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The woeful selection of PCC leadership

May 16, 2013

As one who taught at PCC for 40 years, I was personally involved in the establishment of state-mandated shared government procedures (AB 1725) which require that faculty, staff and students be significantly involved in matters that affect them, including the presidential hiring process — and that presents a “problem” for the Board of Trustees.

The Board adheres to shared-governance law by creating a search committee representing a cross-section of the college as well as the community, but then entirely ignores the recommendations. Why? Because the board does not want as president someone who is responsive to constituents. Such an individual is too “soft.” They want a top-down decision-maker and a fiscal policy that results in large budget surpluses rather than qualitative service to the community. This explains their (and president Rocha’s) emphasis upon “large-group instruction” and online courses with high student-teacher ratios and assembly-line methods of instruction. It also explains the increasing use of part-timers (violating the state-mandated rule that 75% of classes must be taught by full-timers), since adjunct faculty receive relatively low wages, no fringe benefits and are easier to control because they do not have tenure.

Thus, the board sometimes scrapes the bottom of the barrel when hiring CEOs, a practice that goes back to the 1980s when former professor Dr. Gordon Brown and I went to court to expose the dirty laundry of former president Dr. Richard Meyers that continued with president Dr. Paulette Perfumo. Now we have Dr. Mark Rocha, whose fiscal responsibility and ethical demeanor were questioned two years ago in the Los Angeles Times series on waste and corruption in the L.A. community college system. Will the board continue to ignore the consensus among the students and faculty as expressed in their recent votes of no confidence?

Elvio Angeloni
Altadena

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