Bad medicine: mending wounds with cuts


(Christopher C. Long/The Inquirer, 2010)

Inquirer Op-Ed

It was just seven months ago that the last of the cash-for-grades trials concluded in a Martinez courtroom.

In a scandal that rocked DVC and drew national and international media attention when it became public in 2007, a total of 54 former DVC students were charged with buying or selling hundreds of grades out of the DVC Admissions office for six years.

The scandal landed DVC in the cross-hairs of the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, and the school was in serious danger of losing its accreditation because of the lax oversight that allowed the grade sales to flourish.

Yet on Feb. 24, the district governing board voted 3-1-1 to give a pink slip to the current director of admissions and records, who was hired away from UC Bekeley to bring credibility and stability to that office in the wake of such unwelcome notoriety.

At the same time, it notified two other DVC managers of possible termination to their positions because of a $4 million shortfall in the college’s 2010-11 budget.

The Inquirer does not question the need to cut jobs of managers during these difficult times.

But we object to two of the board’s first three targets: Ileana Dorn, the director of admissions and records, and Adriana Lopez, student services manager and adviser to student government.

No longer plagued with the lax oversight that led to the cash-for-grades scandal and jeopardized DVC’s accreditation, the Admissions and Records Office is back on solid footing under Dorn’s leadership.

So we question why DVC is now threatening to cut a position they strived to fill well by hiring Dorn such a relatively short time ago.

At the Feb. 24 meeting, the governing board also approved the possible layoff of one dean and the retirement of two others under an early retirement incentive program.

DVC President Judy Walters told the Inquirer that with the possible loss of Dorn and Lopez, DVC’s the college’s management structure was bound to undergo changes with other administrators.

But to lay off the manager who helped restore credibility to Admissions and Records Office and to add her significant responsibilities to those of another dean?

Similarly, the possible termination of Lopez, newly hired in the fall semester, makes no sense.

Not only are these management cuts burdensome to DVC’s management structure, but cuts like that of the student services manager has a serious and direct affect on students.

The improper campaigning and endorsement controversy of last year’s ASDVC leadership elections occurred when there was no student services manager and Bill Oye, dean of student services, had to add those duties to his own.

ASDVC, believing that Lopez, in her position as student services manager, is to be a necessary bridge of communication between the college and the students, have offered to raise the percentage of their budget covering Lopez’s salary. They have already given about 20 percent.

Considering the effects of overlapping managerial positions and unstable administrative situations at DVC in the past, we strongly question why, at this time, the district is choosing these particular positions to cut.

At a time of such financial uncertainty for public education, what we need to retain most is established and organized communication and administration, particularly in positions that matter most to the reputation and student life of DVC.


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