President defends his tenure

Bekka Wiedenmeyer
Staff writer

On Oct. 12, the Express Newspaper released an article that voiced the concerns of some faculty and administrators concerning President Kevin Walthers’ management of LPC.

The article was described as being “excessively harsh and unfair” by Walthers himself, and other unnamed school officials also made similar claims.

For the benefit of students, however, Walthers wishes to focus on what is important: helping students as best he can. This includes expanding enrollment for future LPC students, reinforcing infrastructure on campus that will better serve students and providing more classes for students to take in order to graduate and move on.

“(The article) is not something I want to dwell on because it doesn’t help students and it doesn’t help morale on campus,” Walthers said. “We need to make decisions that are in the best interests of helping students. I come from a background that is essentially if you take care of the students, the rest of the stuff will take care of itself. My focus is on doing what’s best for students.”

Previously, Walthers was employed in West Virginia as the Vice Chancellor of the state system.

Before that, he worked at the College of Eastern Utah and was a policy analyst for the Utah state legislature. While California and West Virginia differ in their rules and regulations, Walthers believes that the core mission of community colleges is the same.

“The core of what a community college does is educate students and train the workforce and provide basic skills,” he said. “(That) is the same when you go across the country.”

One of the tasks that he and others at LPC have been working on is providing students with more classes. Given the recent budget cuts and the financial crisis that the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District is facing, students have been hard-pressed to find open classes in which to enroll.

One opportunity to remedy the situation is the Foundation 55 program.

Geared towards students looking to graduate, the program adds one course session to the catalog for each $5,500 it raises.

“The nice part is that it’s completely faculty-driven,” Walthers said. “The faculty come in and say these are the courses we need, these are the courses where we see students have long waiting lists. I’m really proud of that program, and it’s going to be fantastic for the students here.”

Since its introduction to the LPC Foundation in July, five classes have been added to the course schedule. These are not including classes that have been added due to grant funds—these are purely the results of donations from around the community.

Another contribution that has been made to students has been the recent updates made to campus infrastructure, particularly with the new Science Building and the impact it has on students involved with the science program. Despite budget cuts made to this project, there are still resources left over to continue updating the infrastructure at LPC.

“We’re going to have $21 million in bond funds left over for additional technology and infrastructure upgrades,” Walthers said. “We’ve been very wise in how we allocate those funds.”

While Walthers had no additional comment in response to the article, the claims still stand.

One criticism that has been made involves the differing atmospheres between community colleges on the West Coast and the East Coast. The work cultures in California and West Virginia community colleges are different.

“I think their concerns were valid,” Sarah Thompson, Academic Senate president, said in reference to the article. “(President Walthers) perhaps isn’t the best fit for our particular work culture. He has a history of employment and a history of accomplishments, so obviously, given the right atmosphere, he can really excel, but this perhaps was not the right atmosphere. Some of it may be because in his experience in other states, things were done differently.”

While the current financial situation at LPC is tentative, it is obvious that there are issues at hand. Many opinions are being presented about the solutions to those issues, and not all agree. However, both faculty and administration consider the best interests of the students at LPC to be paramount.

“We can sit by and do nothing, or we can do something innovative,” Walthers said. “If we can’t serve students, then we need to find a way for students to get served. It will all get itself worked out.”

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