Outcry over SCCCD Chancellor's 'retirement'

The chancellor at several local colleges will be out of office soon, leaving many to question was Dr. Deborah Blue forced out.
March 4, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
The chancellor at several local colleges will be out of office soon, leaving many to question was Dr. Deborah Blue forced out.

In a move that has many angry, The State Center Community College District Board of Trustees says it will soon begin looking for a new chancellor to lead its handful of campuses in central California.

Supporters of the current chancellor aren't buying what the district is calling a retirement. One board member spoke up saying the public needs to know why this is happening, but when pressed for answers from Action News he said he couldn't answer. Now a lot of people say Dr. Blue is being forced out.

More than 100 professors, community leaders and friends showed up to a special SCCCD board meeting. Their focus was to defend current chancellor Dr. Deborah Blue.

"I'm just extremely disappointed that the board chose to go against, really, the entire public's will, from elected officials, school boards, community leaders, business leaders, philanthropists that supported the district," said Tate Hill of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce.

Despite outcry from dozens of people on the official record at this and another special meeting held over the weekend the board, citing privacy law, would only say Dr. Blue's work agreement was amended in closed session.

But in a press release the board says it's a joint agreement for Dr. Blue to retire in June 2015. Beginning this July Dr. Blue will become a chancellor emeritus for the district.

"We haven't heard anything negative yet about the chancellor's performance, her leadership, or how she engaged students and faculty in leadership," Hill said.

Fresno Unified Trustee Cal Johnson says the board's actions are inappropriate. "I believe there is a mole in the organization that is possibly sabotaging the chancellor," he said. "And that has creeped up to the board members. "

Many say Dr. Blue has done nothing wrong, otherwise it would have been made public by now.

Nathan Saari says Dr. Blue is an absolute professional who cares about her faculty. "She took time that day out of her busy life of running a district to come and sit next to me and talk to me about my future," Saari said. "And kind of relate to what I was going through, and I appreciate that."

Neither the board president nor Dr. Blue would comment on camera about the change in leadership. Dr. Blue was hired as current chancellor, overseeing Reedley College and Fresno City College, just three years ago. The board says she will help in the transition to a new chancellor.

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