The Board of Trustees approved the Equal Employment Opportunity Plan (EEOP) after a contentious debate at its meeting on Wednesday.
Trustee President Anthony Fellow, Vice President Berlinda Brown, Trustee John Martin, Trustee Jeannette Mann, and Clerk Linda Wah voted to approve the plan, while Trustees Ross Selvidge and William Thomson voted against it.
Terri Hampton, executive director of human resources, presented the proposed PCC EEOP to the board to answer their questions before the vote.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the purpose of an EEOP is to ensure the opportunity for full and equal participation of men and women in the workplace regardless of race, color, or national origin.
“The administration is very proud of this plan,” President Mark Rocha said. “It has been developed with great care by many experts and it has been consulted exhaustively with shared governance.”
“I think this is long overdue,” Wah added.
However, a number of EEOP issues divided the board with a 15 percent rule being the most divisive.
According to Hamilton, the State Chancellor’s Office suggested that we use a rule of thumb of 15 percent to determine underrepresentation.
“Underrepresented groups are any groups that occupy 15 percent or less of the total District workforce or a particular job category,” said Hamilton. “For example, in 2012 the Asian group occupied 45 of the 1374 District jobs; which is 3 percent of the total headcount. Therefore, this group is underrepresented within the District workforce because it occupies less than 15 percent of the overall workforce.”
“If we are less than 15 percent, less than 15 times their representation of this population, we are saying that we are out of compliance,” Selvidge said, clearly displeased.
He contacted a senior attorney at the Chancellor’s office, Julia Blair, and she didn’t know anything about the 15 percent figure.
“The 15 percent figure is misleading. It makes no sense to put a figure there that we all acknowledge doesn’t represent anything that is real,” he said.
“The numbers at the Chancellor’s office, this 15 percent of these different minority groups to evaluate ourselves against are crazy,” she said. “They have no relation to what we are doing.”
“Whatever statistics you want to use, there is no denying the statistics that we have a majority-minority student population,” Rocha said. “Eighty percent of our students are minorities. Certainly, 80 percent of our faculty and staff are not minorities.”
“On this issue of diversity, this college should not go longer than the eight years it has already gone out of compliance with an EEOP,” he added.
Thomson pushed for postponing the vote.
“I think there are improvements to be made and I don’t see the rationale to move forward in a hurry and approve this, understanding we’ll have to come back in a month’s time and amend it. It’s just not the way we ought to do business,” Thomson said.
Martin agreed the data for the EEOP report was inaccurate, but urged passage of the plan anyway.
“At the end of the day, I think the 15 percent is crazy,” Martin said. “But I think the action plan we are implementing in this plan will move the district forward and is a fair plan and a good plan that doesn’t discriminate against anyone.”