September 28, 2001

GCCCD governing board extends military leave benefits for employees called to active duty

EL CAJON - In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Governing Board has voted to extend military leave benefits for employees called into active duty.

Anticipating there will be employees affected by President Bush's activation order, Governing Board President Gary Kendrick said the trustees' action means district employees' jobs will be waiting when they return. Also, the district will make up the difference in pay for up to six months for those employees who otherwise would see their incomes shrink as active-duty military personnel. The Sept. 18 board action also covers reservists volunteering for active service.

"We took this action to assist those employees who are serving our nation in this time of national crisis," Kendrick said. "We want to show our wholehearted support of them and their families. They are making the sacrifice of leaving their regular jobs and their families for the sake of their country."

District Chancellor Omero Suarez commended the Board for acting swiftly, noting that during Desert Storm, legislative provisions were eventually approved to protect those called into active duty against any loss in pay or job status.

Suarez said that the District will also support students who are called into active military duty by ensuring their college records are not negatively impacted by their absence from classes. Student reservists who become active duty members will not be penalized for missing classes and will be allowed to re-enroll in courses without paying additional tuition.

Other initiatives at both campuses include counseling and referral services following the devastation of the Sept. 11 tragedies.

Grossmont and Cuyamaca have specially trained counselors available. They can also make referrals for faculty, staff and students in need of additional assistance. Also, both campuses are offering faculty and staff workshops on helping students cope with the trauma of these recent days. At Cuyamaca College, counselors hosted a series of brown-bag lunch get-togethers last week to give everyone on campus an opportunity to share time together.

"We recognize that this tragedy has deeply impacted everyone. We have an obligation to help our college communities get through this very trying period," Suarez said.

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