This is a letter to the new District Chancellor of State Center Community College, Carole Goldsmith:
Dear Madam Chancellor,
As I watched you deliver your opening remarks directly after being confirmed by the SCCCD Board of Directors as our next Chancellor, I remembered an interview between the two of us: mine, in 2019. It was the twentieth. -Fifth time I applied for a full time tenure track job in our district, and the first time I got a second interview. I was a bundle of nerves and emotions sitting in your office. I expected to be rejected for work. What sane college president would hire the faculty union president? Especially someone who has challenged and criticized some of your decisions; why give this person a sheltered job? And yet, you took this risk on me.
Today I am taking a similar risk on you.
After working closely with you for almost four years – often in conflicting situations and under pressure – here are some reasons why I feel justified in this risk.
You are a stayer. It means a lot to me and to my colleagues. You are invested in this community, just like us. You have friends and family here, just like us. You care about the particular successes and historical failures of our unique little quadrant of the state, just like us. And just like us, I believe you expect to end your career here and end it with a sense of accomplishment and dignity.
You are open to correction and not above apologizing. More than once when the State Center Teachers Federation challenged a decision, I saw you stop, ask for clarification, and carefully consider changing course. The fact that disagreements with you don’t escalate into fights is heartwarming and appreciated.
You are a warrior for fairness. You spoke with passion and acted on the need for us to care more deeply about our LGBTQ + populations. You helped lead two racial equity task forces: one on policing and one for the Fresno City College nursing program. You raised the pride flag for the first time at FCC. These acts meant something to me, to my family, to many members of the community.
As you step into this new role, you will earn at least $ 60,000 more per year than before. As a representative of one of the highest paid groups of workers (our full time faculty) in the Central Valley, I have no objection to people being paid well to do meaningful and impactful work. However, as a representative of one of the lowest paid groups of workers (our part-time faculty), I am keenly aware of the need for fair pay for this meaningful and impactful work.
So you and I are linked by a shared risk. I would see this link tested and strengthened with greater risk. Together, we can build legacies: legacies of local pride and regional development; inheritances of value and value, both extrinsic and intrinsic.
We have work. Let’s do it together.
Keith Ford, President, State Center Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1533