“The Big Bad Wolf” A.K.A. Nikki Harrington, Chancellor here at Yuba Community College District, keeps getting the brunt of the criticism for the many wrongs that are being perpetuated during these less than favorable times. Some of this blame she arguably deserves, such as the way issues regarding Vice Chancellor Al Alt were handled and the controversial district hiring of “researchers.”
But the other issues that are blamed on her such as the cutting of numerous classified positions, the miss information of the Beale center, and the limiting of summer sessions; these are issues that should fall on President Adkins and Vice President Trutna.
Harrington’s views on each colleges autonomy have been reiterated over and over again. She’s gone so far as to voicing her concern regarding micromanagement in saying, “…that is not my role I am not close to the action of what’s happening. The faculty, staff, deans, administration and the college as a whole need to figure out what’s best for that college.” She makes it apparent that the line by line decisions regarding Yuba College are made in the Adkin’s office. So why do we keep complaining about college issues at the District level? The battle for shared governance is clearly a battle that needs to be fought at the College level.
The two main recommending bodies to the president’s office seem to be the Deans & Directors meeting and the College Council. Gone are the days of transparency where the Deans and & Directors posted their meeting minutes online, and now are the days when the meeting’s chair, Vice President Trutna, is unable to sit down with student reporters if the Deans and Directors meeting is a topic of discussion. In this state the other recommending body is paralyzed, Donna Veal, the Classified School Employee Association President, stated, “There is no discussion once it comes from CHEX(Chancellors’ Executive meeting) and the Deans & Directors there is no discussion involved it’s a done deal.” Dean of Distributed Education and Media Services Martha Mills states “The College Council always primarily functioned as an information exchange.” Mills went on to say “There needs to be an ongoing entity that looks at the college budget as part of our decision-making process. Whether that’s a subcommittee of the Yuba College Council or it’s the Yuba College Council itself…” It’s very apparent by all parties that these two recommending bodies need to get themselves together.
The need for change is obvious, the desire is visible, and what we need is to focus all of these energies towards a constructive and attainable goal. The College Council, our college’s only governing body with constituents across the board from Students to Classified to Deans needs to become a more concise entity. The Council’s co-chair and Academic Senate President Helen Nicholson needs to rally it together, and help its representatives voice their constituents’ concerns more effectively. The Council needs to target President Adkins and Vice President Trutna, every issue the council deals with is ultimately under the authority of those two individuals. And if they won’t listen to you, the council needs to voice its concerns through the only entity that trumps the chancellor in the eyes of the board of trustees, the press.