Article - Office of College Advancement
Ohlone zeroes in on new leader
College still reeling from adverse accreditation report, news coverage
By Todd R. Brown, Staff writer.
Saturday, April 19, 2008—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.
Fremont—Instead of embracing a critique of their style of governance, some Ohlone College trustees are bristling at an accreditation team that gave them a verbal drubbing and the news coverage that followed, including a student editorial.
Despite the distraction, the board has made solid strides in the search for a replacement for retiring Ohlone President/Superintendent Douglas Treadway.
A special meeting is set for Monday evening to discuss the selection process, and Ohlone spokeswoman Sarah Daniels said an appointment is likely to be made at Wednesday's public meeting, according to agenda details.
Three candidates are in the running, including the current College of Alameda president. Video footage of public forums held with the candidates this week is on Ohlone's Web site, along with their biographies.
As for the accreditation team's report, Ohlone board President Garrett Yee recently gave a statement on behalf of the trustees. Yet several board members immediately took exception.
Regarding a subsequent workshop with an accreditation process expert, Yee said, "The board as a whole did some soul-searching and concluded that we could not disagree with the recommendations presented in the accreditation team exit report."
After the statement's reading, Trustees Bob Brunton, Trisha Tahmasbi and John Weed voiced their concerns about the wording and the original critique.
"Not that we did not see room for improvement," Tahmasbi said at the Smith Center meeting, but "there are several people on this board who did disagree with some of the points that were made."
Weed said he has "strong reservations as to the validity of the recommendations of the report."
Brunton said of Yee's statement: "This is a first time that I have read this. I'm hoping someday in the future the board might have a full response" that all members can agree on.
In March, the accreditation team, led by John Nixon, interim president of Mt. San Antonio College, said the board has a "disconnect" with Ohlone.
The team said the board needs to involve other campus groups more in decision-making, should cease involvement in nonpolicy operations and delegate those to the president, and must uphold majority decisions in unison.
An editorial in The Monitor, Ohlone's student newspaper, described the board as "dysfunctional" and said, "If the current board is not willing to change … perhaps we should set them aside and allow new, more responsible members of the community to take over."
An accreditation commission will give a report this summer on the status of the college. The group has the power to uphold or deny recognition of the school, but local officials doubt the board's standing could put Ohlone in real jeopardy. The team gave glowing praise to other areas of college life.
Tahmasbi also said both The Argus and The Monitor were out of line in saying the board has failed to agree on developing the frontage property—a potential source of much-needed revenue—in the context of the report.
She said in one go-round, the developer walked away from a deal, while in a more recent bid process, a team of staff and board members unanimously agreed to reject the two proposals. Another talk on the idea is set Wednesday.