District faculty upset with Governing Board

The+District+Governing+Board+members+during+the+meeting+held+Aug.+25+

Screenshots from Zoom Board meeting

The District Governing Board members during the meeting held Aug. 25

Weston Hopkins, Editor-in-Chief

The Contra Costa Community College District’s Governing Board held a meeting Aug. 25 with two notable agenda items, which were to renew the employment contracts for two Associate Chancellors. District Chief Financial Officer Jonah Nicholas, and Chief Human Resource Officer Diogenes Shipp’s contracts were not renewed . 

Previously at the July 22 board meeting, members decided in a 3-2 decision to reject renewing these contracts. Many faculty members who did not agree with this decision showed up to the Aug. 25 meeting and made public comments in support of Shipp and Nicholas.

Over 120 people ended up attending this meeting, among them was Donna Wapner, Health Science professor at Diablo Valley College and President of the United Faculty. 

“UF was formed during the 1975-76 academic year by faculty at the three district colleges and is an independent collective bargaining association who represents both part-time and full-time faculty throughout the district,” according to their website.  

As the contract extensions were separate agenda items, Wapner began her public comment on Shipp’s contract. 

“I’m so puzzled and surprised by our governing board right now…you are not helping us by stopping these contracts. To lay off the one person who’s a senior administrator of color in the name of increasing diversity is a joke.”

Most of the faculty who attended and made public comment echoed the sentiments brought forth by Wapner.

“I need the board to support good labor relations in our district, to renew the contract of Dio Shipp and let us get back to the work that we need to do. This is incredibly distracting and frustrating,” said Jeffrey Michels, English professor at Contra Costa College and UF executive director.

After public comment finished, board Vice President Andy Li set a motion to renew Shipp’s contract, which ended in a 3-2 vote not to renew. The meeting then moved onto Nicholas’ contract, where faculty had more of the same to say.

“Given the current climate, coupled with Jonah’s exemplary track record in our district, it seems as if we’d be greatly remiss if we did not maintain consistency during these difficult times,” said Foreign Language professor at Los Medanos College Laurie Huffman. “Retaining Jonah is your best and should be your only choice. Please reconsider.”

After public comment came to a close, the Board again voted not to renew Nicholas’ contract in a 3-2 vote. Another item on the agenda was the revised schedule for Chancellor recruitment, which was passed in a 5-0 vote. 

The next Governing Board meeting will be held Sept. 9, and will be open to the public starting at 6 p.m.