1. The City Colleges of Chicago have not complied with their own reopening plans in providing adequate Plexiglas barriers, face masks, sanitation, and social distance markings in all student service areas in the seven City Colleges.
This statement is not accurate. CCC is in compliance with its college plans. Each college was visited on multiple occasions, prior to their re-opening, to ensure compliance.
2. Chancellor Salgado overrode the reopening plan of Harold Washington College, which called for all academic advising to continue remotely. Instead, he mandated that in-person advising begin on August 3. Three days later, the Chancellor announced that an employee at HWC had tested positive for COVID 19.
This is not an accurate statement. Harold Washington College’s reopening plan clearly indicates a limited number of advisors will be onsite to assist students. CCC works with the Chicago Department of Public Health concerning appropriate steps and communications related to individuals who have visited a CCC facility within the 14-day period prior to testing positive for COVID-19.
3. There was an announcement on August 4 of an employee at Olive-Harvey College contracting COVID 19. In both cases, the letter Chancellor Salgado sent to the colleges was dismissive, condescending, and dangerous in its downplaying the danger that a COVID positive case presents to those working there. Recall that in March, Local 1708 member at Wright College Carmelita Cristobal died of COVID and the City Colleges did not communicate that until days later.
This is not an accurate statement. CCC works with the Chicago Department of Public Health concerning appropriate steps and communications when CCC is notified an individual, who has visited a CCC facility within the prior 14-day period, has tested positive for COVID-19. After CCC is notified of such a matter, appropriate communications are promptly distributed.
4. There continue to be ventilation and air circulation issues, especially at the older college buildings. At Wright College on August 3, the college did not have the air conditioning on until later in the day, even though employees were directed to work on campus that day.
This is not an accurate statement. No CCC facilities have ventilation or air circulation issues. Air ventilation systems at all CCC buildings are started at least one hour prior to public opening to allow for fresh air change-over before occupancy each day (including at Wright College on August 3). In accordance with public health guidelines, the inflow of outdoor air has been increased at each CCC facility. Increasing outside air comes with the tradeoff of making it harder to cool buildings in the summertime. Slightly higher summer indoor temperatures are expected and evidence that CCC is following this public health guidance.
5. Many employees have yet to hear whether they have been approved for telework, ADA accommodations, or child care exemptions that would allow them to work remotely, putting an undue burden on their lives. In some cases, the administrations themselves did not provide proper forms or guidance on how to request these accommodations.
This is not an accurate statement. The vast majority of CCC employees telework full-time. All CCC employees, except essential workers, that submitted telework requests have been notified if they will telework on a full-time or part-time basis. Essential workers have been and will continue to work onsite full-time.
Employees that initiate a request for leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act related to childcare are promptly approved after the employees provide required, validating information.
Requests for an ADA accommodation received by CCC are promptly reviewed in accordance with CCC policies and applicable law. In accordance with the ADA, the employee, the employee’s healthcare provider and CCC participate in an interactive process during which information concerning the nature of the disability and the limitations that may affect the employee’s ability to perform the employee’s essential job duties are shared, in order to determine if an accommodation is appropriate.
CCC managers and HR representatives spoke directly to employees concerning teleworking and ADA, FMLA or other leaves. CCC distributed multiple district-wide communications explaining the process for completing a telework form and requesting an ADA, FMLA or other leave. Links to the forms for such requests were provided to all employees along with directions for submission of such forms. All forms could be populated and submitted electronically.
6. Since March, the administration has had the time and opportunity to rethink its marketing and enrollment strategies to target students wanting to take advantage of a quality remote education. It has done nothing to change course in these pandemic conditions.
This is not accurate. City Colleges has taken many steps to alter marketing and enrollment strategies to better attract, enroll and retain students in the COVID environment, including more than doubling its year-over-year marketing spend, committing $4 million to enrollment incentives, launching a debt relief program, and partnering with the Chicago Public Schools on virtual college exploration and summer melt activities, among others. An outline of some of these efforts follows below:
Increased Marketing Spend: CCC’s marketing spend was $474K in FY19 and $731K in FY20, and this has been increased to $1.8 million for FY21, more than double FY20 and triple FY19.
Increased Digital Spend: CCC’s digital spend of $234K in FY19 and $268K in FY20 has increased to $341K in FY21 to help reach remote learners.
In just a single week of digital advertising (July 27 – August 3rd), for example, CCC garnered 1,343,191 impressions of our digital social media ads, reaching prospective students.
Increased Enrollment Incentives: In order to drive fall 2020 enrollment, CCC has committed more than $4 million in direct enrollment incentives and has launched a new Fresh Start Debt Forgiveness Program.
Virtual College Exploration Week Series: In order to encourage remote consideration of CCC colleges and programs, CCC has launched a series of virtual college events, hosted on Zoom and Facebook. Prospective students can explore CCC in a fully online environment. Here they find virtual panels, information sessions, and videos about the CCC community and the ways we support our students and our city. A web page provides prospective remote students with an overview and an easy sign-up form.
Virtual Student Services: To assure remote students that their support service needs will be met in a remote environment, CCC has created an online hub for all student services organized by college. Services covered include: Information Technology, Library, Scholarships, Wellness Center, Admissions, Financial Aid, Tutoring, Transfer and Adult Education. The central hub for these virtual services is located here: www.ccc.edu/VSS.
7 Strong Application Web Page: CCC has created an all new landing page organized to address the needs of inquiring remote students with an emphasis on virtual services and how CCC is navigating for health around the pandemic. This page is linked of our main website home page and can be found here: www.ccc.edu/apply.
CPS Virtual Recruitment Portal: CCC has partnered with Chicago Public Schools to incorporate CCC recruitment messages into its Naviance college search tool. Naviance provides a virtual method for CPS students to understand the value of a CCC education and mechanism for interacting with CCC enrollment staff virtually.
Summer Melt: This summer, City Colleges designed and launched a summer melt program in which our Post-Secondary Navigators are supporting CPS students through each step of the enrollment process right up to the first day of classes. The total case load count of students benefiting from touches by the Navigators is nearly 2,700. Additionally, we added academic support workshops to address learning loss from this past year and give students additional help toward placing college-ready.
7. The City Colleges refuses to negotiate over the discretionary federal CARES funds which it has received. The proper use of those funds towards marketing and innovative remote instruction and support services is desperately needed. Yet, they refuse to discuss the use of those funds.
It is true that CCC refuses to bargain with unions concerning CARES Act emergency funds intended (1) to assist students with basic needs, such as food, and (2) to assist educational institutions with covering costs related to providing remote instruction to students, such as providing laptops for students’ home use. Also, federal emergency funds are not a mandatory subject of bargaining.
The CARES Act mandates how all funds received by an educational institution may be used. Specifically, (1) a minimum of 50% of CARES Act emergency funds must go directly to CCC students; and (2) the remaining funds that did not go directly to students must be used by educational institutions “to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus” (e.g. providing students, faculty and staff with computers and hotspots and investing in software and other technology to allow classes to be conducted remotely).
Utilizing CARES Act emergency funds for (1) advertising, as indicated by statement #7, and (2) salary increases, fringe benefits increases and sabbatical leaves for faculty and staff, as previously set forth by the Local 1600 union when it invoked Article XI and Article XII, respectively, of its CBAs is not permitted by the CARES Act. To be clear, using CARES Act emergency funds for advertising, salary increases, fringe benefits and sabbatical leaves is illegal.
8. The City Colleges refuses to give hazard pay to our essential employees such as security officers who have been working at our colleges since March.
It is true CCC did not increase employee salaries in response to the pandemic. CCC facilities were closed to students, the public and employees, except for essential employees, as of March 17th in accordance with the state’s shelter-in-place order. CCC colleges were empty, with the exception of essential employees (e.g. limited security, janitorial and mail staff) who were required to and easily able to socially distance within the multi-thousand square feet of such colleges. Accordingly, CCC colleges were not viewed as hazardous.
9. City Colleges has challenged adjuncts’ and part-time professionals’ requests for Unemployment Insurance benefits, even though other districts, such as Harper, Elgin, and DuPage have shown compassion in not challenging those requests. In this pandemic and economic crisis, to deny these workers access to these benefits is unconscionable.
This statement is misleading. CCC has continued to comply with state law that indicates an employee is not eligible for unemployment benefits (1) due to a standard summer break when the employee is expected to resume instructing classes in the fall and (2) when the employee continues to work and be paid by the employer. Consistent with state law, CCC will not challenge unemployment claims for part-time faculty that do not have course assignments for the Fall 2020. For those who filed this summer and are being asked by IDES to pay back unemployment received, CCC has informed the union of its willingness to review if part-time faculty have a fall class and provide a letter for those who do not receive a Fall assignment. Employees will need to consult with the state to determine whether they are eligible for benefits and what, if any, results may occur if the employee is later assigned a class after having received unemployment benefits.
10. City Colleges continues the failed Reinvention policies of consolidation or “Centers of Excellence”, which first led to enrollment drops in the City Colleges. These policies have been particularly damaging to communities of color.
This statement is not accurate. “Reinvention” was an initiative of the prior administration that was implemented by such administration 4 to 10 years ago. The current administration has made no effort to consolidate programs and has taken an industry and student-centered approach to supporting college expansion of programs.
Any conflation of the two administrations is not fact-based. Chancellor Salgado has led new program development with a focus on quality and industry relevance, supporting college vision, expertise, and collaboration amongst colleges and the district office. Examples include:
- Under the previous administration, nursing programs were consolidated into one program at Malcolm X College. This decision was made by prior leadership. Under Chancellor Salgado, Malcolm X College partnered with Wright College and Olive-Harvey College to offer two additional BNA programs at the Humboldt Park Vocational Education Center and the Southside Learning Center in 2019/2020. Meanwhile, the MXC Nursing program completion rates and licensure passing rates consistently surpass rates prior to the consolidation or moves of these programs.
- The Dental Hygiene program was moved from Kennedy-King College (not consolidated) to Malcolm X College under prior leadership. This program at MXC is now producing graduates at a rate that is calibrated to meet, but not exceed, labor market demand in Chicago. It also is reporting at 100% pass rate.
- Since that time, Chancellor Salgado has supported Kennedy-King College’s efforts to make investments into new programs and facilities – including converting the Dental Hygiene space into a new technology lab to support new CE and credit programs in cybersecurity, coding, networking, and mobile gaming.
- Under the previous administration, Child Development programs were planned to be consolidated into one location at Truman College. Chancellor Salgado reversed that decision upon his arrival and preserved programs at all seven colleges.
- The Education AA transfer pathway is also available at all seven colleges.
- Truman College has continued to support innovation in areas related to teacher professional development, and partners with other colleges to ensure geographic accessibility of educators.
- Truman also partners with colleges to support youth development credential opportunities, including the STEAMbassador program available to all college students.
- Business programs were never consolidated.
- Marketing/management and accounting AAS degree programs were discontinued because they did not prepare students for careers. These programs were more recently reactivated with faculty working to enhance their labor market relevance.
- Every college offers AA transfer pathways in business and accounting.
- Information Technology programs were also never consolidated.
- The CIS associate degree was discontinued at all colleges because it did not prepare students for careers.
- Under Chancellor Salgado’s leadership, all seven colleges now have a new stackable Cybersecurity program pathway.
- Several colleges have worked to launch new IT programs in Web Development and Networking Technology – including Kennedy-King and Olive-Harvey College.
- City Colleges leadership is supportive of an accessible IT strategy at all seven colleges, has raised resources and has made capital investments to expand IT programming throughout the district.
- The Computer Science transfer pathway is available at every college.
- Additionally, under Chancellor Salgado’s leadership, colleges have adapted and developed new initiatives to address equity and diversity in the workforce.
- Olive-Harvey College has served as lead college in the development of curriculum related to the Cannabis industry. The college leads a system-wide advisory council to ensure connectivity to industry and opportunity, with a focus on the social equity goals built into state legislation. This leadership role has led to Olive-Harvey partnering with Wright College to apply for a CCC Vocational Pilot license.
- Kennedy-King College has plans to launch a new Center for Equity in the Creative Arts (CECA), leveraging its assets to eliminate gaps in arts and cultural programs on the Southside of Chicago. CECA is strategically partnering to develop career opportunities in the industry with city, business, and non-profit leaders.
- Malcolm X College’s leadership in healthcare and community health programming lead to direct partnership with the CDPH to support Chicago’s contact tracing rollout. In partnership with Daley College, MXC can provide training in both English and Spanish, ensuring diverse students can access the training and employment opportunity, and that COVID-19 impacted communities can receive service.
- Wright College, in partnership with Daley College, leads in Engineering Pathway development, including first-time partnerships with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, offering guaranteed admissions to highly competitive engineering programs.