Some PCC leaders say they’ve been threatened after KOLD Investigation

KOLD News 10-10:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 10:37 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Pima Community College board member has come forward about a serious safety concern.

During the Sept. 14 board meeting, Maria Garcia announced she was told some board members and the chancellor now fear for their safety after receiving threats.

This comes just weeks after our investigation into conflict at PCC.

As we first uncovered, a draft report from the national accreditation agency, Higher Learning Commission, found a major rift on the board is putting the college’s mission at risk.

During a board retreat last week, Maria Garcia walked into a security measure she’s never encountered before at a retreat: a handheld metal detector check.

What she was told after that startled her.

Chair Catherine Ripley had called for more security measures at the retreat.

“Because she felt threatened and she implied that she feared for her life. She referenced the shooting of Gabby Gifford and the judge that was killed. Others on the board made similar renditions including the chancellor. I’m very concerned the board feels threatened,” she told the board.

KOLD reached out to Garcia for more details.

She recounts statements made by board members Demien Clinco and Meredith Hay at the retreat.

“Ms. Hay made a statement that by going on KOLD that you could be responsible for these threats and she looked at Luis,” Garcia said.

Luis Gonzalez is another board member who, along with Maria Garcia, spoke about the HLC draft report and lack of transparency by college leaders.

“Then Demion Clinco stated that he couldn’t even live in his own home right now because he had been threatened. Then Ms. Ripley mentioned the fact that the Chancellor was even afraid to go outside.” She said that was after a power outage at his home,” Garcia continued.

Garcia told the board members that an official complaint should be made to law enforcement, including the FBI.

There was no further comment on the matter.

KOLD reached out to the board chair and PCC about Garcia’s statements and any safety measures taken.

PCC responded with a statement that, “Threats against employees and students are immediately turned over to Pima Community College Police.

In the interest of safety, it would not be appropriate to publicly share specifics regarding threats or the College’s security measures and protocols.”

No word yet from the board chair.

KOLD will keep you updated of any developments as our continue our investigation into the PCC conflict.