The Academic Senate unanimously voted to deliver a vote of no confidence to the Board of Trustees at its next meeting after the board selected Fullerton College’s Rajen Vurdien and not interim president Robert Miller as the next president at PCC.
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The Academic Senate all but unanimously voted to deliver a vote of no confidence to the Board of Trustees at its next meeting after the board selected Fullerton College’s Rajen Vurdien and not interim president Robert Miller as the next president at PCC. Two senators abstained from the vote.

The result of the vote at the senate’s regular meeting Monday was met with applause from all senate members. It is the fourth vote of no confidence against the board in three years.

“The board didn’t listen to the PCC community,” senate secretary Pat Rose said at the meeting. “I was shocked in the boards decision that Miller would not be the next president. I’m wondering what the purpose was for all those interviews the board had with different campus members during the process.”

Board president Berlinda Brown said that she and the board was “disappointed” with the senate’s vote.

“The Board is disappointed that the Academic Senate has chosen to question its decision for the new Superintendent/President by a vote of no confidence,” Brown said in an email to the Courier. “The decision was not easy or lightly made. The Board considers the selection of the Superintendent/President as its most important function. The Board took the process very seriously to select the candidate who the Board believes will be able to best serve and advance the College for the benefit of students.

Brown said that the board appreciates that the senate may have favored Miller but that in the end it was the board’s decision to make.

“The Board asks that its decision be respected and that Dr. Vurdien be welcomed and respected as the new Superintendent/President,” Brown said.

Rose said that you couldn’t imagine what the board was thinking when it hired a new president during the complicated accreditation process.

“This might not change the decision they made, but I think we have to make a public statement that this board does not represent shared wisdom and will of its constituents on this campus,” Rose said.

Some members of the senate felt disheartened about PCC’s future with the current board.

“I believe that it’s never going to get better,” said Jane Hallinger of the Visual Arts and Media Studies department. “The board has put up a dam and they are sitting on top of it and they control things their way. The board is supposed to be open with us and yet they will not talk with us.”

Hallinger, who has been teaching at PCC for over 25 years, said that she was here when Trustee Jeanette Mann was elected but that she had lost her way.

“Mann started out as a board member trying to listen but has veered away from that and has become very controlling,” Hallinger said. “Through her support, I think she is controlling the board and through that we have lost the support of all but one or two board members.”

Mann did not reply to several emails requesting comment on this story.

Bianca Richards, a PCC counselor, said that the senate had to get this information about the vote of no confidence out to the board’s districts so that the public could replace some board members in the next elections.

“There is an election coming up in Mann’s district,” Richards said. “We need to give support to the candidate running against her.”

The vote of no confidence also addresses other issues the senate has had with the board in the past year, such as the board striking down a calendar that had a winter session and the pending lawsuit against the school alleging Brown Act violations.

Senate president Eduardo Cairo said that he would be reading the senate’s resolution to the board on Wednesday at its meeting.

Comments

  1. Talk about No Confidence, what is going on with the Academic Senate. You were not elected by the District voters. The voters selected who they wanted for the Board of Trustees not the Academic Senate. The back and forth public sniping at each other; the lack of attention to curriculum and giving more weight to administrative functions does not represent who you are as a shared governance entity at PCC. The vote of no confidence should be used wisely; i.e., if the campus is a facing shutdown because of poor financial management; not because you did not get what you wanted.

  2. Inaccuracies in this article:

    This is NOT the fourth vote of no confidence against the board in three years, though it probably should have been!

    Jane Hallinger does NOT teach in VAMS, she teaches in English.

    And most importantly: the Vote of No Confidence has a full page of grievances on the board, not one of which has ANYTHING to do with the Board’s current choice of president.

    Where in the world is Trustee Brown and the administration-backed Courier
    getting their wonky information?

  3. As usual, the student paper is miles away from reality and doesn’t do its homework. Did the Courier reporter actually READ the Resolution of Vote of No Confidence, which is a public document? Like Board of Trustees, like Student Paper – out of touch, incompetent and one-sided.

  4. If the Board truly believes the vote is regarding presidential selection, then they are way further out of touch than we thought.
    “All you had to do was read the doggone resolution, Ms. Brown! Will you pay attention when it is read aloud to you at the next Board meeting?”
    The No Confidence vote is at least a year in the making. (It was debated, put aside by the Senate last summer/fall.) It is not about last week’s presidential choice. The resolution lists multiple reasons why the board is not doing their job. Discussion at the Senate focused on how out of touch many board members are–hiding from the college, avoiding dialog, disregarding numerous senate resolutions, hiding behind procedures and odd-ball Brown Act interpretations–basically adopting a pattern of creepy reclusive behavior. Such behavior is self-perpetuating, and dangerous for PCC.
    A Board that is so removed from the reality of the College must be reformed and replaced. Period.

    1. A trail of PCC emails on the subject has slid into this cock-eyed drift: the husband of an incoming Academic Senate officer is … (get ready) … advocating for Berlida Brown!
      So the President of the Board of Trustees—who should be leading the college—is getting her support, not from the Pres, not from a VP, not from a Dean, but from a junior faculty member!
      “Out of Touch” may replace “Move Forward” as our new mantra!

      1. LOL! Stop lying, you coward.

        Here’s a transcript of my involvement in that email. Please feel free to point to where I am defending Trustee Brown.
        Hey Melissa,

        No finger-pointing. Only trying to offer solutions. And since you were one of the main contributors to my resigning from Bylaws, I don’t think I’m going to engage in any more emails with you. Despite the tribulations of 2014-2015, I’ve had a pretty fantastic school year, and I definitely don’t want to end it by being dragged down by you.

        So take care everyone and have a great finals week!

        Josh

        > On May 1, 2015, at 11:26 AM, Melissa M. Michelson wrote:
        >
        > Josh:
        >
        > Finger pointing and inclusion of one-sided accounts of situations where
        > 95% of the people receiving your email is unproductive. I was in the
        > bylaws meetings and I’m not clear on instances of hostility or
        > unpleasantness that you refer to. (Please email or call me to clarify, if
        > you have time, as I’m curious about that.) As a positive solution next
        > time, perhaps getting an account from a variety of committee members would
        > round out the discussion that you brought up, but as far as I’m concerned,
        > the bylaws meetings have been running very collegially this past year. I
        > was in the Senate meeting when your division rep ripped up her name sign
        > and used the F-word because she was called out of order. You failed to
        > mention the details of the account for the 95% of the people you chose to
        > send your email to.
        >
        > I’m not sure how many faculty you’ve spoken to about being in the dark
        > about the vote of no confidence on the Board of Trustees. The faculty of
        > the Languages Division received the relevant information that it would be
        > on 2 upcoming agendas, but as Lynora stated, if people are interested in
        > Senate affairs, agenda items etc are always posted:
        > https://pasadena.edu/governance/meetings.php?Dept=asen In any
        > case, there was nothing ‘hasty’ about the Senate’s vote of no confidence,
        > since this was on the senate agenda from last semester.
        >
        > I wish the Board of Trustees would take the steps, as you say, to
        > “communicate, inform, and facilitate dialogue at a campus-wide level, and
        > especially when such large actions are being considered. Because when we
        > learn of decisions and actions after the fact, then it creates the
        > appearance of unilateral governance”. The decision to make a deal with
        > Rocha behind closed doors
        > https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ex-pcc-president-deal-nullifie/
        > d-20150429-story.html) which violates the Brown Act, bodes very poorly on
        > accreditation and now is costing Pasadena taxpayers more money, money that
        > should be going toward facilitating student success, to me is precisely an
        > issue of magnitude that the College should be very upset about, and is one
        > of the many reasons the Senators voted no confidence in the PCC Board.
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >> On 5/1/15, 10:34 AM, “Joshua R. Fleming” wrote:
        >>
        >> Lynora,
        >>
        >> Agreed! We could all be more proactive campus citizens. I think what
        >> might help facilitate this (and maybe this is a second solution referring
        >> back to Eduardo’s email) is that we work to reduce the negative behavior
        >> and hostility that accompanies many shared governance experiences. That
        >> is definitely a deterrent. It’s why I stepped down as chair of the Bylaws
        >> Committee two years ago. Too much intimidation and unpleasantness, so I
        >> resigned. Or just a few weeks ago the unfortunate incident during senate
        >> where one of my division reps was publicly maligned and was refused the
        >> opportunity to defend herself so was left with no recourse but to storm
        >> out and resign as well. If we want more people to step up and participate
        >> then maybe some type of professional development could be developed to
        >> help individuals manage their negative behavior better. In turn this
        >> would create a more hospitable and welcoming environment and campus
        >> leadership and involvement would increase and diversify.
        >>
        >> I do disagree on your point about
        >> shifting blame to the top. To be clear, I framed my previous email as a
        >> solution to the problem Eduardo identified. For me, this is a top-down
        >> type of situation. What our elected leadership does trickles down to us,
        >> and for many that influences how we behave/respond. So if the Exec
        >> Committee isn’t particularly communicative and open and informative, then
        >> neither are we. That’s how I see it. But, more to the point of the vote
        >> of no confidence, an action of that magnitude needed more time than was
        >> provided for ample feedback and discussion. There are 450 full time and
        >> 900 part time faculty on this campus (roughly). I don’t think it’s
        >> unreasonable to have asked our executive officers to speak on this grand
        >> gesture. And especially if there was some time-sensitive issue that
        >> required it to be voted on so quickly.
        >>
        >> Finally, my apologies on the Sociology gaff. I meant Social Sciences but
        >> that is not what I typed. I’m glad your dept and division have been
        >> discussing it and it was brought up months ago at a division meeting, but
        >> hallway conversations are different than a concerted effort to address a
        >> document authored just 10 days ago. The faculty in the Social Sciences
        >> division told me that he had no prior knowledge and it had not been
        >> discussed in any recent meeting.
        >>
        >> I look forward to us putting new solutions in to place to address our
        >> concerns and love for this college.
        >>
        >> Josh
        >>
        >>
        >>> On May 1, 2015, at 9:27 AM, Lynora Rogacs wrote:
        >>>
        >>> Hi all,
        >>> Was this action on the agenda that was available campus-wide several
        >>> days before the meeting took place? If so, and if all faculty have
        >>> access to that agenda, perhaps part of the onus lies on the faculty to
        >>> take a look at the agenda (we are responsible for the democracy we
        >>> get…isn’t that the line we feed to our students when we preach to them
        >>> about the need to be informed, active citizens?). Or perhaps divisions
        >>> need to choose representatives on the basis of whether their
        >>> representatives will let them know about voting items in a timely
        >>> manner. Whatever the case, I do not see why the Executive Board is
        >>> responsible for the lack of knowledge on the part of some faculty,
        >>> unless the voting item was not on the agenda, and unless the senate reps
        >>> were also taken by surprise. (If it was not on the agenda and senate
        >>> reps did not know about this vote, then yes, blame away…)
        >>>
        >>> As an aside, Sociology is part of Social Sciences, and Social Sciences
        >>> has been talking about the possibility, and then the reality, of this
        >>> action for months (in the halls, in the break room, and yes, it was
        >>> mentioned in a division meeting several months ago- to get a dialog
        >>> started that would last for months, not to have a full-blown discussion
        >>> during that meeting). I was sitting next to a sociologist as I read
        >>> Joshua’s email, and that sociologist was very well aware of the vote
        >>> long before it took place. Since sociology has exactly 3 full-time
        >>> faculty, it probably does not constitute a representative sample, and
        >>> may not be the best example (and yes, other examples were also
        >>> included…I know).
        >>>
        >>> I think a better, more responsible solution to our problems, campus
        >>> wide, is to stop shifting the blame to the top (it is becoming a habit
        >>> around here). Let’s take responsibility for our senate and its actions
        >>> by making sure we are doing our part to keep ourselves informed. Let’s
        >>> take responsibility for our campus by being more active on committees
        >>> and by attending more BOT meetings. Let’s do these things because
        >>> finger pointing and relying on top-down approaches to keep us informed
        >>> have been historically ineffective (it those tactics were effective, we
        >>> would not have suffered through the Rocha years).
        >>>
        >>> Just my two cents,
        >>> Lynora
        >>>
        >>> ________________________________________
        >>> From: Joshua R. Fleming
        >>> Sent: Friday, May 01, 2015 5:17 AM
        >>> To: Eduardo A. Cairo
        >>> Cc: Kathleen K. Hogue; Melissa M. Michelson; Lauren J. Arenson; David
        >>> A. Cuatt; Manuel Perea; Barry R. Chess; Peter P. Castro; Charlene M.
        >>> Potter; Mary H. Thompson; Employees-AcademicMonthly
        >>> Subject: Re: Academic Senate’s Vote of No Confidence
        >>>
        >>> Eduardo,
        >>>
        >>> You are right. We are a divided campus. I believe that in this case the
        >>> best solution will come from a top-down model. Meaning that our elected
        >>> faculty leadership take the necessary steps to communicate, inform, and
        >>> facilitate dialogue at a campus-wide level, and especially when such
        >>> large actions are being considered. Because when we learn of decisions
        >>> and actions after the fact, then it creates the appearance of unilateral
        >>> governance. That, I believe, creates division.
        >>>
        >>> I understand additional senate meetings have been tacked on here at the
        >>> end of the semester when we’re all busy and preoccupied. I would like to
        >>> offer as a solution that any last-minute proposals and actions that may
        >>> be taken be communicated out to the campus community before decisions
        >>> are made.
        >>>
        >>> Here at the end of your term, I believe that will set a great example
        >>> as we move forward and try to come together.
        >>>
        >>> Josh
        >>>
        >>>
        >>>> On May 1, 2015, at 2:44 AM, Eduardo A. Cairo
        >>>> wrote:
        >>>>
        >>>> Good morning everyone,
        >>>>
        >>>> I normally don’t respond but I believe that this thread of discussion
        >>>> has been a healthy one. I spoke with Trustee Brown yesterday and she
        >>>> stated that the letter was a mistake. She was misinformed and had not
        >>>> read our Vote of No Confidence at the time and will apologize during
        >>>> the next Board of Trustees meeting this coming Wednesday.
        >>>>
        >>>> What’s done is done. I ask everyone that we not focus on this letter
        >>>> but on a much more important point that was made by Kathleen -that we
        >>>> are a divided faculty. I don’t know how this came to be or why but at
        >>>> this point it doesn’t matter. What really matters is how are we going
        >>>> to resolve our differences.
        >>>>
        >>>> Let’s begin the process today and hope that by this time next year our
        >>>> fears ands suspicions of each other have been reduced. I ask that
        >>>> anyone that reads this email constructively contribute solutions to
        >>>> this divide.
        >>>>
        >>>> Eduardo
        >>>>
        >>>>
        >>>>
        >>>> ________________________________________
        >>>> From: Kathleen K. Hogue
        >>>> Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2015 9:00 PM
        >>>> To: Joshua R. Fleming; Melissa M. Michelson; Lauren J. Arenson; David
        >>>> A. Cuatt; Manuel Perea; Barry R. Chess; Peter P. Castro
        >>>> Cc: Charlene M. Potter; Mary H. Thompson; Employees-AcademicMonthly
        >>>> Subject: RE: Academic Senate’s Vote of No Confidence
        >>>>
        >>>> Very well stated Josh. Point taken. Thanks to you I have personally
        >>>> apologized to my division for not getting their feedback. I am
        >>>> normally very good at requesting their feedback on issues and am very
        >>>> cognizant that my vote should represent their will, not my own. I have
        >>>> asked that they give me their feedback so I can pass it on to the
        >>>> senate board.
        >>>>
        >>>> I do, personally feel that this was vote was warranted. This is not
        >>>> my usual approach; I generally try for the less confrontative approach.
        >>>> When this vote was first considered at the beginning of last summer, I
        >>>> argued strongly against it. I felt that with Rocha gone, the board
        >>>> would work to make peace, be more communicative and help improve the
        >>>> environment on campus. Unfortunately, I have not seen the board make
        >>>> any such effort and I truly have no confidence in their leadership.
        >>>> Hence, my vote.
        >>>>
        >>>> What concerns me the most on this campus however, is not our board,
        >>>> nor our administration. It is the divide in our faculty. Call me
        >>>> naive. but certainly we are capable of disagreeing without making it
        >>>> personal?
        >>>>
        >>>> Kathleen Uyekawa Hogue
        >>>> ________________________________________
        >>>> From: Joshua R. Fleming
        >>>> Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2015 2:11 PM
        >>>> To: Melissa M. Michelson; Lauren J. Arenson; David A. Cuatt; Manuel
        >>>> Perea; Barry R. Chess; Peter P. Castro
        >>>> Cc: Charlene M. Potter; Mary H. Thompson; Employees-AcademicMonthly
        >>>> Subject: RE: Academic Senate’s Vote of No Confidence
        >>>>
        >>>> Melissa,
        >>>>
        >>>> Thank you for providing this document. It is the first time that I
        >>>> have seen it. In fact, the first time I learned that we had a vote of
        >>>> no confidence in the Board was when I read Trustee Brown’s response to
        >>>> the Academic Senate’s actions. This, to me, is the larger problem at
        >>>> hand. I don’t believe that there was much communication provided
        >>>> regarding this action. It certainly wasn’t communicated to my school,
        >>>> so maybe that is just a conversation that needs to be had with our
        >>>> senate rep. But faculty from English and Sociology also confirmed that,
        >>>> to their knowledge, this action was never communicated in their
        >>>> departments or schools either. Regardless of this possible oversight, I
        >>>> believe that an action of such magnitude as this should have been
        >>>> communicated out to the entire campus by the Executive Committee–and
        >>>> most likely our AS President.
        >>>>
        >>>> The document is dated April 20. I would hope there was more discussion
        >>>> prior to its authoring on that day. Either way, it does not appear that
        >>>> many were privy to that discussion, and then a vote was somewhat
        >>>> hastily and quietly put forth. I hope in the future that such large
        >>>> decisions and actions will be made more public before they are
        >>>> committed to, otherwise we are allowing our elected faculty leadership
        >>>> get away with what we have been criticizing our administration of doing
        >>>> for years.
        >>>>
        >>>> Take care,
        >>>>
        >>>> Josh Fleming
        >>>>
        >>>> p.s. regarding Trustee Brown’s error in the Board’s response, I can
        >>>> see how the mistake could have been made. In paragraph 4 of the
        >>>> resolution it states “Whereas the Board of Trustees is responsible for
        >>>> the selection and evaluation of the President, but the Board’s poor
        >>>> choices in the selection of the past two presidents has cost taxpayers
        >>>> thousands of dollars and resulted in a dysfunctional college culture.”
        >>>>
        >>>> My guess is that she may have mistaken the phrase of “selection of the
        >>>> past two presidents” to mean the most recent choice of Vurdien and
        >>>> Rocha, as opposed to Rocha and Perfumo which is what I think that
        >>>> passage meant
        >>>>
        >>>> ________________________________________
        >>>> From: Melissa M. Michelson
        >>>> Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2015 12:56 PM
        >>>> To: Lauren J. Arenson; David A. Cuatt; Manuel Perea; Barry R. Chess;
        >>>> Peter P. Castro
        >>>> Cc: Charlene M. Potter; Mary H. Thompson; Employees-AcademicMonthly
        >>>> Subject: Re: Academic Senate’s Vote of No Confidence
        >>>>
        >>>> In case people have not seen the Resolution of Vote of No Confidence on
        >>>> the PCC Board of Trustees, please see attached. The date was from two
        >>>> weeks ago, but it was amended with the April 27 date on it. Nothing on
        >>>> there about the incoming presidential choice. There is, however,
        >>>> something
        >>>> on there about being out of touchŠ
        >>>>
        >>>> Melissa Michelson

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