By Matt Gilford
By Matt Gilford
Daniel Castro, Riverside City College president, was making a serious attempt to bring a college into the 21st century.
Unfortunately for RCC, Long Beach City College was the campus in his sights. Castro was making a hard sell to LBCC as he attempted to win the presidency of that campus.
On Nov. 13, Castro was informed by LBCC that he did not win the presidency. He expressed some disappointment at the decision, but is ready to continue with his presidency at RCC.
“It would have been nice, but things will be all right,” Castro said during an interview. He went on to say that “it’s not like I’m devastated or anything.”
About 100 people attended a Presidential Open Forum at Long Beach City College on Nov. 9 at the LBCC campus auditorium.
Castro outlined a far-reaching plan to push LBCC into the next century by implementing forward-looking educational programs focused on teaching students the fundamentals of nanotechnology and of alternative fuel source technology.
Castro’s speech focused on not only the needs of students, but also the needs of the world at large.
“We are creating leaders for the whole world,” he said, adding that the challenge of doing so requires “creativity and innovation.”
During his speech at LBCC, Castro expressed a high level of frustration at RCC’s inability to allow him to be the president that he once envisioned, relegating him instead into more of a “managerial position.”
“They just aren’t quite there yet,” Castro said of RCC’s desire to abide by his presidential vision.
Now that a decision has been made, his sentiments have changed slightly and he expressed a sense of hope for the future.
“We’ll see what happens with the new Board of Trustees,” he said, going on to say that he doesn’t want to be at just any college, but that he wants to be at the best college.
Kathryn Brooks, the Riverside Academic Senate vice president, said that Castro must be given respect by Chancellor Rotella, otherwise he will not have the authority that he needs in order to properly govern the campus.
“I wanted to express my extreme sorrow at finding out that Dr. Castro is looking for employment elsewhere,” Brooks said in a recent e-mail to RCC administration.
She went on to say that the Board of Trustees did very little to “demand appropriate decision making by the Chancellor,” and that Castro had little authority to make adequate changes under the leadership of Rotella.
She was happy to hear that Castro would still have a chance at governing RCC. Throwing her arms into the air as she heard the news that Castro would continue RCC as president, Brooks was very excited.
“Good news!” Brooks exclaimed, going on to say of Castro, “I think he is a good person, and that he cares about the students.”
After the speech at LBCC, when questioned about his opinion of Rotella, Castro responded by saying that “everyone has their own management style, and that Rotella has his.”
“Being president at RCC is like getting married and finally moving into my new wife’s home… but my new wife’s ex husband still lives there,” Castro said during a question-and-answer session at the forum.
In a previous issue of Viewpoints, Board Trustee Grace Slocum said that “Rotella keeps Dr. Castro on a very short leash.”
According to Brooks, Rotella has complete authority over the accreditation process, and she believes this is not the ideal situation.
“Our accreditation into a three college, one district system is by no means going to be easy, and without Dr. Castro’s direction, is in serious doubt,” Brooks wrote. She went on to add, during a Viewpoints interview, “We have two new board members; I hope that they, and the rest of the Board, will revise the president’s authority.”
Although he will not actively be seeking employment elsewhere, Castro stated that he would be receptive to recruiters.
Viewpoints could not reach Rotella by press time.