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UPDATE: COC faculty endorses Shaw, Wilk for Nov. 8

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Posted: September 16, 2011 5:25 p.m.
Updated: September 16, 2011 5:25 p.m.


The union representing 184 full-time faculty at College of the Canyons has endorsed challenger Diana Shaw over incumbent Bruce Fortine for Seat 4 in the Nov. 8 election, it was announced Friday.

The College of the Canyons Faculty Association is also supporting incumbent Scott Wilk over challenger Patrick Douglas Hill for Seat 5 on the Santa Clarita Community College District, which governs the Santa Clarita Valley’s only community college.

Fortine has been a board member for more than 15 years and Wilk is seeking his second four-year term on the board.
Board president Michele Jenkins did not capture an endorsement for Seat 2, although she is running unopposed.

While the COC Faculty Association recognizes Fortine’s 40 years of involvement at College of the Canyons, members of the association’s Representative Council believes the community college needs a trustee who has “resources of new ideas and a fresh set of eyes,” which they said they see in Shaw, a small business owner.

The endorsement process began in August and included interviews with all the candidates and a final vote with 20 members of the association’s Representative Council.

“Although we certainly respect the current board and its history, some of their recent decisions and budget priorities have led the COC faculty to conclude that a change in the board is in the best interest of students, the community, and the quality of education at COC,” association President Chris Blakey said Friday.

“In these uncertain economic times, it’s more important than ever to make sure shrinking resources are invested in the classroom first.”

Shaw said Friday that she was flattered to have the association’s endorsement and credits her focus on the classroom for the support.

By going door to door in the SCV, Shaw said she has found strong concern from people who say they can’t get the classes they need to earn degrees.

In recent years, COC administrators have been forced to trim course offerings because of state budget cuts.
“You just have to work very aggressively on making sure the students’ classes are available and so they can get through an associates degree in two years,” she said.

Fortine said Friday that despite the lack of formal endorsement, he has support from many full-time faculty at COC and is very active with them.

“I’m there to help them either individually or collectively,” he said.

He believes the board needs an experienced trustee.

“I have 34 years of experience with College of the Canyons,” he said. “One of the reasons that the college is where it is today is because I was on the board.”

Wilk said Friday he is honored to have the full-time faculty’s support.

“They’re the rock stars on campus and they make it happen,” he said. “It reaffirms to me that I’m doing the best job possible.”





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