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June 29, 2011 (Sacramento) -- Last week, the Senate Education Committee approved three bills authored by Assembly Higher Education Chair Marty Block (AD-78) aimed at improving the student experience at California’s public colleges and universities. This series of bills includes AB 620 aimed at creating safe college campus environments for LGBT students,AB 670 to establish clear appeals procedures for California State University (CSU) admissions decisions, and AB 743that creates a system-wide assessment tool to better place community college students.

“Making it through California’s higher education systems can be a daunting, at times, frustrating experience for some students. Boosting student success requires a multi-angle approach and I believe it is critical for us to tear down roadblocks that further discourage students,” said Chair Block. “These bills underscore that approach in their own way by addressing hateful bullying that can poison a student’s learning environment, appropriately assessing a community college student’s level of college-readiness to limit the redundant and unnecessary courses that delay degree completion, and by informing students of their appeal options when they are rejected from a CSU campus. These bills will help students on the road to earning their degree and I am glad to have the support of my colleagues.”
The following bills have been approved by the Senate Education Committee:
AB 620:  Preventing Bullying, Promoting Safety for LGBT Students in Higher Education
This bill improves the campus climate for LGBT students at public colleges and universities by providing access to student services, identifying best practices for campuses to model, and by adding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to campus anti-discrimination policies on harassment, intimidation, and bullying in their student codes of conduct. This bill now goes the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.
AB 670: CSU Appeals Process
This bill ensures that each campus of the California State University has a clear appeals process for students who are denied admission. This measure seeks to make sure that applicants who are denied admission are notified of the campus appeals process and how long they have to appeal and to ensure that each campus lists their appeals process on their websites so interested parties can access that information. This bill now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.
AB 743:  Community College Assessment Program
This bill increases the efficiency of community college student assessments by establishing a statewide common assessment system to ensure that students are properly placed. It also improves student success by offering students a pre-test component which allows them to practice and prepare before taking their assessments. This bill now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.
The Senate Education Committee also approved AB 795, giving authority to any California Community College (CCC), California State University (CSU), and encouraging the University of California (UC) to enforce state, local and system-wide smoking and tobacco laws, regulations and policies by issuing fines of no more than $100. It now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.
Assemblymember Block is a proven advocate for California’s college students. Last year, he fought successfully to get 1,740 qualified local students admitted to San Diego State University after flawed changes made to their admissions policy caused these students to be rejected. These efforts culminated in AB 2402, which requires a CSU campus to follow a set of specified public notice criteria prior to adopting a change for admission standards that affects applicants in the Local Service Areas of a CSU campus, including changes to transfer requirements and determinations regarding impaction of majors. AB 2402 was signed into law last year.
Website of Assemblymember Block:
Assemblymember Marty Block proudly represents the cities and communities of Bonita, Chula Vista, Lemon Grove, San Diego and Spring Valley.

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