A regularly scheduled performance evaluation of Santa Barbara City College President Andreea Serban has gone into overtime. Held behind closed doors at City College on Monday afternoon, the Board of Trustees annual evaluation of Serban and her work done leading the community college was not completed and was continued until high noon on May 25. Due to confidentiality rules governing such discussions, all parties involved remained tight-lipped as to the specifics of the talks.
Monday marked the first formal – and contractually mandated – job review of Serban by a Board of Trustees that features four new members – the quartet was elected last November after public outcry about the school’s handling of last year’s budget situation and, in part, Serban’s alleged roll in that controversial process and the impact it had on SBCC’s beloved Continuing Education program. In fact, Serban, citing a less than ideal working relationship with the new board earlier this year, was a finalist in March for a leadership role at Mt. San Antonio College. However, though tensions still remain to a certain degree, Serban publicly confirmed a few weeks ago that her love and commitment to SBCC has never wavered and that she remains devoted to serving the school.
Before moving into closed session, the public comment period of Monday’s meeting featured a predominantly pro-Serban testimony from a variety of faculty, community members, and classified employees of the college. There was even a short video, produced specifically to showcase support for the president, shown to great applause. The proceedings, though, were far from a one-sided affair as three of the dozen speakers testified to deep divisions currently fracturing the college’s campus as it relates to Serban’s leadership, one speaker even going as far as to suggest that many would-be Serban detractors did not attend the public meeting for fear of retribution.
Interestingly enough, the extended evaluation time may in fact have nothing to do with the actual discussion at hand as, at a previous Board meeting, it was revealed that Trustee Marty Blum had an engagement in Ventura on Monday evening and would potentially have to leave early. When the public portion of the meeting concluded on Monday, Blum was in attendance.
The closed session evaluation will continue on Wednesday afternoon with any reportable conclusion being publicly announced thereafter in room A211 of the MacDougall Administration Center.