The decision has been made and Fullerton College’s Rajen Vurdien will be the next president of PCC, but the Board of Trustees’ choice wasn’t the one the campus needed.
There’s long been a trend of the board turning the cold shoulder to community input, even when faculty members have argued that interim president Robert Miller was the best choice out of the three candidates.
“I think the decision to go with Vurdien as President was a hasty and not well discussed decision for our college President,” said Jordyn Orozco, president of the Associated Students. “Miller was the candidate the college needed at this time as he had shown what he could do in just one year of being interim. I had hoped that the board would have chosen a candidate that was best for the students, but that simply was not the case”
Student trustee Marshall Lewis echoed Orozco’s sentiment, saying that during the time he and the board spent gathering information, they had heard a lot of support for Miller.
Even past president of the Faculty Association Roger Marheine supported Miller in a letter to the board, saying that Miller had “stopped the bleeding” and brought great leadership to the position.
The board has had to deal with no confidence votes and turbulent shared governance meetings in which open communication seemed to have been severed.
Recently, however, Miller seemed to have been improving the overall environment of the campus. He seemed like the likely choice for the board. He was someone who could continue to help bridge the gap between the board and the campus.
The board’s motto seems to be “lets move forward.” Board president Berlinda Brown said in a press release that the board looks forward to a new era at PCC.
Maybe the board’s motto should be “hold your horses” so they can take in more of the community’s input.
If the board didn’t want Miller long term, they should have at least extended his contract for another year or two until we were past issues such as accreditation. Accreditation is a process that has been going on for a while now and to throw someone new into it this late in the game is simply unwise.
What the school needs now is someone who knows what this community needs and that person should have been Miller.
With Vurdien, there are questions that beg to be asked. Since 2013, he has been looking for another president’s position.
He applied at Rio Hondo, Cerritos, and Glendale between 2013 and 2015, even though he had his contract extended by Fullerton’s Board of Trustees at its meeting in May 2013. Why apply for a job when you have a stable job?
What’s done is done, however, and it is yet to be seen what kind of president Vurdien will be. The board should take more time on decisions that will have huge impacts on the community, such as this one, in the future.