Walking on the Ledge
JCCC’s Evening Students Continue to Lose Support
I was disappointed to learn that JCCC plans to end its Knight Watch or WEA (Weekend/Evening Administrator) position. As someone who has worked at JCCC in the evening and who has also taken evening classes (not at the same time), I can tell you this change will adversely affect students.
Here’s the information as posted today on the JCCC electronic mail server, Infolist:
Knight Watch program as it currently exists ends June 30
The services provided by the Knight Watch program will end on June 30 in the format you have experienced it the last two years.
There is a possibility, however, that the services Knight Watch has offered may be available in a somewhat different format or venue beginning in the fall.
As soon as additional information is available, the college community will be advised of the results of current efforts to provide some alternative evening and weekend assistance to students, faculty, staff and visitors.
OK so let me be blunt, this talk about this program possibly coming back, well, that’s what they said when they closed the Student Health Center in 2009 — and JCCC has been without one ever since.
Why will ending this program will hurt students?
Evening students who have problems whether that be with registration, obtaining lost passwords, reporting problems with instructors — whatever — they all come to the library for help because it’s one of the few places open past 6pm. So what can the part-time worker who staffs the Information Desk do to help these students? Nothing, absolutely nothing.
When the weekend/evening admin position started a few years ago, it was such a great relief to know that we (I worked evenings then) had someone to call when a student needed help. Before then, we’d just give the student a sad frowny-face and say “Come back tomorrow between 8-5 and someone in the Student Center can help you.”
Yet we knew that if these students could come back between 8am and 5 pm they’d probably be taking classes during those hours or they’d have to come to campus on their lunch hour (if they get a full hour), find a parking spot, wait to see someone who can help and maybe find a few moments to wolf down some food from Taco Bell’s drive-thru before racing back to work.
One thing JCCC has always had a hard time understanding is that students take evening classes because they work during the day.
These students pay the same tuition for evening classes as others do for daytime classes and, for that reason, they deserve to have an administrator on duty.
BTW let me just tell you, evening students get screwed out of a lot of stuff that’s offered to their daytime counterparts.
- They have to eat dinner from vending machines because there is absolutely no place on campus to get anything to eat after 6 pm. The 6 pm thing affects more than just food.
- They can’t go see a counselor to get help planning classes around work and family responsibilities because counseling closes at 6pm.
- They don’t get to attend any of the speaker presentations or participate in any of the campus clubs because just about everything is scheduled to happen between 10am and 2pm.
- They don’t get to enjoy the familiarization events JCCC sponsors like Campus Kick off in the fall or Campus Craze in the spring because those happen during the day.
- They can’t go to the Student Activities Desk to find other engagement opportunities because , you got it, it closes at 6pm.
But you know what? Evening students are resilient. Sure, they’d like to have some of those perks their tuition funds for other students but they deal with that discrimination — and that’s what it is. What they can’t deal with and shouldn’t have to work around is a campus that no longer finds it necessary to have ONE administrator on duty for them in the evening.
Now, what I can support is ending the practice of hiring retired JCCC faculty and administrators to serve as the evening administrator at the rate of $50 per hour. I mean, come on, that’s ridiculous.