Academic Senate President Eduardo Cairo has been accused of violating state law as well as board policy by not attending meetings of the Committee on Academic and Professional Matters (CAPM).
PCC General Counsel Gail Cooper sent a letter to Cairo informing him of the alleged violation on Oct. 17. The letter cites the violations of Board Policy 2000.60 as “your refusal to attend meetings” of CAPM.
The letter sent to Cairo by Cooper said he was in violation of the Brown Act. Cairo disagreed.
“We are not violating anything,” Cairo said in Monday’s Academic Senate meeting.
Cairo explained that his decision was his own, and not reflective of the Academic Senate. “This was a unilateral decision, with the support of the Executive Committee,” he said.
Cairo said boycotting these meetings is the Senate’s way of gaining leverage so the administration will listen to them. He also said that ending these meetings altogether would be in the best interest of the faculty and Senate.
Cairo explained that he felt Superintendant/President Mark Rocha was using the Senate to give the illusion that the senate consents with his actions.
“The president would go to the Board saying ‘I met with the Senate.’ Meeting with us does not mean we agreed with him.” According to Cairo, Rocha would present the meeting as an agreement between him and the Academic Senate.
“It’s difficult to go to a person we don’t trust,” said Cairo.
When Cairo informed the Senate of his decision at its Oct. 21 meeting, it was received with mixed reactions. Some senators worried this could potentially cost PCC its accreditation and wondered if gaining some leverage was worth that.
“I fear that trying to hold accreditation hostage will not do any good,” said senator Matt Henes. He compared not going to the meetings to cutting off the nose to spite the face.
“You not going to the meetings without bringing the decision to the Academic Senate first is troubling,” said A.C. Panella.
Cairo assured them that it was not his intention to cause the college to lose its accreditation.
“We want our college to succeed,” he said. “We don’t want to fail accreditation.”