Chancellor, Senate President to Draft College Hiring Policy

Under orders from the Board of Trustees, the chancellor of Rancho Santiago Community College District and its Academic Senate president will meet this week to draft a new hiring policy.

The decision stemmed from a dispute between the Academic Senate, which represents faculty members, and Chancellor Vivian Blevins.

At a board meeting Monday, Academic Senate President F. Richard Manzano accused Blevins of unfair hiring practices and disregarding the senate's recommendations on prospective hirings. He said Blevins "has ignored and showed a lack of respect for the faculty's professional opinions in the hiring of faculty."

"The faculty goes through the entire screening process and she just sends them [faculty recommendations] all back," Manzano said, adding that the faculty usually recommends three to four people for final selection. "We don't care which one she picks," he said, as long as the chosen candidate is approved by the faculty.

Blevins defended her hiring decisions and denied turning aside faculty input. She said she has "tremendous respect for the faculty" but will not give up her privilege to decide whether to hire a person without having to give explanations about why certain candidates are not chosen. She cited confidentiality reasons.

Trustees were hesitant to take formal action on Blevins' role in the hiring process but told Blevins and Manzano to meet as soon as possible so a hiring policy "that everyone can live with" will be in place before screening begins for 20 vacant faculty positions.

"Faculty has to hire faculty," Trustee Michael Ortell said. But "where the impasse is developing is in the process. This can be worked out and negotiated."

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