Newsom visits campus to talk to students


Courtesy Photo

Gov. Newsom talks to a group of students and faculty near Financial Aid office.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom visited campus on Aug. 27 following the newly-enacted Assembly Bill 2, which allows for two years of tuition-free community college. 

The two-year extension, known as the California College Promise Grant and formerly called the Board of Governors Fee Waiver, was approved in March of this year and began within the Los Rios district this fall semester, said College President Ed Bush.

“The powerful thing about this is that many students, from as early as elementary school, have made up their minds on whether or not they are able to go to college,” Bush said. “For us to say finances are not an obstacle when going to college is huge.” 

Bush said the budget, an estimated $42.6 million, is an extension of Assembly Bill 19 that passed in 2017, which allowed for one year of free tuition for first-time students enrolled in 12 units or more. 

Bush noted that students who have already completed a year of college, not under the CCPG, are still eligible for a second year to be tuition-free, with the requirement being they’ve enrolled full-time with good academic standing. 

Newsom dropped into Political Science Professor Elizabeth Huffman’s Intro to American Government class during his visit to the campus. 

“Kids were standing all along the back; there were media people in the room,” said Kaeryn Cruz, 20, a chemistry and deaf studies major. “He was a lot more friendly than I thought, less intimidating.” 

For us to say finances are not an obstacle when going to college is huge.”

— Ed Bush

Huffman said she was concerned that, on the class’s first day, her new students wouldn’t quite know how to address the governor when he arrived, or what to say to him. 


“The best part about it was that the students really stepped up and asked good questions about important topics,” Huffman said. “They responded in ways you know they are capable of.”

Huffman said the students’ questions ranged from immigration, safety, gun control and climate change. 

“Hearing those questions was a good reminder to me, as president, of all the different issues and concerns that our students come to our institution with,” Bush said. “It’s more than just worrying ‘am I going to pass this class?’” 

Bush said students had the chance to tell Newsom their opinions on critical issues facing our nation, and in turn, Newsom asked them questions, too. 

“I expected him to take some questions and not engage much, but he wanted to know what specifically we were worried about,” Cruz said. 

Bush said he feels the overall takeaway was one of  “your voice matters.”

“The governor wasn’t dismissive,” Bush said. “He displayed a sincere interest in those he was interacting with. He got a lot of value out of it and the students saw that.”