Academic Senate indicts Yarbrough

RSCCD Board of Trustees meet at Santa Ana College for their meeting. From right to left, John Hanna, Arianna Barrios, Phillip Yarbrough, and Mark McLoughlin. (Photo courtesy Jason Kehler)

In a heated meeting on Nov. 13, the Academic Senate accused board of trustees President Phillip Yarbrough of violating the board’s code of ethics.

The accusation was triggered by Yarbrough’s recent OC Register editorial urging readers to vote against Proposition 30, a tax measure to fund education.

“We don’t understand how this can possibly be interpreted as the best interest of the district or the students,” Santa Ana College Academic Senate President Raymond Hicks said.

Though formal action has not been taken by the Santiago Canyon College Academic Senate, faculty members responses to Yarbrough’s position range from “disappointment, to dismay, to even disgust,” said SCC Academic Senate President Corinna Evett.

Yarborough apologized for “confusion” between the district’s position and his personal opinion, but defends his article by saying that the state was threatening education to fund other projects.

“They’re going to raise taxes to pay for their little choo-choo train,” Yarbrough said before the election, referring to the statewide high-speed rail project.

The SAC Academic Senate raised concerns over whether Yarbrough can represent the district as president of the Board of Trustees, said Hicks.

Yarbrough, however, said that he supports education.

“Before I got on this board, I taught economics. I didn’t teach for the money. I taught because I loved it,” Yarbrough said.

Still, SAC faculty leaders called on the Board of Trustees to review the apparent ethics violations and pursue an appropriate course of action.

The final decision is up to Vice President Mark McLoughlin, who has not yet secured reelection, whether or not to investigate Yarbrough’s alleged ethics violations.

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“It’s a situation that I reviewed already, but what kind of action would come out of it?” McLoughlin said, noting that new officers are appointed in December. “He’s really retired out of this process.”

Evett urged the Board of Trustees to consider other members for president when choosing new officers in December when three or four new trustees will join the board.

“With the conduct [Yarbrough] has projected at this point in time, I think he needs to move on and let somebody else take the leadership role,” McLoughlin said. “We need good leaders with the transition to new board members.”

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