By Stephen Day
Riverside City College on June 20 appointed Clarie Oliveros as President.
With every “changing of the guard” comes some uncertainty and excitement for the future and for RCC, the guard has changed a few times over the last year.
Interim presidents filled the role the year prior.
Following that dismissal, Rajen Vurdien was briefly made the interim President, followed by FeRita Carter, who remained interim President until the Board of Trustees selected Oliveros.
In late May this year, the school held a three-day open forum with the final candidate choices each given an opportunity to present why they would be the best choice for President.
During those forums, Oliveros stated that she plans on prioritizing communication with the RCC community to “listen, learn and enhance.”
Oliveros’ background includes program coordinating and executive leadership during her 28 years of professional higher education experience. She will face many challenges as students and staff fully normalize from the pandemic disruptions of the last couple of years. Also on the table are concerns about campus safety following a botched reaction to an on-campus threat on April 18.
Carter, who was also pursuing the position of President, says that the “entire leadership team is going to rally around her [Oliveros] so that she can be as successful as she can be.” Carter went on to say that what RCC needs right now is “cohesiveness” and “leadership” and a “leader that people are going to get behind.”
Bre Acosta, an educational paraprofessional major, says that she’s excited to see how the school will function versus the past few years during Andersons’ administration, since she started in 2017, especially “now, going forward,will have a good school and foundation here.”
Many students we talked to were unaware that the school had a new President, and many didn’t feel like it would impact their day-to-day life. Others, especially those who had been here during the previous administration, like Emma Hillig, recent RCC graduate, felt that the previous situation with Anderson came on suddenly and ”we as students were left out of it.” They hoped that this President will provide “more communication about what is happening” at the school.
Faculty, staff and students had an opportunity to be involved with the decision-making process, being allowed to submit feedback on the open forums that were held in May, but many of the students were unaware that they were being held.
Dan Hogan, an English professor since 2016, believes that the President “directly impacts the day to day life of the faculty and students” and recounted the troubles that the Honors Program faced with Anderson’s lack of leadership. “I faulted him [Anderson] less for things that he did versus things that he failed to do.” Hogan claims “the Honors program has suffered because of a lack of leadership and a lack of guidance.”
Oliveros began her tenure on July 10, and will receive a salary of $275,919.00. Due to scheduling conflicts Oliveros was unable to provide any comments for this story.