I have witnessed and have heard details of Dr. Blake’s behavior during hiring committee meetings. I think it is important to document this and give others the opportunity to share their observations as well. My first concern was about breaking confidentiality – we all sign a form – but I firmly believe that confidentiality should not be used to shield poor behavior. I am not breaking it but still bringing that behavior to light.
I am a compliance officer (CO) for Palomar College, and have helped over 20 committees. I’ve seen how President Bob Deegan and Interim President Adrian Gonzalez behaved. They were positive forces in the hiring process. I can say with certainty that Dr. Blake’s behavior is different and decidedly negative.
For example, she said during a Faculty Senate meeting that she was okay with breaking the hiring procedures. She wanted to be the only one with second round interviews. She claimed anyone who wanted to join in could do so (asking questions and the like) but only she would be able to make the final choice. This goes against the stated hiring procedures, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to be the only one who makes the final choice.
Dr. Blake’s public statements, which have accused the faculty of being racist and that she will “ask the hard questions” if the job candidates put before her don’t meet her expectations of diversity, have led committee members to worry. They worry if the candidates they choose as the best teachers aren’t “diverse enough” for Dr. Blake.
These worries are illegal, and every CO should tell that to the committees, including Dr. Blake. The CO should make it clear that considering race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. is completely off-limits. Only education, skills, and experiences should matter. (Link)
But Dr. Blake’s words and behaviors have shown us that these illegal considerations must occur. She has failed searches with candidates who were well-qualified and refused to say why. She has demanded that departments tell her their gender and ethnic ratios before she considers who to hire. This is illegal behavior.
All of this has opened Palomar College to lawsuits. Anyone who has applied and wasn’t offered an interview or the job position has a reason to believe they have been discriminated against. It could be because they were white or male or their name wasn’t ethnic enough. They should seriously consider their reaction to this and read over the policies involving discrimination at Palomar College. (Link)
The people I have talked to at Palomar want diversity in our faculty. They welcome it! But the illegal path Dr. Blake has put us on is wrong. She needs to explore legal ways to achieve it. I have asked the Governing Board to direct her to fulfill her contractual obligation of ensuring the rules and laws of the College and our State are followed. My fingers are crossed.