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Administration, students and faculty clash at Pasadena City College

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Students at Pasadena City College are upset that the winter session was canceled, while faculty members bemoan the lack of a labor agreement.

By some accounts, tensions between administrators, students and faculty at Pasadena City College are near a boiling point. Campus administrators said Monday the advisor for the campus newspaper was not placed on leave as retaliation for coverage of recent disputes.

In the past month, the college’s Courier newspaper blasted banner headlines such as “Campus Seethes” and “No Confidence.”
 
Pasadena City College President Mark Rocha told KPCC’s AirTalk that the newspaper’s faculty adviser, Warren Swil, is on leave as administrators investigate a complaint against him unrelated to his work overseeing news coverage.
 
“The publication of the Courier will go as usual, as it has for decades," Rocha said. "It’s an award winning newspaper.” 

The Courier, students and faculty have kept Rocha on the defensive for most of this academic year. Students are upset that last summer’s decision to cancel the winter session hurt many students’ plans to transfer to four-year universities. Faculty members are upset that PCC hasn’t signed a labor agreement, while cutting the winter session means less work for professors.
 
Faculty and students handed Rocha a symbolic vote of no confidence two weeks ago. PCC’s board of trustees hasn’t lost its confidence in Rocha — it extended his contract through 2016.
 
Simon Fraser, student body president at the college, says the administration isn’t governing with all stakeholders in mind.
 
“As a student, I have to think about what really impacts us and that’s access to classes, access to counselors and access to services on campus,” he said.

Fraser says in some areas, such as counselor-to-student ratios, PCC is doing poorly.
 
Many other community colleges are facing similar budget related problems. Last year, students staged large protests at Santa Monica College after trustees moved to cancel the winter term to save money.

Editor's note: Pasadena City College holds the license for KPCC, which is operated by Southern California Public Radio.
 

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