Editorial: Leadership shift offers glimmer of hope

By Editorial Board

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After a much needed winter break, students, faculty and staff have returned to Contra Costa College cautiously optimistic that administrators who shape students’ academic trajectory are finally getting on the same page.

However, many remain pessimistic of the Contra Costa Community College District administrative efforts meant to symbolize stability and show things are under control.

In the recent past, flaws in leadership in the District Office as well as at CCC have led to conflicts surrounding the hiring process, class cancellation and student representation — skepticism regarding a course correction is justified.

Mistrust has become synonymous with survival.

Last semester, the abrupt resignation of district Chancellor Fred Wood followed the ousting of former CCC President Katrina VanderWoude.

This, coupled with a number of administrative positions which hadn’t been filled, created an atmosphere rife with cynicism.

Campus events fizzled, programs ran underfunded and students soldiered on as residents of the East Bay are commonly known for.

However, it isn’t apathy that drives their indifference — it’s the daily inundation of political fodder from people who’ve proved not to be worth the attention.

What student has the time to be concerned with the controversial actions of a college president, the president of the United States, classes and work?

It starts to be too much to juggle. It’s overwhelming.

When students consider college, administrative chaos is never mentioned in the brochure.

Politics of some sort have infiltrated nearly every aspect of daily life but selection of Eugene Huff as interim district chancellor has traveled almost completely under the radar.

After a tumultuous fall semester and the subsequent hiring of Dr. Damon A. Bell as interim president of CCC, presidential politics were all but inescapable.

The impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump dominated media feeds for all of the roughly 40 days of the winter break.

Issues start to blend together and ultimately people who hold leadership positions reveal themselves to be nothing more than a collection of people who get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to do whatever it takes to keep their jobs.

That applies to national politicians or administrators working at or for the CCCCD.

On campus, student apathy is seen as a pass to work unrestricted until wrongdoing is directly pointed out.

However, despite the cloud of negativity that blankets national politics, Dr. Bell offers a glimmer of promise.

His credentials are relevant to the position he holds and his good-hearted nature may help endear him to a community that has been longing for a leader who can make a connection.

Still, cynicism runs deep on this campus, members of the campus community have been scorned and the wounds are still fresh.

Many of the problems that feed that skepticism have yet to be resolved — fresh starts have come and gone.