By Diego D. Garcia
A resolution was passed at Riverside City College’s Academic Senate meeting Sept. 12 in order to display a vote of no confidence for Vice President of Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees Nathan A. Miller.
The resolution was unanimously passed with one abstention.
RCCD’s Academic Senate President, Mark Sellick presented the resolution to the Board on Sept. 20; the District’s board room was overfilled with community members.
Miller represents Area 1 which consists of Eastvale, Norco and Corona; he took office in 2012.
He is receiving backlash due to two tweets he sent out Aug. 3 to Corinne Parker.
Parker is a Riverside resident and registered Democrat; she initiated contact to Riversides GOP account, via Twitter, because she was in search of “Republicans for Hillary signs.”
Miller responded to Parker’s tweet by saying “fresh out of those” and sent her another tweet with what he called a popular meme.
The meme contained an image that shows a hangman standing at a gallows, with text at the bottom that reads “I’m Ready for Hillary.”
A screenshot was taken, by an unknown individual, and distributed throughout the RCCD community.
Members from the RCCD community began to claim that Miller violated Board Policy 2715 Code of Ethics/Standard of Practice.
Miller resigned from his position at the Board of Equalization on Aug. 4; he then apologized Aug. 16, and referred to his actions as being “wrong” and asked the RCCD community for “forgiveness.”
Miller also asked (in his apology) that the RCCD community have “hope” that they can move forward, as a union, to make RCCD a “beacon” for higher education.
Faculty Association President, Dariush Haghighat is in opposition toward Miller and has demanded that he resign from his position as Area 1 trustee-representative.
Haghighat said that the time of redemption (for Miller) has passed and he will only accept Miller’s resignation as accountability for his actions on social media.
“It (a trustee position) is a privilege for some in this District and he has played “Russian Roulette” with that position; the trustee position is a nonpartisan position,” Haghighat said. “He has clearly violated BP 2715.
“We (the Faculty Association) have completely no confidence in him. That means we are done with Miller. There is nothing he can do to redeem himself.”
Faculty Association Liaison, Fabian Biancardi is also among those who oppose Trustee Miller. He stated his disapproval for Miller at RCCD’s Sept. 6 Board meeting.
“It is, of course, perfectly right for Board members to have diverse political and philosophical positions.” he said. “The mainstreaming of hateful and even violent rhetoric, that is the product of political partisans, cannot be allowed to infect and corrode our work in providing educational opportunities for all who come through our doors.”
Norco College Academic Senate President, Peggy Campo says that she believes Trustee Miller may have not adhered to BP 2715 but reports that the policy is too ambiguous and may need a revision.
“(Feeling) distrust and dismay; It concerns me for my students,” Campo said. “It (BP 2715) was updated in 2014. I think some of these points might have not been abided by, but then again it’s interpretation.
“But ultimately even if we changed it we really have no teeth. He is a voted community member but nowhere in that policy can you say ‘we are going to get rid of you,’ and that works for a reason,” she said. “He represents the opinion of the community (Area 1) and if faculty, students, staff and administrators got rid of the Board how they wanted to, then that would be dangerous.”
Campo also noted that at Norco College’s Welcome Back event— which was organized for new students and returning students on August 27— one Norco College faculty member left the celebration in complete disapproval of Miller’s presence at that event.
Miller responded to critics who believe he has violated a clause or clauses within BP 2715 by referring to it as a “partisan witch hunt.”
He refuted claims made against him by directly quoting from the Faculty Association’s minutes dated Aug. 30.
“‘The Faculty Association doesn’t believe that Miller’s tweet automatically undermines his campaign. If anything, Miller’s tweets might very well make him more popular with many of his staunch ultra-conservative constituents. The Faculty Association must take this matter extremely serious’,” Miller quoted.
Miller continued to directly quote the Faculty Association.
“‘The Association Executive board members took turns indicating the urgency of going after Miller with everything we have. They all indicated that we cannot and must not accept him as our trustee … if the Board of Trustees stands in our way, we will go after the Board as well,’” he directly quoted.
Miller referred to these tactics a being a “distraction” from the District’s overall goal, which he said is to provide students with what they need to succeed in college. He also referred to the critiques as “a bully tactic” by the Faculty Association.
Miller also stated his sentiment toward those who criticize him, and outlines what he and his constituents have done and can provide for the community, more specifically in regard to his recent experience as a community college student.
“I represent 90,000 constituents in this District. We’ve accomplished alot together and I know that there will be more to come,” he said. “The vast majority of people that I come in contact with … seem confused by the overzealous response at our Board meetings.
“I did not run for RCCD trustee for the title or a stepping stone; I ran because I am one of the few trustees that understands the role technology plays in our students lives,” he said. “I vividly remember my own relatively recent student experience at community college and it serves as a guide for me, in my policy making, and how I can work within the system to improve the student’s experience.”