By ANDREW PAXTON
Students hoping to enroll in classes at Pima Community College during the holiday break will find nothing but coal in their academic stockings this winter.
The decision not to hold winter classes was made during a PCC governing board meeting in May 2013.
The move wasn’t formally announced on Pima’s website until more than a year later, on Oct. 6.
Brigid Murphy, vice president of instruction at Downtown Campus, was one Pima administrator who analyzed winter classes after concerns surfaced regarding the effectiveness and efficiency.
Murphy said the college looked at success rates during winter classes and found that a large number of students were not completing the courses, or not earning credit.
“If students took a class during the regular session and didn’t succeed, and are then trying to make it up during the winter, they probably aren’t going to make it through,” she said.
Another factor in eliminating winter classes was a decline in enrollment, Murphy said.
In 2011, 1,092 students were enrolled in winter classes after the drop deadline.
By comparison, 549 were enrolled in winter courses by the end of the 2013 winter session. More than half of the 33 courses were only available online.
“So many of the winter classes were offered online, so we have a campus that’s open but serving very few students,” Murphy said.
Keeping a campus open requires support staff, security and other employees as well as instructors.
Murphy said it didn’t make sense financially, for so few face-to-face classes.
“We have to make sure we are making smart financial decisions and doing what makes the most sense,” she said.
Murphy said Pima considered holding only online classes when the fate of winter courses was being determined.
However, the college ultimately decided to eliminate the winter intersession altogether.
If there is sufficient demand in the future, Murphy said winter classes could be added back to the calendar.
“We just have to be smart about what we offer,” she said. “For example, maybe offer more art classes instead of developmental education courses.”
Murphy conceded that high turnover in Pima’s provost office may have led to the delay in formally announcing the end of winter classes.
PCC has had five provosts since the idea to drop winter classes was first discussed several years ago.
“The communication plan may not have been as good as it would have been if the provost hadn’t kept changing,” she said.
By CALEB FOSTER
After seeing enrollment drop for three years in a row, Pima Community College has created a department of enrollment management and funded an ad campaign to attract potential students.
“We are targeting the 50-plus group, high school and even elementary school,” said Heather Tilson, executive director of enrollment management.
Pima’s fall enrollment totals 25,253 district-wide, according to college officials.
That’s down 2,090 students from the 2013 fall semester enrollment of 27,343, about an 8 percent drop.
Downtown Campus saw the biggest decrease, with a 10 percent decline.
Northwest and East campuses both had a 9 percent drop.
West Campus experienced a 7 percent drop, Community Campus dropped 4 percent and Desert Vista Campus declined 2 percent.
PCC is not the only Arizona community college seeing a decline. Cochise College also experienced an 8 percent decrease, and Central Arizona College enrollment dropped 1 percent.
The University of Arizona, meanwhile, reported a 3 percent increase this year. Fall enrollment reached a record high of almost 42,000 students.
Tilson said many factors have contributed to Pima’s enrollment decline.
Enrollment is directly linked to unemployment, she said, and community colleges usually do better in a bad economy.
Conversely, universities record higher enrollment in a better economy.
Local unemployment currently stands at about 7 percent, compared to 10.6 percent in 2010. When more jobs are available, people go to work instead of enrolling in school.
Pima’s academic probation by the Higher Learning Commission provides another key reason, she said. The probation has generated negative publicity for the college.
In addition, the Tucson area has seen a 7 percent drop in the number of graduating high school seniors.
PCC found that enrollment is dropping at a higher rate for women. Between the 2012 and 2013 fall semesters, there was a 7 percent loss in enrollment among men and a 10 percent drop among women. Enrollment also decreased at a faster rate for non-Hispanics.
A taskforce of outside experts recommended steps for getting PCC back on track. In addition to creating a permanent office for enrollment management, the experts urged Pima to revitalize outreach to high school seniors.
The college hired a consulting group, Collaborative Brain Trust, to give initial advice and help get the enrollment management program started. The contract calls for payment of $108,680, with an additional $12,500 in travel expenses.
Guidelines stipulate that the ad campaign may not exceed $200,000.
The enrollment management department, which is still in development, has spent $588,000 to date, Tilson said. Roughly $329,000 went to pay salaries of current employees.
Donna Martinez has been named the program manager in charge of high school outreach. The department plans to hire three more outreach specialists, in addition to the two already on the payroll.
Each Pima campus is in charge of specific high schools in its surrounding area. One goal is to have outreach specialists at each campus who work directly with the high schools in their area.
PCC plans to focus more on reaching out to elementary and middle schools as well, to inform children of their options when they get to college.
Tilson is positive that Pima will see a spike in enrollment if changes are made and if the college’s probation is lifted.
“We are definitely expecting a rise in enrollment,” she said.
By NICK MEYERS
The Pima Community College Department of Public Safety released the Annual Clery Report for 2013 on Oct. 1, and Downtown Campus again has the highest crime rates despite an increased police focus.
The report, which contains information on available services, various procedures and data on crimes and arrests made on PCC campuses over the past three years, is required by the federal government for all public education institutions that receive government funding.
Downtown Campus maintains the highest volume of illegal activities, which may not be surprising given that it’s the closest Pima campus to Tucson’s central city. West Campus comes in second in pure volume of crimes.
Both campuses, however, have experienced a decrease in the level of crimes and arrests since their three-year spike in 2012.
PCC chief of police Manny Amado attributes the decrease to changes in DPS policies to implement “more of a community and student based philosophy of policing.”
Officers have increased foot and bike patrols to better integrate with the community as a whole.
The most common crimes committed on any Pima campus are illegal drug and liquor arrests on and around Downtown Campus.
In 2013, there were 18 illegal drug arrests and 11 liquor law arrests on campus while there were 13 illegal drug arrests and 17 liquor law arrests on public property within Pima police jurisdiction.
These numbers are almost universally lower than last year, except for the amount of illegal drug arrests, which has risen from 13 in 2012. Liquor law arrests on campus have fallen from 25 in 2012 and arrests near the campus has fallen from 18 illegal drug arrests and 20 liquor law arrests.
Amado attributes part of the success to Pima students and employees in addition to an increase in the number of Community Service Officers to observe and report incidents.
There were only four arrests made at West Campus in 2013, a single liquor law arrest and three vehicle thefts. In areas surrounding the campus, there were two illegal drug arrests and three liquor law arrests.
These numbers have also fallen since 2012, when 11 arrests were made on West Campus including burglary, vehicle theft, illegal drug and liquor law arrests.
Other campuses experience a much lower volume of crime with the exception of Desert Vista Campus.
Eight arrests occured at Desert Vista last year. Two arrests each were for burglary, motor vehicle theft and administrative drug referrals and two single arrests for alcohol and weapons.
These numbers have jumped in the past year from three arrests in 2012 but did not reach 2011 levels when the campus saw 12 arrests for the common vehicle thefts, burglaries and robberies, illegal drugs and alcohol.
East Campus police made two arrests and Northwest Campus police arrested four individuals. These crimes were made for a variety of vehicle theft, illegal drugs and alcohol.
While these numbers do reflect the actions of officers across all campuses, they are not necessarily representative of crime taking place at Pima Community College.
Each month Pima releases an activity log containing the number of incident reports made at each campus.
Many of these incidents are for benign events such as found property, public assists or simply suspicious persons. However, the number of incidents which may correlate with the categories of arrests typically out-number the amount of arrests made.
This does not mean that incidents reported do not lead to the arrests detailed in the Clery Report as it is possible for multiple arrests to be made from a single incident, but it is unclear which arrest categories represent each category of incident.
In any case, Amado stresses the importance of maintaining awareness.
“While Pima Community College is a safe place to study and work, from day one that you set foot on campus, to the day you graduate, you should always be aware of your surroundings,” Amado said.
He said that we become complacent in the safety on campus, which leads to the environment being “ripe for criminals because they are soft targets.”
“Follow what your instincts tell you,” he said. “If you’re walking on campus and just have a strange feeling that something’s wrong, then something may be wrong.”
In addition to crime statistics, the report details standard procedure for everything from fires and hostage situations to microbursts and downed aircraft.
The report also provides extensive advice for handling, seeking support and reporting cases of sexual assault.
This includes laws and definitions specifically pertaining to sexual assault and various contacts for medical or legal assistance, as well as counseling hotlines and local shelters.
“The Pima College Police Department takes the safety and security of students staff, and visitors very seriously,” Amado said.
“It is paramount to our existence here and at the forefront of our operations at all times. As our motto states, we are truly ‘Dedicated to Service, and Committed to Excellence!’”
The full report can be found at pima.edu/dps by clicking the “Read recent reports” link on the left of the page.
Another option is to follow the link provided: https://www.pima.edu/administrative-services/college-police/docs/2013-Annual-clery-report.pdf.
By NICK MEYERS
In the fallout of the riots that took place in Ferguson, Mo., a spotlight has been turned on the government’s 1033 program in which military surplus equipment makes its way to local law enforcement agencies.
It may surprise you to learn that the Pima Community College police department is not excluded.
“In our culture and society the citizenry will question when hard tactics are used against them by authorities,” Pima’s chief of police Manny Amado said. “And that is perfectly acceptable, as that is what sets us apart from other governments.”
With that said, Amado added, “I think that a review of the program is in order and I believe that any review or inquiry into the program will clearly illustrate that the vast majority of this equipment has been properly transferred to, and deployed by, our nation’s law enforcement agencies.”
A few weeks ago the Cronkite News Service reported that three Arizona colleges have received surplus weaponry under the 1033 program, including Arizona State University, Arizona Western College and PCC.
Amado has served as lead instructor in law enforcement ethics for the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board.
“I have visited and taught at many law enforcement agencies in Arizona and have become well acquainted with their administrators and leadership,” he said. “I have a great deal of trust and confidence that the proper oversight is occurring at these agencies in regards to the use of the equipment acquired by the program.”
Amado said that the program has saved agencies and taxpayers a lot of money that would have had to be spent to otherwise acquire the equipment.
While the other two schools received modern M-16 assault rifles, Pima acquired seven Cold War-era M-14 rifles in 2010.
PCC did not apply for the rifles explicitly, but instead received them through Pima County Sheriff’s Department for use by the PCC Police Honor and Color Guards, Amado said.
By ANDREW PAXTON
Pima Community College’s governing body held its last meeting before the Nov. 4 election that will decide who will be joining the five-member board.
Brenda Even, who has served on the board since 2001, decided earlier this year not to seek reelection.
She is one of several board members who faced calls for resignation following findings of leadership failings and a negative culture at Pima during a visit by the college’s accreditor last year.
Michael Duran, an executive at Tucson Medical Center, and Mark Hanna, a former businessman and high school counselor, are seeking the District 1 seat currently held by Even.
Hanna was present at the Oct. 7 board meeting, getting a firsthand view of what he will be in store for should he be victorious at the polls.
An update on the Higher Learning Commission’s Sept. 15-17 visit to Pima, results from an employee election, budget concerns and a presentation on how the college measures student success were all on the agenda.
Chancellor Lee Lambert spoke about the HLC’s visit to Pima and what will happen next for the college.
“This is not just about compliance, this is about continuous improvement,” he said.
Lambert said the HLC recognized the tremendous effort put forth by college employees, and said that Pima’s greatest enemy to getting everything ready for the inspection was time.
“We did something very, very significant and we should not lose sight of that,” he added.
Staff election results
On Sept. 10, Pima’s board approved an election to determine which of two worker groups would represent non-exempt staff. After a monthlong campaign, The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union won with 53 percent of the vote.
“This was not a happy, textbook, Kumbaya kind of election,” said Jason Brown, the Independent Election Committee chair. “This was hard fought. There was a lot of emotion involved. People have very specific opinions about who should be the representative group, and that showed.”
Brown said there were concerns about moderating the groups behaviors during the election and that guidelines were violated, including home visits and misuse of college resources.
“We had some people feel they were bullied or intimidated,” he said.
Brown finished by saying even though the votes were accurate, the committee could not say the election was clearly fair and equitable.
PCC board chair David Longoria stressed the need for the two sides to work together now that the election is over.
“You are representing a split constituency,” Longoria told members of AFSCME who were in the audience. “It is incumbent upon you to unite the non-exempt workers. You need to find a way to come together and work together.”
David Bea, Pima’s vice chancellor for finances, delivered some grim budget news during his monthly report.
“The state’s budget forecast is not looking very rosy,” he said.
Bea said state revenues are down more than $200 million from were they were expected to be, and an impending K-12 lawsuit worth more than $300 million has created serious problems.
“I think it would be overly optimistic to think we will get what we requested,” he said.
Nicola Richmond, assistant vice chancellor for planning and institutional research, gave a presentation about how Pima compares to statewide and national college benchmarks.
Pima students spend about five percent of their annual income to go to school. The average for all Arizona community college’s is 15 percent, and the average for the three state universities is more than 30 percent, the report said.
Pima students are also more likely to have successful outcomes than their peers at other community colleges statewide.
The complete report can be found at pima.edu/about-pima/reports/benchmarking-studies/index.html.
By ALEX FRUECHTENICHT
The Pima Community College Chemistry Club at East Campus has won a commendable review from the American Chemical Society, a high achievement for a first-year club.
An ACS committee selects student chapters to receive recognition on the basis of programs and activities. Awards are classified as outstanding, commendable and honorable mention.
Pedro Flores Gallardo, a chemistry lab specialist, serves as the club’s co-adviser. The club formed in Fall 2013 and became affiliated with the ACS.
“I think we are moving forward in a good direction,” Flores Gallardo said. “I would like to see the other campuses get more involved, but it has been difficult to cover all the PCC district.”
The student chapter awards reception will take place during the spring ACS national meeting in Denver.
The Chemistry Club is working to send students to the meeting to represent the group and formally accept the award.
Last March, Chemistry Club members attended the 247th ACS national meeting and exposition in Dallas. The club presented a poster during a “successful student chapters” symposium.
To learn more about the Chemistry Club, visit pccchemclub.com and the club’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/pccchemclub.
By S. J. BARAJAS
Once a high school dropout and now Pima Community College’s Community Campus president, Lorraine Morales is a real-world epitome of humble beginnings to meaningful success.
“I dropped out of high school my junior year, just because it wasn’t working,” she said. “I wasn’t getting much out of it.”
She earned her GED high school equivalency a year later.
“I had a variety of dead-end jobs and it was after those jobs that I made the decision to go to college,” she said.
Morales earned a bachelor’s degree in human services from Western New Mexico University and a master’s degrees in higher education from the University of Arizona. Northern Arizona University awarded her doctorate in education.
Though she has worked for a variety of universities including UA, she harkens back to community colleges.
“All the time I worked with the universities, I would find a way to connect with the community colleges,” she said. “I always felt like the mission of community colleges more closely aligns with my own philosophy.”
She has worked at PCC for more than a decade.
“We take students where they are and begin the process there, she said. “Universities, in my mind, choose who they are going to educate.”
Community Campus, one of six campuses in the PCC system, serves a primary goal of providing distance education. Lines are short and hallways are not as packed with the hustle and bustle of a student population.
Morales has made it a goal to illustrate to her colleagues how important Community Campus is in terms of bettering a student’s life.
Take high school equivalency, for example. The adult education program awarded 1,578 diplomas last year, leading Morales to joke, “We’re probably one of the biggest high schools in Pima County.” Adult education composes 11 percent of the student population, roughly 6,000 students.
The campus also offers English as a Second Language and refugee programs.
PCC contracts with the state for the refugee program. It aims to acclimate those from war-torn countries and teach them enough English to work at a job.
Community Campus also hosts the college’s largest concentration of work-force training, including truck driving, paramedic and public safety institutes.
Morales has served at four campuses during her tenure at Pima, most recently as vice president of instruction at East Campus. She was named Administrator of the Year for her work as vice president/dean of student development at Northwest Campus.
Her community affiliations include United Way’s Women Leading United, a network dedicated to improving grade-level reading in elementary schools by the third grade.
Morales’ educational journey personifies dedication and the transformative power of learning, Chancellor Lee Lambert said in a press release announcing her promotion to campus president.
“Dr. Morales’ career at Pima has been marked by a deep commitment to students,” he said. “That dedication, as well as a recognized ability to lead and collaborate in a variety of settings, will make her an important member of the college’s leadership team.”
By ANDREW PAXTON
Both candidates for Pima Community College’s available seat on the college’s governing board have vowed to support open admissions, adult education and adjunct instructors at the college.
Mark Hanna, a counselor at Catalina Magnet High School, and Michael Duran, an executive at Tucson Medical Center, both spoke at an Education Accountability Session on Sept. 28.
They are vying to replace Brenda Even, who decided earlier this year not to seek re-election. She has served on PCC’s five-member governing board since 2001. The District 1 seat currently held by Even is the only one up for grabs this November.
The candidates were asked their vision for improving PCC’s transition of students with the greatest educational needs, basic literacy, adult education and inclusion.
Duran said he would work to ensure those students have access to the services that are available to all other students at Pima and not treat adult education differently than traditional classes.
“When you treat people equally, you honor their dignity as individuals,” he said.
Hanna said the most important mission for Pima is to have open access.
“In order to do that, they must provide developmental education that is available, and will earn credit, and scholarship and financial aid opportunities for all students,” he said. “These students must be able to pass their required classes, graduate and go on to college or the workplace.”
The candidates were then asked if they supported in-state tuition for Differed Action Childhood Arrival students, whether they will work to seek more funding for the non-profit development organization JobPath, and if they would work to improve conditions for adjunct instructors.
Both candidates answered “yes” to all three questions.
Duran said it is fundamental under our system of democracy to give people an opportunity for education.
“The DACA students I’ve come into contact with are incredibly bright and incredible contributors to our society and our community,” Duran said. “It’s imperative that the college continues to be open, accessible and affordable to all students.”
Hanna said there are more than 200 DACA students at Pima, and his work as a high school counselor has shown him the quality of these individuals.
“It is in the best interest of our community to educate these students,” he said. “Immigration reform will happen, and when it does, these students need to have the education and the skills to become a part of our society and our economy.”
On JobPath, Duran said “I will work very diligently to find other funding sources, both inside and outside the community, and to get other workforce partners so that JobPath and its participants have a clear path to success in our community.”
Hanna said JobPath is full of highly-motivated people that want to contribute to their community.
“It just makes sense,” he said. “Continuing JobPath, and maybe even expanding the programs, I would certainly support.”
Duran said he believes PCC administrators are taking the issue of adjunct pay seriously and want to improve conditions.
“I think that instructors, whether they are teaching basic education classes or transfer programs should all be treated equally,” he said.
Hanna said Pima “is built on the adjunct faculty” and their pay is below the national average.
“We must support them, not only with wages and benefits, but opportunities for professional development,” he said.
An actor dressed as Gen. George Washington re-enacts the 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution at East Campus on Sept. 17 as part of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day activities.
“The campus is thrilled to host this event, which makes history come to life for our students and community,” East Campus President Charlotte Fugett said.
The actor read the preamble, then encouraged audience members to sign a replica of the document. Other We Make History re-enactors in period dress mingled with the audience and posed for photos.
Downtown Campus celebrated Constitution Day with refreshments, trivia and prizes, and displayed artifacts from the Revolutionary War period.
Sept. 17 has been designated Constitution Day and Citizenship Day since 2004, to acknowledge the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution and to “recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.”
Every educational institution that receives federal funds must hold educational programs about the U.S. Constitution.
-By Alex Fruechtenicht
By TANISHA KNUTZEN
Adjunct physiology instructor Tom McDonald will discuss “Life, Death and Redemption at the Grand Canyon” as the first lecturer of Pima Community College’s fall Speakers’ Series.
His talk will begin at 6 p.m. on Oct. 7 in the PCC District Office Community Board Room, 4905 E. Broadway Blvd. Light refreshments will be available.
McDonald will share his experience hiking Lava Falls, the steepest and most remote route in the Grand Canyon. He remained at the bottom of the canyon for two days, unable to find his way back to the rim.
His talk will also discuss the Grand Canyon’s geology, flora and fauna, plus spectacular views of regions that few people visit.
McDonald spends a month each summer hiking and camping through remote parts of the Grand Canyon and southern Utah.
He teaches part time at both Pima and Central Arizona College, and volunteers as a docent instructor and co-presenter of Sonoran Desert reptiles at Tohono Chul Park. He formerly worked as a researcher in the Ion Channel Lab at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
The Speakers’ Series, in its fourth year, showcases PCC faculty. All lectures are free and open to the public. Two more fall talks are planned:
• Nov. 4: “The Aging Brain,” by Sarah B. Burger, psychology faculty.
• Dec 2: “The U.S. Poetry Academy,” by Kristen Hoggatt, writing faculty.
Compiled by Mariana Ceja
PCC to host student town hall Oct. 7
Pima Community College students are invited to participate in a free town hall on Arizona’s economy Oct. 7 from 3-6:30 p.m. at Community Campus Room A109-112.
PCC will host a satellite broadcast of a statewide Future Leaders Town Hall on Arizona’s economy.
“This is a great opportunity for students to have a voice in crafting solutions to improve Arizona,” said Michael Peel, a PCC government relations advanced analyst.
Before the discussions, the forum will provide students with information on a variety of opportunities ranging from volunteer work to scholarships.
Register for the town hall at aztownhall.org/Future_Leaders_Town_Hall.
For additional information, email Peel at email@example.com or call 206-4844.
Barbecues will help military families
A Pima Community College employee association will host October barbecues to support military families during the holidays.
ACES, the Association of Classified Exempt Staff, will donate proceeds to a Tucson Chamber of Commerce committee that provides holiday food baskets and emergency requests to families stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
Pima employees have donated more than $40,000 in the past seven years. Campus representatives, listed below, are currently seeking volunteers and advance donations of barbecue supplies or cash.
Each barbecue runs from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Dates and locations include:
• Oct. 14: Downtown Campus (Kim Diezel, Marcia Wojsko)
• Oct. 16: Northwest Campus (Brian Miller, Ed Gallagher)
• Oct. 21: West Campus (Diane Miller)
• Oct. 22: Desert Vista Campus (Fernando Munguia, Donna Cohn)
• Oct. 23: Community Campus (Chelsea James, Dan Pinard)
• Oct. 24: Davis-Monthan (Dena Wakefield, Charlie McConnell)
• Oct. 29: East Campus (Karen Smith, Sara Hastings)
• Oct. 30: Aviation (Benetta Jackson)
• Oct. 31: District Office (Dena Wakefield, Leticia Anduaga)
For additional event information, call 206-4500.
By ANDREW PAXTON
Pima Community College recently took the next step to get off probation after a follow-up fact finding team from the Higher Learning Commission finished its evaluation of Pima on Sept. 17.
Chancellor Lee Lambert was pleased with the assessment.
“Simply put, we did a solid job – faculty, staff, administrators, Governing Board members, students, employee group representatives,” he wrote in an email to faculty. “We were welcoming, honest and informed about our college. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Now PCC must wait until next year to find out if enough has been done to lift sanctions placed on the college in April 2013.
The HLC team, composed of college administrators, was at Pima to determine if problems found previously at the college, including leadership failings, mismanagement and a negative culture, had been fully addressed.
They interviewed more than 100 students, employees and community members to gauge Pima’s status.
“Some expressed their ongoing concerns about PCC,” Lambert said. “Others spoke about the positive changes they have seen here, and expressed optimism that the college is on the right track as it meets future challenges and opportunities.”
The team’s report will be made available to PCC sometime this month, and Pima will have a chance to submit corrections.
In February, the HLC board will recommend whether to keep sanctions in place or lift them.
On the morning of Sept. 11, underneath a warming sun and accented by a cool breeze, dozens of Pima Community College students and faculty joined West Campus president Lou Albert in remembrance of the attack in New York 13 years ago.
Sgt. Dave Gittings and officer Colin Keating, pictured right, raised the flag in solemn silence before lowering it to half-mast.
“Even after thousands of our military men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan, the peace that we long for — for ourselves and for our children — is once again delayed,” Albert said.
His words about the 2001 attacks provided a reminder of ongoing debate about the United State’s recent re-involvement in the Middle East.
“What do we need to do to diminish the distrust and hate and conflict that still exist in our world?” Albert asked. “What do we need to do to create a world that resolves conflict without war?
“The answer, for me, lies in what we do as a college — we educate citizens.”
Albert said the work of students and employees at Pima can foster a new generation that understands and can confront these, and future, global challenges.
– By Nick Meyers
By ANDREW PAXTON
Pima Community College is under fire from its former chancellor following the college’s response to sexual harassment allegations against him.
Pima received a letter from an attorney for the former chancellor, Roy Flores, on Aug. 20 that took issue with a video posted on Pima’s website by the current chancellor, Lee Lambert.
“Last week, members of the governing board and I received a letter from an attorney representing former Chancellor Roy Flores regarding the Aug. 15 release of a video statement in which I discussed past reports of sexual harassment and retaliation at PCC,” Lambert wrote in an email last month.
“The potential legal issues associated with the letter limit what can be said about it at this time” he said. “You should know, however, that this college under my leadership will not tolerate sexual harassment or abusive behavior by any employee.”
In the video, which was released as part of a settlement with one of the complainants, Lambert discussed the college’s past and what Pima is doing to move forward.
“A critical chapter of the college’s past occurred when eight women employed at the college had the courage to come forward and report sexual harassment and retaliation by the former chancellor,” he said in the statement.
“These women were willing to face him directly with an independent investigator. Rather than do so, he resigned more than a year before the end date of his contract,” Lambert said.
Flores and his attorney contend that the information released by Lambert and PCC have damaged his reputation
“The video and that article contain serious misstatements by Chancellor Lambert,” Benson Hufford, Flores’ attorney, wrote to PCC.
“Those misstatements have been made maliciously and with reckless disregard for the truth. Those statements have damaged and continue to damage former Chancellor Flores and his reputation.
“Among other things, Chancellor Lambert’s statements are inaccurate in the following respects. Although some complainants may have alleged ‘sexual harassment’ against Chancellor Flores, no actual evidence of any type of sexual harassment against Dr. Flores was ever established,” the letter said.
Flores maintains that the reason he stepped down was due to health concerns, and his retirement was not caused by the allegations against him.
“As has been reported publicly, Dr. Flores resigned for health related reasons. He recently had undergone heart bypass surgery and was experiencing serious complications from that surgery,” Hufford wrote.
“Realizing that he was physically unable to devote his full energies and attention to the business of the college, he resigned his position. That resignation was accepted by the Governing Board of the college.”
The letter also states that “no credible evidence” exists that any retaliation from the former chancellor took place.
The letter concludes by requesting a formal, public apology from Lambert and Pima’s governing board “acknowledging and regretting the incorrect statements and the damage that those statements have caused Dr. Flores and his reputation.”
If an apology is not issued, Flores “will be forced to take appropriate legal action against the college and responsible parties to seek redress for the damage caused to him.”
Hufford also sent a letter to the Arizona Daily Star requesting that every article pertaining to Flores mention that he stepped down for health reasons and that harassment allegations were never proven.
By TANISHA KNUTZEN
New Desert Vista Campus President Morgan A. Phillips places a strong emphasis on the importance of creating a community that is involved in all aspects of the college.
“Get individuals to share,” Phillips said. “Get them to try and contribute to the process of helping Pima Community College improve. Get them to understand that Pima Community College is all of ours.”
Phillips, a community college graduate, has more than two decades of experience in higher education. He started work at PCC in August.
He anticipates that the strengths he brings to Pima will help with the continual growth and expansion of the college and the multiple programs offered to students.
Phillips said the growth of his students and individuals he has worked with have been an important aspect of his career.
“The involvement of individuals at the community college changed my life,” Phillips said. “It really put me on a path to be somewhere where it’s a benefit for me; it’s a benefit for my family.”
He understands the importance of a community college and the role it plays, not only for students but for the people who build the community that surrounds campus walls.
Ava Rose is the coordinator for TRIO, a program that helps fund low-income and first-generation students throughout their college experience. Rose said Phillip’s attitude about PCC set him apart from others seeking the position.
“When he came to visit, he seemed like the best candidate,” Rose said. “He’s passionate about working closely with students and staff and was even excited about the TRIO program.”
Phillips holds a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Florida, plus master’s and bachelor’s degrees in science from the University of Central Florida.
He earned associate degrees from Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Fla., and Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Va.
Phillips most recently worked for two years at Southeastern Community College in Whiteville, N.C., as the vice president of academic and student affairs. He was responsible for academic programs, student development functions, technology operations and accreditation efforts.
He previously served as Southeastern’s vice president of curriculum instruction for six years.
His other experience in higher education includes serving as a faculty member, department chair and academic dean at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Fla.
Chancellor Lee Lambert cited Phillips’ strong educational and career background in a press release announcing his hiring.
“Morgan comes to PCC with extensive experience in accreditation, strategic planning and forging partnerships with business and industry,” Lambert said.
“His familiarity with efforts to improve educational outcomes and the use of online technology to enhance student learning will make him a welcome addition to our leadership team,” he added.
Phillips said a campus president is just one part of the larger community.
“The president is someone that represents and supports the campus; the president is not the campus,” he said.
“The other individuals that are here working all make up Desert Vista campus. The students are what make up Pima Community College.”