When Darroch “Rocky” Young announced his impending retirement last week, it stunned many people in the L.A. Community College District who had looked to Rocky to end the revolving door of high-level administrators that have constantly kept the district, and this campus, in flux.
The announcement came to Pierce College within weeks of the retirement of two of our four vice-presidents, Timothy Oliver and Thomas Oliver.
With two positions open on-campus, and the search for a replacement for the highest position in the district up and running, how many important decisions can really be made through the rest of the academic year that will improve the life of Pierce students?
There may be temporary replacements on the way, but that will not be any sort of a permanent fix as the administration fuumbles through months of interviews and selection processes.
Many on campus believe that the vice-president of college development, a position that was created for Tom Oliver after he declined to enter the running for Pierce president but serving as interim, will not be filled after Oliver departs.
This is not just a Pierce trend. Last year, in the flux of events at Mission College, Jose Leyba was chosen as president in the wake of Adriana Barrera’s departure to the vice-chancellorship and never even bothered to move his family from Arizona to California before finally resigning.
While searching for replacements for these positions, the district must focus on stability as much as academic or professional qualifications.
Few long-standing improvements can be made without the long-term commitment to see them through.
While we can certainly understand the demands these positions place on those willing to take them, we must find candidates that can stand the strain.
The resignations of the two Olivers leave Pierce with a president that has been on the job only three semesters and one vice-president who began this semester.
Both of these men have been with Pierce for many years and their recognizability and experience will be missed.
Only one of the five highest positions on campus is occupied by someone who has been in their position past the honeymoon stage.
With an ever-changing master plan, we need replacements that will demonstrate their commitment and stay with the college.
Only with stability in the highest levels of both the college and district administration can long-term plans for growth and revitalization of old facilities truly be seen to completion.
Continuity of leadership is vital to this campus’s growth.