An official from the Community College League of California clarified that the administration has the final say on issues that are discussed between the “participatory governance” groups at a technical visit on April 14.

Participatory governance” has been area of tension between the administration and the Academic Senate for the past few years, as the Academic Senate and Associated Students have consistently criticized the administration for not considering their input when making campus decisions. But Scott Lay, President and CEO of the Community College League of California, said that final authority belongs exclusively to the administration.

“’Shared governance’ is a general term used in higher education,” explained Scott Lay, President and CEO of the Community College League of California. “The [CCLC] and the Academic Senate refer to ‘participatory governance’ to describe California’s law, as it’s about providing people affected by decisions the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process. At the end of the day, you can’t ‘share’ a decision. Someone/some body (i.e. governing board) has to make it.”

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College’s Accreditation Standards states: “Through established governance structures, processes, and practices, the governing board, administrators, faculty, staff, and students work together for the good of the institution. These processes facilitate discussion of ideas and effective communication among the institution’s constituencies.”

Daniel Haley, Academic Senate treasurer, said that the administration was ignoring this process and the ideas coming from the senate.

“Title 5 does indicate that [the administration] is the final decision makers,” Haley said. “However, if [the administration] can not reach a mutual agreement and they have to make a decision contrary to the wishes of the Academic Senate, it has to be for compelling financial, legal or organizational reasons. Thus far, the senate has seen them make decisions that don’t seem to be cause of compelling issues.”

Lay also said during his presentation at the visit that the school’s accreditation might be in danger due to some issues between the district and PCC’s Academic Senate and Faculty Association.

“The Accrediting Commission would not sanction a college because people aren’t getting along,” Lay said “However, if the lack of trust and collaboration leads to work not getting done, or there is a perception that collegial governance processes are not being followed, it certainly could affect the college’s accreditation status.”

Academic Senate President Eduardo Cairo said that it is still too early to gauge how well the technical visit went.

“It’s not until we get an actual engagement with the Board of Trustees and the administration that we can truly be able to answer that question,” Cairo said.

Cairo went on to say that he believes that it is of the “utmost importance” for both sides to get on the same page soon. He said that the problems the school has can hurt accreditation, and that both the administration and the faculty needed to get on the same page in order to make sure that doesn’t happen.

According to Senate Secretary Pat Rose, a reasonable amount of faculty, including some Board members and even some students, showed up to the presentation.

“We were glad to see that some members of the board were there and asking questions,” said Rose. “That’s always good to see.”

Trustee Jeanette Mann who also attended the presentation, said that in order to move forward, members of the college community must learn to work together more closely. Mann said that she was very pleased to see so many people turn out and participate.

“Accreditation was referred to several times, and the thing about it is,” Mann said. “If you have policies, you have to follow them.”

Trustee William Thomson said that it wouldn’t do anyone at the college any good if the district and the faculty didn’t get together to help the accreditation process along. He said he was confident that the college would be able to move past the issue of its accreditation.

6 Replies to “Governing board has the final say in “participatory governance””

  1. I love the Orwellian shift from “shared” governance to “participatory” governance as a way to justify the administrations shattering of the process.

    We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

  2. oh the accreditation monster is coming-quick let us practice shared governance! what makes this any different than any other issue previously risen on campus? oh yes the board members could actually lose their position. forget them, I hope the school is closed and all administrators have to pay back all their salaries to the taxpayers.

  3. Accreditation is in great jeopardy with the obvious and ongoing Admin-created messes. Seems admin cannot follow the law, even when it is spelled out in black-and-white! The Board of Trustees and President Mark continue to offer the kind of autocratic management behavior you would not expect to find at this level of higher education. According to the State Ed Code, PCC must be run as a college, not as Principal Mark’s Junior High School.
    Accreditation is not based on perception or morale, it’s based on the pattern of management (or mis-management) that the college has been subkect to the past few years.
    Woe to PCC!
    (Expect more PCC-PR fluff, spin, denials to try to cover the documented pattern of disasters.)

  4. Boards have the final say, of course. But they cannot get to that place of final say without there being mutual agreement with other groups on the campus. The way they get that is by consulting the rest of the campus collegially. When and if those two things don’t happen, the Board can STILL make a decision, but ONLY when they prove they had to do it for financial, legal or organizational reasons (i.e.: it was an emergency). Our Board of Trustees and our current administration has NOT done this in these areas:

  5. The Law says that if no agreement is reached between Admin and the Senate, the Board of Trustees MUST follow the existing policies.
    This law was violated repeatedly:
    1) Calendar Fiasco
    2) Block-head schedules
    3) College realignment
    4) Hiring of Staff, Faculty
    The Board members do not understand, or they are pretending ignorance. Either is a crying shame.

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