Three days after election day, when Southwestern College school-board incumbents Yolanda Salcido and Jorge Dominquez were voted out of office, the board called a special meeting. The meeting — called for by the board only 24 hours in advance — was held Friday evening, November 5. The purpose of the meeting was to evaluate superintendent Raj Chopra.
Even with short notice, the boardroom was packed. Members of the audience spoke against the proposed evaluation. One faculty member asked the board, “Why has President Chopra continued to receive raises and contract extensions when he has effectively dismantled our college?”
The timing of the evaluation was criticized because less than a month ago, Chopra cohosted a fundraiser for outgoing board president Salcido at the Coronado Cays Yacht Club.
Trustee Nick Aguilar made two motions at last Friday's special meeting. His first motion was to postpone the evaluation until after the initial report on accreditation progress was received from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. His second motion was to postpone the evaluation until the new board was seated. Both motions died for lack of a second.
After several hours in closed session, the board returned to the meeting. The college district’s attorney announced that Chopra’s evaluation had been completed and placed in his personnel file and thus would remain private. (Outgoing trustee Jorge Dominguez did not respond to an email inquiry regarding the criteria used for the superintendent’s evaluation.)
A revised agenda for the regular November 10 board meeting includes the item “public employee/dismissal/release.” Some people speculate that the board will offer to buy out the superintendent’s contract.
Pictured: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Raj Chopra
Image source: swccd.edu