Letter/petition opposing increasing class size minimum from Skyline College Kababayan learning community to Interim Chancellor & Board

May 24, 2023

To Dr. Melissa Moreno, Interim Chancellor, and the SMCCCD Board of Trustees:

Yesterday afternoon, the students in English 104 AK: Applied English Skills in Cultural Production a.k.a “the Pilipino Cultural Night class,” were informed by their professor, Dr. Liza Erpelo, that today on Wednesday, May 24, the Board of Trustees for the San Mateo County Community College District would be discussing proposed changes to Board Policy 6.04 – Minimum Class Size Guidelines.

In February 2023, the District Participatory Governance Council (DPGC) recommended a permanent change of the minimum class size guideline for class cancellations to ten (10) students, which was forwarded to the Interim Chancellor, Dr. Melissa Moreno, for consideration. However, her revised guidelines to be presented at today’s meeting indicate that classes fewer than twenty (20) students will normally be canceled or merged with another section, and certain class sections with enrollments between ten (10) and twenty (20) will be “carefully reviewed…where possible.”

This recommendation is surprising given Dr. Moreno’s People’s College Initiative (PCI) work, specifically in regards to Participatory Governance, which purports to ensure that all constituent groups, including students, “are given the opportunity to express their opinions at the campus level” and “ensures the the right to participate effectively in college-wide decision making.” Additionally, this threat of being “carefully reviewed” each semester is demoralizing and increases consistent anxiety for students, instructors, divisions, campuses, and the district.

This recommendation would directly affect next year’s Pilipino Cultural Night (PCN) students because the first course in the sequence, English 103, is scriptwriting. This usually is a small class, often with less than 10 students enrolled, which is actually beneficial for the students, as a smaller writing team is easier to work with in creating a script. However, were the revised guidelines to be approved, English 103 would most likely be canceled for Fall 2023. Without English 103, there would be no script, and without a script, there would be no English 104 in Spring 2024, which is the production class. These courses — ENGL 103 and 104 — are unique to Skyline College in that they are models for all colleges across the state and even the nation that have PCN and for those that are looking to establish PCNs at their institutions. More importantly, we are the only known institution that awards course credit for the countless hours of labor that the students put in to this production.

If these classes are canceled, there would be no 19th annual Pilipino Cultural Night at Skyline College to celebrate Filipino/a/x culture and heritage, no PCN to teach the students and their families about the Filipino/a/x American experience, no PCN to allow students to build a strong sense of pride in their communities, and no PCN to raise funds for the Friends of Kababayan scholarships.

Another issue at stake would be enrollment for students in our learning communities in particular. Recruitment for learning communities like Kababayan and CIPHER is needed through the summer months and into the first few weeks of classes. As many of us who work in these learning communities know, the trends tend to be that the students who need the support of the cohort model most are the ones who register last. If the courses these students need are canceled before they even have to chance to enroll, how can we achieve our campus goal as stated in the PCI to create an antiracist and equitable culture?

With these and many other concerns in mind, the PCN students sent out a Google Form yesterday to classmates and community partners asking them if they believed classes with a minimum of 10 students should still be allowed to continue to operate; they received 72 responses. These responses not only came from Kababayan Learning Community (KLC) and Filipinx Student Union (FSU) members and leaders, but also representatives from Outreach Campus Ambassadors, Active Minds Club, CIPHER, Phi Theta Kappa, Associated Students of Skyline College and Cañada College, Honors Club, a former Student Trustee, the Myanmar Student Union, Women Mentoring Leadership Academy (WMLA), Katipunan Learning Community at College of San Mateo, as well as Skyline College and Middle College alumni.

Then 15 KLC students met with Dr. Erpelo last night via Zoom to specifically discuss the impact these revised guidelines would have on their next PCN. However, through the course of the conversation, they also ended up discussing how these revised guidelines would have quite a detrimental effect not only on the Kababayan Learning Community, but on our entire campus community as a whole.

As a collective of student voices along with the support of professors and community partners, we urge you to consider keeping the minimum class size at 10 for these reasons below, as stated in our own words:

Quality > Quantity. The special thing about community college is the intimacy of each classroom setting being less students than other universities. My favorite classes were the ones that had a smaller batch of students. Everyone in the classroom had a bond with one another, along with the teachers.Here, can you add something like our students deserve that kind of environment where quality learning happens, which may not happen when the College is run by “efficiency” principles?

Smaller cohorts allow for more concentration to each individual student which my professors have shown, as they have been able to connect and create a bond to each single student.

Community college is supposed to help build you as a student and I appreciated the small classes I had because of how open the professor would be in helping me out.

By refusing such classes to the students at Skyline College, the administration denies Skyline students equal representation in the courses provided. Marginalized and underrepresented students are not given the same opportunities because of the fact there are not enough of them to fill their classes.

Some classes, like late night classes or async classes, have consistently low enrollment. However, they’re essential for non traditional students or working students to access an education and fulfill degree requirements. Taking these low enrollment classes off the schedule would hinder access to education, and ruin SMCCD’s mission of supporting non traditional students.

Specific classes that could be impacted by this policy include my class on Sex & Gender, my Social Justice Class, and Race & Ethnicity class. These classes are ones that give visibility to communities of color, the lgbtq+ community, and every other marginalized group that belongs on campus. By taking these classes away, this institution will only continue to perpetuate white supremacy and go back on its words that are literally written on the Ed Master Plan of being a student centered & anti-racist institution. Not only that, but these classes have been a critical part of my learning and the minds of the students who have and will continue to take these courses. They are not only required courses to transfer & get my degree, but these are classes that reflect resistance against a world that often seeks to diminish and undermine our identities and our humanity.

To Dr. Moreno, Interim Chancellor of SMCCCD, we specifically ask you to take the following statements below into serious consideration as you make your decision regarding the minimum class size guidelines:

We encourage Chancellor Moreno to be sympathetic about the communities in Skyline College, especially from the marginalized groups. Potentially canceling classes with students less than 20 people would hurt the community we are trying to build, especially since COVID— Kababayan / FSU has been heavily impacted in terms of numbers.

I understand that it may save money to be stricter with the class minimums and have less classes. However, what that extra bit of money sacrifices is creativity. It removes an outlet for students to express themselves, and takes away an opportunity for students to meet other students. These smaller classes help create communities that make the college experience more fun and easy to get into, and is what separates our districts community colleges from the rest. I hope our messages will get you to reconsider.

Please consider people with learning disabilities like myself who benefit from smaller class sizes.

By refusing such classes to the students at Skyline College, the administration denies Skyline students equal representation in the courses provided. Marginalized and underrepresented students are not given the same opportunities because of the fact there are not enough of them to fill their classes.

Please, consider that there are students who can benefit from the flexibility of being able to work on their transfer requirement classes in course sections with low enrollment but which are at convenient times to them. Please also understand that community college students already have far more pressures to deal with than ordinary college students, and fewer class schedule options might mean another year at CC for them that could have been spent on their career after college.

Although there are fewer than 20 students in these classes, our voices matter & these classes matter to us. Don’t take them away.

You are closing doors into intimate learning spaces, and spaces that people used to raise their voice.

By making class sections be cancelled with fewer than 20 students, you are taking away opportunities to allow us to learn more about the topics WE, as students want to learn. You are indirectly causing harm to different groups on campus by NOT allowing the opportunity for us to grow and learn more about where we came from. Skyline’s Mission Statement is “To empower and transform a global community of learners.” How can Skyline follow that statement when they are directly creating situations in which we cannot transform, be empowered, or build community by requiring a minimum of 20 students?

Before you take action on Board Policy 6.04 – Minimum Class Size Guidelines at the Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for June 28, 2023, we ask that you hear our voices and our concerns, and acknowledge our rights as students. We ask that you allow Skyline College to uphold its vision statement to “inspire a global and diverse community of learners to achieve intellectual, cultural, social, economic and personal fulfillment.” We ask that you to let us continue to take our courses at Skyline College without having class size dictate and jeopardize our future in higher education.


  1. Mikaela Yangco, KLC, FSU, Bridges + Beats, Outreach
  2. Courtney Anne Vocal, Kababayan, PCN
  3. Trinity Velasco-Frias, FSU, PCN
  4. Kevin Santiago, Im with KLC, FSU, and PCN all the way
  5. Brianna Garcia, Member of SAGA
  6. Niko Santana, Student part of Promise Scholar Program, Kababyan, PCN
  7. Kirsten Faith Bautista, KLC, FSU (VP), PCN, Promise Scholars
  8. Faith Noelle Santos, Student for Kababayan Learning Community. Member of FSU.
  9. Rika Fabian, Skyline sociology department
  10. Weecko Malate, Student at Skyline College
  11. Jomari Geronimo, Skyline Alumni, Anakbayan Daly City
  12. Zoe Evanchik, CSM middle college student
  13. Michaela Holtz, student
  14. Megan Salariosa, Member of KLC/FSU/PCN, Artistic Director of PCN 19, Full time Student at Skyline
  15. Roderick Daus-Magbual, Council Member of Daly City; ethnic studies professor; executive director of Pin@y Educational Partnerships (pep)
  16. Kevyn Lorenzana, Affiliate- alumni & title professor in ethnic studies
  17. Alysa Mai Orillaza, Student ambassador for Outreach office; Promise Scholar; Filipinx Student Union Vice President; Middle College alumni
  18. Allen Ocampo, Equity Institute – Manager
  19. kayla soriano, Anakbayan Daly City
  20. Jaycer Pidlaoan, Student at Skyline College
  21. Christian Bebing, Skyline College Student
  22. Eleanor Kim Fabro, Past Skyline student, Nurse.
  23. Samantha Cervantes, Student Ambassador
  24. Jillian Antunez, Miss
  25. Renz Andales, Larry the Musical, Production Assistant
  26. Anneliese Noonan, Student
  27. Irah Tancioco, ASSC – Senator x Commissioner of Communications
  28. Tom Matawaran, FSU Secretary, PCN, Kababayan, Bridges & Beats
  29. Kevin A. Santiago, FSU, KLC, and PCN
  30. Celina Buncayo, ASSC Senator, Honors Club Commissioner of Media and Public Relations (President in the fall), PTK, FSU, Dance Honor Society Club Representative
  31. Barakah, Astronomy and Physics club
  32. Kevin Anthony Sarmiento Santiago, KLC, PCN, and FSU
  33. Parker Nathanael Guban, Katipunan Learning Community, ICC Representative (KTP connections with FSU!)
  34. Iliana Crisostomo, ASSC – Senator
  35. John Macahilas, KLC, Promise Scholars Program, Kappa Beta Delta
  36. Sam Laporga, Katipunan
  37. Nicolas Marin, He/His/Him
  38. Isabelle Escobar, ASSC upcoming senator
  39. Lorenzo Madrigal, Associated Students of Skyline College – Senator (22-23), Kababayan Learning Community member
  40. Alyss Foge, laso fsu skyline student
  41. Patrick Racela, Community, former National Internal Vice President of Kabataan Alliance
  42. Joshua Lindo, Adjunct Instructor (ASLT) and Program Services Coordinator (SESP)
  43. Noah Liu, Phi Theta Kappa Beta Zeta Nu Chapter (VP of Public Relations) and Associated Students of Cañada College (Commissioner of Publicity)
  44. Jamie Laygo, FSU, Bridges & Beats
  45. Kai Kyaw, SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Alliance), PTK (Phi Theta Kappa)
  46. Aljae Trinidad, Skyline student
  47. Chretianne Gomez, Katipunan
  48. Kevin Olvera-Mena, Campus Ambassador and student
  49. Jerry Hnin, ASSC Senator
  50. Sarah Ruiz, ASSC, Commissioner of Public Records
  51. Jazlyn Z, Skyline future cosmetology student. Sfsu student
  52. Emily strecker, Soon to be graduate, previous SI
  53. Angelina Pohahau, Student
  54. emerald julian, used to take classes over pandemic
  55. Nichole Dungo, Community Member, Anakbayan Daly City
  56. Michael Locsin, Outreach Office; Student Ambassador
  57. Nikki Pasion, Outreach Office; Student Ambassador
  58. Fernando Montanes, Former Skyline and KLC student, Boardmember Pilipino Bayanihan Resource Center, Kapwa Kultural Center
  59. Caitlin Collantes, KLC student, FSU former President, Outreach office; Student Ambassador, Promise Scholar, Cipher Student, ASSC Former Senator
  60. Micah Eliot Ainza, Student
  61. Kadae Aung, Myanmar Student Union, President
  62. Aram Hidalgo, Skyline College Student
  63. Eunice Isorena, FSU, KLC, and PCN Member
  64. Ryan Ramos, Member of FSU
  65. Annabella Raj, N/a
  66. Swan Pyae Sone Tun, Student
  67. Eureka Soriano, Commissioner of Activities – ASSC
  68. Dianni Flores, Promise
  69. Yamileth Sebastian Moreno, Student
  70. Maharaj Desai, Skyline College – Instructor of Filipino Language/ CSU East Bay Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies and Liberal Studies
  71. Nate Nevado, Counselor, CIPHER
  72. Zeke Recto, Assistant Principal – Jose Rizal Institute, Bataan, Philippines/2021-22 Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant to Kababaayan Learning Community at Skyline College
  73. mel altre, miss
  74. Jackeline Fuentes, Student Assistant at Center for Student Life and Leadership Development
  75. David Pumyam, FSU Treasurer, PCN 19 Financial Director
  76. Rob Williams, Skyline Professor
  77. Dionicio Garcia, Skyline College Counselor
  78. Shannon Hoang, Alumni
  79. Manny Delgado, CSM – Promise Counselor
  80. Kim Davalos, Skyline College, Counselor
  81. Izaac Virina, Kababayan Learning Community, CIPHER Learning Community, Filipinx Student Union, Bridges + Beats, PCN19 Executive Director
  82. Claire Jimenez Dandan, Skyline College Alumni, Kababayan Learning Community Alumni
  83. Vairea Tupana Samn, Student at Skyline College
  84. Kasey Cruz, Student
  85. Joseph Jaballa, Skyline College / Program Services Coordinator / Counseling
  86. Dennis Revelo, Student, Skyline College
  87. Jaelyn Sanidad, 3021-2022 Balboa High School PEP Teacher
  88. Jae Tioseco, KPSO/FSU Secretary, PCN Head Writer & Historian, KDT Curriculum Coordinator
  89. Melvin Gutierrez, Former Skyline student
  90. Lucy Jovel, Skyline College Counselor
  91. Rianna Punzalan, Community member
  92. Dulce Martinez, Instructional Aide/Adjunct Faculty at College of San Mateo
  93. Kristin Alpay, Skyline Middle College Student
  94. Florence Thwe, ASSC senator
  95. Cem Quinto, FSU – Leadership Committee
  96. Rodney Chang, Recent graduate from SKYLINE
  97. Liza Erpelo, Coordinator, Kababayan Learning Community at Skyline College
  98. Shannon Deloso, Student Success Coordinator, SF State
  99. Clair Yeo-Sugajski, Skyline Classified Staff
  100. David Hasson, Math professor
  101. Daniel Avila, Student
  102. Peter Yangco, Parent of student in the Kababayan Learning Community
  103. Ryan Roi B. Domingo, Fulbright FLTA Scholar 2022-23
  104. Gio Datugan, Student at Middle College
  105. Cherish Lodico, High School Student, Secretary of Westmoor’s Filipino Barkada Club
  106. Justine Acosta, concerned student from Filipino Student Associations of City College of San Francisco
  107. Mandy Lucas , Skyline College Counselor
  108. Doris Garcia, CSM – Katipunan Learning community
  109. Julianne Downs, Katipunan, CSM, Student Mentor
  110. Olivia Sandoval, Student at Skyline
  111. Ryan Roi B. Domingo, Fulbright FLTA Scholar 2022-23
  112. April Dionisio, Alumnus
  113. Marijoy Angeles, BSN, RN, PHN, CEN
  114. Sharon Quach, Promise Counselor at CSM
  115. Stephanie Balon, AMFT, Filipino Mental Health Initiative of San Mateo County(Co-Chair)/Kapwa Kultural Center & Cafe (Cofounder/Senior Director)/ Daly City Partnership
  116. Jayden Alea, Skyline Kababayan Learning Community.
  117. Michelle Villanueva, Anakbayan CCSF COC
  118. Jared Luansing, Filipino Community Center
  119. Matthew Dacanay, STEM Center
  120. Jon Ray Guevarra, Ethnic Studies Teacher – Abraham Lincoln High School, SFUSD; BA Asian American Studies – San Francisco State University; MA Teaching: Urban Education Social Justice – University of San Francisco; Theta Chapter Founding Father – Epsilon Sigma Rho Multicultural Fraternity, Inc.
  121. Eddie Macayan, Supporter
  122. Noralyn Sangalang, Alumni