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Dominguez

January 20, 2002

resignation

emotional

blow to IVC

By JENNIFER RALTON-SMITH

Staff Writer

Reaction to the letter of resignation submitted by Imperial Valley College President Gilbert M. Dominguez at Wednesday night's meeting of the district's Board of Trustees has not been slow in coming.

"It was a very emotional moment for me," said Rudy Cardenas, president of the Board of Trustees, describing the moment when Dominguez tendered his resignation.

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Cardenas said he was caught by surprise when the matter came up during closed session Wednesday night.

"I felt bad … his resignation was a shock. I assumed he was going to ask for an extension of his tenure as his contract was up in June," he said.

Cardenas said other board members were taken by surprise as well.

In his law office in downtown El Centro on Friday, Cardenas spoke of Dominguez's time at IVC as being "… difficult for him personally but I think the board has been clearly behind him during his tenure."

Dominguez's time at IVC was marked by controversy including a vote of no confidence by the faculty, a sexual harassment lawsuit settled out of court and failed bond measures to improve and add campus facilities.

Cardenas said there is now a need to "look forward."

"It's sad in a way — and exciting in a way. The most difficult decision the board has to make is selecting a new president."

He continued by saying, "I think the whole community will be involved. People on and off campus will be part of the selection process."

Among faculty members, the reaction to Dominguez's resignation was mixed.

David Zielinksi, associate professor of English, said with Dominguez's departure, the college will be in a good position to "start afresh."

On campus Friday afternoon, James Patterson, speech and theater arts instructor, allowed that most people on campus were "in a bit of shock — we did not see this coming."

Patterson is hopeful the board will move quickly to start the process of selecting a new president.

"It will just be a matter of how quickly they want to proceed," he said.

When asked what qualities he would expect of a new president, Patterson said, "I'm hoping for a person who can energize the institution and who has a clear vision for IVC."

When asked for a summation of his experience with working with Dominguez, Patterson said, "Dr. Dominguez came into a situation that needed certain key critical elements such as a master plan and accreditation studies. And we accomplished those while he was here — to his credit.

Patterson continued by saying, "Dr. Dominguez provided the leadership to get those things done. I have learned a tremendous amount about administration of community colleges from working with Dr. Dominguez. I have not always agreed with what he's done but I've learned a lot about what it is to be a (college) president by working under Dr. Dominguez for the last four and a half years."

Dominguez's resignation is effective June 28.

>> Staff Writer Jennifer Ralton-Smith can be reached at 337-3442 or dingo87@earthlink.net

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