Hartnell College is losing its president/superintendent, Patricia Hsieh, on June 30 in what the college is calling a “mutual agreement” for her resignation.
The resignation was disclosed on the agenda released ahead of the June 16 meeting of the governing board of the Hartnell Community College District. The terms of the termination will be reviewed and considered in a vote of the board.
Hsieh's tenure comes to an end less than a year after she was hired away from her previous job serving as president of San Diego Miramar College. In hiring her in July of 2019, Hartnell’s board rejected concerns and objections raised by community members and by a number of faculty members.
Some opposition to Hsieh stemmed from the apparent lack Latino finalists for the job at a college that primarily serves a Latino student body. There was also skepticism about her fitness for the job after the president of the Academic Senate at Miramar College wrote a letter, warning of Hsieh’s “appalling management” and “shocking lack of integrity.”
Board President Aurelio Salazar pushed back against the critics and defended the choice of Hsieh, saying he was confident she would make “an outstanding leader.”
During her nearly year at Hartnell, Hsieh presided over an expansion of Hartnell's physical presence beyond Salinas, with construction of satellite campuses in Soledad, King City and Castroville underway and expected to be completed in 2021. Those projects are thanks to a $167 million bond, Measure T, approved by votes in 2016.