Tenuous time for president – Head of Sierra College asked to resign post
The fate of Sierra Community College President Kevin Ramirez was undecided late Thursday night as trustees continued a closed-door meeting to determine if his 12-year tenure would come to an end.
The meeting was a continuation of a session that began Tuesday and ended early Wednesday morning. Ramirez, president of the 20,000-student, four-campus district, was not present at the meeting and was represented by legal counsel.
The meeting comes on the heels of Nevada County Trustee Aaron Klein’s call for Ramirez to resign. In December, Klein called for Ramirez to resign in part because of financial improprieties Klein believed were committed during the course of the campaigns to raise money for improvements to the community college system.
One of those campaigns, Measure E, a $384 million bond issue, failed in March. Subsequent bond measures for the Nevada County and Truckee campuses passed in November.
In Klein’s December memo, he stated that Ramirez increased salaries, used repair funds to purchase bleachers for the college’s football field and, most egregiously according to Klein, Ramirez funneled nearly $100,000 in political donations through the Sierra College foundation to the bond measure’s political committees, violating state law.
Ramirez, who was not available for comment Thursday, has denied any wrongdoing.
Tuesday’s board meeting drew nearly three dozen supporters of Ramirez. Thursday’s meeting drew a small but fiercely loyal group of teachers and administrators who waited in the lobby of the main administration building as the board sat behind closed doors.
Those waiting to hear Ramirez’ fate were unabashed in their support for the 12-year president.
“This is the saddest day in my 30 years here at the college,” said Bart Ruud, who has been a counselor and teacher at the Sierra College Rocklin campus for 30 years.
Ruud lashed out at newly-elected trustees Klein and Scott Leslie, both of whom took office in November.
Leslie and Klein ran on a platform of changing the status quo at Sierra College in defeating incumbents Robert Tomasini and Nevada County trustee David Parker.
Asked if Ramirez’s possible departure had anything to do with the election of the two new board members, Ruud was firm.
“Unequivocally, in my opinion,” Ruud said.
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