Author Archives: Reign Reynolds

Greg Rees vs. CLPCCD: Uncovering the Decades-Long Dispute

What initially started as a wrongful termination allegation has now spiraled into a
nearly two-decade-long discourse between Gregory Rees and the Chabot Las Positas
Community College District (CLPCCD).

Gregory Rees, former Chabot College Campus Security Officer, and his colleague,
Gregory Correa, former Chabot College Maintenance Technician, shared their experience through the ongoing conflict in an interview with The Spectator.

The offices of Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Wyman Fong, and the
Chancellor of the District Ron Gerhard were contacted, however, they declined to comment as they are “unable to comment on personnel matters.” The district provided a 20-page partially redacted document from November of 2023, the latest public record available, in lieu of commenting.

While the document is redacted to protect Rees’ privacy, it addresses several
allegations made by Rees in regard to different CLPCCD Board of Trustees members.
Rees and Correa presented 25 documents detailing various incidents that are alleged to
have occurred involving both current and former Trustees and Chabot employees.

In addition to his role as Camus Security Officer, Rees also claims he acted as the
district’s internal affairs investigator at times. During our interview, he stated, “It was my
responsibility to make sure all of our local and district rules were obeyed and followed,
particularly when it came to accounting procedure and so on.”

In its public record, the district confirms Rees’ employment, stating, “Rees was hired as
a temporary short-term Security Officer in 1987, a position that was renewed annually until he was given a permanent position as Security Officer in 1992.”

The following paragraph was redacted, but the document goes on to state, “Rees was
reclassified as a Business Services Officer in 1995.”

Rees disputes this statement, claiming that he was approved as a full-time employee
before 1989. He also noted that he was on duty during the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989.

Two men standing together observing.
Photo provided by Greg Rees of him and Officer Jack Bishop on campus in 1989 inspecting damages from the earthquake

Another one of Rees’ claims is that he is owed three reimbursement checks in the
amount of $1400 each. He claims that two of these checks were in Wyman Fong’s
possession, and the third was in Ron Gerhard’s possession.

To receive these checks, Rees was allegedly presented with a 19-point document in
which he was to agree to all 19 conditions to receive these checks. This document was
claimed to have been presented to him by former interim Chancellor Susan Cota.

According to Rees, “When [Cota] had returned as interim chancellor, she apparently
drafted this 19-point document and then assigned brand new Vice Chancellor of Business Services at that time, Ron Gerhard, to present that document to me along with the check.”

He stated, “To receive that check, I had to acknowledge those 19 points,
initial each one, and then sign and date the bottom. One of the points that was made is that I had never been wrongfully terminated.”

Chancellor Ron Gerhard’s office responded to a request to comment on this claim
saying they were unable to comment on personnel matters.

The district provided a public record listing 23 allegations made by Rees. Allegations 7 through 10 address checks totaling $4,200 that Rees claims he was due.
These allegations date back to February 2009, which is well beyond any statute of

The document further addressed the allegations, stating, “[Rees and Correa] also
allege Penal Code violations that would have been within the jurisdiction of law enforcement authorities to address. [These allegations] do not concern issues within the Board’s authority.”

Though the district claims that Rees’ complaint is beyond the statute of limitations,
they neither confirmed nor denied the presentation of a 19-point document to Rees.

Another significant incident that Rees and Correa discussed was an alleged assault
by Chabot College Vice President of Administrative Services Dale Wagoner. Correa claims to be a witness to the alleged assault that happened on Dec. 6, 2006.

Rees alleges that during a conversation with MacGreagor Wright and Jack Bishop immediately outside of the former Campus Safety office, Wagoner came in and assaulted him. Unbeknownst to the two other alleged witnesses, Correa also witnessed the incident.

Correa stated in the interview that “l saw that event. I had heard there was something
going on. I heard [Wagoner], that’s what I first heard. And instead of going out and looking, the doors are right there, I just leaned back and looked.”

He continued to share, “I go, why is Greg being pinned? And [Wagoner] is over him,
and pushed him maybe six feet backward.”

Rees and Correa both claim that there was no formal investigation done by Chabot
or the district. However, Rees did end up filing a police report with Hayward Police

Before Rees filed a police report, Wright, who was serving as the Director of Campus
Safety at the time, according to Rees, declined to provide a witness statement. Unfortunately, Bishop, a retired and now deceased Campus Security Officer, declined to provide a witness statement as well.

When asked for comment on the situation, Wagoner stated, “Mr. Rees’s claims are
totally fallacious. Never touched him…the interaction where he claimed the assault was all
verbal, and voices were not raised, it was matter of fact dialogue, nothing more.”

The district’s response to these claims is, “Allegations 21 and 22 relate to an alleged
assault by a District manager [Wagoner] against Rees. This is a reference to an incident that occurred in December 2006. Rees’s assault allegation was investigated by the Hayward Police Department; the Alameda County District Attorney decided not to prosecute.”

The following few sentences were redacted, but the last sentence in the paragraph
states, “These allegations also do not concern issues within the Board’s authority.”

Another claim by Rees is that his wife, Sandi Perry-Rees, was sexually harassed. Rees claims that Perry-Rees had been called his “warmongering whore wife,” by Rees’
former supervisor, Vice President Farhad Javaharipour, of Chabot College Business

Rees claims that there was another witness during this incident as well who is unavailable to comment due to health concerns.

The district addressed this claim in the document, stating, “Allegation 18 relates to
alleged sexual harassment of Rees’s wife ‘years ago’ – again, beyond any relevant statute of limitation. They also do not concern issues within the Board’s authority.”

Rees and Correa have attended countless board meetings to address these
incidents and claim to possess substantial evidence in support of their several grievances.

A man named Greg Rees standing at a podium, addressing a group of people.
Screenshot of video from Public Comments during district meeting by Greg Rees
A man named Greg Correa standing at a podium, addressing a group of people.
Screenshot of video from Public Comments during district meeting by Greg Correa

Despite citing potential violations of specific board policies and federal laws, the board
maintains a firm position regarding its lack of authority in Rees’ and Correa’s claims.

Rees’ final statements in our interview were about his intentions with the district
moving forward. “Until an injustice has been properly satisfied and justice has been served, I’m not going anywhere. At some point in time, the district is going to have to honor my request.”

He continued to state, “I’m investigating everybody and anything that has to do with
me, mine, and so on. One way or another, this is going to get taken care of.”

Correa plans to call for a federal investigation. He also stated, “I’ll never leave [Rees’]
side, because [the district] knows that we’re right. They just can’t face the truth, and the truth will set you free, and I’m free.”

The district’s final statement in its provided document states, “For years, Rees and Mr. Correa have appeared at the Board’s monthly public meetings making appeals for justice that have been laced with accusations, finger-pointing, and occasional profanity. Rees’s right to Free Speech is unquestioned, but the efficacy of monthly, vituperative attacks on Trustees over stale claims those Trustees were not even involved in, and that the District had no opportunity to defend, is elusive.”

Rees responded to this statement by stating, “I have not used profanity in my Public
Comments other than to accurately describe incidents. It is also my First Amendment right. I took the time to conduct some research with CA School Board Trustee Associations. The bottom line is that per their legal counsel and court rulings, we can criticize any district employee or trustee. No matter how harsh that criticism is or described.“

As the outcome regarding Rees and Correa’s demands for justice is uncertain, it
appears that both sides are holding firm on their positions in this dispute.

From Spider-Man to Sushi, Chabot Students Rank Their Favorite Pop Culture/Campus Moments of 2023

As 2024 comes to a close, a survey of Chabot College students highlights their favorite campus and pop culture moments of the year. Students were asked to nominate the best movie, TV show, food trend, and tour of the year. For campus moments, students were asked to nominate the best parking lot, cafeteria food, study spot, and professor. The Spectator News team came together to decide the majority winners.

Starting with the best movie, it seems that Chabot students were fans of a particular Marvel superhero. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won the majority of nominations for best movie. Coming in at a close second was everyone’s favorite doll, Barbie.

While many hit series came out in 2023, it seemed that most agreed that The Bear and The Last of Us were the best. The results were almost neck and neck with these two shows. Students can look forward to watching these storylines continue as both shows have been renewed for new seasons.

Many food trends break the internet, but none this year had the same impact as Girl Dinner. The trend began when women shared their Girl Dinner, which usually consisted of multiple snacks in one meal. This became so popular that multiple fast food restaurants added limited edition Girl Dinner meals to their menus which usually consisted of all side dishes.

For the music lovers of the world, 2023 was an amazing year for touring. With big artists like Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, SZA, and Drake on tour simultaneously, this year was one for the books. Out of all these big names, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé shined the brightest to Chabot students as the Eras Tour and Renaissance tour was nominated the most for best tour of the year. 

With yet another win for Beyoncé, students agree that she was the best musical artist of the year. She broke records with her 2022 Renaissance album, which led to a massively successful tour in 2023. She made history this year, becoming the most Grammy award-winning artist of all time with 32 awards to her name. 

As for best campus moments, students almost unanimously nominated parking Lot B as the best parking lot on campus. With its proximity to the cafeteria, the decision only makes sense for the foodies of Chabot.

The foodies also agree that sushi was the best cafeteria food this year. Hopefully, students will continue to see this dish on Chabot’s menu.

For the best studying spot, yet another almost unanimous decision was made. The library was nominated for being the prime place for a good study session.

Lastly, students voted for the best instructor on campus, and Thomas DeWitt came out as the champion. His commitment to improving student’s literary skills is admirable and students appreciate him for it. 

The results are in, and the students have spoken. The Spectator wishes everyone at Chabot a happy holiday season and good luck next semester. 

Battling Drought: Californians Embrace Change for Water Conservation

Climate change is happening rapidly, and for Californians, this can mean expecting more frequent and intense droughts. In the past, California has seen extreme droughts such as the notorious 2014 drought which caused a state of emergency. Fortunately, there are possible changes that we can implement in our everyday routine to reduce our contribution to climate change. 

After reading David Pogue’s book, “How to Prepare for Climate Change,” I shared his suggestions for water conservation with local Bay Area residents. These residents also shared their current efforts towards conserving water and what they can do better.

In Pogue’s chapter, “Preparing for Drought,” he listed many potential changes that can be made to conserve water at home. One of the first suggestions from Pogue for conserving water is to limit how much you water your lawn. Most lawns are made of grass which is why in his book he describes lawns as “water hogs.” He highlights alternative furnishings besides grass for your lawn such as clover, moss or ornamental grasses. These alternatives require significantly less maintenance and can conserve water on a massive scale.

When speaking with Makayla Marshall, a resident of Pittsburg, she gave a testament to the low maintenance saying, “My family doesn’t really water the lawn much. It wastes a lot of water and it just seems like a lot of work anyways.”

Another suggestion that Pogue offered was to not leave the water running. This is a common fault that many make. Oftentimes we don’t realize how much water can be wasted by common habits like letting the water run while brushing your teeth or rinsing the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. 

The EPA states that when you leave the water running while brushing your teeth, you waste about four gallons of water. If you follow your dentist’s recommendations and brush twice a day, that’s eight gallons of water being wasted per day.

Oakland resident Tui Chitekwe shared, “I’ll leave the water running when I’m brushing my teeth sometimes. When I catch myself doing it I immediately turn it off.”  

Hermes Ramos, an Alameda resident also spoke on the efforts his household is making to limit the amount of time water is running. He shared that “some of the most impactful ways to conserve water are at times some of the most obvious. My household became notorious for long showers. Recently we’ve developed a system to minimize our water usage which includes limiting our shower to 10 minutes per person and only using water when necessary to rinse the soap off. ”

While I was lucky to speak with residents who were already following Pogue’s suggestions, there are still many who aren’t. The rapid pace of climate change could have drastic effects on a place like California. Droughts in particular would affect the state the most. Some of the consequences of droughts that Pogue listed were restricted food supply, more wildfires, blockaded cargo, unemployment, crime, disruption and civil unrest.

It may seem unrealistic to expect everyone to make big changes to their everyday routines. However, climate change will create obstructive consequences if more efforts aren’t made by everyone. 

For Californians, this means residents should try to conserve water as much as possible. Making small changes like not letting the water run, watering your grass less, or limiting the amount of times you flush, could have a big impact on slowing the effects of climate change. 

“I think back to the wildfires we had at the beginning of the pandemic. It was scary and even though that was caused by something else, one day it could be caused by a drought,” Marshall said.

She continued to say, “Conserving water is important because I don’t want to live somewhere with food shortages and a bunch of wildfires. I hope everyone does their part to conserve what they can.”

Unlocking Student Satisfaction: Insights from Chabot College’s Learning Communities

Chabot College recently completed its Student Satisfaction Survey for the Spring 2023 semester. The results raise concerns about students’ access to academic resources and support.

Of 1084 students surveyed, 45% felt neutral or dissatisfied with the convenience of getting academic counseling appointments and 42% stated they were neutral or dissatisfied with preparation for transfer to a four-year college or university.  

Another concerning result from the Student Satisfaction Survey was that only 19% of the 1000 students surveyed utilized the learning communities at Chabot. Of that 19% of students, 91% were satisfied with the services provided by those programs. 

I decided to survey a smaller sample of 100 students. Of these students, 50 were in a learning community (LC) and 50 were not in a learning community (NLC). The purpose of this survey was to gain insight into the link between student satisfaction and being in a learning community. Students also had the opportunity to provide feedback on how they think the college can raise awareness about learning communities and improve access to academic support.

At Chabot, there are seven learning communities. These communities are Umoja, Puente, MOVEMENT, Change It Now (CIN), RISE Program, First Year Experience (FYE), and Accessibility Center for Education (ACE). Each program offers a community for students of similar backgrounds to come together and reach their academic goals. A few of these communities offer specialized courses and counselors for their students.

One Umoja student shared appreciation for their program saying, “I really love Umoja because it helps me know that I am not alone in my space around other students. I feel more welcomed and appreciated in the Black Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) and other spaces with black people.”

The purpose of having these communities at Chabot is to make it easier for students to connect with peers of similar interests and provide extra support for students of more diverse backgrounds. The satisfaction from these programs stems from the fact that students have direct access to academic resources. 

The first thing asked in both the LC and NLC surveys was how satisfied students were with access to academic counseling at Chabot. Out of the 50 LC students, 88% were satisfied with their access to academic counseling. Of the 50 NLC students, 42% were satisfied with their access to academic counseling. 

Next, they were asked to rate how satisfied they were with their access to college transfer support. The NLC students were 38% satisfied, whereas the LC students were 70% satisfied. The majority of NLC students were neutral or dissatisfied with academic support at the college. 

One of the general themes of the NLC survey was that students felt that lack of availability and counselors led to their rating. 

An NLC student wrote that it’s “hard to get an appointment and when I do I never get the same counselor. I have to explain my issue multiple times since it’s harder to get an appointment with a specific counselor.”

In the LC student survey, students were asked how they felt their specific program improved their access to Chabot’s academic resources. 

A Puente student shared a different opinion saying that they had, “lots of academic opportunities” and “plenty of resources for academic and personal care.”

Another student of FYE shared similar thoughts saying, “They are there to always answer my questions.”

This is why the Student Satisfaction Survey stats were concerning. If students in learning communities are sharing an overall higher satisfaction rate, it raises the question as to why only 19% of students are using these programs.

In both the LC and NLC surveys, students shared how they felt Chabot could do a better job of informing students about learning communities. They also shared how they felt Chabot could improve student’s access to academic support. 

One NLC student said they would like to be informed by “professors so they can tell the students what services Chabot provides as well as organize events where students get invited to get all information needed.”

An FYE student who experienced being informed about their community in person shared, “My physio Professor this term spent the first syllabus day going over these programs,” they continued to say that, “it was helpful.”

Many students in both surveys voiced how they would like to learn more about learning communities online. Some stated that they would appreciate receiving more information via email or social media. While many of the learning communities have social media platforms, students shared that they would like the college to help promote them. Others suggested that learning communities should be featured more prominently on Chabot’s website. Online visibility was a recurring theme in the students’ feedback. 

It remains to be seen how Chabot will implement student feedback to improve student satisfaction. By the next survey, students are hoping that these stats will improve. In the meantime, students who would like to learn more about joining a learning community can visit 

Glowing Success: Chabot’s Premiere Diwali Celebration with the South Asian/Punjabi Club

Chabot College South Asian/Punjabi club members pictured under a Happy Diwali sign.

On Nov. 30, one of Chabot College’s newest clubs organized the first-ever Diwali celebration on campus. With a great turnout, free food and a beautiful celebration of South Asian culture, this event proved to be an impressive first for the new South Asian/Punjabi Club. 

The event started with everyone entering to mix and mingle while the club members set up for their presentation. This is when Alex Karan, a prominent figure in the club, introduced himself to everyone and invited us all to enjoy a meal catered by Raja Sweets. 

This ended up being a crowd-pleaser with many attendees sharing with me that this restaurant was one of their favorite places to get Indian food. Hannita, an attendee mentioned how she “was excited about Raja Sweets catering because they have a great reputation.”

After everyone had a chance to dig in and settle down, Karan and club President Sifti Singh dove into their presentation about the origins of Diwali. There are three origins of the holiday which all have different stories and cultural meanings which were very interesting.

 One attendee, Praneel shared with me how he “really appreciated the three versions being shared because it encompasses many different South Asian cultures. It was the highlight of the event for me.”

Another attendee echoed this sentiment saying, “I appreciated them sharing the three origins of the holiday which I found interesting. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a diverse turnout despite this being a South Asian holiday.”

What we all took away from the presentation is that Diwali means “row of lamps” and people light lamps to symbolize “light over darkness”. According to the presentation, “it is the awareness of the inner light and higher knowledge.”

Another takeaway was that people celebrate Diwali in many different ways. Some honor Goddesses invite family members over, give gifts, light fireworks and share food. Many also light small lamps called diyas and line them up by windows to welcome good energy. 

After the presentation, Karan thanked Michael Lai, a counselor from MOVEMENT, Arnold Paguio, Director of Student Life and Kirti Reddy, Executive Assistant who all played a part in helping to put together this event. 

I then had a chance to speak with Karan and Singh to ask them about their experience throwing the club’s first-ever event. 

Karan shared, “I had my doubts but the students showed up and supported us. It’s hard because we’re a new club still getting to know each other which was challenging. In the end, we came together and had a great outcome.”

Singh shared that she found it “really hard because getting everyone together was difficult. Thanks to Mr. Alex, Ms. Kirti and Mr. Michael for their help. It took about a month to put together and I’m proud of the turnout of our first event.”

As the night came to a close, club members handed out diyas for everyone so they could continue to celebrate at home. This night turned out to be a great success for the South Asian/Punjabi Club’s first event. 

If you want to stay up to date with information about future events you can follow them on Instagram @desiclubchabot. 

The Influence of AI: Both in and Outside of the Classroom

As online college classes become a new normal, Artificial Intelligence usage has skyrocketed. After speaking with the administration, teachers, and students at Chabot College, I have gathered their thoughts, opinions, and experiences with AI both in and outside of the classroom.

From an ethical standpoint, AI usage in education is widely considered cheating. In a survey conducted by BestColleges, a website that provides academic and career resources for college students, out of 1,000 undergrad and graduate college students, 51% stated that AI constitutes plagiarism. Additionally, 41% stated that using AI for exams and assignments is morally wrong. A survey I conducted of 15 Chabot College students yielded similar results. In the survey of Chabot students, 68% stated that they believe using AI is plagiarism. 

The use of AI to write essays, solve problems, and essentially do your work for you seemed to be the common reason for this result. One student stated, “It’s like hiring someone else to write your work for you.”

Another Chabot student shared a different opinion, saying, “To be honest, it’s a mix. You can cheat, yet also it can help you.”

One of the AI tools, ChatGPT, is familiar to many college students and staff. ChatGPT is a generative AI website that can provide answers or statements based on keywords or a prompt that the user enters. This is an example of generative AI. According to a study done in early 2023 by Intelligent, a news source for students, about 30% of college students use this program. Out of those students, 46% use it for homework and other assignments. These statistics made me curious about how Chabot instructors feel about AI usage in their classrooms. 

One Chabot College instructor mentioned that “students don’t even try to proofread and revise [their work] to personalize it for the particular assignment!”

Despite ChatGPT being one of the most popular generative AI sites, another form of generative AI rising in popularity is image creators. Similar to ChatGPT, you can put in a description or prompt of an image you’d like to create, and within seconds, you will have a computer-generated image. 

A robot working diligently at a desk, equipped with a laptop and a book, showcasing its multitasking abilities while actual human students are sitting in the back doing school work.
AI generated image that used this article as the prompt, by Bing Image Creator

One student voiced their concerns about artistic integrity with the use of AI image creators. “Not a fan at all. People have been caught making AI-generated art by having the AI learn and copy from preexisting artists to make their own art, which I think is incredibly lazy [and] also theft,” they stated.

However, the responses from Chabot students about image creators were mixed in comparison to their thoughts on plagiarism. Other students feel like generative AI can be beneficial and harmful depending on the intent of the user. “I feel like it’s a double-edged sword. It can help us in many creative ways, yet it can hurt us by not using our minds and cheating.”

Another even admits their admiration for AI image generators, “I think sites like ChatGPT are a bit of a cheat, mainly because I prefer to do my own writing, but I LOVE image generators.”

Due to the increasingly negative reputation of AI usage, many people have misconceptions that AI is just a technology that creates something based on prompts from the user. However, that is only true for generative AI. In reality, AI is in most of the technology people use every day. Many virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google are all examples of AI. Many of these virtual assistants were designed with machine learning capabilities. This means that over time, without having to be programmed to do so, they can self-improve and become more efficient. 

Another example of this is Grammarly. According to their own website, they use AI and natural language detection to improve their grammar detection software. According to a survey done by Grammarly, students felt more confident in their writing after using the program as opposed to before. 

Once again, mixed responses were gathered from Chabot students about their thoughts on AI usage outside of the classroom. Some students continued with the general reasoning of threats to integrity. 

“I think it’s wrong to replace hardworking artists or anyone else’s work with AI,” states one student. 

Another student responds, “AI can be useful and will eventually be in many sectors and industries. But I do hope that it is more of a tool than the norm.”

Others mention the potential harm AI could cause in the entertainment industry. “For those who are in entertainment … AI-generated actors are going to be used in TV/film, I believe it will contribute toward a lack of emotional connection to its audience.”

Another student shares a similar view, saying, “From the view of a film major, it scares me if the film industry doesn’t utilize it correctly. If they use it to replace writers to have AI write stories based on prompts, it’s not gonna work.”

I believe that this Chabot student says it best that, “AI usage is inevitable. It may not be for everyone, but technology changes, and it adapts.”

Artificial intelligence usage continues to pose many concerns and benefits in and outside of the classroom. However, it is a technology that will continue to evolve and remain a big part of everyday technology. While artificial intelligence was created with great intention, time will tell what its true impact will be.

Laptops in use by office workers with a computer brain icon in the background symbolzing AI usage.
AI generated image that used this article as the prompt, by Bing Image Creator

Chabot College Welcomes New President: Dr. Jamal Cooks Takes Office With Vision for Inclusive Excellence

President Jamal Cooks at his welcome reception in suit and tie under tent with a Chabot College logo.
President Jamal Cooks pictured at his welcome reception ceremony by Reign Reynolds

As Chabot College welcomes Dr. Jamal Cooks as its newest President, the Spectator Newspaper staff had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Cooks about his goals for the school and what he wants his legacy to be. 

Originally from Oakland, California, Dr. Cooks has spent over 20 years in teaching and administration roles all over the Bay Area. Having had experience teaching K-12 and college students, his academic expertise didn’t go unnoticed when he became a candidate for President of Chabot College.

During his career, he has continued to create safe and supportive learning environments for students from all walks of life. At Chabot alone, Dr. Cooks has contributed to creating the Black Excellence Collective 10×10 Taskforce. This program provides resources such as tutoring, mental health support, financial literacy, and other helpful resources to support the success of Chabot’s Black student population.

Many more innovative initiatives are to come, according to Dr. Cooks. When speaking with reporter Mike Sykes from Spectator News, he talked more about some upcoming plans for the college. 

“First, we have a five million dollar Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) grant. We’re an HSI, we’re about 43% Latinx, which makes a big difference … the STEM part is very important because we’re trying to encourage more students of color and lower-income students to go into the STEM fields.

Second, we’re going to have a student hub that’s going to be in the old bookstore building. We’re talking about providing a food pantry, mental health, counseling, and advising services. A space where students can relax.”

The commitment to putting students first is why many supported Dr. Cook’s transition from Vice President to President of the college. His tenacious determination to be actively involved in what Chabot College students are doing and listening to their needs is refreshing. As Dr. Cooks continues to meet with many student and community organizations, he never lets students forget that they are his priority. 

One of the first things he said, when he sat down with The Spectator staff, was, “One of the reasons why I wanted to meet with you all is because I think that students are the lifeline of what we do and why we do it.”

He continued to say, “I love being around students. I mean, that’s why I do this. That’s why I’m meeting with student groups. That’s why I want to know from you all what’s working for you or what’s not working for you.”

While Dr. Cooks isn’t an unfamiliar face to Chabot, having been Vice President since 2021, leadership changes oftentimes raise concerns about what that change means for the community and culture. When asked about how he dealt with any concerns, obstacles, or pushback during his journey to the presidency, Dr. Cooks shared the things that were crucial in navigating this. 

“The things I had to consider in this journey was making sure I was good at what I did. That I was good at my job. Secondly, I’ve tried to remain comfortable with being uncomfortable, meaning not getting complacent, but always being curious, always looking ahead, and trying to learn what is very important. The third component would be being able to build trust. Being able to trust everyone and stay committed to the goal of being able to help as many students as possible,” he recounts. 

Dr. Cooks has proven to be a driven, trustworthy, and resilient advocate for students at Chabot College. While his presidency hopefully won’t be over any time soon, when asked what he wanted to be remembered for, his answer further proved why he was the perfect choice for the college. 

“I would want to be remembered for being a president for the people. My decisions are very inclusive of students and [so] the people that work at Chabot feel good about [their] particular work environment. I also hopefully want to be remembered as someone who made changes, whether it’s structural or policy changes. The goal is always to be more efficient as a college and institution and to provide a great learning environment for students.”

While we are only a couple of months into his presidency, Dr. Jamal Cooks will surely leave an everlasting impression on Chabot. His legacy of providing safe, equal, and successful learning environments will hopefully live on for many years.

Harry Potter’s Beloved Dumbledore,Michael Gambon, Dead at 82

Michael Gambon as Dumbledore, with long grey hair, seated on a chair.
Still photo of Michael Gambon in character as Dumbledore from Harry Potter by photographer Jaap Buitendijk

Sir Michael Gambon, a highly respected and awarded actor, passed away on Sept. 27, 2023, in Witham, UK. He suffered from pneumonia and ultimately passed at the age of 82. 

Gambon had a very successful acting career in both the theater and on the big screen. After the passing of actor Richard Harris, Gambon would take over the notorious role of Albus Dumbledore in the movie “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” After landing the role in the third installment of the movie series, he would continue until the eighth and final movie of the series. 

Growing up, Gambon had humble beginnings with his seamstress mother, Mary Hoare, and engineer operative father, Edward Gambon. By the time Gambon was 21 years old, he followed his father’s footsteps with a career in engineering. However, this career path would end up changing as he made his theater debut in the 1962 production of Othello at Gate Theatre. 

Although his role as Dumbledore may have been one of his most well-known, Gambon was an amazing actor whose work has inspired and touched the hearts of many over the course of six decades. He is survived by his wife Anne and his son Fergus, who were at his side when he passed. His legacy will live on through his wife, son, and his expansive body of work.

From Physical Shelves to Virtual Carts:  Students Weigh In On the Bookstore’s Closure

Now that Chabot College’s bookstore has transitioned to a new virtual platform, students share their mixed reactions and concerns ranging from accessibility and convenience to nostalgia about all the great things the in-person store used to offer.

Our bookstore was part of one of the many Barnes & Noble Education bookstores. Barnes & Noble Education, or BNED, is a spinoff corporation of the Barnes & Noble Retail bookstores. The company has operated over 700 college-campus bookstores. However, many of these stores are closing and turning virtual due to financial stress, Chabot’s being one of them. 

Now, books are available for purchase online in the new virtual bookstore. An email was sent out in late August to all students with instructions on how to get to the online bookstore, set up an account, and highlights some new features.

I asked students for their initial reaction to hearing about the bookstore closure and got a range of emotions. “I’m sad the bookstore is closing. The staff was always super friendly,” stated Amirah. 

Another student, Saroyah, was not concerned about its closing, “It’s not a huge deal to me, but I hope they turn the space into something productive.”

A concern was raised for our students who don’t have an address. How will they get these books shipped? Since the online bookstore offers no in-store pickup options, a shipping-only model could present a challenge for many. Fortunately, you can have your books delivered to the campus library, which is still open. The address for the library is Chabot College, Attn: Library, 25555 Hesperian Blvd Hayward, CA 94545.

One student made a point about potential issues with certain majors. “[The virtual bookstore] is more convenient for hybrid and online students, but it makes it harder for art students to buy their supplies now,” stated Giselle, an art student at Chabot.

Another concern for others is navigating the new website. For many who loved the bookstore’s welcoming environment and friendly staff, losing that to a website can be disheartening. Not to mention, in-person options are great for those who don’t have easy access to technology or may not be as comfortable using it without help. 

When you first go to the new site, knowing where to start can be a bit overwhelming and difficult. If you are already familiar with the school website, you can search “Bookstore FAQ” and the first link will take you to a page showing you how to set up your account with screenshots as an aid to get you started. The campus library also offers support with the bookstore website if needed.

Navigating a new virtual platform has been a concern for many. A Chabot student agreed with this sentiment saying, “The virtual bookstore is a bit confusing, and I miss the snacks. The search engine isn’t very effective.” 

The online platform also comes with a few logistical hiccups and concerns. Logan, another Chabot student, shared his concerns, “I think it’s inconvenient. I like a place to go to purchase my books [in person], and the online site has a lot of shipping issues. I liked having the option to buy scantrons in person.”

The financial implications of the bookstore’s closure also raise eyebrows. Tyler, another student, pointed out the potential contradiction, “It’s contradictory to use the money from closing the bookstore to use on the library. It’s pretty inconvenient for me, but hopefully, it’s convenient for others.”

While there are still many logistical and technical concerns to be addressed, one thing is clear; the online bookstore will be Chabot’s new normal in an increasingly virtual world. Students will continue to voice their opinions but it remains to be seen how Chabot will address the concerns of their diverse student body. 

Saying Goodbye to the Queen of Rock ‘n Roll

Tina Turner, also known as the “Queen of Rock ‘n Roll,” died on May 24, 2023. The iconic singer/performer is believed to have died from natural causes at the age of 83 in her home in Küsnacht, Switzerland.

Tina Turner, a legendary singer and performer, captivating the audience with her powerful voice and electrifying stage presence.
Tina Turner photographed by Heinrich Klaffs

Turner started her career off with the iconic Ike & Tina Turner duo. After going solo, she struggled in the beginning but would go on to create hits such as “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” This record earned her first and only Billboard No. 1 hit and three Grammy awards.

Born Anna Mae Bullock, Turner had an incredibly successful career starting with her role in Ike & Tina Turner. She met Ike Turner after seeing his band perform at a club in St. Louis, Missouri. After hearing her sing, Ike asked her to join the band and worked with her to perfect her voice. During this time she was referred to as “Little Ann”.

After sending one of Tina Turner’s records to Sue Records President Juggy Murray, he convinced Ike Turner to give Tina Turner a stage name. Ike Turner then dubbed Little Ann as Tina Turner which would later become the name she is most notorious for.

Ike and Tina were married in 1962 and released their mainstream hit “River Deep, Mountain High” four years later. The two would continue to be a duo until 1976 when they split after issues with domestic violence and substance abuse from Ike. After their split, Tina Turner went solo. 

Turner died with eight Grammys and three Hall of Fame awards to her name. She had an immensely successful career spanning over three decades. Her funeral was attended by close family and friends in Switzerland where she was cremated. Beyonce Knowles, another iconic singer, honored Turner by adding her rendition of Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High” to the setlist of her 2023 Renaissance Tour. She is survived by her second husband Erwin Bach.