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By Terry Miller
The embattled yet defiant PCC president, who prompted a vote of no confidence from students and faculty of the City college last year, is perhaps leaving the left coast. Rocha is one of three candidates for a job as president of Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, according to their Facebook page.
Rocha says to his potential new student body on that of Kingsborough Community College Facebook page:
“I’m for the little guy,” Dr. Rocha says. “I grew up in the South Bronx and both of my parents dropped out of high school. But they saw to it I went college. The American Dream is real to me. It’s still alive and well in our community colleges.”
But the vote of no confidence wasn’t the only thing Rocha has been criticized for. His recent commencement speaker conundrum, which turned out to be a major fiasco and civic embarrassment, proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Rocha is ” totally out of touch” with PCC and students on the West Coast according to one student who preferred to remain anonymous.
PCC gave itself a “black eye” according to a Los Angeles Times report over the rescinded commencement speech invitation to Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, it announced that the replacement commencement speaker would be Dr. Eric Walsh, Pasadena’s director of public health. Only to discover that Walsh was a bigot-and and vehemently anti-gay. Black eye indeed, for Pasadena too. Walsh was placed on paid administrative leave and the story got even more complicated
“Black, 39, would have been a terrific and inspiring speaker. But PCC President Mark W. Rocha, Deputy Supt. Robert Bell and Pasadena Area Community College Board of Trustees President Anthony Fellow feared that an obscure 2009 incident involving a purloined sex tape featuring Black with a former boyfriend would give the college a “bad name,” Anthony Fellow said in an interview with the student newspaper, The Courier.
The public embarrassment of the Walsh saga combined with the anti-gay slings and arrows pointed in the direction of actor Dustin Black and then the re-invitation, which was accepted by Black in the eleventh hour closed a dark chapter on the campus.
Rocha was appointed president of PCC in 2010. In October, the PCC Board of Trustees voted unanimously to extend Rocha’s contract through 2017 and raise his salary by $10,000 to $254,135 a year starting on July 1.