Editorial: Female faculty, staff remain silent in lieu of VP finalists

By Editorial Board

It’s hard being a woman on campus at Contra Costa College and if this past week is evidence of what’s to come, things are only going to get tougher.
CCC has a student body made up of close to 60 percent women, according to the latest Datamart statistics provided by the state Chancellor’s Office.
And this week, the female members of the campus community who purport to advocate for the rights of the most vulnerable among us failed each other and all of us at CCC.
On Oct. 30, the final public forum was held to select a finalist for the newly proposed vice president of student services position. And although only a little information was released about each candidate, a Google search of two of the candidates yielded startling results of domestic violence and sexual harassment.
It is shameful that CCC President Katrina VanderWoude would consider Dr. Howard Irvin or Dr. LeRodrick Terry for an administrative position on this campus.
In the mid-90s, Dr. Irvin plead guilty to one felony count of stalking, one felony count of terrorist threats and two misdemeanor counts of violating a restraining order.
Dr. Terry’s record is also blemished.
In June, as vice president of student affairs at Rio Salado College in Tempe, Arizona, Terry resigned following a Maricopa Community College District investigation substantiated claims by several women of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Terry denies all of the accusations.
The discovery of these facts is met with disappointment on two fronts. First, how could such sub-par candidates make it so far through the process without being properly vetted? Second is the sad and deafening silence from men and women on campus as they learned of the pasts of these two men.
In recent years, much consternation has been had over transparency and proper representation. When presidential politics threatened the futures of CCC students, faculty and staff stood in solidarity.
However, now, when two men who have sexual misconduct accusations in their pasts — serious enough for them to leave their jobs — are considered for high administrative positions there is silence.
Are none of these champions of women’s safety and equality willing to say a word about allegedly abusive men vying to hold positions of power over women on campus? What happened to #MeToo?
Who has the power to stand up for the one in five women who experience sexual assault on a college campus?
It was necessary for one woman — just one — in a position of power on campus to speak up for the rank and file faculty, staff and students and say “NO. Not on my campus.” Sadly, their silence was the only uproar to be heard.
Make no mistake. Presenting these flawed candidates was a decision allowed by the president of this college.
However, faculty and staff members who choose to remain silent as CCC students are blatantly disrespected is a decision that each has to own.