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Decline in College Enrollments

April 05, 1985

I am writing regarding your extensive article (March 25) on the enrollment decline in the Los Angeles Community College District.

I am in agreement that colleges nearby, Los Angeles Harbor College, Los Angeles Southwest College and West Los Angeles College, may offer more attractive physical facilities, but I take strong exception to a comment from a single student implying that our faculty is not as good as those teaching elsewhere.

During my tenure as a trustee, I have developed an acute awareness of the competency, skill and dedication of the faculty on our many campuses. Free-flow, enabling students of our district to go elsewhere, certainly has contributed to the decrease in enrollment. So has the cutback of class offerings, triggered by less money being available to compensate part-time faculty. A look at the faculty of other community colleges adjoining the Los Angeles District will substantiate this statement. Ours is extensively a full-time, professional faculty. Criticism of our faculty is unjustified.

Other reasons exist that might explain the decrease in students at the Los Angeles community colleges. Classes being cut and equipment not available point to questionable decisions on the campuses. Perhaps better utilization of our resources and a definition of goals would serve to provide both a short-term, as well as a long-term solution. Responding abruptly to crises leads to wrong solutions.

Finally, it is only fair to point out that the problems of enrollment in the Los Angeles Community College District are not unique. One needs only to look at other urban areas (as well as some rural areas) throughout the state to see that this same problem exists.


Los Angeles

Richman is a member of the board of trustees of Los Angeles Community Colleges.

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