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.

7 Replies to “Editorial: Another board blunder”

  1. I’m not all that thrilled with what the Board does however, I think they finally did the right thing. I am VERY happy that Dr. Vurdien was voted in. I think Dr. Vurdien is to make sure we students count. I’ve had a couple of lengthy conversations with him and I like what has to say. This school needs someone from the outside coming in here and make the needed changes. I have no confidence in Dr. Miller. He down right lied at the last open forum when he answered my questions and couldn’t even look me in the eye. I’m sure the board had to put into consideration ALL the things that have gone down under his watch. Complaints have been filed with the Chancellor’s Office and the Accrediting Commission because there are students not getting proper test accommodations in DSPS. This is a violation of the Disabilities Act. Lets not forget the 2 different Grade Change Policies that exist. Which one does the school follow? There needs to be a change of the guard. We students need to stop accepting crumbs. We deserve better.

    1. You should be careful what stones you cast, Ms. Castro. Dr. Miller did not lie to you. (Please be aware that you have are already guilty of libel in one matter, you are dangerously close in this one) As a matter of fact, he has humored you more than he should have. You are not better than any other student and you should be forced to follow the same process. You also need to understand that being reckless with your words will not get you a positive result – and go ahead and tell everyone more about how I do not fight for students, please.

      The “guard” as you put it is actually the Board of Trustees, not the president of the school. Just to be clear, there will be no changes. The board makes policy and the president will delegate it to his managers.

  2. Thank Goodness PCC can have new fresh blood at the helm. There was way too much entrenchment and that’s why we would not be able to ‘move forward’. Miller was Rocha’s side-kick for years, didn’t do or say anything, at least in public when it counts, against him.

    Trustee Lewis, what bashing are you referring to? Calm down, everything is civil and people are expressing their opinions. Nothing wrong in the least.

  3. Miller is just Rocha Lite (witness the calendar situation). The real mystery is why Hsieh wasn’t chosen. Ten years as president suggests that she’s stable and can work with all constituents on campus.

    1. I gave up trying to participate in discussions in these comments, but you honestly made me sad enough to respond. The calendar situation was not comparable to a Mark Rocha terror-trip. I fought against Dr. Miller’s recommendation, but he fought fairly.

      I don’t expect you to know everything, and it’s clear there is some ignorance to fact here, but I would hope that you would try to be reasonable. Though, I guess since the board decided to ignore all parties involved, it would appear no work went in to this process. I can assure you that I worked diligently to find out all I could about the candidates and Robert Miller was the clear choice of the community.

      My sadness comes from the fact that you bash the man that I can tell you actually has loyalty and extreme dedication to our school. You will say he doesn’t follow participatory governance or fix large problems at PCC like alignment, and I will say that he did seek to involve the entire community and he essentially wasn’t allowed to restructure the college as interim.

      On a side note: Well-written article. I think it’s important to remember that, as elected officials, it’s our job to represent our constituents. If I were more than a formality and advisory, my vote for my community would be cast for Robert Miller.

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