An Interview with the President

San Diego City College President Ricky Shabazz

CJ Stevenson, News Editior

With almost a year on the job, San Diego City College President Ricky Shabazz said he’s proud of what he’s accomplished but realized there’s more work on the horizon.

Shabazz came from San Bernardino Valley College in July where he worked as Vice President of Student Services. He said he’s been working hard toward this goal since he was in his 20s. At age 22, he was the assistant admissions manager at UC Davis and worked there for six years helping to grow its population. It was at CSU San Bernardino college where he earned his master’s degree. Shabazz came to City College in July after working at San Bernardino Valley College.

“It wasn’t that I ever thought I couldn’t do this because I have been doing this my whole life, you know sometimes people look at youth and they think inexperienced… my preparation is legit,” Shabazz said. Shabazz also remembers the first day he arrived at City College.

“My first day really was just like the open forum,” he continued. “I got here and I was met with so much positive energy, that I am blessed beyond reason to have inherited a college that lives up to the spirit of students success, social justice, every place isn’t like this. So my first day, really was confirming that the college was everything that it said it was.”

Shabazz further said the faculty and staff at City College has made his transition that much smoother. In fact, he said that and the diversity of the college is a key factor in what made him gravitate to City College. He also said that he recognizes that the school needs to improve its outreach.

“We have very lively discussions with faculty, classified professional, administration and students about traditional and non traditional outreach, the college already did an amazing job of traditional outreach, high schools, job fairs that sort of thing,” Shabazz said. “But now what we’re talking about is how to provide access in non traditional ways. Churches, mosques, community centers, libraries. So, I have myself have been very active in those arenas, going to the Malcolm X library in southeast San Diego, meeting with the Lincoln parent cluster.”

He also said he has gone to the Jacob Center for Innovation as Southeast San Diego to get support in recruiting students. He said his goal is to try to make college more accessible to those who struggle to get into college.

“We’ve increased the number of courses we offer online, we’ve increased the number of courses we offer in High Schools so students don’t have to come to campus, we are looking at this first from an accessibility standpoint,” he said. “So if you’re working you might not want to drive all the way to City College. If you are in high school you might not want to catch the trolley all the way to City College, you may not be able to, you may have children at home or whatever the case maybe.”

“We have the San Diego promise, which affords pretty much a scholarship to incoming freshmen, the state is working on the California Promise, which will essentially make the first year of college free for full-time students. I’m interfacing with donors like the owner of Costco, and he gave a $100,000 for scholarships…we have some alumni who are very successful and so we are looking at vehicles for them to give back to city…and many of them what to give back to city,” Shabazz said.  

“As a matter of fact we are gonna launch a campaign and in some ways have launched a campaign called ‘Give City, meaning you can give back to city financial in scholarships, you can give back to our food pantry, you can give back to our clothing boutique. So we are tackling both access and affordability.”