Speaking Truth to Power

Updated: Jul 17, 2019

At the beginning of the Fall 2018 semester, governing board trustees approved 8 faculty positions to begin employment Spring 2019, with 27 additional faculty positions to follow. This began an accelerated hiring process that required hundreds of hours of work for faculty, staff, and administrators. At the December 2018 governing board meeting, faculty member Tracy Johnston, a district compliance officer for 8 years, expressed concerns that procedures were not being followed during the hiring process. Read Tracy’s public comments here.


Johnston was serving on multiple hiring committees, and in the course of her service, she witnessed conduct by President Blake that was unprecedented and put the District at risk of lawsuits. She once again expressed her concerns to the trustees at the June 11, 2019 governing board meeting. Read these comments here.

At the end of June, the board held an all day retreat. During the morning session, trustee Miyamoto expressed concerns about Johnston’s public comments. Blake’s response to Miyamoto was that people do not tell the truth when they address the board. Listen to their brief exchange here.


I was one of five faculty members who attended that June retreat. In my capacity as grievance officer, I contacted Human Resources VP Lisa Norman to verify Blake’s claim that HR determined Johnston’s allegations to be a nonissue. However, Norman was not aware of the matter that Blake referenced. I reported as much to the governing board at the recent July meeting. Read my speech here.


At that same meeting, Johnston addressed the board for the third time. She restated her commitment to the college as a compliance officer, challenged Blake’s attempt to discredit her, and suggested that Blake removed her from a hiring committee in retaliation for speaking to the board. Read Tracy’s third speech here.


At the end of the July governing board meeting, trustee Deerfield requested the report from Human Resources that Blake, at the June retreat, claimed was done. Blake replied that she and Norman would put something together for the trustees. When Deerfield pointed out Blake's prior claim of the existence of a report, Blake made an awkward attempt to change the narrative. Listen to their exchange here.


How much longer will Blake’s campaign of disinformation (and disparagement of faculty) continue?

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