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Long Beach : Selection of Controversial LBCC President Confirmed

March 25, 1993

Amid accusations of racism and a threatened recall, the Board of Trustees at Long Beach City College have confirmed their selection of a president.

Board members voted 3 to 2 Tuesday to ratify a four-year, $100,000-a-year contract with Barbara Adams, who will replace retiring President Beverly O'Neill on June 1. Adams, 59, is president of Las Positas College in Livermore, in the Bay Area.

Latino activists, students and residents were outraged at Adams' selection by the board two weeks ago. Adams, an Anglo, was chosen over three Latino finalists, each of whom have doctorates in education. Adams has completed her doctoral course work, but has not written her dissertation.

The three finalists were Edward Hernandez, executive vice chancellor of Rancho Santiago College in Santa Ana; Alex Sanchez, president of Rio Hondo College in Whittier, and William Vega, president of Coastline Community College in Fountain Valley.

The two dissenting votes came from trustees Trudy Polsky and William Millington, who voted against Adams' selection two weeks ago.

"I strongly objected to the process as it was completed. . . . That is why I'm voting no," Polsky said.

Trustee Donald Weaver, who voted for Adams, asked his colleagues to put acrimony behind them and support Adams. "We need to come together for the institution," he said. "A healing is needed, and starting now."

However, the issue does not appear to be dying. Last week a group of Latino activists met with officials from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, who indicated that the selection might be investigated.

Commission Regional Director Phil Montez said he plans to meet with trustees next week "to get their side of the story."

"My job is not to second-guess what elected officials do," he said. "But it is my job to see that there is equality on the campus."

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