The Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges should amend regulations that permit faculty senates to exercise excessive power in decision making at the state’s community colleges, argues a legal challenge submitted to the board on Wednesday by the nonprofit group California Competes.
In recent years, the state’s community colleges have experienced numerous turnovers in leadership and deep budget cuts. Now 27 of the system’s 112 colleges also face sanctions or warnings from the regional accreditation body, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
“California’s community colleges have become notorious for their inability to handle their affairs, and a major contributing factor is the byzantine and confusing management and decision-making process,” argues the petition submitted by California Competes. The organization, a bipartisan council of business and civic leaders who make recommendations about higher-education needs for the state’s economy, is led by Robert M. Shireman, a former U.S. Education Department official. Any interested party may challenge community-college regulations under state law.
The legal challenge urges the state board to amend sections of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations that were added in 1990 and that, the petition maintains, are inconsistent with previous legislation that outlines procedures for governance and oversight at the state’s community colleges. The sections require district boards to “consult collegially” with faculty senates on specific matters, and describe two methods of consultation whereby the boards may “rely primarily” on faculty senates or reach “mutual agreement” with them. (Read more.)