Former PCC president Mark Rocha announced his retirement last month after a tumultuous four year stay as college president and he left as perhaps the most polarizing figure on campus.
During his time as president, Rocha received votes of no confidence from both student and faculty groups. The rift between these groups and the Board of Trustees was as evident as a barbeque stain on a white suit. And many times Rocha was the focal point of the conflict.
Now that he has decided to retire, it’s time for these groups to mend any differences they may have with the board and come together in order to give the next president a fair chance at doing the job.
Perhaps the most controversial moment of Rocha’s tenure as president was the cancellation of Winter Intersession, a move that the California Public Employment Relations Board ruled illegal.
It is important to remember that being a college president is a thankless job and that Rocha took on the responsibility of managing one of the top junior colleges in the nation during the worst economic downturn since the 1930s.
It is also important to remember that the president is not a king. He is at the service of the board and it is his job to enact the policies they come up with. Though Rocha was the face of the district, he is not solely to blame for the school’s problems.
When Richard Nixon lost the 1962 California gubernatorial election, he famously proclaimed in his final press conference, “You don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.”
In PCC’s case, the same is true with Mark Rocha. Now that he is gone, (and they don’t have Rocha to kick around anymore) it’s time for both sides to hit the reset button and attempt to repair relationships.
With accreditation looming, both sides have to toss aside their differences in order to effectively deal with the potential crisis.
If the Board and the faculty are truly here to serve the students and the community in general, they owe it to those groups to attempt to start fresh and work together in order to achieve the goals that are needed to effectively run an institution of higher learning.