I took my first college course as a 9th grader at our local community college. Looking back, I know for a fact that taking that class set me up for a successful high school run, which led me to graduating from high school with more than 30 college units accumulated, allowing me to graduate from UCR a year early. Compton College is conveniently located less than 10 minutes away from home and provided high school students in the area access to concurrent enrollment, free of cost. Accessible and free? Yes, please.
Unfortunately, in 2005, Compton College lost academic accreditation, followed by a state audit that accused the community college of mismanagement. In efforts to allow Compton Community College continue to serve their local communities while ensuring its enrolled students received credit for their college courses, the campus became a satellite of El Camino College in Torrance, becoming the El Camino Compton College Center. With Compton College’s loss of accreditation also came a loss of power, as state legislators stripped the college’s board of trustees its power.
Given that the board trustees would have to simply serve in advisory roles, new faces surfaced over the years, seeking to gain a seat at the table with the hopes of helping Compton regain its past glory. One of those new faces, the Honorable Sonia Lopez, first elected to the Compton Board of Trustees in 2013, took her new role as an opportunity to work on establishing new relationships and strengthening local support for the college. In collaboration with her colleagues, Sonia worked arduously to highlight the progress the college had made with the hopes of helping the college regain trust.
Finally, in February of this year, the board won back the authority to govern itself. Following with a visit in March, the accrediting commission evaluated the campus, submitting positive reports of high levels of student engagement on campus. After years of turmoil, the end to a difficult era was announced by the College’s President, Keith Curry, at the 2017 graduation, sharing the news that the Board of Governors of California Community Colleges had restored accreditation to Compton College.
President Keith Curry shared his excitement, “We look forward to continuing to provide comprehensive educational programs and support services to our diverse communities,” and thanked the village that helped make Compton College’s new status a reality.
“Thank you to all of our community leaders — at the federal, state and local levels — for your steadfast support…Thank you to the Compton Community College District Board of Trustees for your leadership. Thank you to all of the Compton District students and employees. And last, but not least, many thanks to our partner, El Camino College, for taking this journey with us to an accredited college.”
The Compton Community College district covers about 29 square miles, serving residents of Compton, Lynwood, Paramount and Willowbrook, as well as portions of surrounding neighborhoods. As resident of one of its benefitting communities and former student of the college, I am excited for the future of this school and am extremely grateful to the College’s Board of Trustees for all its hard work and dedication.
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