Every day, as president of the student body at Los Angeles City College, I work to help peers who are facing hunger and homelessness. As of now, my school and the Los Angeles Community College District are not laying off any student workers, but our situation is fluid and could resemble the situation that many other students are facing around the state and country. And little can prepare our campus for the devastating impacts of the coronavirus, including closing off vital on-campus services and laying off students from campus jobs. If we want students to survive this crisis, let alone succeed in college, we need colleges and their presidents to step up right now.
Before the coronavirus, students at Los Angeles City College were struggling. One in five students in our district experienced homelessness in the last year, and nearly two-thirds faced food insecurity. While I am constantly directing students to our on-campus resources — including a pop-up food pantry as well as opportunities for students to receive hot meals and financial support — these issues are also personal for me.