Months after the widely publicized commencement debacle involving alumnus Dustin Lance Black, former Interim Director of Public Relations Valerie Wardlaw has “moved on” and no longer works at the college, according to school officials.
“Her last day was yesterday,” Interim President Robert Miller said on Wednesday, declining to elaborate on the circumstances of her exit since it was a “private personnel matter.”
“She has moved on from PCC…[Wardlaw] provided a great service to this college for the year she worked for the Foundation and for the year she was the Interim Director of Public Relations,” Miller wrote in an email.
He also said that in the interim, media production specialist David Steiman and publications supervisor Gilbert Rivera would be taking over public relations duties for the school. One of their first tasks will be finding out why there is a gap in press releases from Oct. 29 to April 29, which no longer appear on the school website.
“I’m sure it’s not intentional,” said Steiman. “But Gilbert and I will look into it and find out what happened.”
Miller said that the college would be looking for someone who specialized in strategic communication and marketing.
“We want to start doing more on our website and on social media,” Miller said. “But we also want who ever we find to be able to take of the traditional role of a public relations director.”
Wardlaw wrote multiple press releases on behalf of the District in April regarding Black’s initial snubbing as commencement speaker. Los Angeles Times writer Robin Abcarian singled Wardlaw out in a piece critical of the college, writing that she attempted “a tortured explanation” on behalf of the Board of Trustees about how the controversy unfolded.
Wardlaw did not return phone calls requesting comment on this story.
Wardlaw previously served as a special projects consultant for the PCC Foundation and has a background in marketing, public relations, and communications. Prior to her employment at PCC, she worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Women’s Health Division.
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