PCC governing board under fire from faculty senate - Tucson News Now

PCC governing board under fire from faculty senate

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

While Pima Community College students have more control over their future at the school, most of its board of governors face more pressure from the community.

The board voted four to one to suspend its placement process that it started last year.

Students who score particularly low on the placement test could not take remedial courses for credit. Instead, they had to attend the Prep Academy, which were non-credit courses.

The Higher Learning Commission, which is considering placing Pima on probation for a number of governance concerns, cited the change as too abrupt.

HLC said that Pima made the change without consulting the commission and that such a change constituted a considerable shift in Pima's mission to educate the community.

The position of the college has been that students would waste their financial aid on remedial course credits that would not transfer. Such students can also affect the college's graduation rate if they do not succeed.

Friday's vote returns Pima to the previous method of allowing students decide if they want to take remedial courses for credit.

"By voting on this to say, ‘we'll look at this in a year,' does not acknowledge the seriousness of what the Higher Learning Commission has come out with," said Matt Matera, executive director of Scholarships A-Z.

"The college gets the message that we really need to listen to a lot of voices when we have this conversation. And so, that's really step number one is to put together a plan and a strategy to do that," said Dr. Jerry Migler, provost for Pima Community College.

Before the governing board meeting, the faculty senate had a special meeting where it voted almost unanimously to call for four of the governing board's five members to resign.

The resolution said that while board president Brenda Even, members David Longoria, Marty Cortez, and Scott Stewart were on the board, they did not act to correct problems under former chancellor Roy Flores.

Those issues that range from claims of sexual harassment to an overall environment.

"I don't think this is the most terrible situation to be in in terms of the internal strength of the school. But in terms of the leadership, something has to be done," said faculty senate president Joe Labuda.

"If they're so stuck and stubborn in what they're doing that the only way the college is going to really, really go forward is in fact if they get new board members," said Mario Gonzales, chair of Coalition For Accountability, Integrity, Respect and Responsibility.

While Labuda said that he believed that the members would resign, he and Gonzales said that a recall effort might happen if they do not. Board members did not comment today. President Even said that they had just learned of the resolution.

A response to the HLC report from the college included statements such as, "We understand that many things must change… " and, "We also recognize and accept full responsibility for the ‘serious breaches of integrity' in College administration and governance."

HLC considers probation for Pima Community College next month.

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