But storm clouds were gathering on several fronts across the district - and at SCC. As early as 1990, both students and
faculty were staging protests over a looming 12.5 percent budget cut due to revenue shortfalls at the state level.
"Informational picketing" started in March, followed by a one-day faculty strike/walk-out April 23, 1991.
Some 50 to 60 percent of the district's full-time faculty participated in the strike. In November, 500 community
college students would rally at the SCC clock tower staging their own protest.
Joe Rich's tenure as SCC president had hit a rough patch. Citing poor communication and a management style that did
not meet their expectations, faculty and administrators called a special meeting June 3, 1991, "to discuss faculty
concerns about 'low confidence' in administrators," said Deb Kyle, SCC AHE vice president.
Rich came under fire again in February 1992, with faculty voting more than 3 to 1 that they lacked confidence in his
leadership. In response, trustees created a committee to address faculty and staff complaints, which Rich said was "a
positive step in terms of being able to get things out on the table."
Despite laying out a plan to improve morale and trust on campus, Rich's relationship with faculty continued to crumble,
resulting in a second vote of no confidence in March 1993. In May, Rich told CCS trustees he would complete his present
term through June 1994 and then retire from his contract. Just a few months later, in September 1993, CEO Terry Brown
intervened, moving District Vice President Don Kolb, into the position of SCC president through June 1995. Rich was
reassigned to district duties until his contract expired.
Kolb "has a long history with the college and is viewed as a hard-working, dedicated individual who is fair and puts
students first. He understands the problems at SCC and is committed to involving faculty and staff in moving ahead,"
Brown told CCS faculty and staff.
The Perfect Storm was brewing in 1993-94: Poor state budget projections meet Master Contract negotiations. Pre-RIF
(reduction in force) notices were sent out to four SCC programs - parts merchandising, vision care, printing, and
supermarket checker - along with two others at SFCC. (Ultimately, just supermarket checker training would be cut at
SCC in 1993. The SCC presses would roll to a stop in spring 1995.)
And Master Contract negotiations? It's probably safe to say they reached a nadir when faculty walked out on CEO Terry
Brown at the district's 1994 Fall Conference. Following a keynote address by State Attorney General Chris Gregoire,
AHE President Bob Branch read a letter reiterating faculty concern over the negotiations and then said they would hold
their own meeting in the SCC auditorium. Good times, good times.
When the "S" word ("Strike") began to surface, SCC student government weighed in with SCC Associated Student Council
President Alfredo Llamedo telling trustees at their September 1994 meeting students were taking a "neutral position"
on the negotiations, but with a caveat. "If a strike occurs, we're contemplating filing a suit on behalf of students
asking to be reimbursed for the cost of tuition for every day of class we lose to the strike," he said.
The Board of Trustees pushed back. At its Oct. 3, 1994 meeting, members unanimously delegated Terry Brown "'the
authority to take whatever actions which in his judgment represent the best interests of the district' in the event
of an unlawful action such as a strike." Brown's options included canceling classes, suspending district operations,
subcontracting, and negotiating with other education providers among others.
Two weeks later, former SFCC and District President, Max Snyder, was brought in to mediate with CCS and college
faculty. The two parties reached a tentative agreement October 31.
The contract was ratified in November. Board Chair Roberta Greene said, "I hope we can sign this agreement and go
forth and again remember specifically what we are here for...to educate and to improve lives. Now we pull together,
we work together, and we move on."
Whew. And that was just the FIRST half of the 1990s.