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Showdown at COC

Board of trustees approves administrative raises despite faculty union members’ protest

Posted: June 12, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 12, 2014 2:00 a.m.

David Stevenson, at podium, speaks to the board of trustees at College of the Canyons as his fellow Faculty Association members stand in support, most wearing black, behind him on Wednesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.

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On the heels of an overwhelmingly rejected contract offered to the instructors at College of the Canyons, the college’s board of trustees approved raises for administrators Wednesday night in front of more than 100 angry, disappointed and frustrated faculty members.

The board approved a 1.75 percent salary increase for administrators. Arriving at that decision, however, was not without opposition.

The confrontation between administrators and members of the College of the Canyons Faculty Association began when communications professor David Stevenson stood before the COC Board of Trustees with an army of more than 100 faculty union supporters behind him.

He and the supporters, most sporting a uniform of black shirts proudly punctuated with a union button, showed up to put the college board on notice: “We remain united in our advocacy of equitable compensation,” Stevenson said.
It was standing room only for members who came to show their support.

“We mark tonight as the turning point for our unity as a full-time faculty,” Stevenson said. “No longer will we assume that our interests and values are well represented by district administrators.”

Stevenson told the trustees he wanted them to know three “important messages:” to explain why the union rejected the board’s “insulting” contract offer, to show their disappointment at the board’s agenda item involving administrative raises and to give notice that its relationship with the board is forever changed.

“We are here to make clear to you — the elected officials who hold the public trust — that morale at COC across all represented groups is at its lowest in the district’s history.

“The campus climate is toxic,” Stevenson said.

It was revealed Monday that faculty members rejected a contract from the Santa Clarita Community College District administration, marking the first time in two decades the full-time faculty has voted down a proposed contract.

A full 85 percent of valid votes cast by the College of the Canyons Faculty Association were “no,” with two-thirds of voters citing money as the main reason, union organizers said in a news release issued Monday.

Before trustees approved the raise Wednesday, however, trustee Joan MacGregor wanted the issue discussed.

“I feel everyone here at the college is deserving of an increase in their salaries,” she said. “It’s been hard on families and hard on everyone.”

Founding board member Bruce Fortine said he was pleased to see such support among faculty members.
“To take time to come to this meeting ... that does show commitment,” he said. “And it shows commitment to the college.”

When the board approved the raise to administrators, the faculty union members left the building immediately.

“That was our show of solidarity,” Stevenson said outside the meeting.
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Lotus8: Posted: June 12, 2014 9:24 a.m.

This comes down to supply and demand. This is not Harvard. It is a community college. There are tons of highly qualified people out there who would die for a chance to teach there, so why do we need to keep increasing everyone's salaries? If the administration/trustees feel the need to increase salaries in order to attract/retain talented instructors, this should be handled on a case by case basis, not with the faculty as one large block. I'm sure some instructors there are better than others. Those people feel like they should be paid more. Alas, you are in a union where individual merit can't be taken into account. You are sacrificing part of your pay to those less able than yourself. If you don't like the situation, go find another institution that will pay you based upon individual merit.

CastaicClay: Posted: June 12, 2014 10:19 a.m.

I would ask the same question - There are tons of highly qualified people out there who would die for a chance to ADMINISTER there, so why do we need to keep increasing everyone's salaries?

Lotus8: Posted: June 12, 2014 12:10 p.m.

I'm not privy to the information, but my guess Clay is that we don't need to increase the administration's salaries either. Good point.

hopeful: Posted: June 12, 2014 12:33 p.m.

I have to say, when I went to COC many years ago, the teachers were really good. David Stevenson was my communications teacher, and I have to admit, his mid-term was one of the hardest mid-terms I ever took throughout my entire college career. When I transferred to CSUN to complete my undergraduate degree, I honestly felt that many of my classes at COC, especially my philosophy, English, and Latin American History (with John) were far harder and MORE challenging than the classes I took at CSUN.

COC had great teachers back then, and I really hope they can continue in that tradition. What I don't understand is why teachers at COC make less than teachers at other California community colleges. To compare COC versus Antelope Valley College, see the links below.

Rocketeer: Posted: June 12, 2014 1:53 p.m.

Thanks to Obama's money printing spree to try and hide his economic imcompetence we have high inflation. That means that every year you don't get a raise you're actually taking a pay cut.

I used to teach at a large university. There were dozens of "administrators" (that I knew of) whom no one had ever seen, who contributed apparently nothing but drew outrageous salaries. They were just parasites. I suspect the same thing is going on at CoC- the people doing the actual work of education get nothing while faceless "administrators" get rich for doing nothing. Heck, I think this is going on at EVERY school which is why college is now so expensive.

We need to prune the bureaucracy throughout the entire education system- and throughout the gov't as a whole. Get rid of the parasites and I bet CoC could afford to DOUBLE faculty salaries and still reduce their budget.

stevehw: Posted: June 12, 2014 2:38 p.m.

"Thanks to Obama's money printing spree to try and hide his economic imcompetence we have high inflation. "

I KNEW everything was Obama's fault! Even local community college salaries! The BASTARD!

Guess what, genius...inflation is at 2%. Hardly "high".

Nice try.

DMeyer: Posted: June 12, 2014 2:49 p.m.

Yeah leave Obama alone!

We are all getting $2,500.00 any day now due to the implementation of Obamacare. And our healthcare premiums will go down, we will get much better healthcare, and everyone who could not get insurance will now have it, and it will only cost 900 million. Right stevehw?

DMeyer: Posted: June 12, 2014 2:58 p.m.

And this just in

Again, this is the most transparent administration ever, right stevehw? And we won't even get into privacy and constitutional issues here. And can you just imagine the massive amount of overtime the cops are getting paid to spy on us! But that's ok stevehw, just keep defending your messiah.

stevehw: Posted: June 13, 2014 9:55 p.m.

While you have valid points, DM, not one of them makes the statement by the other poster true, does it?

Rocketeer: Posted: June 13, 2014 4:49 p.m.

Oh, inflation is 2% is it? Well, since that number comes to us from the Obama Administration you hold it as gospel, right Steve?

Anyone who buys groceries or gas, on the other hand, knows the truth. Prices have risen dramatically while portions have shrunk.

If we measured inflation the same way we did in 1990 then it's actually close to 6%. Measure it the way we did in 1980 then it's about 10%.

At this point the CPI is just as misleading as the "unemployment rate." It's useful only as government propaganda of how great the country is doing.

Here's a good article that goes into more detail on the fact that "there are lies, there are darmed lies, and then there are government-produced statistics."

EgbertSouse4U: Posted: June 14, 2014 7:38 a.m.

Rocketeer: Good comment. They can throw out all the numbers all they want, but when I go to buy groceries, my wallet tells another story. Look at the prices of meat and produce, gasoline, utilities. TWO percent??? C'mon...

stevehw: Posted: June 14, 2014 10:18 a.m.

So now the administration (specifically, the BLS in the Dept of Labor) is lying? Seriously?

You guys truly do hate Obama...even the right-wing Republican politicians don't question the BLS stats.

Any more conspiracy theories you want to throw out there? Geez.

Oh, yeah, I forgot the original one...Obama made the CoC administrators vote themselves a raise because...BENGHAZI! Or something.

DMeyer: Posted: June 14, 2014 5:26 p.m.

stevehw can you please confirm for us when we all get our 2,500 bucks that Obama said we'd get once the ACA got passed?

He wasn't lying was he??

DMeyer: Posted: June 14, 2014 5:30 p.m.

And just so you know, I don't hate Obama, I voted for him the first time. I just hate being lied to, on the other hand you seem to have no problem with that.

I guess I ain't the kool aid connoisseur that you are.

CaptGene: Posted: June 15, 2014 5:15 p.m.

Yes, you can always count on unambiguous statistics coming from the Obama Administration, like how this administration has been deporting a record number of illegal aliens, right steve?

DMeyer: Posted: June 16, 2014 2:48 p.m.


I don't think stevehw is going to respond, he just poured another glass of kool aid. He can't get enough.

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