President Mark Rocha was not offered the position of president at Kingsborough Community College (KCC) in Brooklyn, New York, which he applied for earlier this year. The position instead went to Farley Herzek, who is currently serving as interim president of Los Angeles Harbor College, according to KCC officials.

(File Photo by: Rocio Vera)
President Mark Rocha (File Photo by: Rocio Vera)

KCC is part of 23 other institutions of higher education in the City University of New York (CUNY) public college system.

In a statement posted on KCC Facebook page before CUNY’s decision Rocha, a New York native, was nostalgic about returning to his hometown.

“I’m for the little guy,” Dr. Rocha said. “I grew up in the South Bronx and both of my parents dropped out of high school. But they saw to it I went [to] college. The American Dream is real to me. It’s still alive and well in our community colleges,” the statement read.

But after Rocha applied, interviewed and held an open forum with students and faculty at KCC, his dream at-least for now was not to be. He was not selected for the position.

In a highly anticipated CUNY Board of Trustees meeting today the decision of who would be the next president of KCC was announced live via a local New York television channel and streaming on the Internet.

Herzek was present at the meeting to accept the appointment by the Board.

PCC Board Member William Thomson knew that family played a part in Rocha seeking employment in New York and he was made aware of Rocha’s job search months ago.

According to Thomson, Rocha’s wife Nancy recently received a promotion with Pasadena-based Jacobs Engineering that required her to move to New York.

“One’s family has to take priority over job opportunities. Mark obviously wanted to remain happily married…and be with his family,” Thomson said.

“One can’t blame a man for putting family first,” he added.

Thomson also weighed in on the campus climate during Rocha’s tenure, whether Rocha is being forced out and if Rocha will continue to seek other employment.

“Obviously the campus climate has not been the most pleasant, but he [Rocha] is not being asked to leave by the Board of Trustees or forced to leave or whatever else,” Thomson said.

“I believe there were two other [job opportunities], but I’m not certain. I was aware though of the Kingsborough situation,” Thomson added.

PCC Board President Anthony Fellow is looking ahead.

“I look forward to continuing to work with him [Rocha] to improve Pasadena City College,” Fellow said in an email.

Former Student Trustee Simon Fraser seemed saddened by the news of Rocha not getting the job.

“That is such a shame. I was wishing him the best for that position,” Fraser commented on the Courier website.

Rumors of Rocha stepping down started to circulate around campus back in March, but Rocha adamantly denied them.

“Where does this stuff come from? Who is your source?,” Rocha said in an email to the Courier in March. “Not only have I not resigned, the Board of Trustees and I are working closely together on long term plans for the college that will take my service as president well beyond 2017.”

“That puts that to rest,” he added.

Fellow at the time also denied campus rumors of Rocha’s possible departure.

“I must say the rumor mill at PCC is one of the best in the world. And as a 10-year professional daily newspaper editor and reporter, most rumors should be left on the newsroom floor,” Fellow said in a March email. “I assure you that the president of PCC continues and will be President Mark Rocha.”

English professor Melissa Michelson spoke recently about why she thinks Rocha should leave.

“I think it would be good for the college. It’s time for a change in leadership at PCC, especially with accreditation looming, “ Michelson said to the Pasadena Weekly. “In our last accreditation report, they warned us about our shared governance issues and our enrollment problems.”

5 Replies to “Rocha not offered college presidency in New York”

  1. Rocha is a lame-duck president. What kind of commitment does he have for this school. The real shame is the Board of Trustees for their rubber stamping of the calendar 2014-2015. Video on Agenda F here:
    Student after faculty after faculty after student said they wanted winter. Only one secretary acted as if she was an administrator and she was talking about ‘her’ department- she was the ONLY one who said she didn’t want winter. The Board apparently had a list of academic reasons to have winter which they pretended not to have – and after all that, plus the most ridiculous presentation from the administration and Olivo, Kollross and Semien – they STILL voted against winter.

    1. It seems pretty clear that there was never going to really be any debate on the matter, as the administration had its calendar already done and ready to go: it was e-mailed out in pretty short order after the meeting.

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