In an extraordinary four-hour meeting, the Academic Senate debated whether or not to take up a no confidence vote in the leadership of PCC President Mark Rocha and his administration at their meeting on April 1.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated since first published.

In an extraordinary four-hour meeting, the Academic Senate debated whether or not to take up a no confidence vote in the leadership of PCC President Mark Rocha and his administration at their meeting on April 1.

John Novak / Courier Dustin Hanvey, the academic senate president, center, expresses concern with the Senate taking up a vote of no confidence at the Academic Senate meeting on Mon. Apr. 1. “It is in my personal opinion that this is a bad idea. It will bring a lot of ill will toward this body,” said Hanvey.
John Novak / Courier
Dustin Hanvey, the academic senate president, center, expresses concern with the Senate taking up a vote of no confidence at the Academic Senate meeting on Mon. Apr. 1. “It is in my personal opinion that this is a bad idea. It will bring a lot of ill will toward this body,” said Hanvey.

Despite the date, this debate was by no-means a joke.

After an hour-long debate, Senator Melissa Michelson of the Languages Division, with overwhelming support of the voting members of the senate, forced a first-draft read of the no confidence resolution to be put on the agenda for that day.

The first draft stated reasons why the Senate should have no confidence in Rocha including:

That Rocha “has repeatedly violated the regulations and spirit of shared governance, has disrupted the efficiency and collegiality of campus life, and has perpetuated an atmosphere of distrust and intimidation through ethically questionable practices.”

Michelson expressed that it is necessary for the Senate to take up the vote before the end of the spring semester.

“Our prolonged silence can be interpreted as our acquiescence, disinterest or even approval of what is happening to shared governance at PCC,” Michelson said, pleading with the Senate.

However, Dustin Hanvey, the academic senate president expressed concern with the Senate taking up the matter.

“It is in my personal opinion that this is a bad idea. It will bring a lot of ill will toward this body,” said Hanvey. “But if we are going to do this, it should be done with the entire faculty and anonymously, because if we do it publicly it’ll put individual senators on the public record on this issue. It is a mistake to do this this way and a mistake to do it today.”

Hanvey stated that General Counsel Gail Cooper expressed that there will be legal consequences if the vote was taken in this manner, which include seeking to make any vote they take on the matter null and void.

To some of the senators, the threat of legal action did not seem to matter.

Senator Paul Jarrell of the Natural Sciences Division said the Academic Senate should take up the vote due to the lack of shared governance on campus.

“We’re being pushed around and not being heard,” said Jarrell, “We have every right to state that this body has lost its power and it is our obligation to say that. If we’re afraid to do that, then we shouldn’t be sitting here. We have to be able to make the easy choices and the hard choices.”

Senator Eduardo Cairo of the Social Sciences Division stated that nothing should stop the Senate from taking up the vote.

“The mere fact that the Senate President had to mention the word “fear” for the senators speaks volume to what’s happening on campus. What exactly is it that we’re afraid of? What is Dr. Rocha going to do?,” said Cairo, “Is the fear because of the action we are going to take? That is our job as a committee to do what is best for the college, and I am not afraid of doing that. The mere fact that you say that there is fear among some of us for doing the right thing, all the more reason we should take this vote.”

Out the 33 voting members, all but one voted to put the item on the agenda.

The No Confidence resolution is currently in the editing process and a second draft is slated to be debated and brought to a final vote at the next Academic Senate meeting on April 15. However, the ultimate decision for it to even appear on the next meeting’s agenda will come down to Hanvey and the rest of the Senate’s Executive Committee. Hanvey could not state at the time whether it will be included or not.

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