Fresno City teachers union rep pledges to work with new Chancellor



View article via The Fresno Bee


This is a letter to to incoming State Center Community College District Chancellor Carole Goldsmith:


Dear Madame Chancellor,


As I watched you deliver your opening remarks directly after being confirmed by the SCCCD Board of Trustees as our next chancellor, I was reminded of an interview between the two of us: mine, back in 2019. It was my twenty-fifth time applying for a full-time tenure track job in our district, and the first time I’d gotten a second interview. I was a bundle of nerves and emotions sitting in your office. I had every expectation that I would be rejected for the job. What college president in their right mind would hire the faculty union president? Especially one who had challenged and criticized some of your decisions; why empower that person with a protected job? And yet, you took that risk on me.


As I watched you deliver your opening remarks directly after being confirmed by the SCCCD Board of Trustees as our next chancellor, I was reminded of an interview between the two of us: mine, back in 2019. It was my twenty-fifth time applying for a full-time tenure track job in our district, and the first time I’d gotten a second interview. I was a bundle of nerves and emotions sitting in your office. I had every expectation that I would be rejected for the job. What college president in their right mind would hire the faculty union president? Especially one who had challenged and criticized some of your decisions; why empower that person with a protected job? And yet, you took that risk on me.


Today, I am taking a similar risk on you. After working closely with you for nearly four years — often in adversarial and high-pressure situations — here are some reasons I feel justified in that risk.


You are a stayer. This matters a lot to me and to my colleagues. You are invested in this community, just like us. You have friends and family here, just like us. You care about the particular successes and historical failings of our unique little quadrant of the state, just like us. And just like us, I believe you have every expectation of finishing your career here and finishing it with a sense of accomplishment and dignity. You are open to correction and not above apologizing. More than once, when the State Center Federation of Teachers has taken issue with a decision, I have seen you stop, ask for clarification, and carefully consider changing course. The fact that disagreements with you do not devolve into fights is heartening and appreciated.


You are a warrior for equity. You have spoken passionately and acted on the need for us to care more deeply about our LGBTQ+ populations. You helped shepherd two racial equity task forces: one on policing and one for Fresno City College’s nursing program. You raised the Pride Flag for the first time at FCC. These acts meant something to me, to my family, to many in the community.


As you embark on this new role, you will be earning at least $60k more annually than you were previously. As the representative of one of the highest earning groups of workers (our full-time faculty) in the Central Valley, I have no objection to people being paid well to do meaningful and impactful work. However, as the representative of one of the lowest earning groups of workers (our part-time faculty), I am keenly aware of the need for equitable pay for that meaningful and impactful work.


So, you and I are bonded by shared risk. I would see that bond tested and strengthened with greater risks. We can build legacies together: legacies of local pride and regional flourishing; legacies of value and worth, both extrinsic and intrinsic.





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