Posted: April 8, 2015 | Written by Crystal Olmedo
Elmer A. Bugg, a candidate for Riverside City College president, spoke before an audience of faculty, staff and students in the Digital Library Auditorium on April 2.
Bugg presently serves as the vice president of Instruction for Merritt College, located in Oakland, CA.
He introduced himself and provided insight into his previous experience with educational institutions at the second of two public presidential candidate forums.
Bugg opened the forum by reading an email that he had received from a former business student of his at Santa Monica College. In the email the student thanked Bugg for an “open and free” classroom environment and wrote that Bugg was an instructor that had “the most influence” in his life.
Maintaining shared governance, finding alternative revenue for the college and increasing student involvement in the college’s activities were among some of the goals Bugg said he wanted to achieve if he is selected to be RCC president.
“You will find me an individual that is open to hearing from individuals, that will in fact listen to what’s going on in people’s lives, that will look for opportunities to be able bring forward those ideas that can better serve us, because I don’t have all the ideas,” Bugg said. “I’m an individual that … understands that I’m still in a learning process, as well, and together with this institution I can continue that learning process.”
Bugg addressed the importance of providing pathways for a diverse student population, including students transitioning from high school to community college, students completing community college and entering the workforce ,as well as for students who are returning to school to attain a better profession.
Dariush Haghighat, president of the Riverside Community College District Faculty Association, asked if Bugg had identified challenges that he may have transitioning from a vice president of Instruction to president at RCC and what challenges RCC may have that he plans to address.
“ … The relationship between RCC and the district office, broadly, (the relationship between RCC) and the other two colleges, broadly, are different scenarios, for me as a vice president than they would be as a president,” Bugg replied. “How we work together in terms of looking at budgets, how we work together in terms of allocations that go on are challenges that are in front of us right now.”
Increasing the student voice and the classified voice on campus, examining the relationship between RCC and the business community as a whole, and rebuilding the college after it had been hit by a “devastating and ravaging budget crisis,” are some of the other challenges he mentioned.
Comment forms were given to those who attended the forum so that they could provide their opinions about each presidential candidate in regards to their strengths and weaknesses. Isaac and Bugg met with the RCC’s Academic Senate, unions and classified staff and each participant of those meetings were also given comment forms.
According to Paul Parnell, president of Norco college and a representative of the presidential search committee, the comment forms will be reviewed by the committee and a summary of the information collected will be presented to RCCD Chancellor Michael Burke.
RCCD Human Resources office will conduct thorough background checks on both candidates.
Burke’s decision will be brought before the RCCD Board of Trustees for final ratification.