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Don’t trade quality for ‘diversity’

In the last issue of The Telescope, we talked about current Governing Board president John Halcon and his passion for diversity among school leaders. We at The Telescope applaud that, and are glad he is pursuing it as we look into hiring a new president for Palomar College.

The question we have to ask is this: what is the school’s definition of diversity?

During an special Governing Board meeting on Oct. 28, 2014, trustees Nancy Chadwick, Nancy Ann Hensch and (then trustee) Halcon all expressed their interest in building a diverse committee for finding a new president. In another meeting, then-trustee (now Governing Board vice president) Mark Evilsizer expressed his inter- est in having someone as president who has “demonstrated experience in working with the Latino community.”

Though they may have not said it directly, what the Board is implying is very clear to us: they want to see a Latino/Latina as our next president. It makes sense: accord- ing to the most recent copy (2012- 13) of the ACCJC Demographics and New Students study, Hispanics represent the second-biggest demographic at Palomar College at 34.6 percent.

When looking back at Palomar’s past history of school presidents, all nine of them have had the same thing in common. They have all been Caucasian, including the one female, Sherrill L. Amador.

So it is a good idea that the Governing Board wants diversity in choosing our next president. But are they overlooking candidates who may be of other origins?

For all we know, there could be an African-American or an Asian-American candidate who may meet their qualifications. We could also look at sexual orientation. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a transgender candidate as our next president? Considering the boom in same-sex civil rights as of late. We may not be too far away from seeing an openly gay or lesbian person presiding over Palomar College.

From the initial signs we have been given, however, we may not see that day in the near future. The board seems to have its mind set on appeasing a certain demographic, while unknowingly alienating others in the process.

We’re not saying that the Governing Board has a racial bias, that’s not our intent at all. We just want them to give us a clear definition on what they are looking for, and entertain all options.

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