Colleges Reopen to Shorter Lines, Less Headaches


As classes at Ventura County’s three community colleges resumed Tuesday, students braced for the worst: long lines, full classes and the inevitable race for popular texts before they vanished from the bookstore shelves.

But for many, the hectic back-to-school blues never hit.

Lines were shorter than anticipated. And although basic classes such as math and English filled up long ago, many students said they had no problems adding the classes they needed.

At the front of the line after only 10 minutes of waiting at Ventura College, Sue Ann Eccles of Oxnard added a geology class that she needs to transfer to a four-year college.


And she didn’t even have to beg--an often “necessary evil” of getting into classes this late, said Joan Halk, registrar for Ventura College.

“He was nice enough just to let me in,” Eccles said of her geology instructor.

James Voshell, an art major from Oxnard, was able to add a crucial math class.

“I rolled in,” he said. “Got the intro and the syllabus and that was it.”

Not all were so lucky. Forlorn after being told that the person immediately ahead of her in line had taken the last place in an economics class she needed, Alicia Peacock of Fillmore said she couldn’t wait until the day was over.

“The books and everything,” she said. “It’s mind-boggling how fast it all happens.”

But for most, even the mad rush for textbooks at the campus bookstores seemed more bearable than usual.

Although standing behind about a dozen students with an armful of books at Ventura College’s bookstore, Grant Ellison of Ojai said he couldn’t complain.

“This is actually quite short,” he said. “It’s been much worse.”

At Moorpark College, students reported similar good fortune.

“I actually got all the classes I wanted,” said Jennifer Anderson in the campus bookstore. “It’s been really slow. In my last class, there were only six people.”

Officials blamed the rain, saying that while they were steadily busy, the lines never lengthened to unbearable proportions.


“It’s not too crazy,” said Kathy Garnica, an Oxnard College spokeswoman. “Everyone has been coming in really gradually. But it would be nice if the rain tapered and let people get the classes they want.”

But despite Tuesday’s modest crowds, enrollment districtwide continues inching upward.

As of Tuesday, both Ventura and Oxnard colleges’ enrollment had risen by about 5% and Moorpark College’s student body was about the same size as this time last year.

Officials say the colleges and the district are counting on the elimination this semester of a $50 fee for students who already possess university degrees to reverse a five-year decline in enrollment.

Although final enrollment statistics won’t be ready until the end of the month, district officials are optimistic.

“I’m almost afraid to say for fear we might jinx it,” said Barbara Buttner, director of governing board relations. “But we are definitely not bottoming out here.”