Members of the Academic Senate are angry about new arrangements at its most recent meeting on Monday.
With campus police guarding Room C233, limited seating, and a video camera rolling during the meeting, it was Daniel Haley, librarian and treasurer of the Academic Senate, who broke the silence about the seating arrangements.
“We don’t have enough room for all the senators here,” Haley said to Academic Senate president Edward Martinez. “We have 29 senators.”
Haley then asked who closed off the meeting and who pulled out the chairs in the room.
Vice President of Administrative Services Rick van Pelt replied that the meeting was structured in a way so that it would be in compliance of fire hazard regulations. The room’s capacity could fit only 34 members.
Still, Senate members were displeased. Jo Buczko of the Student Health Services department was the first to leave.
“I am not comfortable remaining here,” she announced before her departure. “I don’t feel like I have to stay here.”
Haley would follow suit. “The room has been artificially rearranged to hold people out and they took chairs to make it seem like we have less room,” Haley said. “I don’t know what the current administration is trying to do but it seems like they’re declaring open war on faculty.”
According to Haley, the setup may have been used in order to intimidate and interfere in the process of the Academic Senate, a thought that is also shared by Martha Bonilla, the secretary of the Academic Senate, who also walked out, saying that the administration was taking control of the Senate’s movement by requesting the relocation of their meeting and taking up seats originally meant for Senate members.
“This was inappropriate,” Bonilla said. “It was an inappropriate use of force and is an attack on the decorum of the senate and most importantly the faculty.”
Roger Marheine, PCC Faculty Association President and member of the Academic Senate, had originally motioned to move the meeting to next Monday in order to accommodate all members of the public. While members of the board did take a vote to adjourn the meeting, General Counsel Gail Cooper announced later that the vote was inappropriate under the Brown Act. The Senate would have to agendize the rescheduling 72 hours in advance. Marheine left regardless.
The meeting was forced to continue, but because there weren’t enough members to constitute a 16-person quorum, the Academic Senate were not able to take vote on action items.
“I have never been to a meeting that was video taped,” Marheine said. “Administrators were sitting in the front row. It was intimidating and inappropriate.”
According to PCC President Mark Rocha, the video recording of the meeting was meant to ensure transparency.
“We want to have everything open, transparent, and recorded so there can’t be any question,” Rocha said.
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