The termination of an adjunct instructor who allegedly made ethnic slurs in class dominated the discussion at Monday’s GCC Board of Trustees meeting.
Paul A. Williams, who was hired midway through this semester to teach a U.S. History course, was said nearly two weeks ago to have made a threat toward an Armenian student that had ethnic overtones.
Though the incident was not described in detail at the meeting, it apparently angered several students in the class enough to complain to administration. After an investigation of the incident, administration decided to fire the instructor.
Interim Executive Vice President of Instructional Services Steve White went in person to “extend apologies” to the class. Students were also offered campus arranged counseling and/or permission to drop the course without penalties.
White’s concern for the students and the reputation of the college were apparent during the board meeting. “I ask everyone to please judge our performance on more than this one regrettable incident,” he said.
The board voiced satisfaction with the way administration handled the issue and agreed to implement methods to curtail any further such incidents.
The students who came forward were commended for the way in which they dealt with the situation.
Dr. Nancy Knight, vice president of college services, suggested that GCC should reinstate an educational series titled “Tolerance and Beyond Tolerance.”
The program educates students about their rights and methods for handling campus related disputes.
The program had been discontinued due to lack of funds, however, the board is now considering reinstating it.
Among other issues discussed, the board spoke of obtaining services for the new parking structure in order to satisfy the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act and authorizing the set up of a temporary chemistry lab.
Board member and instructor of political science Victor King was also congratulated for acquiring his new appointment as general counsel at CSULA.
Since King does not assist with legal matters at GCC, there will not be any conflict of interest between the two educational systems, and he will be able to remain on the a board.
King said that his new appointment might offer further benefits for students at GCC since he will have a direct affiliation with both institutions.