The Advocate

District board trustees ignore sexual harassment

By Denis Perez, Editor-in-Chief

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When a person commits a horrible offense, those close to that person have to decide whether to be on the right side of justice or on the side of protecting a friendship.

For the Contra Costa Community College District Governing Board trustees, picking the latter was easier than the former.

Being on the right side of justice would mean they would have to deal with the consequences that come with starting and completing a full investigation into a 2015 sexual harassment incident involving former Governing Board president Tim Farley.

On Feb. 20, Governing Board Trustee John Marquez and Chancellor Fred Wood received a preliminary report, written by district Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Human Resources Officer Dio Shipp, detailing a sexual harassment complaint against Farley.

The report tells of an event where Farley sexually harassed a female trustee from another California community college district while representing our district at a convention in Monterey in 2015.

The report states Farley attended a dinner away from the convention hotel. It states he was drunk before he got to the restaurant for dinner, and once there he began drinking again.

Many people witnessed Farley harassing the woman, but for three years it was a dirty little secret, kept hidden from the public.

The incident became a rumor rather than a reminder that sexual harassment, and its culture, is still alive in our district.

Do our district board trustees think if the public had known what Farley did they would have wanted him continuing for almost three years as a board trustee? And what about the women he would come in contact with in his official role? Everyone knows the answer to those questions.

The report also states that during the dinner at the restaurant, Farley leaned over to the victim with his arms wrapped around her and tried to kiss her on the mouth.

Governing Board Trustee Vicki Gordon tried to distract Farley by talking to him about his wife and kids.

But Farley yelled, loud enough for everyone around to hear, “I love my wife, but she is not here!”

The report states that Farley then turned around and attempted to hug the victim, who has decided not to press charges, again.

On Feb. 26, Farley resigned from the district board. In a letter sent to the board he said he was stepping down because of family issues. The board accepted his resignation at its regular meeting on Feb. 28, without telling the public the truth.

Once Farley resigned, the board and district dropped its investigation allowing Farley to avoid further scrutiny. He decided to leave without being accountable to his constituents, and his fellow board members and district officials seem OK with that.

Shame on him and his privileged mentality. Why should ranking officials get to walk over rules and laws?

And how hypocritical of the district to hold sexual harassment trainings and then when an actual event occurs, ignore it.

Incidents like this one can and should be solved by a universal doctrine: “If you see something, say something.”

But sadly, the Governing Board and district officials have shown themselves as hypocrites who don’t support the ideals they set for the CCCCD community.

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The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.
District board trustees ignore sexual harassment