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Coastline Teachers Seeking Ouster of College President and Chancellor

January 16, 1985|BILL BILLITER | Times Staff Writer

Faculty leaders at Coastline Community College said Tuesday night they are asking that the college district's new chancellor and the newly named president of Coastline both be ousted, and that a new selection process be used to find replacements.

Announcement of the move against Coast Community College District Chancellor David Brownell and Coastline Community College President-designate William Vega came during the annual meeting of 369 Coastline faculty members at Lincoln School in Newport Beach.

In the first public display of teacher unrest in the Coast district since a new, union-endorsed majority was elected to the board of trustees in November, 1983, the faculty heard a denunciation of the trustees' selection process for both the chancellorship and the Coastline presidency.

The Coast district comprises Coastline, a college headquartered in Fountain Valley that uses rented buildings and has no campus, Orange Coast and Golden West colleges. With 54,000 students, the district is the state's second largest.

Lawrence A. Copeland, president of Coastline's Academic Senate, told the faculty assembly that the college was badly treated, in that faculty views had been ignored or rejected in the selection of a new president.

Lack of 'Due Process'

Copeland said the Academic Senate was not directly attacking "any member of the board of trustees or any administrative staff."

He said the faculty leaders are mainly concerned that "due process" was not afforded the Coastline faculty in the selection of Vega.

The Academic Senate, he said, voted 18 to 2 earlier Tuesday in favor of a resolution denouncing the method used to appoint Vega. The resolution also says that "these last two selection actions (should be) rescinded and a totally new effort be made to fill the presidency of Coastline Community College and the chancellor's position."

In an interview later, Copeland said the teachers are also concerned about "the very future of our college." He said many Coastline faculty members are highly sensitive to criticism of Coastline and its unconventional curriculum. Such criticism was voiced during the 1983 board of trustees election campaign, and Copeland said the teachers fear that an effort may be mounted to close the college.

In addition to the resolution, Copeland read to the faculty a letter he and about 40 other Coastline faculty members are sending to Gerald Hayward, chancellor of the state community colleges system. The letter asked Hayward to expand his office's investigation of the way Brownell was picked to include an investigation of Vega's selection.

Hayward announced last week that his office would investigate the manner in which Brownell was named permanent chancellor by the five-member board of trustees on Jan. 3.

Hayward said he had advised both Brownell and Coast District Trustee George Rodda Jr. that he questioned whether the trustees had followed state affirmative-action procedures. Hayward said the probe of the Brownell selection would probably take a month.

Brownell, who was acting chancellor, was elevated without any formal selection process. By contrast, Vega was named Coastline president, effective Feb. 15, after a formal selection process that drew 90 applicants and reportedly met strict affirmative-action guidelines.

Copeland and the other faculty members criticizing the selection of Vega, however, said the faculty was ignored and "the process for hiring the college president had no precedent in district history." He also said the current method of choosing a new president of Orange Coast College allows more faculty input.

Brownell was at the faculty meeting Tuesday night, and briefly addressed the teachers just before Copeland spoke. "We are a district family, are we not?" Brownell said. He added that he hoped the Coastline teachers would give Vega "your hand and your heart" when Vega takes over.

Apparently alluding to the teachers' complaint that different systems are being used to pick Orange Coast's president than were used to pick Coastline's, Brownell told the Coastline faculty that they had never had any voice in the previous selection of presidents for the college.

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