The Foothill-De Anza Community College District Board of Trustees voted unanimously Oct.25 not to renew the contract of Foothill president Thuy Thi Nguyen.
Former Foothill president Bernadine Chuck Fong will serve as president on an interim basis effective Monday.
Board president Peter Landsberger announced the decision following the board’s closed session.
“While I am limited in what more I can say about the action and what led to it, I can say the board believes this action is needed to allow the college to move beyond the current state of conflict,” he said in a statement.
The Foothill Academic Senate, representing faculty, issued a resolution of “no confidence” in Nguyen, who has served as president since 2016. The Academic Senate presented the resolution at the Oct. 25 board meeting.
“In contrast to her job description, President Nguyen has failed to cultivate increased involvement in shared/participatory governance, and as a result we have a governance process that renders the voices of faculty to be of no possible consequence or value other than to rubber stamp or validate decisions that have already been made,” according to the resolution.
Nguyen’s contract runs through next June. Instead, Fong will serve at least through the duration of that contract.
When first appointed, Nguyen was touted as the first Vietnamese American college president in the country.
“The Board of Trustees respects President Nguyen’s accomplishments and recognizes that she is admired by many,” Landsberger said in a statement. “Nevertheless, the board’s priority must be to take steps to establish the conditions under which administrators, faculty, staff and students can work collaboratively to achieve student success with universally equitable outcomes.”
Landsberger continued: “The board has placed the achievement of the district’s equity and student success goals at the heart of its board priorities. Nothing in this action should be interpreted as a retreat from Foothill’s equity agenda.”
“I believe it is in the best interests of Foothill College to seek new leadership that can reinvigorate collaborative approaches to being student centered and equity minded,” Chancellor Judy Miner said in a statement.
Miner said she, Landsberger and Fong will join a collegewide meeting Monday “to begin the healing process.”
“Going forward, let us focus on the future and recommit to nurturing a collegial environment that is conducive to teaching and learning,” Miner said. “We owe it to our students.”
This a developing story. Watch for updates.