Has the faculty leadership done enough to help bridge the gap between themselves and the administration?

Judging by the endless games the faculty leadership seems to be playing, the answer is probably no.

While PCC transfer rates dropped 20 percent, the games began.

It goes without saying that it’s ridiculous and shameful for the college to spend thousands of dollars on a third-party consultant just to tell the administration and faculty to do their jobs and play nice.

But as soon as the consultant announced that they’d be conducting a survey on campus climate, the battle of the surveys began.

The faculty leadership also wanted to conduct a survey of their own. This is despite the fact that members of the Academic Senate were having concerns about “survey fatigue.”

“I feel that there is an advantage being taken here, where I am being used just to be a warm body for a statistic,” Senator Gloria Horton said on March 11.

Faculty leadership tried to justify their survey by spinning it.

“I’m not measuring campus climate, their [survey] is going to do that. Ours is to get information to help guide us in the town hall,” Academic Senator Melissa Michelson said to the Courier on March 11.

And this brings us to yet more nonsense: the town hall invitations war.

Just like a five-year-old having a hissy fit because not all of his friends who were invited came to his birthday party, the faculty leadership had the same tantrum.

Invitations were sent, letters were written, statements were issued and tempers flared, all because the Board declined invitations from the faculty leadership to attend town hall meetings. The Board cited its bylaws and the Brown Act in declining the invitations.

But the Academic Senate themselves also declined invitations from the college to attend the Council on Academic and Professional Matters (CAPM) meetings for some of the same concerns the Board had for not attending the town hall meetings.

“On November 4, 2013 the faculty senate upheld the decision not to attend CAPM meetings until they were conducted with transparency and were open to the public-essentially, until the meetings followed the Brown Act,” Michelson said in a letter to the Courier on March 18.

It’s interesting to note the contradiction of what Michelson said in her invitation to the Board opposed to what she said about her survey.

“In a collegial effort to address this need, the Academic Senate invites you to participate as a panelists. The theme is ‘campus climate’…” Michelson’s invitation reads. But Michelson said she wasn’t measuring campus climate.

So which is it? Is the faculty leadership measuring campus climate or not?

Who has authority to conduct an evaluation of President Rocha also became an issue of contention lately.  Faculty leadership said they do, but the administration said no way.

“This is clearly set forth in Board Bylaw 1680,” General Council Gail Cooper said to the Courier on Feb. 3. “Should the Academic Senate attempt to proceed with an evaluation of the Superintendent/President, it would be an unauthorized infringement on the exclusive province of the Board and therefore be ineffectual.”

Lawyers for the faculty countered and said the faculty does have the authority.

“Obviously, it is the Board of Trustees that hires and fires the college president as well as conducting formal evaluations of his work,” Faculty Association lawyer Lawrence Rosenzweig said. “But you cannot seriously contend that other members of the campus community and the community at large cannot express opinions about the president’s performance.”

An issue of where some money came from also became a hot topic lately.

The faculty and the administration have been busy lately playing a popular children’s game with a $400,000 hot potato.

The administration offered the faculty the money for “professional development,” but the Academic Senate had concerns about the source of the funds.

“Where did it come from?” asked Academic Senate President Eduardo Cairo. “Nobody from the senate asked the board for the money…and are there strings attached to the money?”

And meanwhile students can’t get classes they need to transfer or graduate.

But lets not forget the administration also has a long list of questionable issues.

Those include the cancelling of Winter Intersession, implementing Extended Spring, realignment of the college’s academic divisions, Pre-Wreck, PERB decisions, cease and desist orders, and no confidence votes, just to name a few.

Meanwhile, students’ best interests seem to have been forgotten.

Just as it is harmful for children to see their parents fight, the faculty and the administration must be aware that it’s just as harmful for students.

This endless fighting, bickering and public verbal brawling between the faculty and the administration must come to an end. We all must find a better way to communicate with each other and not make our students feel they have been forgotten.


3 Replies to “EDITORIAL: The Forgotten Students”

  1. The administration wants to add 20% more students per class on average (so some will go up 30+% in size). The faculty is fighting this. Students have not gone forgotten.

    The administration cut Winter. The faculty fought and won a PERB ruling. Students have not gone forgotten.

  2. The “Forgotten Student?” Oh yeah. Almost forgot. The one breathing air in the class room.

    We are a little busy here complaining about release time, the president, the board, wages, benefits, parking, personnel-organization, the campus politics, etc.

    Here. Sit down. Take this book. Open it. I will be back later. I need to run off to yet another meeting about the “climate” with some misguided group who believes they have authority to do anything.

    Kill the lights when you leave. And don’t complain.

    The Teacher

  3. The public Town Halls are created to involve the community and get a collegial dialogue going–established channels were not working. Their goal is to open communication, let everyone get involved in a dialogue about their college.

    CAPM were closed-door meetings where Mark Rocha prohibited the students, press, staff, faculty and general public. No minutes, no agenda, no transparency. Commitments made in CAPM to the college were regularly broken.

    Repeated violations of State Ed Code such as ignoring shared governance, and the ignoring of the Brown Act have taken PCC in a steep slide towards mediocrity.

    The Calendar fiasco, the block schedule mess, the faculty hiring screw-up, the re-organization that appeared out of who knows where–all those were dumped in the lap of the college when the appropriate and state-mandated shared governance was circumvented. The purpose of shared governance is not to soothe the feelings of fussy old teachers–when the Admin applies their nutty plans without consultation, the result is disaster.

    It may be uncomfortable to watch the struggle for the college’s future, but as once said in a Senate meeting, the “Climate” is not a problem– the climate is a result of failed management and violated trust.

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