“Who is Sandra Chen Lau and why is she taking a wrecking ball to this venerable institution?” – Bill Hawkins
By Bruce Gibs
Public comments introduced the general mood about some of the board trustees and most of all dissatisfaction with board president Sandra Chen Lau at PCC’s Board meeting on Wednesday, April 20, 2023.
Bill Hawkins spoke and said he was speaking because he cared about PCC and he said he is “concerned about the direction and tactics of this board which is led by Ms. Chen Lau. There is a small group of experienced and respected board members who have not challenged the overreaching by some of their colleagues.” (Public comment begins 1:52:14).
Hawkins said he doesn’t want Sandra Chen Lau and Kristine Kwong to “take a wrecking ball to the leadership and reputation of Pasadena City College.” The effort to terminate the employment of the PCC president is of particular concern to him, and he considers it to be “misguided and vindictive.”
He encouraged trustees to fight back against Chen Lau and other trustees who are, in his opinion, wrecking PCC.
Past trustee Hoyt Hillsman and past PCC President and State Senator Jack Scott then took the podium. Their words included the reading of parts of their “letter of concern.” about the actions taken by certain trustees, as mentioned by the first letter of concern written and presented by the PCC Management Association in March of this year.
Jack Scott said, “…as citizens of the community, we have become deeply concerned about negative actions by the Board of Trustees of PCC. In fact, at a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees, the management team of the college presented a detailed five-page report of their concerns to the trustees. Seldom, if ever, have the administrators of a college felt compelled to openly express concerns to community college trustees. We, too, as citizens who love PCC must express our concerns to the trustees.”
This letter of concern is signed by numerous community members including Bill Bogaard, Cynthia Kurtz, Bill Hawkins, and Jon Fuhrman. State Senator Jack Scott said the list will continue to grow.
> Full meeting can be watched at this link.
Pasadena City College is a gem of higher education in our community. Soon to celebrate its 100th anniversary, PCC has served thousands of students in its 99 years of existence. The college has transferred students to four-year universities: provided certificates and associate degrees to occupations such as nursing and auto mechanics; and provided many relevant courses to thousands of adults.
However, as citizens of the community, we have become deeply concerned about negative actions by the Board of Trustees of PCC. In fact, at a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees, the management team of the college presented a detailed five-page report of their concerns to the trustees. Seldom, if ever, have the administrators of college felt compelled to openly express concerns to community college trustees. We, too, as citizens who love PCC must express our concerns to the trustees.
While we do not have specific knowledge of all the concerns presented to the Board by the Management Association, we are very concerned about these issues that they raised:
Excessive legal expenditures by the Board in an attempt to invalidate the contract of the Superintendent/President.
The attempt to micromanage the college. It has been totally inappropriate and confusing for Board members to directly call and write emails to college administrators without going through the college president.
The Board’s failure to engage with District’s employee groups equally and to refuse to have open dialogue with all constituent groups.
Putting the accreditation of the College in jeopardy by failing to follow the guidelines as defined by the Accrediting Commission of the Community and Junior Colleges.
By creating the impression of racism by some Board members.
Causing damage to the reputation of the College which will hamper the efforts of the PCC Foundation to raise money for student scholarships and other financial support of the College.
We fear that as more damaging allegations become public, PCC will face another era of instability. We sincerely hope that the PCC Board of Trustees addresses these concerns, and that we can work together to restore stability and responsibility to the College.
Jack Scott, former California Community College Chancellor, PCC President and State Senator
Bill Bogaard, former Mayor of Pasadena
Geoff Baum, former PCC Trustee and former President of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges
Cynthia Kurtz, former City Manager of Pasadena
Hoyt Hilsman, former PCC Trustee
Alan Lamson, President, PCC Faculty Retirees Association
Bill Hawkins, former President of PCC Foundation
Lonnie Schield, former President of PCC Foundation
Jon Fuhrman, Board member, PCC Foundation
Mikki Bolinger, former PCC faculty and former editor of PCC Courier
Bruce Gibbs is a resident living in the San Gabriel Valley.
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