by Ryan Burns
In an e-mail to colleagues and members of the board of trustees last night, embattled College of the Redwoods President Jeff Marsee announced that he's one of three finalists for the position of president/superintendant at San Joaquin Delta Community College District in Stockton. The revelation caught many off guard.
"It was definitely a surpise to me and, I think, most on campus," CR spokesman Paul DeMark said when reached by phone Thursday afternoon.
Since becoming president in July 2008, Marsee led the college down an ambitious, often controversial path, expanding the campus to include new instructional sites (in Garberville, Arcata and McKinleyville, plus a thwarted attempt to acquire the Jefferson School property in Eureka) and making sweeping changes to the college's class schedule, calendar and administrative structure.
After resolving some issues surrounding organization and communication, CR was removed from warning status by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges in February of last year. However, the turmoil had not ceased.
In April, the college's employee union delivered a vote of "no confidence" in the college's Board of Trustees, essentially blaming them for not keeping Marsee in check. They were perturbed by the fact that Marsee had removed the results of an employee satisfaction survey from the college's website. Shortly thereafter, Marsee put the results back online and issued a conciliatory statement.
DeMark said he's not sure what to make of Marsee's latest move. Marsee himself was unavailable for comment as he had traveled to the CR instructional site in Hoopa, according to DeMark. Asked if the president would remain employed at CR should he fail to get the job in Stockton DeMark replied, "I assume so. He has a contract here."