As a cloud of controversy hangs over Roxbury Community College (RCC), including a federal investigation into accusations of underreporting crime and a state audit into financial and other issues, the Gazette recently went to the RCC campus to find out how the students felt.
Many students gave credence to the term “commuter school,” saying they were in a rush to get to class or work and couldn’t talk. But the Gazette managed to speak with two students, including one questioning the administration’s openness about the controversies.
RCC has undergone drastic changes over the past few months, such as Terrence Gomes stepping down as president in June. He was replaced by Interim President Dr. Linda Turner. And last month, Gov. Deval Patrick replaced many members of the RCC Board of Trustees and named Kathy Taylor as the new chairperson.
“It does affect us,” Sadie Barboza, who is in the last semester of the health careers program, said about the controversies. “It is our institution.”
She said she wishes the administration was more forthcoming about what was happening at the school.
Turner did not respond to a request for comment, but her office did say that the president is committed to keeping the students informed and plans to release more information soon.
Barboza said she hasn’t read all of the media coverage of what has been happening at the school, but did attend a student gathering called “Pizza and Politics” where the controversies were discussed. She said some students were confused about exactly what was going on.
When asked about the underreporting of crime allegations, she said they did not make her feel unsafe, even though it probably should.
“They should be reporting all crime,” she said.
Despite the controversies, Barboza said she is “getting a good education from the professors.”
Another student the Gazette spoke with was Anthony Simmons, who is in the liberal arts program. He called RCC “nice” and said he couldn’t talk about the controversy because he hadn’t been following it. Simmons did say he wishes the school’s publicity wasn’t negative.
RCC recently received a boost as Patrick visited the campus on Oct. 2 to announce $20.7 million in capital funds for the school, according to a press release.
The money is slated to be used to renovate the Academic and Media Arts building, as well as support study and planning related to new infrastructure for life science and health programming.
“Roxbury Community College is full of talent and promise and potential,” said Patrick, according to the press release. “These funds will help the students and faculty seize the opportunities before them.”