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Campus seethes over administration

Community buzzing after two votes of no confidence presented to Board

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Editor’s Note: This story has been updated since it was first posted.

Members of the campus community are sad and seething with disappointment over the actions of the administration after the presentation of two historic votes of no confidence at the March 13 Board of Trustees meeting.

Education instructor David McCabe said the votes were of great importance.

“It is significant and it is powerful. These are tactics that are very seldom used,” he said. “It’s something that [the administration] should really pay attention to … I’m kind of interested to see what happens in November.”

Board President John Martin said the statement released to the Courier on March 5, which expressed the Board’s “unanimous and unequivocal support for the President/Superintendent” sufficed as the Board’s comment on issues brought up during the meeting.

“I think the statement is sufficient,” Martin said.

Repeated attempts to reach other members of the Board for comment were unsuccessful.

Television Instructor Carmen Porreca saw the votes as unprecedented.

“I think it’s completely significant. I have been here for 37 years and in all that time I have never seen a vote of no confidence against the president,” Porreca said.

Humanities Instructor Hugo Schwyzer said the no confidence votes were justified.

“The administration is distrusted by all the stakeholders on campus — faculty, students, classified staff — because of its persistent contempt for shared governance and its habit of imposing rather than negotiating,” Schwyzer said. “The administration presents an unhappy blend of malice and incompetence. They rightly don’t enjoy the confidence of the college community.”

Despite the outpouring at the March 13 meeting, the Board remained supportive of President Mark Rocha and his administration, according to another Board statement released on March 15.

“The Board fully understands that there are those who disagree with the Board’s decision on the calendar and respects their right to disagree, but also expects them to respect the Board’s role and right to decide and direct the administration accordingly,” the statement said.

Faculty Association President Roger Marheine thought that the meeting was exhilarating because of the deluge of collegial dialogue, which is crucial in regaining educational credibility on campus.

“My FA colleagues have wondered if the Board is listening,” Marheine said, via email. “I personally feel the Board is beginning to realize that its members have been misled, misinformed, and ultimately compromised by tragically flawed administrative leadership.”

The FA said in a statement released on March 18 that the no confidence votes reflected a crisis at the college.

“These historic and unprecedented actions by faculty and students have documented the crisis in management at our college,” said the statement. “We wholeheartedly support the Shared Governance process that has been consistently and severely undermined in these past months, and which these extraordinary votes seek to uphold.”

Art history Instructor Sandra Haynes said there needed to be more open discussion on campus.

“I feel strongly that all stakeholders need to talk honestly about issues on campus today,” Haynes said. “What’s needed is a return to true shared governance as promoted by the language … and regulations in the California Education Code.”

Other members of the campus community said the administration did not directly address concerns presented at the Board meeting.

Dominique Calderon, art major, said officials need to address the reasons behind the votes and what the students are feeling.

“Instead of brushing it off, they need to look at all the circumstances of why students are upset,” Calderon said.

Television and Radio Instructor Barbara Naylor said the community had strength in its numbers.

“It’s good that the campus community came together. There is force in numbers,” Naylor said. “They wouldn’t have gathered unless there was a problem, no matter what the administration tries to say. I am hopeful that the collective voice will have a positive impact.

Felicite Shulkin, business administration major, said that President Rocha should talk about the issues directly.

“It’s good that [Rocha] responded, but he needs to sit down and actually address the problem,” Shulkin said.

The statement from the Board of Trustees expressed the desire for unity and progress.

“In these times, it is important that the campus talk with each other, and not at each other, and rather than pound our fists at history, let us join those hands together to move forward,” said the statement.

Reporting by Emily Chang-Chien, Madison Miranda, Christine Michaels and Nicholas Saul.

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One Response to “Campus seethes over administration”

  1. Bear Stearns says:

    Rocha may be lacking in people skills, but he isn’t living in dreamland like the faculty and students who think that someday the budget cuts to higher education are going to stop. When they don’t stop probably the administration will get hit with another vote of no confidence.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/100573414

    This article appeared in the LA Times today–it says that CalSTRS needs an additional $4.5 BILLION every year–more than it spends on CSU and UC combined.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/political/la-me-pc-steinberg-teacher-pensions-20130321,0,1439443.story

    Yes, the campus needs more open discussion–and it should be about how to prepare for the new era of college unaffordability and not to complain about budget cuts that have already been made.

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