2020 Chancellor Search Candidate Review: Rodriguez’s Track Record Alarming

We are back-dating this post since it is no longer relevant to our current situation, but keeping the information archived for future reference if needed.


There are two candidates that have been forwarded by our District’s Governing Board to the last stage: public forums.  Our first review of a candidate, Raul Rodriguez, has been beyond disappointing and upsetting.  Rodriguez would clearly be a terrible choice for 4CD Chancellor.  Our scorecard grades him a solid “F.” Rodriguez Report Card

His well-established track record of chaotic, unethical, top-down leadership is frankly alarming.  Here is what we know (with supporting documents):

Raul Rodriguez has been on the UF’s radar for many years.  In 2016, faculty leaders from Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) reached out to our statewide group, the California Community College Independents (CCCI), writing: “Our Chancellor, Russell (aka Raul) Rodriguez is a union buster with a long track record…. He has done an exemplary job of pitting the elected trustees against the faculty and faculty against faculty. … Rodriguez has bad-mouthed faculty with a sundry of lies. We have read his internal e-mails to the trustees and it’s despicable what he has stated.” At that time, RSCCD had taken the faculty union to “impasse” in negotiations, after the faculty had gone more than 18 months without a contract!  The faculty blamed the breakdown in negotiations on Chancellor Rodriguez’s “destructive manner of pitting one [group] against another with the same old bag of tricks blaming everyone for his failures.”

While at RSCCD, Rodriguez promoted a joint venture partnership with the Saudi Arabia public joint stock company Al Khaleej Training and Education Corporation, and the Saudi Arabia limited liability company Colleges of Excellence, to promote training and vocational colleges in Saudi Arabia. The Colleges of Excellence are being investigated by the country’s anti-corruption commission. See New Arab News. Part of that agreement excluded faculty who were women, gay or Jewish. Here is the letter from the Anti-Defamation League opposing Rodriguez’s Saudi scheme, which he apparently ignored: ADL letter.  For those who really want to get into the weeds of this unfortunate deal, you can start by looking at the initial binding agreement letter that Rodriguez signed without consulting the Board. The letter did not appear in the minutes of any board meeting. For a chancellor to engage with a foreign government without the board’s knowledge is beyond reckless!

After concerns were raised, the project was moved to the Foundation. See initial consulting Saudi Plan for details. In response to challenges from the faculty, Rodriguez sent the Union President, Barry Resnick, this email, apparently defending the idea that Jews and Women could not participate: Raul defends Banning Jews and Women.

Professor Barry Resnick, of RSCCD, was so outraged by the legacy Rodriquez left, that he published an article reviewing what he calls, a legacy of controversies, chaos and self-serving deals.  Resnick describes Rodriquez’s style as “management by chaos.”  The full article is here: https://voiceofoc.org/2018/02/resnick-the-legacy-of-rancho-santiago-community-college-districts-raul-rodriguez/

Voice of Orange County also archived many press pieces worth reviewing: https://voiceofoc.org/tag/raul-rodriguez/

At San Joaquin Delta College from 2002-2010, Rodriguez had a similar track record: repeated failure to build consensus or work collaboratively with constituency groups.  Instead, faculty wrote about his “fermenting conflict with a productive faculty.”  Even some Governing Board members felt his decision to improve their health benefits while capping employee’s benefits was a “Slap in the Face”. In 2008, in a public letter, the California Teacher’s Association local at San Joaquin Delta College informed their Board that Rodriguez “bargained in bad faith; devalued teaching (one of the core activities of the college); repeatedly misrepresented the financial resources of the college; show[ed] no interest in finding common ground with the faculty; and (at times) neglected the most basic interests of the college. Please be aware that glib pieties from President Rodriguez…only further inflame the situation.”

Rodriguez also apparently gave $94,000 in stipends to managers without board approval!  Here is the story: Accusations fly, debate heats up over stipends at Delta College – Lodinews.

Here is a news stories describing Rodriguez’s track record of not giving raises that were promised:

In 2008, the State conducted an audit of 4 years of bond spending at San Joaquin Delta College under Raul Rodriguez.  The audit found “projects that are not consistent with the priorities identified in the voter-approved measure”; “ineffective oversight”; and a lack of “meaningful accountability and transparency.” Additionally, more than $283k was inappropriately expensed for the “Kuali Project” (consultants paid in this Delta project were also involved in RSCCD contracts like r-Smart and Saudi Plan). But rather than make corrections, according to State Controller John Chaing, Rodriguez “disagreed with most of the audit findings and recommendations” and generally “misunderstood” and “mischaracterized” the audit.  The complete report is here: Delta Audit.

Rodriguez also has a history of being called on his lack of transparency (i.e. Brown Act violations), not only by Governing Board Members and college constituency groups, but also in reports by regulatory agencies (i.e. Grand Jury Report Delta College). Note Rodriguez’s weak denials calling the GRAND JURY charges as ” just allegations” and the charge that millions of dollars in bond money was wasted is “just a matter of opinion.” Here is another example of a letter an RSCCD Board member’s lawyer sent about his concern related to Brown Act violations and Project Labor Agreements: 11-5-13-ltr-to-rsccd-board. The CA. Attorney General’s Office issued an opinion of support in reference to this matter too.

Here is a quickly compiled timeline for your review.  As you will see, it really is an appalling record of bad management and bad relations with faculty: Raul Rodriguez Track Record

Here are several more published stories on related topics:

After leaving Rancho in 2019, Raul applied at Santa Fe New Mexico Community College.
  • When asked about these situations Rodriquez said: “These stories are what happens in a collective bargaining state when you have unions that try to sow chaos so they get what they want in their contract,” Rodríguez said. “They don’t reflect who I am as a leader. They’re not true. If you talk to the majority of faculty and managers that I have worked with, they will tell you that I’m a strong and ethical leader.”
  • He didn’t get the position.
As of July 2020, Rodriguez is serving as Interim President/Superintendent at Hartnell College.


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