Speech to the Board of Directors of the Ventura County Community College District

My name is Justin Simons. I am 23-years-old, and a resident of Moorpark, California. I have lived in Moorpark since 2006, and have been a student at Moorpark College since 2009. I am a political science major, seeking to attain an Associate’s Degree in that field of study, and to transfer to a higher institution of education in the near future. I also work over thirty (30) hours a week most times, and pay bills and taxes like any other hardworking American. I am also proud to say that I have never missed an election.

The reason why I am here today is to express my concerns, and the concerns of many of my fellow students regarding the changes that have occurred at our campus, and throughout the district. Changes regarding the privatization of certain campus institutions, such as the recent acquisition made by book retailer Barnes & Noble, Inc. of the Student Store at Moorpark College, and of course, the vending machines under contract by The Coca-Cola Company.

Our concerns primarily focus around the cost of the products and services provided, and the manner in which these products and services are being provided.

Furthermore, we maintain concerns regarding the democratic nature of our educational institutions, and are seeking ways to improve communication to further discussions regarding such acquisitions in the future, and how such acquisitions could be managed to accommodate a greater portion of the student body as a whole.

We feel that although such changes may serve to save the district much needed funds, and perhaps lower tax rates on residents of Ventura County, and of California; as a taxpayer myself, and as students at Moorpark College, we feel that the cost of such actions could be transferred to us personally, making our economic situation as working-class students even more precarious than it already is.

We bring this to your attention, not out of spite, but out of the hope that the governing body of our community college district may seek to shed more light on these acquisitions; that efforts should be made to prevent a possible rise in costs to working-class students; to maintain the democratic foundations and principles of our educational system; and that greater efforts should be made to accommodate the vast majority of the student body, and to foster more in-depth discussions on behalf of working-class students, to have a say in the decisions that affect our lives.

We thank you for your time, and we hope that you take our concerns into consideration.

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