Things calm down at faculty senate meeting

Things calm down at faculty senate meeting

Victor Diaz

Cooler heads prevailed at the Nov. 2 Cerritos College Faculty Senate meeting, in which members continued the discussion of the college’s reorganization plan.

However, the change in the members’ attitudes did not take away from the many concerns placed by the school’s faculty.

History Professor Walter Fernandez began the discussion with his concern as to why the alternatives that were brought forward by the Humanities/Social Sciences Division were not looked at by college President Linda Lacy.

“We’re wondering why the measure to improve our academic support group requires a new deanship or a new division. Is it not the responsibility of the Dean of Academic Affairs to do this kind of function?” Fernandez said.

He also suggested that a new position of both academic affairs and support could be used as an alternative to the current plan.

Other concerns he expressed included the issue of who the new dean would answer to and whether or not Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences Bryan Reece would maintain the new position on a permanent basis.

Both sides of the affected merger were represented, as Business Instructor Barbara Soden gave her concerns over the urgency of the process.

“I don’t understand how you can move an interim dean to a dean’s position, and I don’t understand how you can create a new division without going through the process,” Soden said.

She mentioned her concern for the plan’s long-term effects and how it would affect the potential creation of other divisions.

Computer and Information Sciences Instructor Susan Fuschetto claimed to have had an issue over the rapid decision-making of the plan.

“My concern is that we don’t have enough details yet. I think we can work on getting something done, but why does it have to be Jan. 1? Why can’t it be the first day of summer? Let’s take our time and do it,” Fuschetto said.

One member who managed to keep calm throughout the meeting was political science Professor Victor Obasohan, who elaborated on his concerns from the previous meeting.

Obasohan asked, “Is there a new precedent where you [President Lacy] can reorganize any time you like and you inform the faculty and stakeholders, but you don’t bring them up from the bottom up?”

He later referred to the process as an “arranged marriage,” referring to the way he felt that both divisions were being merged together without prior notification.

Nearing the conclusion of the meeting, Fernandez, feeling that his argument was not being understood, said, “Today, it’s pretty obvious that Humanities and Social Sciences lost. We witnessed a new phenomenon called, ‘the emergency de-division-izing of a division.

“So, I will take my flag and retire.”

Despite his actions to leave the meeting unsatisfied, he later said, “We will approach the new dean in an amicable manner. We will work with our colleagues in Business Education and we will make sure that as a result of this merger that we make our expectations clear to the new dean and tell her what has worked in our division.”

Following the meeting, Reece explained what he felt were the differences in the way concerns were met as opposed to the way they were met in the Oct. 26 meeting, which ended in various shouting matches among faculty.

He said, “We’re starting to make some progress, the emotions aren’t as raw as they were last week.

“I think the concerns are shifting to, ‘next time that some decisions need to be made, let’s make sure we have an open process.

View Victor Diaz report on the Faculty Senate meeting