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Under fire, Pasadena City College President Mark Rocha steps down

Pasadena City College
Pasadena City College

Pasadena City College President Mark Rocha announced on Thursday that he’s stepping down on Aug. 31 after four years on the job.

Rocha’s tenure the last two years has been filled with clashes with campus faculty and students. Rocha canceled winter session two years ago and that prompted many students to protest that the move upended their ability to graduate in a timely manner. The Associated Students took a vote of “no confidence” last year against Rocha and urged the board of trustees to fire him.

PCC faculty did the same thing. Professors complained that Rocha rejected curriculum proposals and ignored the faculty’s warnings of canceling the winter session in 2012.

“It’s a victory for faculty and staff,” said Roger Marheine, a past president of the Faculty Association. “If he would only have listened to faculty he would have been a great CEO."

PCC praised Rocha for the renewal of the college’s accreditation and the construction of a new Center for the Arts.

“I speak for the Board in saying that we accept Dr. Rocha’s decision to retire with profound gratitude for his leadership over the past four years,” said Board of Trustees President Anthony Fellow in a written statement “Rocha brought the college safely through one of the worst budget cuts in California history."

A PCC spokeswoman said Rocha was not available for comment.

PCC’s seven-member board of trustees plans to appoint an interim president before it goes about the process to select a new college president.

Marheine said he would not recommend a specific candidate for the post, only one “who understands the importance of faculty. We are the experts in the field.”