AZTEC PRESS EDITORIAL: Pima needs more open communication

To regain the faith and trust of its students and the public, Pima Community College needs to be honest and forthcoming with all issues the college is facing.

Whether it’s programs that are under sanction, changes to financial aid requirements or campus administrators being fired, we as students have a right to know.

When the Arizona State Board of Nursing issued a notice of deficiency to the nursing program at the Pima, there was no notification from the college to students.

The college also failed to adequately inform students about the numerous changes that took place to financial aid this year, leaving many students scrambling to set up payment plans.

After the September firings of Downtown Campus President Luba Chliwniak and vice president Jerry Haynes, the college’s faculty and staff were invited to a meeting with the chancellor to learn what led to the dismissals.

Chancellor Lee Lambert even talked about the need for more openness during that meeting, telling the audience he had never been a part of an organization that has “too much communication.”

An email notice, an announcement on MyPima or a posting on the college’s website would all have been effective ways to communicate to students the issues surrounding the sanctions, financial aid changes and firings.

All of these issues have taken place as the college attempts to have sanctions removed by the Higher Learning Commission, Pima’s accrediting body.

“We expect our institutions to provide information and be transparent with information being provided to the student body and constituents,” Karen Solomon, a vice president with the HLC, told Pima’s governing board during a meeting in May.

To Pima’s credit, there has been more open engagement and interaction since Lambert was hired as the college’s chancellor.

Lambert has been more engaged with the community and is attempting to be more inclusive when making decisions that impact employees.

Students have been encouraged to join committees to help get sanctions on Pima removed. The chancellor is also visiting student organizations, including Aztec Press, to recognize their achievements.

Provost Jerry Migler has held numerous informational sessions regarding the status of the HLC probation and how Pima is addressing the issues.

However, students crave more communication from the college administration. We don’t want to find out what is going on from local media or after hearing rumors from classmates or college employees.

Pima has taken several positive steps in recent months to become more inclusive to the community.

Now the college must continue to bridge the gaps in communication. It must ensure all interested parties, including students, are kept informed of any problems or issues PCC may face.

That’s the way to restore trust and credibility in Pima’s leadership.

Written on behalf of the Aztec Press Editorial Board by Editor-in-Chief Andrew Paxton.

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