College Trustees Affirm Administrators’ Power


Rejecting pleas from faculty members, Pasadena City College trustees voted unanimously last week to allow the administration to maintain control over the selection of new department heads.

In what board President Joseph Sargis termed a “compromise,” trustees voted to add another faculty member to all first-round selection committees for department heads, balancing the number of administrators and faculty members. But in the event of a tie, a high-ranking administrator would have the deciding vote.

“This is not a compromise,” said Elvio Angeloni, a leading faculty member. “Nothing has changed. The administration, instead of having a 4-3 majority, now has a 5-4 majority.”


The dispute developed over the selection of the chair of a new Social Science Department. The social science faculty asked that a majority of its members be on the initial selection committee. Administrators rejected the request, despite a vote by the Faculty Senate, which represents all academics, to support the social scientists.

At Wednesday’s board meeting, faculty members asked that a special committee look at their proposal to give faculty a majority on the initial selection committee. Faculty members said this would ensure academic competence of those reaching the second selection level, where, they agreed, administrators should have greater say.

Sargis said faculty members were implying that college administrators, led by President Jack Scott, would consider individuals who are academically incompetent.

The trustees supported Scott’s view that the position of department head is an administrative one that should be decided by administrators with input from faculty.

Trustee Jean Mann said a faculty veto could damage affirmative action efforts. She suggested that white male academics were more likely to choose someone resembling themselves.

The board also voted to allow one faculty member to participate in the nine-person second-level committee, which narrows the field to three candidates for final decisions by Scott and the trustees.


Although faculty members have no legal power over Scott, they said they may call for a no-confidence vote in the president.

“There is an undercurrent of terrible dissatisfaction among the faculty,” said math instructor Bob Jones. “Scott would prefer the board not know about it.”

Jones, who has been involved in selection committees in the past, said he believes that unqualified individuals have been appointed as department heads.