With Accreditation Pending, VVC Board Holds Off On Renewing President’s Contract

(December 28)   VICTORVILLE–The Victor Valley College Board of Trustees has declined to renew Christopher O’Hearn’s contract as college president.
O’Hearn’s contract will expire on June 30. The proposal before the board earlier this month called for a two-year extension. The full board voted 4-1 not to make that extension at the present time, with Dennis Henderson dissenting. The board has the option of taking up the issue of O’Hearn’s continued tenure again before his contract expires.
Board member Joe Brady said the board’s vote should not be interpreted as an indication of a lack of confidence in O’Hearn or disapproval of his leadership thus far. He said the board majority simply did not want to be stampeded into action at this time.
“We had to give notice by the end of December on whether we were going to extend his contact,” Brady said. “We voted against doing that at this time. That is not to say we could not sit down and have a different outcome in February, March or April. This had nothing to do with any dissatisfaction with his performance. He has a contract that expires in June and we were being asked to extend it another two years. That would have been a two-and-a-half-year commitment to keep him and at this point we are not ready to do just that.”
A major challenge to the college and O’Hearn has been the college’s placement on accreditation probation as of June 2011.
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges is to give a report on its review of the college in February, providing an indication of whether the college will be returned to full accreditation. That report is very likely to have a bearing on whether the college will choose to keep O’Hearn as president.
Brady said he believed O’Hearn had done a “credible job” in seeking to return the college to full academic status, but he said “We’re all sensitive to the college’s image and the need to carry out the academic mission, which is to provide students with credits toward a four-year degree at another institution or to train our residents with skills needed in the workforce. I think the voters sent a message when they did not return Joe Range to the board that they want a change in the college and its focus. Giving the president a two-year extension at this point, if you look at everything that is going on is not consistent with that new vision.”

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