The Rancho Santiago Community College District chancellor, who is Hispanic, told the recently departed Coast Community College District chancellor, who is African American, that the latter was essentially the victim of racism.
The bold claim is made in one of hundreds of emails obtained by the Orange County Register through a California Public Records Act request.
The daily, which like Chancellor Raul Rodriguez's Rancho Santiago Community College District is based in Santa Ana, reports his exchange "raises new questions about the circumstances" of Andrew C. Jones' split from the Costa Mesa-based Coast district. Jones abruptly resigned as the three-college district's chancellor on Aug. 14 and neither he nor the district has said why.
In the email to Jones, Rodriguez called Coast trustees "dysfunctional" and said he was "disgusted with that board and their passive aggressive racism."
"You have done an amazing job as the chancellor of (Coast) in spite of tremendous obstacles," Rodriguez wrote. "You did better than anyone could have imagined and lasted longer than most predicted. It is a tragedy that you have been treated in this manner, and you have done nothing at all to deserve such treatment."
Mary Hornbuckle, a former Costa Mesa mayor who is now president of the Coast district's all-white Board of Trustees, said in the Reg of Rodriguez, "He's entitled to his opinion, but he certainly hasn't done any homework to learn what kind of board we are. We have hired people of many diverse races, and we have given promotions, and if you look around the district we have tried to do our best."
As for the man of the hour–who was recruited from a Dallas community college district in 2011 and went on to became the fourth chancellor to leave Coast in 11 years–Jones reportedly told the Reg: "There are a myriad of perspectives. Mine did not always align with the board's and vice versa. At the end of the day, we jointly had many major successes in a short period of time."
In his own email back to Rodriguez, Jones thanked his fellow educator for the support–but did not acknowledge the racism chatter.