race and equity.

“Merely proclaiming in written statements that Black Lives Matter is insufficient,” said USC Rossier School of Education Professor Harper in a release. “I am grateful to the presidents who responded favorably to my invitation to take serious, strategic action to dismantle systemic racism, address longstanding racial climate problems and eliminate racial inequities on their campuses.”

For more information about Cypress College, visit cypresscollege.edu.

About Cypress College:

Cypress College offers students a pathway to their future in an environment in which employees commit to joining students on their educational journey. The college’s half-million-plus alumni include actors, athletes, doctors, executives, mechanics, nurses, and teachers. For some, Cypress College is the ticket into their university of choice, and for others, it provides essential training for a prosperous career. Just one Cypress College class is often all it takes to provide cutting-edge skills that lead to a promotion or a new job.

Cypress College’s 16,000 students and the highly qualified teaching faculty are proud of the many excellent academic and vocational programs. Cypress College offers 56 university-transfer majors, 174 career-certificate programs, and degrees in 98 areas of study. The college’s traditional semesters begin in January and August, while short-term courses start throughout the year. A Cypress College education costs $46 per unit — $138 for a typical, full-credit class — California’s lowest tuition. Financial aid and scholarships are also available to qualifying students.

Cypress College is one of three campuses in the North Orange County Community College District and a member of the 115-campus California Community College system. The college primarily serves the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Stanton.

Located at 9200 Valley View Street in Cypress, the college is easily accessible from several Southern California freeways, including the 5, 91, 605, 22, and 405. The campus is just a stone’s-throw from Downtown Disney and Knott’s Berry Farm.

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, all of Cypress Colleges and services are offered remotely. Students can access support services online at cypresscollege.edu/coronavirus.

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