Letter to the Editor

Speaking as a member of the SCC community, the uncertainty of the future of the dental hygiene program poses a great concern. Faculty and students have been living in angst since the announcement was made by SCC’s administration to exclude the dental hygiene clinic from the proposed Allied Health, Science and Advanced Manufacturing Complex.

If the dental hygiene clinic is discontinued, where is the “Health?”

As of now, the demolition of the 2500 building to make room for the complex has been paused — not because the administration has shown concern about the dental hygiene program, but because there aren’t enough funds to move forward with the project. As students, we have lost complete trust in the leadership at this school.

President Cheryl Roberts, where is the accountability? Have there been audits to ensure money is being allocated properly? If there had been, the school wouldn’t be facing the financial turmoil that it’s currently in.

The lack of communication from the president regarding the dental hygiene program over the past quarter has been appalling. Her lack of transparency is exceeded only by the ability to evade questions. This is nothing more than deception. The president’s words are like air; they carry no weight.

We are not ignorant. After hearing dedicated faculty members at this school speak out during the board of trustees meetings regarding the state of this college, I am appalled. I want all faculty members to know that I empathize with their frustration. There have been no promises that the dental hygiene program, nor any other program, will be saved or cut.

Highly qualified students strive for admittance into SCC’s dental hygiene program because of its sterling reputation in the dental community. Some students have obtained counsel to protect themselves from the administration’s mistreatment which could rob them of their future careers.

This does not even address the thousands of community members who will be losing out on quality oral health care treatment if there is no clinic. With research constantly emerging to support the link between oral and systemic health, eliminating the college’s long-standing dental clinic could put patients’ lives at risk. Can SCC’s administration live with that?

SCC’s denial that the program will be cut is a falsehood. In fact, the administration will not be opening any dental hygiene classes for enrollment in fall 2020, which means that approximately half of the program’s faculty will lose their jobs at the end of spring quarter.

As a result, other departments such as biology, chemistry and English will see a decrease in student enrollment, as students looking to complete their 60 credits of prerequisite coursework will go elsewhere.

I would not trust the administration’s statements without further investigation. I believe that the ideal outcome would be to establish new leadership within the college — not only to help get SCC back on track financially, but to ensure that the dental hygiene program and other important programs remain intact.

Theresa Kasen
Dental Hygiene Class President

This letter has been lightly edited for style and clarity. The views expressed are those of the author.