By: Monica Parra
That blazing bright blue light impossible to miss, often confused with highway patrol in one’s rear-view mirror while driving on the 110 freeway, is the Los Angeles Harbor College Marquee up and running…sometimes. During the rainy season, the potentially competent marquee constantly glitchez and distorts the display causing the sign to be unavailable for several days during a semester. Between now and then, the sign seems to be clear of technical issues, but it doesn’t offer much to the public in terms of announcing enrollment periods for non-students or updated information regarding recruitment for LAHC.
Currently, as one observes the towering screen, it displays 4 different slides; the name of the college, the current date, time, temperature all in one slide, swap meet information, and a “motivational” quote. Begin by asking yourself, why would someone need to look at a 30 foot sign to know if it’s rainy or sunny outside? Odds are they already know because they are driving on the freeway not standing outside reading the willfully proficient panel. The marquee needs to offer information that will make others productive and now would be a good time to promote the registration for 2018 summer classes. Many people who aren’t current students at LAHC may get vacation time in the summer and benefit from taking a course in their free time. A quote simply saying “Education is everything” also does very little to encourage a passerby or a current student to enroll into any classes.
The panel below doesn’t help whatsoever in even making students feel safe. The messages conveyed warn about reporting suspicious actions, refraining from skateboarding and smoking on campus. It’s noticeable that often times students may already have a cigarette in their hand as they kill time for their next class to begin. If anything the sign reminds them they need to have a smoke break as they wait for their ride to pick them up, for example. Skateboarding is very uncommon but if someone happens to be on one people move out of their way; common sense. How unfortunate is it that Wilmington already has a bad reputation and perhaps the only good thing that is offered in the community that allows one to work for a finer future is LAHC and the warnings of danger on campus where one is supposed to thrive just confirms Wilmington’s alleged reputation of a safety risk.
In the Spring issue of March 2007, the first story emerged about a power outage caused by construction workers during the establishment of the Northeast Academic Building resulting in the sign being shut down for almost all of that semester. Construction workers were not able to quickly restore the power, so they tried to provide a power generator in the meantime, but still consequented with no power and a failure in promoting open enrollment for the Spring. During the 40-day dark period, many people believed the school was actually closed because the only marker for determining the school’s location and updates was broken and it gave people the impression the entire school was closed down for the time.
In the 2008 issue of The Tides, a story was published based on the article from the previous year, regarding the amount of money spent to restore the marquee, only to have it malfunction again. The Vice President at the time, Ann Tomlinson, was communicating with different companies to assist the school with the proper technology to stop the marquee from being distorted, but nothing was done to completely cease the malfunctions.
In issue One of March 2015, The Tides wrote a story about the marquee being upgraded in its appearance, but still no technological improvement within. The sign would not complete messages as clearly as it should appear on the display. This is the same marquee we have now outside of the school three years later after it was supposed to be renovated and it is still no better than it was after its debut. Considering the appearance of the marquee has been modernized more than once, it has not and will not make up for its lack of technological advances that the school has yet to provide.
The faculty in charge of discussing the matter of this issue are those involved in the C.O.R.E Group, but most of the responsibility is finalized by Dr. Luis Dorado. “Since April 9, 2018, the topic of fixing the marquee has not been brought up in a meeting” according to Hale Savard, Associate Professor of English and a member of C.O.R.E. The most recent malfunction of the sign happened on May 14, 2018 when the greeting message saying “Welcome To Harbor College” was cut off. Ironically, the following day, Dr. Dorado invited students from Alliance Baxter, Gardena, and San Pedro High School participating in “Early Decision Priority Registration” to take a memorable photo in front of the LAHC marquee to complete their day as a newly enrolled Seahawk with Reggie the Alligator. Dorado promoted pride in the college and the progression of students all while the ongoing issue continues to transpire, now fully displayed in the photograph he proudly distributed without any regards to the sign and its blunder.
An email was sent to Dr. Dorado about what he plans to do to improve the productivity as he agrees that the marquee can be better and is not as useless as it looks. He did not respond but it seems that he did regard the email because the marquee recently included updated messages about welcoming Carson High Schoolers and a reminder about the upcoming grad fair.