HLC Final Report: Pima Community College requires monitoring

Two faculty groups file new complaints with HLC
KOLD News 10-10:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 10:41 PM MST|Updated: Oct. 11, 2022 at 10:30 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Controversy and conflict continues at Pima Community College.

The HLC’s draft report cited a “rift in governance that’s putting the college’s mission at risk”.

The final report was issued a week ago, but we’re just now learning about it.

The HLC told KOLD it doesn’t release reports to the public.

KOLD asked PCC for it and they responded that the chancellor will release it at a news conference on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

But we do have a glimpse into what the HLC determined and it’s once again a problem for PCC leadership.

The draft HLC report is now final and PCC is being monitored by the HLC.

The commission reviewed the focused visit team report and determined the teams findings were warranted.

Monitoring requirements have been modified with some providing more “specificity and clarity” while others have been removed for lack of evidence.

No more details are given.

Just as it finalized that report, the HLC has two new complaints citing serious policy violations.

Those complaints filed by the PCC Education Association and the All Employee Representative Council.

The AERC complained the board adopted new salary structures without direct staff input, which violates college policy.

It’s placing much of the blame on Chancellor Lee Lambert, who was given unilateral power by the board years ago.

The AERC complaint was endorsed by a super majority vote on Friday, October 7th by the PCC Faculty Senate.

PCC sent KOLD this statement after requesting an interview with Chancellor Lambert.

The PCC spokesperson wrote, “The administration met with various faculty and employee groups, which includes the AERC, about the employee pay structure more than 100 times before the board passed the new policy.”

The PCCEA’s complaint focuses on how staff is treated.

They complained PCC creates “fear and hopelessness by harassing’s, intimidating, and retaliating against staff who criticize the college”.

That group’s president, Makyla Hayes, said the groups are asking the HLC to hold the college accountable for fixing and following policy without risk to accreditation.

“Faculty at Pima Community College are committed to the success of our students and community, including improving PCC’s reputation. Shared governance and policy in higher education institutions are designed to ensure that the voices of those working closest to students are included in decision making. The college must follow these policies,” Hayes said.

In a news release, The Arizona Education Association states it’s standing in solidarity with the PCCEA.

They’re demanding that faculty and staff at PCC be treated fairly and with respect.

“They have attempted to resolve this issue through appropriate College channels without success,” wrote AEA President Marisol Garcia, “This complaint seeks to address calculated, systemic behavior designed to silence and disempower faculty and staff at the college.”

PCC responded, “It is the College’s practice not to comment on complaints sent to the Higher Learning Commission until the HLC issues a final determination, as many facts contained in an initial letter can be inaccurate or unsupported by evidence.”

Click here for HLC Final Report Description