Editor’s note: This article has been updated since its publication.
The Associated Students Board voted unanimously on Wednesday that it has no confidence in the administration of President Mark Rocha. At the same three-hour marathon session in the Creveling Lounge, the AS also voted unanimously to censure the administration.
“I absolutely support the student government’s decision to take action into [its] own hands,” said Rich Copenhagen, president of the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, who flew from Oakland for the meeting, “and to tell the administration how they feel about being disenfranchised and left out of the process. It is very important for student leaders to stand up for their students and make sure they are involved in big decisions that are being made on the campus, especially ones that are of this magnitude where you are changing the entire academic calendar.”
Attempts to reach President Rocha for comment were unsuccessful.
Associated Students President Simon Fraser was frustrated with the administration’s ignorance of issues brought up by the AS.
“This is an extreme …momentous step. It’s not somewhere I want to be,” he said. “We are at the point where I have to beg and plead to get stuff on the table [for shared governance discussion] … I believe there is no other option for us.”
Board of Trustees President John Martin said that the Board has always considered the students’ voice, in a statement received on March 5.
“PCC has a long history of energetic, intelligent students in the Associated Student government,” he said. “The Board has always listened carefully to the Associated Student government representatives.”
Senior Vice President Robert Bell reached out to support the process and steps the AS took.
“I’m not supporting the vote, but I do support the ASPCC executive committee’s process which reached the conclusion they came to,” Bell said in a phone interview after the meeting. “They represent the opinion of 22,000 students.”
According to the resolution, the AS has no confidence and a lack of trust in the president’s administration due to the process by which the current calendar was decided. The resolution condemns the “irresponsible decisions” to change the calendar with an incomplete understanding of the impact on student transfers.
Thomas Hatfield, vice chairman of the lobby committee, was concerned about Rocha’s absence at the meeting, after he had been requested by Fraser to attend or send a representative.
“Where is Dr. Rocha? We are directly discussing his administration. Why isn’t he here to defend[it]?” he said.
Sarah Belknap, undecided, told of her personal attempts to tell the Board of possible consequences of the calendar change on transfer rates.
“I sat with information in my hands with my hand raised for over an hour that transfers would not be able to go in [for fall 2013 transfer]. This was a completely foreseeable problem,” Belknap said. “It was not so much a mistake but a willful negligence.”
AS Vice President of Public Relations Peter Torres was concerned about administrators’ job security with the release of the resolutions of no confidence and censure.
“I’m scared for a lot of members of the administration [and their] job security,” he said. “I’m scared Rocha will go after them.”
The vote of censure included claimed wrongdoings of the Rocha administration in barring students from the opportunity to transfer due to the elimination of the winter intersession.
The AS board felt it was forced to take the initiative of aiding students in transferring to four-year institutions because the administration did not.
Fraser said he will present the resolutions to the Board of Trustees at their next meeting on March 13.