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Open letter to Board cites ‘crisis’

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An open letter sent to the Board of Trustees cites a crisis of confidence in the administration among faculty, and claims that mismanagement may result in the loss of state funds, according to Faculty Association President Roger Marheine, who wrote the letter.

“The premature elimination of Winter has triggered a crisis,” Marheine wrote.

According to the letter, the cutting of over 1,000 class sections over the past three years, as well as cancellation of Winter Intersession has put the school in a predicament. “We are now under our [full time equivalent student] allotment and are in danger of losing state apportionment,” Marheine said.

Click here to read the full text of Roger Marheine’s letter to the Board of Trustees

In an email reply, Board of Trustees President Geoffrey Baum deemed the letter to be an act of “passionate advocacy.”

“Through our actions and the very generous contract offer to faculty—which was rejected by you and your colleagues on the PCCFA leadership—the Board of Trustees has made clear its policy priorities for the District,” Baum said in his email.

Marheine elaborated in a separate email that the state allocates a certain amount of funding for all community colleges based on Full Time Equivalent Students (FTES), which is a formula. “We are in danger of losing funds because the state sees [PCC] as losing enrollment,” Marheine said. “Thus now the college wants to raise class sizes to get as many students as possible to meet its FTES number.”

“Faculty and students are thus being punished because of the college’s mismanagement, in particular the cutting of winter [session].”

In a Nov. 26 reply to Marheine, General Counsel Gail Cooper said his letter is replete with misrepresentations.

Cooper refutes the letter’s claim that the elimination of Winter 2013 is a “crisis” and issue of  “mismanagement.” She says that the faculty and students are prepared to start Spring 2013. She added that faculty, students and other individuals who had issues with the start date, have been accommodated.

Click here to read the full text of Gail Cooper’s response to Roger Marheine

“In the wake of Proposition 30’s success, and in compliance with the law, the Administration is planning to add many sections for spring and summer,” Cooper said. “The college will meet and earn its state-assigned FTES apportionment.”

Both Cooper and Baum feel that Marheine’s efforts are futile because the FA rejected negotiations for a new faculty contract.

Marheine ended his letter with a plea to the Board: “We are PCC. We deserve better. We are at a leadership moment,” Marheine said.

“We need visionary leadership that responds to Shared Governance committee input. We need confidence in your leadership at this moment of crisis.”

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4 Responses to “Open letter to Board cites ‘crisis’”

  1. Bear Stearns says:

    I don’t understand what the problem is. The administration says it will add back 500 sections to the spring semester after Prop. 30 passed. If it’s not bringing back winter intersession, then the faculty has to accept the fact that it can’t get everything that it wants. I know the faculty would like to see a return of the 50-year old Master Plan, but that is one thing that’s NEVER coming back. Get used to the new normal.

    • Worker bee says:

      Bear Stearns: The problem is multi-faceted, and extends to staff as well as faculty. From my faculty POV, it includes: 1. A consistent pattern of misleading statements and outright lies coming from the administration. The details of this are too extensive to post here–talk to pretty much any full time employee at PCC, and you’ll get stories about being lied to, degraded and ripped off by the administration. 2. De-professionalization of the faculty. The faculty are the experts in their own programs and disciplines, but this administration has unilaterally decided to impose their will on matters that are properly a product of shared governance, such as the calendar and determination of class sizes, and matters that are appropriately the domain of the faculty, such as which classes should be offered within their programs. 3. Reckless, incompetent management that imposes sweeping changes abruptly without any plan for managing the change. Programs and relationships with philanthropists and other institutions built up over years are being destroyed without a thought. If you are aware of any programs in which PCC has an outstanding reputation, you can be fairly sure those are well along the path to being permanently dismantled. Make no mistake, the quality of education available to PCC students is being systematically lowered. 4. An openly hostile attitude (sometimes including thuggish threats and retaliations) toward the faculty. See Gail Cooper’s recent email to the entire school about the faculty union’s holiday luncheon for an example of this. There are many other examples.

  2. Puddy Tat says:

    “Let Them Eat Cake” is exactly correct. I hope the Courier will follow up with coverage of the bizarre email by Gail Cooper sent to virtually all PCC employees on Thursday 12/6, attacking Roger Marheine and the faculty association for the “tactic” of inviting staff members to a holiday luncheon.

  3. Let them eat cake says:

    Mr. Marheine hits the nail on the head. The Rocha administration has given the finger to faculty and staff repeatedly and without hesitation.
    They have clearly forfeited the confidence of the entire PCC community. There is without doubt a crisis of confidence permeating the college, and it gets worse with every passing day.
    The response from the college lawyer is pathetic and insulting. Why the hell is SHE responding to a letter addressed to the Board of Trustees? Quite clearly the elected officials are too scared to face their constituents. They should be ashamed.


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