Dallas College faculty split after a vote of no confidence over the Chancellor’s leadership

Some Dallas College faculty members called for the immediate resignation of Chancellor Joe May after they cast a no-confidence vote against him on Friday, concerned about the deal with the school’s consolidation.

May announced earlier this year that he would retire in August 2022. But more than 71 percent of those who took part in last week’s anonymous poll voted for the resolution now calling for his dismissal or resignation.

Richard Menchaca, a professor of integrated reading and writing at Dallas College who led the polls, said in a statement that immediate leadership changes are needed to save the school.

May “created a hostile and toxic work environment at Dallas College that has created distress, fear and pain for many faculty and staff throughout the institution,” wrote Menchaca, who has taught at the college’s El Centro campus for 55 years.

Some faculties were upset when May oversaw the consolidation of Dallas College. The system used to consist of seven colleges – each one a single institution that was part of the Dallas County Community College District – before they merged into one in 2020.

The Dallas College board of directors met Tuesday afternoon, with both curators and other faculties speaking in support of May. The Chancellor did not comment on the vote at the meeting.

Board chairwoman Monica Lira Bravo acknowledged that the school has gone through a lot of changes in a short period of time and said that more improvements will be at play as the transition to college continues.

“We believe in the vision our Chancellor made for us,” she said. “We stand behind him. … We hope that our faculty and our employees understand that change is difficult. “

Alex Lyda, a Dallas College spokesman, said the numbers could be misleading given that the college employs more than 3,200 total faculty, of which approximately 850 are full-time positions.

Less than a third of the full-time lecturers agreed.

Tommy Thompson, president of the college’s faculty board and professor of mathematics, sent a letter to May and the curators on Friday stating that the board was not consulted on the faculty vote, nor has it ever proposed any action. Dallas College officials shared the email The news.

“Our recent transition to a new, unified institution to better serve our students and the wider community has had challenges,” the email read. “Still, we share your desire to work towards the long-term success of Dallas College and our students.”

The consolidation is intended to prevent students from encountering obstacles in obtaining degrees or certificates.

Previously, students had to earn at least a quarter of their credits at an institution in order to receive an associate degree or certificate. But over the years, students have often enrolled in multiple DCCCD schools.

The merger eliminated the possibility of students finding out they hadn’t received the correct number of credits from the right college to graduate, officials said at the time.

But some faculties urged May to take personal advantage of the changes, claiming his salary increased as staff were cut.

“You are getting rid of teachers,” said Menchaca The news. He added that he is afraid of how May’s dealings with college will affect educator recruitment as there is “no future guarantee”.

Dallas College officials said the allegation that the faculty was fired as a result of the consolidation was “manifestly untrue”.

Justin Lonon, Vice Registrar since 2015, will become the college’s next Registrar. Lonon was the only candidate for the position and is already working with May.

Justin Lonon, Vice Chancellor since 2015, has been elected as the eighth chancellor of the school.  Lonon takes over Chancellor Joe May, who announced his resignation last month.

Menchaca said he was concerned that May had requested to step down from his full-time role but continue as the college’s chancellor emeritus, where he would otherwise help the new director and the school. The longtime professor said this would be an expensive facility for the college and May would largely be in control.

But more than 50 faculty members signed a counter-petition led by Michael Noble, a history professor at Dallas College, in support of May.

“A ‘vote of no confidence’ is inappropriate and extreme and does not represent our views,” the petition says. “We know the consolidation was painful. We all lost dear friends in the reorganization. … But operational issues are no reason for a “vote of no confidence” that would set a dangerous precedent and stifle the innovation needed to meet the needs of the students. “

The DMN Education Lab deepens reporting and discussion on pressing educational issues that are critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative with support from The Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, The Meadows Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network, Southern Methodist University and Todd A. Williams Family Foundation. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control over the Education Lab’s journalism.

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