Today’s news that the administration and Academic Senate have reached an agreement on full-time faculty hiring is a positive sign that collegial discussion may be beginning to mitigate the bitter division at PCC.
With accreditation on the horizon, it is imperative that academic and administrative bodies alike continue to work together to reach equitable solutions that both sides are comfortable with.
Before reaching this agreement, Academic Senate President Eduardo Cairó and Interim President Robert Miller demonstrated their respective willingness to put the needs of the school ahead of hyperbolic posturing by meeting privately to discuss their differences. Each reported that the discussion was cordial and productive.
These two leaders deserve credit for choosing to take proactive steps toward healing the fissures left by the conduct of the former president.
Mark Rocha’s true legacy can be found in the respective default postures that faculty and administration have taken towards each other in virtually all matters.
A sizable portion of faculty has been entrenched in reactionary paranoia, crying wolf at the smallest whiff of controversy while claiming to be looking out for the best interest of the student body. Their hyper-vigilance has undermined any real effort to monitor the administration’s actions by creating a cacophony of accusations and vitriol.
On the other side, the administration has displayed a disturbing penchant for dismissing outside concerns and seeking to govern without the consent of the governed. Time and again, the desires of students, staff, and faculty have been met with a pat on the head and patronizing promises.
This dynamic is cyclical: faculty yells, administration dismisses, faculty yells louder, administration dismisses, etc.
This new agreement on faculty hiring suggests that Miller and Cairó’s earlier sit-down was not an isolated occurrence, but rather an indication that our culture of antagonism may be receding and this cycle may finally break.
As long as they remain willing to continue their dialogue, whether publicly or privately, and as long as the promises made in those discussions are kept, they should be given the benefit of the doubt that their interests lie in trying to heal the traumas that recent events have visited on the entire PCC community.
Mark Rocha left our school in August. It remains to be seen whether our school can leave Mark Rocha. Will we continue to exist as islands of self-interest, or can we lower our weapons long enough to begin to rebuild the ties that bind us together as an academic community?