Faculty, community call for resignations

By ANDREW PAXTON

The faculty and staff of Pima Community College have lost confidence in the governing board that is responsible for running the college, according to resolutions passed by representatives of each group.

The Faculty Senate, in a 51-1 vote with two abstentions, approved a resolution stating the instructors have lost faith in a majority of the board members. The resolution calls for the board members to resign.

“The Faculty Senate does not have confidence in the four current board members of the PCC board who were in office during the Dr. Flores administration to effectively guide the college out of its present crisis,” the resolution read.

The four board members are Marty Cortez, Brenda Even, David Longoria and Scott Stewart, who all where on the board while Roy Flores was chancellor. Sylvia Lee, the fifth member of the board, was elected in November 2012 after running on a platform of openness and change.

“Faculty Senate believes that these four board members have contributed to the present crisis by their failure to recognize and act ethically and prudently upon problems, and believes that these four board members constitute an impediment to change,” the resolution said.

While the faculty “appreciates the efforts” of the four board members, the resolution said “the greatest service that they can now perform” to rebuild trust in the college is to resign.

“We have tried to be patient, but the board has not acted,” said senate president Joe Labuda during statements before the vote.

The resolution also requested the postponement of Pima’s ongoing chancellor search until the four board members are replaced.

“We are not alone,” said Labuda, referring to others who have called for board members to step down.

The Staff Council, a group representing nonteaching staff at Pima, unanimously passed a resolution expressing comparable views. It stated “Staff Council believes the named Board members lack the integrity and ability” to support Pima and included a call for resignation.

Labuda said he personally believes the board members should announce when they plan on stepping down and stagger their resignations, because “one person can’t run the college.” But he concedes there are some faculty that “want them gone yesterday.”

The faculty and staff did not call on Lee to resign. Lee, a former Pima administrator, was one of the first to demand others on the board step down during a March 20 meeting.

“There is a way that we, on this board, can prevent probation now today, and that is for three of our longest-sitting board members who have served this college to the best of their ability over the past decade and beyond to step down and allow new community leaders to come and help us heal.

“This is our greatest hope for our Pima,” said Lee, who received applause from the audience following her comments.

Numerous other community groups have also called for members of the board to step aside, including the Coalition For Integrity, Respect and Responsibility.

“It is time for you to recognize that continuing to cling to your position no longer serves the best interests of the college and our community,” C-FAIRR wrote to the four embattled board members.

News publications, including the Aztec Press editorial board, have called for resignations as well.

Not everyone believes the board members should resign. College administrators point out that the board members are not paid, and are designated to their positions by the citizens of Tucson.

“They’re all elected officials. They have an obligation to the people who voted for them,” said administrator Jerry Haynes. “If the people who voted for them want them gone, there’s a process for it.”

The four governing board members have not responded to any of the demands for their resignation and continue to push for a new permanent chancellor by July 1, despite requests for the search to be suspended.

“The faculty has voted no-confidence in this board. They shouldn’t be hiring the new chancellor,” Labuda said.

 

Governing board

Four of Pima Community College’s five board members served under the college’s previous chancellor.

Brenda Even
12 years on board
Up for re-election in 2014

David Longoria
3 years on board
Up for re-election in 2016

Scott Stewart
14 years on board
Up for re-election in 2016

Marty Cortez
18 years on board
Up for re-election in 2018

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