Abu-Ghazaleh to Neighbors: We Are Here to Serve the CommunityBy Ari L. Noonan @ 9:00 AM April 20, 2012
Re “When Mr. Abu-Ghazaleh Speaks, You Listen Appreciatively”
Fifth in a series
Mr. Abu-Ghazaleh One of the earliest discoveries every president of West Los Angeles College has made since 1969 is the rocky relationship with the surrounding community.
Despite pious promises, no one has come close to healing the breach.
It is an anomaly of bureaucratic government life that the lush campus in the middle of urban development is on County land, not Culver City, not Los Angeles. Politically and socially, this has tended to confer a kind of orphan status on West while simultaneously the school of natural ties of loyalty.
Healing is on the mind of first-year President Nabil S. Abu-Ghazaleh. He was saying he feels guilty about not doing more public speaking. “Part of the job I should be doing top create a better environment is connecting the college better to its community,” he said.
“People know that West L.A. College has not always had a love affair that is shared with its community.
“That is not necessary. I honestly believe in the little time I have been here, I have seen so many opportunities, not only for that relationship to stop being problematic but to truly thrive.
“I am constantly looking at opportunities to engage with people around us, whether it is homeowner associations, service clubs, public servants, elected officials. Each element helps the college become better grounded in its environment.
“We really are here to serve that community. Nobody else. We don’t do anything else. We don’t do research for distant academic bodies. We don’t bring in too many international students. We have a few, maybe 120. But the majority of our 11,000 students are from here, and that includes online students.”
(To be continued)