By Michael Burkett
State Chancellor Dr. Brice Harris announced Dr. Guy Lease as new special trustee with extraordinary powers at Wellness Center press conference on Monday, Feb. 23.
Seated inside were state chancellor Dr. Brice Harris, Dr. Guy Lease, Board of Trustees President Rafael Mandelman, and Chancellor Arthur Tyler. Standing behind Mandelman were four other trustees, Brigitte Davila, Amy Bacharach, Steve Ngo, and Thea Selby.
The conference was initially open to only credentialed press, but, Tim Killikelly, president of the American Federation of Teachers local 2121 questioned why faculty, students, and other interested parties were excluded.
“It’s OK. Let them in,” Harris said.
Fifty plus people filed in and held up two banners painted with “no new special trustee with extraordinary powers” and “Save CCSF Coalition.”
The conference started with Harris reading Lease’s qualifications; President Fresno City College, president, superintendent and dean at Lake Tahoe community college, Las Positas community colleges, Fresno City college, as well as Assistant Superintendent San Jacinto Unified School District.
Harris said, motioning to Dr. Guy Lease on his left, “He is well qualified to support the board of trustees as they assume governance responsibilities.”
An immediate uproar began denouncing the need for a special trustee, demanding democracy, as well as the return of the elected board.
“It is a pleasure to be here. I have 32 years experience working with city colleges,” Lease said. “I, like you, am a product of community colleges and I really believe in local control.”
Lease was referring to graduating from Del Mar community college Corpus Christi, Texas.
“I hope to work myself out of a job very quickly.”
At this point protesters shouted, “Start today!”
“I worked as president Fresno City College…,” Lease stopped as the shouting became louder and realized he wasn’t being heard as protesters shouted “CCSF is for us!”.
Engineering instructor with Save CCSF Coalition Wendy Kaufmyn, Killikelly and president of MECHxA Lalo Gonzales with the help of 50 plus protesters drowned out the panelists. Dan Choi, a former board of trustees candidate, led students in song.
Harris has stated there would be no need for a special trustee once the accreditation crisis is over. Many faculty and students see the problem as resolved and question the further implementation of a special trustee.
Once the uproar died down Harris said, “We appreciate all you being here and we’d appreciate if you would allow the speakers to complete.”
Harris then introduced Mandelman.
“I am going to say something that will upset you more. I am going to thank outgoing trustee Bob Agrella.”
Gonzales and four students, Alondra Aragon, Itzel Cminth and Imiry Rizas descended on the panelists.
The room was tense as Gonzalez shouted, “What this campus needs is not another dictatorship!…What this campus needs is an actual board that will listen to the students!”
During the entire student confrontation, Lease maintained a calm demeanor.
Killikelly stepped up and asked for everyone to be heard and the four students moved away from the panelists.
Tyler concluded the panelists speeches, stating City College has met 90 percent of the ACCJC’s required accreditation standards.
Lease will draw a salary of $216,000 and will remain until the Board of Governors and Chancellor Harris see no need for a special trustee.