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BCCC creates taskforce to examine issues underlying recent uprising

11/6/2015, 6 a.m.
In an effort to help the local community, Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) President and CEO Gordon F. May, Ph.D., ...
Dr. Gordon F. May (Courtesy Photo)

In an effort to help the local community, Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) President and CEO Gordon F. May, Ph.D., is creating a task force comprised of students, faculty, staff, and members of the community to examine some of the underlying societal issues contributing to last spring's uprising in the city.

Bryan Perry, BCCC general counsel, has been appointed to chair the group. A final report summarizing the work of the task force, as well as solutions and ideas on the proper role of BCCC to help address these issues, will be presented to Dr. May at the conclusion of the spring semester.

Approximately 71 percent of BCCC students come from Baltimore City, as products of the Baltimore City Public School System. As an accessible and affordable institution of public higher education and a force for good in the city, BCCC plans to leverage the new task force to ensure its students' concerns are respected-and heard. In this vein, the College will reiterate its longstanding commitment to the citizens of its service area and focus on working to address the most pressing challenges they face in light of last spring's unrest. The effort, according to college officials, aligns with the BCCC mission and represents the significant "next step" to engage and restore the community.

"Many BCCC students, hailing from neighborhoods and communities most affected by the uprising, are troubled by the nagging lack of opportunity available to many city residents," Dr. May said. "Over the past year I have traveled this city and familiarized myself with the challenges and aspirations felt by members of our community. There is simply no question that the transformative role of education-and the commitment of educators-in addressing the displacement and alienation people feel can make the situation better. We owe it to ourselves and the community we serve, to try."

The BCCC task force will look at the following challenges facing inner city residents, with the goal of developing real-world solutions and ideas to increase opportunities for those affected. Key topics to be studied by the task force include: access to education; poverty; lack of economic opportunity/ jobs; and opportunities for ex-offenders.

As the only community college in Baltimore City and the only state-sponsored community college in Maryland, BCCC is uniquely positioned to provide insight and expand opportunities in the areas identified by the task force. For 67 years, the College has served as one of the principal gateways to higher education for underserved communities across Baltimore. For Baltimore City residents, this represents a fairly rapid and inexpensive way for students to upgrade job skills or train for completely new areers.

Serving more than 16,000 students annually at its Liberty campus and multiple learning sites throughout the city, BCCC delivers high-quality education in traditional and emerging disciplines, enabling students to transfer credits to a four-year college or university or qualify for immediate employment in a career field with a future.

College officials emphasize that BCCC can help recent high school graduates create a pathway into higher education and renew success at work.

"More than 30,000 students have graduated from BCCC-and counting," said Dr. May. "As an open-access institution of public higher education, we are literally open to all."

For more information, visit: www.BCCC.edu.