The Pasadena City College faculty senate voted today to approve a Resolution of No Confidence in the College Superintendent and Board of Trustees.
By Melissa Michelson
In a vote Monday, April 11, of 17 to 12, with 3 abstentions, the Pasadena City College Academic Senate voted to support a resolution of no confidence in PCC Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas.
The fourth and final reading of the resolution outlines the reasons, mostly related to her handling of the return of face-to-face teaching during Omicron in January and lack of campus collegiality.
Shortly after the Senate meeting ended, Endrijonas sent out an email to faculty: “Today the Academic Senate passed a resolution expressing the dissatisfaction of some of the faculty to the way I have led PCC during the pandemic, especially in late January when we transitioned our face-to-face classes back to campus.”
According to Senate president Dr. Gena Lopez, the resolution will be sent to all faculty at the college for a separate vote. When casting their votes, several senators announced they were voting ‘yes’ based on surveys already conducted in their own departments across campus.
The resolution of no confidence […] emanates from a deep concern for our students, our institution, and our mission, vision, and values.
Included in the resolution is the call on the Board of Trustees to immediately consider the removal of Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas.
No Confidence in PCC Board of Trustees
While the resolution is directed to the president of the college, several clauses admonish the Board of Trustees.
Monday’s resolution also cites a violation of the Board of Trustee’s Code of Ethics.
In 2015, PCC’s accreditation had been jeopardized when the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) put the college on academic probation, citing a disregard for and lack of enforement of the Board’s Code of Ethics, and Board policies not being followed.
Academic Senate of Pasadena City College has no confidence in the ability of the Board of Trustees to administer appropriate oversight to and place responsibility in the Superintendent-President to effectively manage, nor hold her accountable for the operations of the district, evaluating her performance in such a way that she is appropriately sanctioned for her failures of leadership and administrative conduct.”
On June 7, residents of Pasadena, Altadena, South Pasadena, San Marino, Temple City and Arcadia will be voting on the PCC Board of Trustees. PCC Trustees Berlinda Brown, Linda Wah and Anthony Fellow, are each facing challengers this June.
Video of the Academic Senate proceedings can be watched here:
Read full text of the April 11, 2022 Resolution of No Confidence below
Addendum – Historical Perspective
This is the second time in the history of the college that the Academic Senate voted no confidence on a PCC Superintendent President. The first time the faculty senate voted no confidence was for Superintendent- President Mark Rocha in 2013. Rather than remove Rocha, however, the Board of Trustees, which included Berlinda Brown, Linda Wah, and Anthony Fellow, extended his contract and gave him a raise.
The Board of Trustees has received votes of no confidence in the past:
- a faculty-wide resolution on PCC Board of Trustees in April 2015
- a vote of no confidence from the Academic Senate on April 20, 2015
- a vote of no confidence from the PCC student government in May 2015
April 11, 2022 Resolution of No Confidence
Academic Senate Resolution of a Vote of No Confidence in Pasadena City College’s Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas:
- Whereas, Superintendent-President of Pasadena City College Dr. Erika Endrijonas has repeatedly, and without remorse, violated the regulations and spirit of shared governance;
- Whereas, the Board of Trustees of Pasadena City College “makes policy, ensures its implementation, and employs the Superintendent/President to administer those policies”;1
- Whereas, Title 5 sections 53203 and 53200(d) stipulate that “at a minimum […] the governing board [the Board of Trustees] or its designees will consult collegially with the academic senate when adopting policies and procedures on academic and professional matters”;2
- Whereas, Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas and, by extension, the Board of Trustees of Pasadena City College have violated Title 5 regulations by failing to consult collegially with the Academic Senate before unilaterally mandating the nonnegotiable return to campus on 1/24/22, specifically pertaining to points 1, 5, and 6 under the 10+1 purview of the Academic Senate of Pasadena City College;3
- Whereas, the Board of Trustees of Pasadena City College has violated the Code of Ethics as stated in the PACCD Board Policy Manual policy BB 2715:
The Board shall treat each other and the employees of the District with uncompromising integrity, dignity, respect and fairness. Through these efforts, the Board shall endeavor to encourage the active involvement of faculty, classified staff, managers, students and members of the public, and consider these diverse viewpoints in the deliberation and decision-making process;
- Whereas, a resolution of no confidence in Pasadena City College’s Superintendent President Erika Endrijonas emanates from a deep concern for our students, our institution, and our mission, vision, and values;
- Whereas, a resolution for a vote of no confidence in Pasadena City College’s Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas is intended to bring attention to and public accountability for the pattern of failed leadership at PCC during the global coronavirus pandemic since March 2020, and thereafter, culminating in the failed execution of the decision to mandate a return to in-person instruction during the worst surge of the ongoing health crisis, and ignoring the distinct danger the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 posed to Faculty, Students, and Staff, and neither of these two leadership entities have demonstrated evidence that they are able to learn from their mistakes in order not to repeat them in the future, as even after the Safe Learning Environment Committee expressed its concerns, which reflected those of hundreds of faculty and staff as well as the thousands of signatures on the student petition, neither Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas nor her executive team have yet to acknowledge the errors of the PCC administration or apologize for causing harm, even if the harm might have been unintentionally caused; Whereas, college leadership led by Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas repeatedly demonstrated unequal treatment of non-instructional faculty from their instructional counterparts, resulting in an unsafe learning environment for students and employees, in instances such as: failing to provide promised training and clear, consistent guidelines for screening campus visitors for COVID vaccination or negative test results, mandating a return to campus in July 2021 during the spike of the Delta variant,5 ending remote work with as few as 6 days’ (two working days’) notice unlike other employee classifications who were provided 30 or more days to prepare for their return, and treating non-instructional and instructional faculty differently with respect to determining COVID pay eligibility;
- Whereas, at the time of the Omicron variant spike, Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas’ Board of Trustees-authorized decision to return to in-person instruction on January 24, 2022 was not informed by the data, which, at the time, demonstrated that local and county hospitals were overwhelmed with patients, and community transmission rates/percentages of Omicron was still dangerously high;4
- Whereas, at the height of the Faculty, Staff, and Student opposition to the return to campus, Superintendent-President Endrijonas decided it was appropriate to pen an article published in Pasadena Now, declaring falsely in the press that the failed policy to mandate all to return to campus was a success instead of the actual experiences of individual and institutional chaos that propagated across all parts of our campus;
- Whereas, this Academic Senate resolution for a vote of no confidence in Pasadena City College’s Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas is a call to restore transparency, equity, collegiality, collaboration, and shared governance at PCC;
- Resolved: that the Academic Senate of Pasadena City College holds Superintendent President Endrijonas, and, by extension, including their acts of indulgence in approving the failed policies as detailed above, the Pasadena City College Board of Trustees, directly and personally responsible for the institution-wide failures of the decisions and actions listed above;
- Resolved: that the Academic Senate of Pasadena City College affirms a vote of no confidence for Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas, and hereby transmits said resolution to the Pasadena City College Board of Trustees for immediate consideration of the action of removing Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas, and with such a vote of no confidence in the governing board’s designee, and the charge of failing to “consult collegially” and adhere to the PACCD Code of Ethics to be considered in the completion of the Board’s own yearly self-evaluation assessment;
- Resolved: that the Academic Senate of Pasadena City College thereby has no confidence in the judgment of Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas and the ability of Dr. Endrijonas to maintain a healthy shared governance system, implement major changes responsibly, behave in a fashion which adheres to the highest ethical standards, follow the data-driven public health policies in a way that ensures the highest safety standards and appropriate consideration of the health of and potential hardships and trauma experienced by Faculty, Students, and Staff of PCC, provide effective leadership to the campus community, and/or communicate accurately to the Board of Trustees the recommendations of the Academic Senate and the input of the campus community;
- Resolved: that the Academic Senate of Pasadena City College has no confidence in the ability of the Board of Trustees to administer appropriate oversight to and place responsibility in the Superintendent-President to effectively manage, nor hold her accountable for the operations of the district, evaluating her performance in such a way that she is appropriately sanctioned for her failures of leadership and administrative conduct; and
- Resolved: that the Academic Senate of Pasadena City College has heard the outcry and indignation of its Faculty regarding the above failures of leadership and management which have directly affected every person who is part of the PCC community, and furthermore, the Academic Senate calls for the restoration of collegial shared governance, appropriate consultation of the faculty and staff of Pasadena City College as to implementation and execution of policy by the governing board, and issues a strong admonishment to college leadership to return to ethical and collaborative practices, with a commitment that it will engage in the same.
- 1 Including, but not limited to, according to PACCD Board Policy Manual policy BB 2200:
- Delegate power and authority to the Superintendent/President to effectively lead the District. 4. Establish policies that define the institutional mission and set prudent, ethical and legal standards for college operations.
6. Monitor institutional performance and educational quality.
14. Recognize employee and student organizations and strive for open lines of communication between Board, administration, faculty, staff, and students. 15. Approve health and safety policies for protection of students and employees.
- 2 Consult collegially means that the district governing board shall develop policies on academic and professional matters through either or both of the following methods, according to its own discretion:
relying primarily upon the advice and judgment of the academic senate, or 2. agreeing that the district governing board, or such representatives as it may designate, & the representatives of the academic senate shall have the obligation to reach mutual agreement by written resolution, regulation, or policy of the governing board effectuating such recommendations.
- 5 CCR § 53200 (d)(1) & (2)
- April 7, 2022
- Pasadena, California
- 3 # Curriculum including establishing prerequisites and placing courses within disciplines: The instruction modality in which to offer classes, i.e., online vs. in person, is a matter of curriculum. In order to provide “Exceptional Academic Programs and Delivery” (Institutional Priority #1 of PCC’s Educational Master Plan, or EMP) in this age of COVID, it would have been fundamental to consider, course by course, as recommended by the faculty teaching the courses, whether the target subject matter predisposed toward in person instruction as more effective (with reduced numbers in classrooms, and faculty and students masked/distanced, which some performing arts faculty advocated for as necessary), or remotely (where synchronous online classes might be more conducive to, and safer for engaging in pair/group work in breakout rooms).
- #5. Standards or policies regarding student preparation and success: Dictating that the campus reopen on 1/24 despite the change.org petition of over 2500 students asking to stay remote was a policy that directly affected student success. It is difficult for students to be prepared/successful when they feel ignored by the administration and fearful for their safety due to the more contagious Omicron variant, as well as because of the botched on campus testing requirement, the failures of the daily screening system, and the weak attempt at higher-grade mask distribution/fitting. The administration’s rigid policy that everyone return to campus neglected to consider the increased risk posed to vulnerable students or those who live with them (including immunocompromised individuals, children too young to be vaccinated, and underrepresented minorities, who are at increased risk of harm from COVID).
- #6. District and college governance structures, as related to faculty roles: The way that the Board of Trustees and Superintendent-President Endrijonas have treated faculty during the pandemic has proved to be a tacit, progressively worsening erosion of the faculty’s role in the shared governance of the college. California Ed Code sections 70901 and 70902 give faculty “the right to participate effectively in district and college governance, and the opportunity to express their opinions at the campus level and to ensure that these opinions are given every reasonable consideration.” During the second week of the semester, 80% of faculty polled by the Faculty Association responded that they wished to continue teaching remotely until it was safe to return to campus. Not only have Superintendent-President Endrijonas and the Board of Trustees failed to even acknowledge faculty concerns, let alone give them “every reasonable consideration,” but they have also shown a complete lack of transparency about the motivation for their decisions, which are still unknown.
- 4 On Wednesday January 26, 2022, the California Today section of the New York Times reported: “Even as the number of new coronavirus cases appears to be tapering off in California, the situation at our hospitals remains dire. Operations are being canceled, ambulances have nowhere to unload their patients, and people coming to emergency rooms for care sometimes wait hours, or even days, for a bed. State projections show that the number of COVID-19 patients in California hospitals is most likely peaking this week. That’s good news, but it also means we’re just about halfway through the current hospital surge.”
- “I am drained and find myself empty when I come home at the end of day. There is no one to care for me. Self-care has become a Sisyphean task. There is a lack of joy and a loss of hope. I am disheartened by the sheer number of people who feel they know better than the scientists by reading something online or hearing some nonsense from a friend. It is as if we have given up as a society. It is getting scary out there. I think about moving to another country, some place where there is still a social agreement, the golden rule. Perhaps that place no longer exists but I hope it does.” — Victoria Altree, internal medicine physician, Pasadena.
- On Monday, January 24, 2022, the Los Angeles Times reported: ‘There also are growing signs that new Omicron cases have peaked in California. But officials expect hospitals to be challenged for days and weeks to come and deaths from the winter surge to continue. “The fact that Omicron is so infectious has created a bigger problem” than other characteristics of the variant itself, said Dr. Armand Dorian, chief executive officer of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital in Glendale.
“The virus itself is not as lethal as Delta. Not as many people who get it will be critically ill or go into the ICU. But more people are getting infected — I mean tremendously more people,” Dorian said. That means that even if a smaller percentage of people who are infected end up with dire illness, the huge numbers of cases have resulted in high numbers of deaths.’ https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-01-24/l-a-county-seeing-more-fatalities from-omicron
- On Friday, January 21, 2022, the Los Angeles Times reported: ‘Even as the winter Omicron surge flattens, Los Angeles County health officials are urging the public to continue avoiding nonessential gatherings, saying coronavirus transmission remains at one of the highest levels ever seen in the 2-year-old pandemic’s history.
- Despite recent declines, California is averaging over 100,000 newly reported coronavirus cases a day — more than twice as high as last winter’s peak of 46,000. The latest figure represents an extraordinary level of transmission that demonstrates how many more people are simultaneously infected and contagious than at any previous point of the pandemic. …
- “We need to be extraordinarily cautious when there’s this much community transmission. We’ve actually never had this much community transmission at any other point during the pandemic,” Ferrer said. … “Between the increases in deaths and hospitalizations, there should be no place for complacency,” Ferrer said. “While Omicron is not causing the same proportion of severe illnesses last winter … it is substantially increasing cases of severe illness. And for a growing number of L.A. County individuals, Omicron has now become a critical matter of life and death.”’
- 5 On Monday July 19, 2021, the Los Angeles Times reported: “Los Angeles County is now recording more than 10,000 coronavirus cases a week — a pace not seen since March — an alarming sign of the dangers the Delta variant poses to people who have not been vaccinated and heightening pressure on health officials to reverse the trend.
- A Los Angeles Times data analysis found L.A. County was recording 101 weekly coronavirus cases for every 100,000 residents, up from 12 for the seven-day period that ended June 15. That means the county has surpassed the threshold to have “high” community transmission of the disease, the worst tier as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
- On Wednesday July 13, 2021 ABC News reported: “Young people are also contributing to the infection spike, according to Ferrer. “Of the cases reported today, nearly 87% were under 50 years old,” she said.”
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