Senate makes a vote

The Los Medanos College Academic Senate voted unanimously to pass a resolution opposing the recent implementation of web filtering software Monday, Feb. 26, despite a request from administration to delay voting on the issue until a later date.

Librarian Roseann Erwin and History Professor Joshua Bearden drafted the resolution, which calls the practice of URL filtering “censorship” and “contrary to academic freedom”, before recommending the suspension of the software.

Administration requested that the Senate avoid voting until after Mojdeh Mehdizadeh, the new Executive Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology, could speak to the campuses about the blocks.

Contra Costa County College District Chancellor Fred Wood passed the request to College President Bob Kratochivil, who passed it along to the Academic Senate where it was not well received.

“It is in my mind inappropriate for any administrator to interfere with our process,” said Bearden. “I think that Mojdeh should go to the council with this resolution in hand.”

Wood responded to the backlash to the request, “I was disappointed because I think that Mojdeh will bring a fresh perspective to it. I think that she will be able to answer questions. I’m confident that she will be able to address some of the concerns.”

Wood continued, “At the end of the day I’m still confident that we can land somewhere where everyone’s needs are met,” he said. “I look forward to continuing the conversation.”

Bearden views the resolution as simply the first step, “The entire Senate is behind the resolution,” he said. “What we need to do now is follow up.”

When discussing the resolution at the Senate meeting, Bearden called on LMCAS President Marco McMullen for a student perspective on the blocks.

“The message we are getting from the student body is that we would like to pass the resolution,” said McMullen, who otherwise kept a moderate position on the blocks. “The ideal situation is that the district does not get rid of this entirely,” he said. “I hope for the district to compromise.”

Bearden echoed McMullen’s call for communication, “We need dialogue with the district and Mojdeh.”

A lack of communication has been brought up by Wood repeatedly as a regret about the implementation of the blocks. “Things could have been handled better in the preliminary talks,” he said.

Wood stated that he hopes for Mehdizadeh to speak at the campuses about the URL filtering sometime in March.