Mesa president candidates remain anonymous

Gisela Lagos

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The San Diego Community College District is currently working on hiring a new President for Mesa College, but this time the names of the final candidates are not being released.

 

In fact, no one outside of the hiring committee and the people who facilitate the president’s hiring process are allowed to know the names of the candidates.

 

This is a fairly new trend in the California community college districts.  In the past there were forums held where student and faculty could meet the candidates, ask questions and talk about their concerns.  San Diego State University still holds to this practice, but the community colleges have removed this step of the process.

 

“Students input is critical” said Miguel Murillo, student at Mesa College, “we should be given the opportunity to have a dialogue.”

 

SDSU is also currently in the process of finding a new president and they have schedule the candidate forum for three different days, a day per candidate.

 

Will Surbrook, Acting Vice Chancellor of Human Resources at SDCCD, described the hiring process as “very private”.  From the names of the people on the hiring committee to the names of the final candidates, Surbrook said it was all confidential.

 

“We don’t want folks talking to them and influencing [the committee]” said Surbrook.

 

Shawn Tramel, Assistant Administrative Analyst Confidential and Human Resources at Los Angeles Community College District, said the LACCD once held forums that announced the last two to three final candidates, but she said it put everyone in an “awkward position”.

 

“It discouraged some of the better candidates for applying for the position,” said Tramel.

 

If the candidate cannot tell their current employer that they were applying for a new job they could not apply in a public hiring environment.  Tramel said in some cases there is backlash from the current employer.

 

While other community college districts in California have clearly defined regulations for their presidential hiring process, the San Diego Community College District policy is vague.

 

Other districts like the LACCD have their hiring procedure clearly written and posted on their website for the public to view.  The Board Rules, Chapter X Article III section 10308 clearly delineates the people who will be sought for the hiring committee and the exact process for hiring a president.

 

The question stands if this change in policy is detrimental for the student body and the faculty.  Most community colleges have a low rate of student involvement and a change such as this encourages even less involvement by the students.

 

In a climate of budget cuts, class reductions, fee increases and support systems being dropped it’s important for students to take part in the school they are attending, not just for themselves but for future students.

 

“Many students don’t care,” said Murillo, “they don’t understand.  Start caring, your future depends on it.”

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