Moorpark College administrative staff hosted ‘Campus Update’ webinar for students and faculty

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By Morgan Ellis

Moorpark College is still under a mandatory campus closure as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is inevitable for there to be some bumps in the road as students and faculty continue to work remotely. Interim President Julius Sokenu and ASMC president Kris Hotchkiss hosted a virtual “campus update” over Zoom to address the students’ points of concern on Wednesday, April 15 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Covering a full spectrum of highly questioned topics, other administrative figures present included Vice President of Business Services Dr. Jennifer Clark, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Mary Rees and Vice President of Student Support Dr. Amanuel Gebru. In addition, there was an interpreter translating the meeting into sign language.

“We are invested to meet your academic goals,” Sokenu reassured viewers during his opening statement. “Our commitment to you is that we will provide a learning environment and the resources you need to be successful.”

Moorpark College Interim President Julius Sokenu hosts a campus update webinar through Zoom along with ASMC president Kris Hotchkiss and other administrative staff members on Wednesday, April 15.
Moorpark College Interim President Julius Sokenu hosts a campus update webinar through Zoom along with ASMC president Kris Hotchkiss and other administrative staff members on Wednesday, April 15.

The first topic that Sokenu went over was student workers, given that there is much room for question since they are no longer able to attend their jobs.

“Please rest assured that Moorpark College is here for you as student workers. We will support you and try our best to reaffirm you in your work environment and provide the necessary resources to do that work,” Sokenu said.

Following this, Sokenu also updated viewers on commencement proceedings, as well as how students will be receiving their awarded scholarships now that there is no longer an in-person ceremony taking place. Students can expect to receive both their certificates and checks in the mail.

Next Clark spoke on the growing prevalence of financial strain as a result of COVID-19, she felt it was important to clarify any potential questions regarding financial aid and how to access and apply for emergency funding if needed.

Rees then took the floor to speak about final exams and updates on the upcoming summer and fall semester schedules.

“We highly encourage you to look into the summer schedule and fall schedule and see what courses will be needed to help you keep on schedule. Keep on your path,” Rees said. “Keep moving forward on your educational goal. Do not let COVID distract you from what you want to do and meeting your particular goals.”

Following educational guidance, Gebru provided general information and updates on accessing all the resources that the college is working hard to maintain.

“We wanted to make sure you use the services that you have. Get all the resources that help you through this time,” Gebru encouraged.

Gebru continued to walk viewers through some of what can be found through the “Student Help” button on the homepage of the Moorpark College website, including but not limited to the counseling office, the financial aid office, the food pantry as well as the CalFresh program.

Sokenu and Hotchkiss dedicated the last few minutes of the webinar to answer questions that students submitted throughout the meeting. They discussed the importance of maintaining social distancing protocol come the reopening of campus, tutoring availability and the new opportunity for a pass/no pass grading system.

“There is a change in the way we do business. And we are doing our best to what is the dynamic and rapidly changing situation,” Sokenu said. “Yes it is scary and hard. We are here to support you.”

Archived recordings of all campus update webinars can be found on the President’s online office page.