Thursday, November 12, 2009

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Proposed student center of controversy
By Michele Thompson, Polaris staff writer . . . On October 22, 2009, a Student Administrative Council (SAC) open discussion meant to assess student opinion on the proposed Student Center quickly turned into a heated exchange. Students, faculty and staff who had only recently become aware of the major project and its financial impact on students spoke out directly against SAC and its Director, Alexis Baranov. Are their concerns legitimate? Was the issue adequately presented? And is the proposed Student Center in the best interest of the students of North?
- See Comment 1 below for full story.
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Bicycle thefts: another look at lock technology
By Ron Chang, Polaris staff writer . . . North Seattle Community College has had 2 bike thefts in the month of October. This may be no reason for alarm on any other campus, but it is unusual for North's relatively safe campus. Jeff Caldwell, the campus safety and security manager, confirmed that the two thefts occurred within six days of each other. Both incidents took place during the evening hours of a typical school day. (See Comment 3.)
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Fix It!
. Around campus there are myriad various sources of frustration as things get broken, need mending or an updated fix. You tell us, we'll put it out there.
(See Comment 4)
. Send us your Fix It! rants and raves to help improve the physical setting where you go to school. Send email to


  1. [North] engaged Schacht Aslani Architects to lead a multi-disciplinary planning team to work with the college to create a new long range campus plan," according to a 2007 report from that architectural firm. The result: the NSCC Long Range Campus Plan, a bound document that determines the construction and program changes that occur from 2007 to 2032, improvements that directly impact students present and future. This plan has already gone into effect with the construction of the Integrated Resources Center. The Student Center is one of eleven distinct phases outlined in this document. In its initial conception, this facility would have been funded entirely by outside sources, donations attained through the efforts of administration. Since the economic downturn last year, this funding became limited and with only four of the original $10 million needed available, students would need to pay $6 million in the form of fees, making the Student Center very much the students' building.
    Now it is up to students to decide whether or not they want the new building and the associated fees. According to the SAC website ( "students must approve any additional fee for this project. To determine whether students support an additional fee to help construct the center, the Student Administrative Council (student government) is conducting a student vote. An email with a link to the ballot was sent to students on November 6th. Students have until midnight on November 20th to cast their vote."
    The Long Range Campus Plan was initially presented to faculty and staff at the President's Day meeting in 2007. It was also conveyed through forums offered by the SAC and at the Welcome Student/Success Fair last month. With information on this issue so readily available, why were students and faculty so shocked and outraged when the issue came to light?
    (See Comment 2 for more.)

  2. The majority of our educators at North are not full time, which means they are much less likely to attend such events as the President's Day meeting, the event at which the greatest number were informed of the proposition until last month. According to Vladimir Vilkevich, secretary supervisor of AHABE, no part-time instructors attended the President's Day meeting at all.
    So what did the instructors who attended think? Of those that can remember the presentation at all, some informed their students and even encouraged involvement... by expressing concern about the possible demolition of the bridge that connects 3rd floor IB and CC buildings. This is likely due to little information being provided about the impact the financing would have on students.
    Not all email reminders regarding the proposal have gone unnoticed, but even the instructors who would have made time to bring it to the attention of their students felt the information was vague and did not get the impression that student involvement would be necessary to prevent what would become a hot topic.
    Even the SAC's understanding that students needed to know about the change in financing of the project was not enough to promote effective communication, so that, with less than three weeks remaining before the vote for or against student funding of the project takes place, most students still know nothing of the proposal.
    "NSCC should be prepared to respond to the emerging needs of the growing urban environment of the Northgate Urban Village," according to the 2007 Schacht report. Students Tracy Cross and Wendy James agree with this statement, but think the proposed Student Center is not the best way to meet these needs. According to them, there are many better alternatives to the construction of the Student Center under the current plan. They would rather consider utilizing other outdoor spaces, making better use of the indoor spaces North already has, making interior renovations and at least postponing the project until an economic upturn would enable non-student funding.
    Another voice on campus speaks against the proposal because of its impact on the ESL program. Faculty members Kim Chapman and Lynn Sharpe feel strongly about the financing of the Student Center since the $3 per credit fee would impact ESL students the most in terms of percentage increase in tuition. The result would be a loss of the majority of these students, either to Shoreline CC or Seattle Central CC, where program fees would remain at $25, or by leaving the program altogether.
    It would be ideal if the views of all students affected could be better communicated, debated and taken into account, especially before tempers rise, but there is currently no student center that facilitates such openness. Do we need a better student center that might address the apparent lack of student involvement on campus and to adapt the campus to the future of the community outside North's walls? Is the proposed Student Center the answer? That's for the students of North to decide, and vote, by November 20.

  3. Bike locks are the obvious solution to preventing bike theft, but it is easy to be confused by the market's offerings of various bike locks. It should be emphasized that there is not a proportional scale of security gained with each additional dollar spent on a bike lock. A cyclist may pass up a basic cable lock, and purchase a thicker cable lock in an effort to gain more security. In reality, cable locks of all thicknesses can be cut through in a matter of seconds.
    It may be common knowledge that a u-lock provides the best security, but cyclists may not know that there are lighter and less-expensive u-locks on the market. Mini u-locks have recently become popular because of their lower weight and cost. The OnGuard Bulldog Mini TC is a perfect example with its 2 lb weight and $25 price tag. It has also been chosen as best budget lock by and
    Another factor in the security of a bike is how it is locked up. Ideally, a bike should have both wheels and its frame secured. This can be done by removing the front wheel, and locking it to the bike along with the rear wheel. People may not have the patience or a big enough lock to perform this task on an everyday basis. A good compromise is to lock only the portion of the rear wheel that sits within the rear triangle of the bike. Although the frame is not technically locked up, a thief would have to cut through the rear wheel to free up the rest of the bike.

  4. Wellness Center, Men's Locker room latrine. You've finished your workout and are ready for your shower. However, the one working toilet has someone who is taking their time, and taking their time, and you wait, and you wait. This loo has had a 'not working' label on it since the beginning of the quarter.
    Instructional Building, Third Floor doors. When you enter the enclosed breezeways between classrooms, often the automated accessible doors would open even when you didn't intend to use them. Maintenance has installed new hardware and fixed them so the problem no longer exists. Those with chilled ankles from the breeze thank you.