Hispanics, Asians are under-represented among Bakersfield College staff, according to analysis findings

May 5, 2021 /

The findings of an analysis of the Bakersfield College staff show an under-representation of Hispanics and Asians among the campus’ workforce.

The analysis of BC’s total workforce shows White employment make up the largest group of employees, with 53 percent of the workforce, when this group only makes up 24.68 percent of the Bakersfield College student population, according to the analysis. This exceeds identified availability by a “significant margin.” Hispanic employment falls far below the Hispanic student population at BC. Although 60.35 percent of the population identifies as Hispanic, this group only makes up 32 percent of BC’s workforce. Asian employment also falls below the identified availability, with current employees identified as Asian accounting for 4.2 percent of employees, while nearly 5.7 percent of BC’s student population identifies as Asian.

“As a result of this finding, the District is prioritizing over all recruitment efforts to increase the number of qualified Hispanic and Asian applicants for Bakersfield College,” the analysis states.   

The analysis was conducted as part of the Kern Community College District’s Equal Employment Opportunity Plan – also known as the Staff Diversity Plan – which guides the District’s efforts to foster equal employment opportunities and workplace diversity by outlining the recruitment and hiring policies and procedures. With the implementation of this plan, all qualified individuals will have a full and fair opportunity to compete for hiring and promotion.

“The Plan reflects the district’s commitment to equal employment opportunity and its recognition that a diverse and inclusive workforce serves the educational mission of the District to prepare students for success in a global society,” the EEO Plan says.

The EEO Plan looks to serve a growing diverse population and commits to taking “active and vigorous” steps to ensure the District will recruit, hire, and retain faculty and staff who are sensitive to, and knowledgeable of, the needs of the diverse student body and community it serves, the Plan says.

When the analysis findings are broken down by department, similar trends as state above are present. Nearly 50 percent of the administrative staff identifies as White and 32 percent identifies as Hispanic. For full-time academic staff, such as professors, 64 percent of BC’s staff identifies as White, while 21 percent identifies as Hispanic and 3.6 percent identifies as Asian.

However, there is a shift in trends under the classified staff, which includes grounds workers, custodians, secretaries, bus drivers, security staff, mechanics, lab assistants, and human resources assistants, to name a few. The trend under the classified staff shows Hispanic employees make up equal or larger portions of this group when compared to the White employees.

For the Clerical/Secretarial staff, 46 percent of the staff identifies as White, while 42 percent identifies as Hispanic.  In the Service and Maintenance category, 25 percent of the staff identifies as White, while nearly 59 percent identifies as Hispanic. The biggest shift is in Skilled Crafts, where 100 percent of the employees in this category identify as Hispanic. (There are only three employees in this category.) In the technical and paraprofessional category, 60.2 percent of the employees are Hispanic, while 25.8 percent identify as White.

These trends are similar at other KCCD campuses, included Cerro Coso and Porterville campuses and the District Office.

The analysis also made note of findings regarding the application pool.

“The analysis of (the) applicant pool by race and ethnicity shows a disparity in hiring rates of demographic groups Black and Asian in comparison to White, which had the best rate of hire,” the analysis says.

The EEO Plan that is being proposed to the KCCD Board of Trustees looks to resolve these disparities. The Kern Community College District Board of Trustees is responsible for implementing the Plan. The board was set to vote on whether to adopt the Plan on Thursday; however, it was taken off the agenda.

There has been some pushback regarding the EEO Plan. It appears community members and KCCD staff have submitted comments about the plan, many of which do not agree with the analysis.

“The Kern Community College District draft EEO Plan is, in a word, ‘problematic,’” said a commenter. “It embraces an ‘anti-racist’ analysis that assumes racism is ‘embedded into all societal structures’…Unfortunately, it pays no attention to the well established scholarship that demonstrates desperate outcomes are produced by a variety of factors…Could it be that IF people of color are underrepresented in KCCD employment there are other causal factors beyond racism? The most obvious would be the applicant pool.”

Some commenters are even requesting the analysis be removed from the EEO Plan.

“The Employee Availability Analysis (following Appendix) should be initially removed and later replaced with a 3 to 5 year hiring longitudinal study,” one commenter said. “The current ‘point in time’ analysis does not represent the true demographic hiring practices within the district/colleges, career employment skews the data since student and local population data changes much more rapidly than career employees.”

Other commenters are seeking more data, while others are making recommendations to improve the plan.

“First, an essential piece of data that is missing from the document is the demographics of the applicant pool,” another commenter said. “The goal to hire more Hispanic faculty is a good one, but we can’t hire anyone who doesn’t apply.”

It is unclear of when the KCCD board will vote to adopt the EEO Plan.

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez is the program associate for South Kern Sol. She can be reached at elizabeth@southkernsol.org.