Contracting with Saudi Arabia has sparked an ongoing argument this past month at Board of Trustee and Academic Senate meetings.
Ignoring protests from staff and faculty, the Rancho Santiago Community College District Foundation has decided to move forward with a multi-million dollar contract.
The deal requires the foundation to assist two technical schools in Saudi Arabia with developing curriculum, infrastructure and a overall academic environment.
The Faculty Association of Rancho Santiago Community College has issued a cease and desist letter to the RSCCD fundraising foundation in an attempt to stop this agreement.
Many professors and faculty are upset because this agreement with a country known for violating human rights did not go through the Board of Trustees. Instead, it was made by the RSCCD Foundation, a fundraising group focused on economic growth for
Some of the Santa Ana College faculty has spoken out because this violates RSCCD’s mission to provide help and assistance to its “diverse students and communities”— yet, to say the least, Saudi Arabia discriminates against many groups, including women and the LGBT community.
As of now, Chancellor Raul Rodriguez is the only one who has been providing answers to the questions that have arisen.
It is no secret that the district needs money, but the secrecy lies in making the deal itself; based on the feedback of professors and faculty, clearly there is both objection to the deal and the way it was handled.
This isn’t the first time RSCCD has been involved in agreements with other foreign countries but no protests from faculty were made before the Saudi Arabia incident.
An agreement that involves no student and faculty input should not stand.
It sets a bad precedent in a high-profile way when so much money is involved.