Despite changing the website to state Black Lives Matter, there is a black exodus of talent at Pasadena City College (PCC.) PCC Black employees are constantly crashing into the cement ceiling; from custodians to counselors to Professors reporting the same difficulties with promotion within. Despite master degrees and PhDs, and being well qualified, many black PCC employees report that when they have gone through the cumbersome HR process for promotions, they either don’t receive a response or they aren’t selected beyond the first round. Recently, with the quest for an African American history professor, a long time black history Professor was not even considered for the role and the community is concerned instead someone without an African American history background culturally & racially could be hired for the role.
Over the years, Blacks have been given the opportunity to lead departments, serve as Vice Presidents, Deans, and various Managerial roles on an Interim basis, successfully for one, two, and even three years, yet when the permanent opportunity arises suddenly they aren’t selected. This has occurred where many black employees are good enough for weathering the Interim role, growing & keeping the department or program thriving but suddenly PCC decides the black employee is not good enough to receive the permanent role and miraculously selects someone with less melanin.
Recently In the midst of grieving our collective grandmothers, cousins, brothers passing in Buffalo, NY the current President of PCC, Dr. Erika Endrijonas sent a late and tone deaf campus wide email that focused mostly on a handful of antisemetic fliers being distributed while using the unspeakable tragedy in Buffalo as an aside. The hiring of a diversity officer is not enough. When black employees experience racial incidents or harassment there is no impartial ombudsman nor employee relations officer to express grievances to.
In April 2022, Erika received a Vote of No Confidence, and her overall aloofness to the Black climate at PCC has reached a crescendo where Black employees are also fed up, many are leaving or looking for new opportunities. This black exodus impacts not only black and African American student outcomes at PCC but the overall campus diversity.
The only black trustee, Trustee Berlinda Brown recently used the college’s PIO to submit statistics for the colleges hiring of blacks underneath the guise of State of Black Pasadena however the inflated statistics provided didn’t disaggregate the retention of black employees nor the many blacks unable to partake in promotional opportunities. PCC has a high percentage of black employees who are part timers as well many who have been stuck in the same positions over decades. The skewed statistics submitted by PCC also failed to state whether the hiring of blacks was disproportionately segmented amongst part time employees versus the more lucrative higher paying full time benefit filled opportunities. Trustee Brown is up for re-election in June 2022 and every few years she has consistently used community events in Northwest as backdrops for her campaign materials rather than opportunities to truly listen to employees, the community and her constituents.
In 2018, the student newspaper, The Courier documented the many ways PCC doesn’t like or care about Black people, there is a forthcoming investigation by the Pasadena NAACP where they have investigated several complaints from black employees, as well as other local newspapers chronicling the lip service the college has consistently provided as sad justification over the years.
Unfortunately, because PCC won’t hire or promote Blacks, homegrown talent at PCC must seek elevation and build generational wealth for their families by seeking opportunities elsewhere. Take Action: Chancellor Eloy Oakley, The California Community College Chancellor's Office needs to investigate Pasadena City College. Send your concerns about Pasadena City College commitment to equity, Anti-Racism and Black employee retention to the Chancellor at email@example.com.