YCCD’s Board of Trustees has lost touch not only with students and the school, but with their responsibilities as well.
Prior to becoming President of the Associated Student Body I had the opportunity to serve alongside the Board of Trustees as their student member. I learned that the dilemma of a trustee is understanding that the Board is responsible for creating the “big picture” policies and not dabbling in micromanagement. When I left my role as Student Trustee I believed that the Board had the college’s best interests in mind, even if their perspective caused them to make harmful decisions.
Now I’m not so sure. The Board has taken a path of negligence, defaulting their authority to Chancellor Harrington and her administration – an administration which has time and time again made ridiculously poor decisions due to the impotent bureaucratic system it has implemented.
Our Boards’ lack of touch with our college shows most recently with Trustee Buchan’s belligerently off the mark Op-ed piece where he incorrectly stated that faculty makes between $80,000 and $140,000 a year. In fact according to the 2009-10 budget, faculty take home, before taxes, a range between $41,000 and $111,000 a year. That aside, many of our “over paid” teachers opted to leave behind careers at institutions as prestigious as NASA in order to teach. Many are also former students of Yuba College and have a vested interest in making our community a better place. Unlike the administration that makes between $61,000 and $220,000, the faculty has earned their keep.
I’ve worked with the administration both at the district level and at the college level. While there are a few good people who maintain the student first philosophy, most have got bureaucracy down to an art. I realize that they’re only doing the job that they were hired to do, but the “just following orders” excuse only goes so far.
However the group suffering most is staff. I’ve worked with them, too; they’re passionate about their jobs and often do more than they get compensated for. They go above and beyond for students. They are often the only staff that reach out and connect with students during their short time at Yuba College. Why then, are they the first group of people to be hit by cuts? Why not the administration?
The Board of Trustees is responsible for our bloated administration. They refuse to listen to students, teachers, or the support staff that make up the heart of their institution. They would rather cut programs and lay off people than cap their travel budget; when given the opportunity to do so at the September Board of Trustee meeting they ignored our pleading and voted against capping their travel budget.
And when asked about the vote, Trustee Hastey told me “You’re a smart guy, you know how this works.” I do now, and I refuse to believe that our community wants it to continue working that way.