Credit: Andrew Reed/EdSource
Peralta's trustees convene for a board meeting in October 2019. From left: Former Peralta trustee Karen Weinstein, Peralta board president Julina Bonilla, Peralta trustee Linda Handy and former Peralta student trustee Dowell Stanley.

An Oakland-based community college district may soon be forced to cede power to the state if its Board of Trustees can’t quell concerns about its ability to properly govern the district. 

Intervening at the Peralta Community College District, home to four East Bay colleges serving almost 30,000 students, would be a drastic step. Only twice previously has the state chancellor’s office and the systemwide Board of Governors assumed power from a locally-elected governing board: At the City College of San Francisco in 2013 and at Compton College in 2004.

The colleges in Peralta, one of 73 districts in California’s vast 116 community college system, are Laney College and Merritt College in Oakland, Berkeley City College and the College of Alameda. 

Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the state chancellor overseeing California’s 116 community colleges, is under increasing pressure to intervene, including from former Peralta chancellors, two of Peralta’s current and former trustees, Oakland’s NAACP chapter and the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), a state-funded agency that provides financial oversight of K-12 and community college districts. 

Those groups and individuals are calling for state intervention at Peralta to fix its problems: shaky finances, academic probation and what they call a broken relationship between trustees and top administrators. The district is currently fighting to keep its accreditation, with all four colleges having been put on probation last year by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

Oakley is expected to decide by the system’s Jan. 19 board meeting whether it is necessary to increase his office’s oversight of the district and possibly appoint a special trustee, who would likely have far-reaching powers.

Tensions between the elected boards of trustees in community college districts and the presidents and chancellors whom they appoint is not unusual. But those at the center of the conflicts at Peralta say that what is happening in the district undermines the mission of the colleges. 

In interviews with EdSource, current and former members of the district’s leadership, including the past three chancellors, accused the board of micromanagement. They said board members frequently interfered in their authority to perform duties, such as hiring executive staff and approving contracts. They also said the board’s leadership is closely allied with the faculty union in the district and focused more on appeasing the union on issues such as collective bargaining than on programs to help students reach completion. 

“In all of my 35 years of working at community colleges, I’ve never seen anything like I’ve seen in the nine months I was at Peralta. It’s a very difficult place to be,” Regina Stanback Stroud, a veteran of the community college system who resigned as chancellor of the district in July, said in an interview with EdSource. She left her position as chancellor after only nine months on the job.

Three chancellors in two years

In the last two years, three chancellors have left the district after conflicts with board leadership. After Stroud departed the district last summer, the president of Oakland’s NAACP chapter called the board’s actions toward those chancellors “demoralizing” to Peralta’s Black administrators, faculty and students. Stroud and her two predecessors are Black.

The district’s other executive staff also has high rates of turnover. Currently, at least four vice chancellor positions are filled by either interim or acting staff members.

Board president Cindi Napoli-Abella Reiss, former board president Julina Bonilla and Interim Chancellor Carla Walter, who was previously vice chancellor of finance and administration in the district, declined to be interviewed.

The signs are promising that we are on the right path,” district spokesman Mark Johnson said in a statement. He predicted that the district will be lifted off academic probation this month and noted that the district is in a better fiscal position than it was 18 months ago, when the state oversight agency that has reviewed the district’s finances, FCMAT, labeled Peralta a “high risk” of fiscal insolvency.

Jim Austin, a fiscal monitor appointed to the district by Oakley, said at a Board of Governors meeting last year that the district made “very impressive” progress on the concerns raised by FCMAT, which included budget deficits and staffing problems. Oakley appointed Austin to that position in fall 2019 after FCMAT’s report. In his role as a fiscal monitor, Austin was essentially a watchdog over the district but had no authority or powers.

However, he added that there is “another side of the coin” and said the district is plagued by “board governance and chancellor-board relationship issues,” which he said threatens the district’s long-term fiscal health. 

Michelle Giacomini, the deputy executive officer of FCMAT, wrote an August letter to the state chancellor’s office voicing a range of concerns about Peralta, including “ineffective board governance.” She also wrote that systems within the district are “fully or partially controlled by highly influential special interest groups.” Giacomini said in an interview that the faculty union and other bargaining groups are among those groups.

“The Board of Governors should consider increasing its oversight role in the district over and above the current status of fiscal monitor,” Giacomini wrote in the letter, referring to the statewide governing board that oversees all 116 community colleges.

Accreditation at stake

Peralta has a history of financial and board problems that predate most of the current board members. In fact, last year wasn’t the first time the colleges were put on academic probation. In 2010, the accrediting commission placed the colleges on probation. 

The accrediting commission cited problems with board governance and criticized trustees for meddling in management of the district, according to a report at the time in the East Bay Times. FCMAT also previously visited the district in 2011 and issued a report criticizing the district for a lack of transparency around how it was spending bond funds

The colleges were eventually lifted from probation. But in January 2020, all four colleges in the district were again placed on probation by the commission. In letters imposing probation on the colleges, ACCJC cited concerns including structural deficits, a “lack of adherence to board policies and administrative procedures” and “key staffing issues.” The commission did not elaborate on the reasoning behind those concerns. 

A college is placed on probation when the commission has serious concerns about the college, but the college retains its accreditation during probation.

The accrediting commission made virtual “visits” in December to each of Peralta’s four colleges. Typically, the commission would make on-site visits but couldn’t do so amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Peralta’s Board of Trustees has also approved self-evaluation reports for all four colleges.

The accrediting commission will review those reports at its January meeting, at which point it will decide whether to lift the colleges off probation. The commission could also decide to take further action, such as withdrawing accreditation from the Peralta colleges. The three-day meeting is scheduled for Jan. 13 to Jan. 15.

Faculty union influence

Four of the seven board members who were on the board this past year were endorsed by the union the last time they were up for election: Bonilla, Reiss, Nicky González Yuen and Karen Weinstein. Those four board members typically voted in unison on most issues. Weinstein has since been replaced by Dyana Polk, who ran unopposed for that seat in 2020 and was also endorsed by the union. 

Reiss, Weinstein and Bonilla also received significant campaign contributions from the union’s political arm when they last ran contested races for office. Bonilla received $7,500 from the union and related labor groups when she ran in 2014, 16% of her total contributions. Weinstein received about $11,000 in 2016, 21% of the total, and Reiss received just more than $20,000 in 2018, 36% of the total.

Campaign finance information is not available for Yuen’s last contested race for office, which was in 2004. He was subsequently re-elected unopposed every four years including 2020. 

In her resignation letter this summer, Stroud accused the board of “collusion” with the union against the interests of the district. In an interview, Stroud said members of the board would regularly strategize and confer with the faculty union’s leadership on matters that should have been left to administrators to handle. Stroud’s view was shared by her two predecessors, Peralta’s former interim chancellor Fran White and former chancellor Jowel Laguerre.

For example, administrators said then-board president Bonilla circumvented the proper channels during collective bargaining with the faculty union in the summer of 2019. According to the administrators, Bonilla communicated directly with the faculty union president, Jennifer Shanoski, who was said to have complained to Bonilla that administrators rejected the union’s demand for a 10% faculty salary raise. 

“That’s just so out of turn,” White, interim chancellor at the time, said in an interview, referring to the fact that the union felt comfortable enough to bring its concerns directly to Bonilla. White noted that those negotiations were the administration’s responsibility and not Bonilla’s. In the end, several months later, the board approved just a 3.3% raise. 

Shanoski, the union president, said that it shouldn’t be considered problematic for the board to be pro-labor. “We certainly advocate for ourselves and our positions,” she said, noting that much of what they advocate for such as smaller class sizes benefits students. 

This fall, the district sparked controversy when it decided to spend its $1.2 million portion of a state grant for Covid-19 relief to satisfy two agreements with the faculty union. The agreements were negotiated by Walter, the district’s acting chancellor at the time.

The district agreed to pay faculty $1,000 stipends for every course they convert to online instruction during distance learning and pledged to hire assistants for instructors teaching classes remotely with 35 or more students. 

Bonilla, Yuen, Reiss and Weinstein voted to approve the spending, as did trustee Bill Withrow. Trustees Meredith Brown and Linda Handy abstained. 

Why the district spent the money that way was puzzling to Brown, who has since retired. She said she would have preferred to see the money help provide students with internet access or with basic needs like food and housing. But according to Brown, the board never discussed how to spend the grant money. 

Brown pointed to Laney College, the district’s flagship college, where student enrollment is down more than 20% this fall, a drop she said could be at least partly attributed to students’ financial difficulties.

“Giving the money to the people who are employed, while we’re losing students in multiple digits, doesn’t seem to honor the mission of the district,” Brown said. She was one of two trustees last year who called on the state chancellor’s office to intervene at Peralta, as did trustee Handy. Brown and Handy were the board’s only two Black trustees at the time.

Shanoski, the union president, said the district was obligated to pay faculty the stipends because the union’s contract with the district says faculty are supposed to be paid for time they spend transitioning classes to online. She also said the district has yet to spend most of the money that was set aside for hiring teaching assistants.

Johnson, the district spokesman, also defended the spending, saying it helped teachers adapt to new teaching methods during distance learning.

Walter has since been appointed interim chancellor and, unlike other recent chancellors, has the support of the faculty union. Shanoski in an interview praised Walter, saying she is “collaborative and has done an incredible job of learning on the job and listening to the folks with expertise.”

Handy, a trustee in the board’s minority, accused Walter of winning union support for her selection as interim chancellor after giving faculty the relief money. Walter declined to be interviewed and Johnson, the spokesman for Peralta, did not respond to a question about the merit of that claim. 

Johnson added that the district can’t comment on the hiring process for Walter but praised her leadership amid the pandemic.

“Her calm and collaborative leadership style is everything the Board and the District desired during a period of dramatic change and challenges from COVID-19,” he said. 

‘Micromanagement by board members’

One of Stroud’s first tasks upon becoming chancellor was to replace the district’s financial system software, which she called “woefully out of date.” The state’s fiscal oversight agency (FCMAT) had found Peralta’s software for functions such as accounting and payroll presented a “significant risk to the district’s financial security.”

Stroud negotiated a $6.3 million new system with Oracle. The board rejected it twice and finally approved it on the third try.

To Stroud, the contract was an obvious solution to a glaring issue identified by FCMAT. And even though the contract was ultimately approved, Stroud said the back-and-forth highlighted a larger trend of the board micromanaging top administrators.

“That kind of stuff is what I’m talking about, where it takes a mountain of work to do what seems to be easy, normal stuff,” Stroud said.

Stroud also pointed to resistance from the board when she tried to make hires to her executive staff. In December 2019, her recommendation to hire a permanent vice chancellor of human resources was voted down. In March 2020, she tried to appoint a permanent director of marketing but that was also not approved. And last July, she attempted to renew contracts of three interim administrators, but votes on those extensions were tabled.

Stroud’s two predecessors, White and Laguerre, in interviews described being similarly micromanaged. 

Those concerns are also shared by FCMAT. In her letter to the state chancellor’s office last month, FCMAT’s Giacomini wrote that there is often “micromanagement by board members.”

Bonilla, the former board president, said in a statement to EdSource that those claims “are without merit.” 

The behavior of the board toward former chancellors Stroud, White and Laguerre, who are Black, caught the attention of Oakland’s NAACP chapter and the Peralta Association for African American Affairs (PAAAA), which represents Black staff and faculty at Peralta. The two organizations grew concerned that the board was not allowing the chancellors to perform their duties. Stroud said the voting bloc that she usually conflicted with included no Black trustees. 

Lawrence VanHook, the president of the PAAAA and a professor in the district, said he had lost faith in the trustees after watching them refuse Stroud’s staff appointments and effectively “not recognize” her authority as chancellor. 

He and others criticized the board for creating a culture that allowed what they viewed as racist remarks to be made during public board meetings directed at Stroud and other administrators. In one incident last spring, a white instructor, during a dispute with Stroud and four other Black administrators, said he would “not take lessons from my inferiors.” 

Stroud said the comment was reminiscent of “a deeply white supremacist notion of the genetic inferiority of Black people.” The instructor later apologized, acknowledging in an email to administrators and the board that he should have known his words would be offensive. But neither union leadership nor the board leadership publicly denounced those comments, according to Stroud and VanHook.

“We have watched with dismay as successive African American leaders have come to the district to assume leadership, only to be treated with open contempt in public Board meetings and leave after a short tenure,” George Holland, president of the NAACP in Oakland, wrote in a letter to the state chancellor’s office last summer. 

Pivotal moment

Peralta will likely learn its fate later this month, when the statewide Board of Governors convenes for a Jan. 19 meeting. 

Peralta’s board leadership, faculty union and Academic Senate are strongly opposed to the possibility that Oakley, the state chancellor, will appoint a special trustee. 

Our democratically-elected Board of Trustees need to retain control of our district in the name of those who chose them as representatives,” Donald Moore, a professor of anthropology and president of the Academic Senate, said in a statement that he shared with EdSource. 

In a preview of the decision he faces, Oakley said at a September meeting of the Board of Governors: “We know that there are several boards throughout the state that on any given day have conflicts with their administration. So the issue isn’t whether there’s conflict in the governance process. The issue is do they have the means and the mechanisms, the policies and the practices to work through them. So that’s what we’re focused on.” 

White, the former interim chancellor at Peralta, said she has long believed that appointing a special trustee is the only option to fix the challenges the district faces. 

“To be honest, I thought that in July of last year and I haven’t changed my mind,” she said. “Nothing has happened to make me think that a special trustee isn’t required to get that district back on track — whatever is left of it.”

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  1. Jennifer Shanoski 5 months ago5 months ago

    Mr. Burke's article overlooks a few crucial facts in its oddly skewed telling of recent events in the Peralta Community College District. First, the piece fails to mention that a Nov. 2020 preliminary ruling by the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) found that Peralta administrators violated the union’s rights on each of the counts the Peralta Federation of Teachers (PFT) had brought against the district. To be clear, PERB held that district-side negotiators, not PFT, potentially … Read More

    Mr. Burke’s article overlooks a few crucial facts in its oddly skewed telling of recent events in the Peralta Community College District.

    First, the piece fails to mention that a Nov. 2020 preliminary ruling by the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) found that Peralta administrators violated the union’s rights on each of the counts the Peralta Federation of Teachers (PFT) had brought against the district. To be clear, PERB held that district-side negotiators, not PFT, potentially engaged in unfair and illegal behavior.

    Second, the article’s implication that labor’s participation in democratic society is somehow problematic is troubling. Unions exist to protect the rights of their members and to advance their interests; working with elected officials is an important part of what unions do to serve the workers they represent. To accuse labor of overreach when it engages in politics is a rhetorical attack on the legitimate and appropriate work of organized labor. In livestreamed Jan. 8 remarks, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris emphasized the importance of “protecting and expanding workers’ rights by fighting for a higher minimum wage and paid leave, safe and healthy workplaces and stronger unions.” PFT shares the VP-elect’s vision and is proud of its work in electing the first African American, the first Asian American, and the first woman—not to mention the first Oaklander—to the second-highest office in the land.

    Finally, in emphasizing the perspectives of a few unhappy former Peralta higherups, the article misses an opportunity to share the view of an overwhelming majority of students, staff, faculty, and community members—viz., that Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College do a first-rate job, even during these historically challenging times.

    This last point is worth underlining. State takeovers, however well intended, have failed the Bay Area students and communities that they have affected (see, e.g., City College of San Francisco and Oakland Unified School District). Peralta’s faculty union and senates oppose a state takeover because they know that students, communities, and democracy are best served when control remains local.

    Jennifer Shanoski, President
    Peralta Federation of Teachers, AFT 1603

  2. Oakland Resident 5 months ago5 months ago

    My understanding is that the Peralta Colleges are not on "academic probation". The probationary accreditation has nothing to do with academic quality at the 4 schools and is instead related to district finances. The article states that the Board did not approve 2 new hires from the Chancellor. However, it is hard to judge whether that is inappropriate without knowing: 1.) How many hires were approved 2.) Why they were not approved. If the Board were … Read More

    My understanding is that the Peralta Colleges are not on “academic probation”. The probationary accreditation has nothing to do with academic quality at the 4 schools and is instead related to district finances.

    The article states that the Board did not approve 2 new hires from the Chancellor. However, it is hard to judge whether that is inappropriate without knowing: 1.) How many hires were approved 2.) Why they were not approved. If the Board were supposed to just rubber stamp all appointments by the Chancellor, what is the purpose of requiring Board approval?

    Many faculty are residents of the area, meaning that the Board members are their elected officials. What is wrong with a voter contacting their own elected official?

  3. Concerned Peraltan 5 months ago5 months ago

    It is interesting to hear about the concerns of the NAACP. Also of concern which has not received much attention, is the exodus of almost all top Asian and Filipino administrators. Here they are (former Peralta employees) as reference: 1) Dr. Rowena Tomeneng, President of Berkeley City College 2) Dr. Tammeil Gilkerson, President of Laney College 3) Minh Lam, Vice Chancellor of Information Technology 4) Dr. Jason Cifra, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs And there others … Read More

    It is interesting to hear about the concerns of the NAACP. Also of concern which has not received much attention, is the exodus of almost all top Asian and Filipino administrators. Here they are (former Peralta employees) as reference:
    1) Dr. Rowena Tomeneng, President of Berkeley City College
    2) Dr. Tammeil Gilkerson, President of Laney College
    3) Minh Lam, Vice Chancellor of Information Technology
    4) Dr. Jason Cifra, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs

    And there others such as a long-term API employee (like others referenced above before) currently on leave pending an investigation.

    Replies

    • There's more 5 months ago5 months ago

      Don’t forget that three well-loved, respected presidents left under Regina’s iron fist. She ran investigations on lots of people she didn’t like as a means to silence dissent.

  4. Peralta Expert 5 months ago5 months ago

    There is lots more information EdSource readers need to truly understand what is happening at Peralta. Some things to consider: Laguerre, before he came to Peralta, was already in trouble for financial mismanagement: https://www.timesheraldonline.com/2015/06/30/grand-jury-releases-searing-report-on-solano-colleges-measure-q/ He was hired by Community College Search Services -- the lead consultant responsible for hiring him was retiree Fran White, who was later INTERIM chancellor: https://ccss-us.net/our-team https://web.peralta.edu/blog/tag/dr-fran-white/ Fran White was then awarded two interim presidencies at Peralta -- one in April 2016 and one in … Read More

    There is lots more information EdSource readers need to truly understand what is happening at Peralta. Some things to consider:

    Laguerre, before he came to Peralta, was already in trouble for financial mismanagement: https://www.timesheraldonline.com/2015/06/30/grand-jury-releases-searing-report-on-solano-colleges-measure-q/

    He was hired by Community College Search Services — the lead consultant responsible for hiring him was retiree Fran White, who was later INTERIM chancellor: https://ccss-us.net/our-team

    https://web.peralta.edu/blog/tag/dr-fran-white/

    Fran White was then awarded two interim presidencies at Peralta — one in April 2016 and one in July 2016. She was technically retired and could only serve part-time.

    Ms. White also works as a consultant for CBT, which got a Contract (no bid) $199,688 for Collaborative Brain Trust to do strategic planning for Peralta (with Fran White leading) in February 2016 (Feb 23 board agenda).

    Fran White was outgoing president at Skyline college and hired Regina.

    A google search for news article comments, particularly the articles about Ron Galotolo, will give insight into Regina’s leadership style.

    As for Brown: https://www.docketbird.com/court-documents/Oakland-Unified-School-District-v-Bryant-Brown-PC-et-al/STIPULATION-and-ORDER-DISMISSING-CASE-Signed-by-Judge-Thelton-E-Henderson-on-09-09-09/cand-3:2008-cv-05645-00069

    As for Handy: https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/09/15/peralta-community-college-district-state-elections-filed-against-trustee-running-for-reelection/

  5. Liz 5 months ago5 months ago

    This article seems to be written based only on the narrative of one disgruntled former chancellor. The misleading information starts with the subheading, "Three chancellors have left the district in last two years after conflicts with board leadership." In reality, one chancellor who had served since 2015 resigned. An interim chancellor was appointed while a search was conducted for a replacement. By nature, an interim appointment is temporary. Then, a third chancellor was hired and … Read More

    This article seems to be written based only on the narrative of one disgruntled former chancellor. The misleading information starts with the subheading, “Three chancellors have left the district in last two years after conflicts with board leadership.” In reality, one chancellor who had served since 2015 resigned. An interim chancellor was appointed while a search was conducted for a replacement. By nature, an interim appointment is temporary. Then, a third chancellor was hired and left within nine months, and her report is the basis of this story. So basically the story should read that in the past five years two chancellors resigned, with a temporary interim appointment between.

    Mr. Burke’s sources also appears to present the fact that the faculty union requested a pay increase as evidence of corruption. I am not sure why these sources are so anti-union, but I would like to point out to readers that, according to the parent union, the American Federation of Teachers, Peralta faculty pay is by many measures 72nd in the state. Out of 72 community colleges. (source: https://www.aft1828.org/uploads/1/2/0/0/120063084/cft_full-time-cc-faculty-salaries-2018-2019_w_cover.pdf)

    Frankly, the San Francisco Bay Area is not the least expensive place to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Is it surprising that the poorest paid faculty in the state might request a pay increase, and that the Board members elected by the community might be concerned about this status?

    This article would certainly have been stronger if Mr. Burke had done a little more investigation into additional narratives. This is not a simple story.

  6. Abel Guillen 5 months ago5 months ago

    The Peralta Colleges are a diamond in the rough and have been for years.The colleges change lives and local control is paramount. It is up to the democratically elected Board to work together to secure accreditation and get its fiscal house in order. As a former trustee, I know what is possible when folks come together to do what is right for students.

    Thank you for writing and covering this vital institution that provides opportunity for social mobility.

  7. Oakland Resident and Peralta Faculty 5 months ago5 months ago

    It would be worthwhile to note that writing "three chancellors have left the district in last two years after conflicts with board leadership" is extremely misleading given that the first of these 3 chancellors was the subject of a faculty no confidence vote following the district being placed on probation by the ACCJC due to district fiscal mismanagement under his leadership. The second was an interim chancellor that is by design temporary, and the 3rd … Read More

    It would be worthwhile to note that writing “three chancellors have left the district in last two years after conflicts with board leadership” is extremely misleading given that the first of these 3 chancellors was the subject of a faculty no confidence vote following the district being placed on probation by the ACCJC due to district fiscal mismanagement under his leadership. The second was an interim chancellor that is by design temporary, and the 3rd (the oft-quoted from the article Regina Stanback-Stroud) was a first-time chancellor who immediately began feuding with the Board and, even after she chose to resign during the summer, was subject to a recent Public Employment Relations Board complaint due to her (short) administration’s actions (https://www.peraltacitizen.com/public-employment-relations-board-issues-complaint-for-unfair-labor-practice-on-behalf-of-the-peralta-federation-of-teachers/).

    So, 1 of these 3 chancellors oversaw the District as it was placed on probation for fiscal mismanagement, 1 of these chancellors was then a temporary replacement, and 1 of these Chancellors resigned within 9 months and had already acted in such a manner that the administrative board responsible for overseeing collective bargaining agreements for public employees is issuing a complaint …

    I’m not clear how the above reflects a Board “micromanaging” as much as a Board that’s done a poor job hiring executive leadership.

    P.S. It’s also worth noting that the Board, popularly elected officials, and district administrators at all levels are disproportionately people of color and, in fact, more diverse than the district’s student body, which is, in turn, amongst the most diverse in the state.

  8. Donald Moore 5 months ago5 months ago

    Hi Michael, interesting slant on the story. However, let’s be clear about the history of Peralta. If you look at Peralta since the 1990s if not earlier, we have had Black Chancellors. Now how you racial define Black Latinos like our Previous Chancellor before LaGurre, Jose Ortiz was Black Latino, so is the past President of the Board, Ms. Bonilla. Now whether they do or don’t identify in a particular way, is a personal … Read More

    Hi Michael, interesting slant on the story. However, let’s be clear about the history of Peralta. If you look at Peralta since the 1990s if not earlier, we have had Black Chancellors. Now how you racial define Black Latinos like our Previous Chancellor before LaGurre, Jose Ortiz was Black Latino, so is the past President of the Board, Ms. Bonilla. Now whether they do or don’t identify in a particular way, is a personal choice and I am unclear that either have not identified or have been perceived as Black.

    I say all this to stop this race innuendo. On the part of Black Administrators, I again can state factually that if you look at our past presidents, Vice Chancellors, Vice Presidents, and even Deans, you have a significant number of Black and other administrators.

    The reason I write these facts is because the under current of the article suggests there was some kind of animus and the history demonstrates that Black Chancellors and administrators are regularly hired.

    The previous three chancellor had different successes or defeats with the board, the faculty union, or the academic senate. If you look at LaGuerre’s tenured, he was in the position over 4 years. Fran White was an interim Chancellor for 6 months. Regina Stroud Standback lasted 8 months.

    Each had there own distinct problems with the Board. Over the years of this board has always had a board majority. To imply this majority is bad for any majority or not concerned about students is ridiculous. Two of those board members are in fact community college faculty who live in this district who care deeply for students and wanted to be on the board for those reasons. The other majority members came from backgrounds in working in social services or other helping services and care deeply for our students.

    Finally, there are two new board members who will once again change the majority vote.

    In Peralta, in Oakland and Berkeley, those of us who live her take great pride in our area being a stronghold of Union support.

    As the President of the District Academic Senate we directly collegially consult with our Board of Trustees and the Chancellor and our college Presidents. In that role I see how the administrators engage with the board. The Chancellor is the only employee of the Board. It is incumbent on the Chancellor to maintain good relations with the board. If the board doesn’t have the confidence of the board, things begin to disintegrate and things are difficult to get supported. As you know, that relationship slowly or abruptly ends at some point.

    As part of the faculty leadership we have tiredly worked on correctly FCMAT and CBT and accreditation issues. We believe we have been successful. We await to see what the commission says and what the State Chancellor says later this month. However, let’s recall that the State Chancellor compromised and gave us more time till January to make these corrections. He had stated that he talked with local and state government leaders who had uniformly did not want the take over by the State Chancellor. So while there may be board governance issues that need to be address, these can be address and are being addressed.

    Donald