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Student Supports College Professor PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 01:45

I am writing to voice my concern over Los Angeles Mission College’s (LAMC) decision to deny Professor Guillermo Aviles-Rodriguez of tenure. I am one of a group of many students who have attempted to email, call or meet with the [Mission College] president, and have had little, if any, response. I have emailed the president myself, about 10 times, and when finally I received a reply to call him, I left three messages and never got a call back. I am in the middle of my first full year here at LAMC, and finished my first semester there with straight A's. While there was a lot of hard work on my part, I owe a huge amount of gratitude to Prof. Aviles-Rodriguez. I have attended LAMC before, a few years ago, and with the stress of working, returning to school after a few years absence, I failed miserably.

This past fall when I was returning to school, I was absolutely terrified of failing. I was still not very confident that I could come back to school, work my part time job, and run my online business, and that I could do well. My first or second week of the semester it was announced that they were looking for cast and crew of LAMC Drama Clubs production of “Almas,” and I was eager to try out for their costume department. I brought my photo album of pictures of what I have done with my job at the City of L.A., doing youth theatre with kids aged 5-17. I was ecstatic to join the team, and was able to take a lead in my department. I really feel that that production and the continued support of the entire cast and crew, and especially Prof. Aviles-Rodriguez anchored me to LAMC, and made me feel at home.

There were days where I was having a hard time with an assignment, days where I wanted to give up and would tell myself, “You can’t give up, the production needs you, so you might as well go to class, and try.” I was overwhelmed with happiness to have been a part of such a wonderful thing. To see Prof. Aviles- Rodriguez organize so many students, community members, associations and also, bring together LAMC’s Drama and Culinary Arts clubs, it was simply magic. Our professor worked tirelessly to organize us, to play at our strengths and to keep us all focused on saving Pioneer Memorial Cemetery, and helping to restore it to a good state. He talked of the importance of community, of remembering and honoring the past and of teamwork. Prof. Aviles-Rodriguez is not only an amazing teacher, but a very important community member for LAMC and the San Fernando Valley, one that I do not think we can afford to lose.

I will close with this: In December I did an event with my business where I sold my handmade items at a Holiday Sale in Sylmar, a few blocks from LAMC. The event was put together by Tia Chucha’s Cultural Bookstore, who helped us with the “Almas” production. When Prof. Aviles-Rodriguez arrived with his family, I watched him go from booth to booth, speaking with everyone he crossed paths with. Whether he knew them or not, you could not tell. He was so genuine and concerned with everything they had to say, laughing and taking the time to speak with so many members of our community.

I heard so many shouts of his name, so many people wanting to speak with him. Prof. Aviles-Rodriguez is an amazing person, a community leader, one of the best teachers I have ever had and an asset to LAMC. I really hope that the decision to deny him of tenure can be reconsidered, and turned over.

Samantha Jo Jaffray

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 January 2014 16:42