Chancellor's Response to the March 27th and April 5th Public Hearings
To the Seattle Community Colleges students, faculty, and staff —
We heard the voices of those who spoke at two recent hearings on proposed rules governing public forums at our colleges,
and have read the written comments. Based on the feedback, I am taking the proposed Washington Administrative Code rule
(WAC 132F-142) off the table, going back to the original
(WAC 132F-136), last revised in 1984,
and adding three provisions to the original WAC: hours of operation (section 14), camping (section 15), and incorporating
Due Process to Trespassing (section 050). I am forwarding these recommendations to the Seattle Community Colleges Board of Trustees
for its First Reading at the April 12 meeting.
We Want Your Perspective
Our colleges stand for both safeguarding free speech and providing excellent education. Our policies need to strike a better balance
between the two. With your help, we will find that balance.
I will convene a stakeholder group to look at this issue again. We sincerely welcome and need participation from students, faculty,
and staff as well as administration and the community to ensure that we are upholding First Amendment rights while respecting
all Seattle Community Colleges constituents. We heard your voices. Now we want your help.
I started my career in higher education at the Seattle Community Colleges not long after the 1960s era of protests.
I know – and fully endorse – the point of pride that our colleges are responsive to our external and internal communities.
We Heard You
With that in mind, we listened closely when 65 faculty, students and others spoke out at hearings on March 27 and April 5.
We scheduled the second hearing specifically so more members of our campus community could attend and speak after returning from
spring break. We also received 30 written comments. Both the hearings and written comments are part of the standard process in
considering new rules such as this, and the Board and administration take all of them into account in making a decision.
Those comments also included support for several of the proposed changes. At times, members of outside groups have harassed our
students and followed them across campus and to their classes. We have been asked to address this concern.
As we work toward the right balance, we need to address camping, hours of operation, and our trespass policies.
Last fall, the Thurston County Superior Court upheld an emergency rule prohibiting camping on our campuses in order to give us time
to adopt a permanent rule. The District must move promptly to adopt permanent camping regulations on campus to protect the health
and safety of the campus community
The next step in the process occurs at the District Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, April 12, at 4 p.m. in the First Floor
Board Room at the District Office, where the proposed rules will be introduced for a required First Reading. As always, the meeting
will include time for public comments. No vote will be taken. The board is scheduled to vote on the rules at its May 17 meeting.
Trustees have already received summaries of the recorded testimony, written comments, and video documentation of both hearings.
Thanks to all of you who provided comments, spoken and written, on the original proposal. As we proceed, we look forward to working
with you to find the right balance between upholding First Amendment rights and the rights of our students to pursue their education
in a safe, healthy environment.
Jill A. Wakefield
Green for the 21st Century in Seattle
Innovations in curriculum and operations have earned the 2009 Green Washington Award for the Seattle Community Colleges
– Central, North and South. All three colleges are active members of the Seattle Climate Partnership and North was an
early signer of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. A district-wide Chancellor’s
Sustainability Initiative provides energy, focus and a forum for emerging training and initiatives.
Sustainability is infused into programs ranging from urban agriculture at Central to environmental science,
real estate and building management across the district. Students have funded a sustainability coordinator.
Campus activities include reducing the carbon footprint and promoting recycling and energy conservation, which earned
a “Recycler of the Year” award for South. Last year, the college culinary operations diverted 31 tons of
materials to a regional composting facility – which returned the compost to “green” the college landscape.
For more information visit
Helping displaced workers to
‘Start Next Quarter’
During the economic downturn, thousands of displaced workers turned to the Seattle Community Colleges at the same
time regional employers reported a need for skilled workers to fill jobs in the new economy. To help both potential
workers and employers, the Seattle Community Colleges developed Start Next Quarter (SNQ), a two-part initiative
designed to improve the success of dislocated workers who enroll in technical education programs. SNQ invites
prospective students to assess their eligibility for workforce funding online and connects them to a comprehensive
two-day college success workshop held at each campus. The workshops are based on a model developed at one of the
district campuses. Students who complete the workshop are more likely to complete their training programs and to
obtain jobs using their new skills. The project was developed in part through a grant from the League for Innovation,
funded by the Walmart Foundation Bright Futures project to serve displaced workers.
A Model for the Region
The Opportunity Center for Employment and Education at North Seattle Community College is a regional resource and
the first integrated service center of its kind in Washington state. Since the OCE&E opened its doors in spring 2011,
more than 40,000 people have come for one-stop help in finding a new job, career retraining or to sign up for public
assistance benefits. Founding partners were the state Departments of Social and Health Services and Employment
Security, the college, and the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County. The campus and the new LEED
Gold Certified 45,000-square foot facility are in the heart of Seattle’s north end and close to a major transit hub.
House Speaker Frank Chopp and Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney (sponsor of the legislation and a former Seattle District trustee)
championed the OCE&E in the state legislature. The center aims to provide streamlined services in a positive environment,
helping clients succeed in the next stage of their lives.