The Academic Senate voted 17-12 to declare their dissatisfaction with Superintendent Erika Endrijonas in a “vote of no confidence” at their most recently held meeting on Mon, April 11.
The superintendent-president has been criticized for her decisions and the controversial choices she is presumed to have made since the start of the global Covid-19 pandemic. One of her most opposed decisions was the resume of in-person learning on campus earlier this semester.
During the worst surge of the Omicron variant, PCC administration mandated that everyone at PCC return to in-person learning with minimal remote learning options. The Senate feels that the decision was made without guidance from the Academic Senate and in spite of the Safe Learning Environment Committee (SLEC) expressing its concerns. The Senate is a place to represent the people of PCC, including the hundreds of staff and faculty and thousands of students who signed petitions against this decision.
Other colleges postponed the reopening of their campuses, causing many to expect PCC to follow suit. After the president’s supposed disregard of the health crisis, staff and faculty were left questioning her role in authority.
Following the controversy of the school’s decision, the Academic Senate had decreed that a vote of no confidence be warranted on Jan. 27 and has now been resolved months later.
In a resolution sent out to faculty, the Academic Senate stated:
“The Academic Senate of Pasadena City College thereby has no confidence in the judgment of Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas and the ability of Dr. Endrijonas
to maintain a healthy shared governance system, implement major changes responsibly, behave in a fashion which adheres to the highest ethical standards, follow the data-driven public health policies in a way that ensures the highest safety standards and appropriate consideration of the health of and potential hardships and trauma experienced by Faculty, Students, and Staff of PCC, provide effective leadership to the campus community, and/or communicate accurately to the Board of Trustees the recommendations of the Academic Senate and the input of the campus community.”
During the Academic Senate meeting Endrijonas was called “stubborn,” “arbitrary,” “unsafe,” among other descriptions. She was accused of violating “the regulations and spirit of shared governance.”
The Resolution of the Vote of No Confidence wrote that the president failed to consult collegially with the Academic Senate for making nonnegotiable decisions.
“We were in conversation with the group that oversees, negotiates working conditions, and that was the faculty association,” Endrijonas said.
Endrijonas responded to this claim in an email to faculty expressing her disagreement toward the vote. She insists that shared governance is “one of the most important principles guiding California’s community college” and that she is in practice with this value.
Although much was said against the president, not all faculty members are in agreement with the vote.
“We felt like the rules that PCC made matches our needs, we do not want a vote of no confidence,” said an anonymous comment during the meeting in regards to the reopening of the PCC campus.
Many precautions were made in order to maintain the health of those returning to campus.
Plexiglass and hepa air filters were implemented, class sizes were reduced to 50% capacity, a vaccine was mandated and weekly testing is required. All of these factors were introduced as safeguards for faculty, staff, and student safety.
“This is the right thing to do for students,” Erika Endrijonas said.
According to Endrijonas, she received many emails from students saying they really wanted to be back on campus and that they need the in-person interaction from them to academically succeed.
“I understood how important it was to get students back on campus and to create that sense of community,” Endrijonas said.
Associated Student President, Emmanuel Gomez, was unavailable to comment on the vote.
The Associated Students has previously passed a resolution condemning the Board of Trustees for postponing in-person learning without consulting them.
This story will be updated.
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