The San Joaquin Delta College Board of Trustees met Oct. 2 to review the Board’s Code of Ethics.
Updating the code of ethics is essential for the Board in order to have clear goals and direction for the school. The Board is revising the code of ethics by the end of next year, in preparation for a site visit by the Community College League of California in March 2020.
The current code of ethics policy is riddled with formatting errors and over-complicated language that arose from its updating in January 2009.
The substance of the code of ethics was called into question by members of the board.
“It’s overwritten, and like a lot of board policies, it’s too wordy. It duplicates wording in the laws,” said Trustee Teressa Brown.
The formatting and language of the code makes it difficult for the board to understand how it should operate and the extent of the board’s authority.
Despite being overwritten, the Code of Ethics also lacks content that’s recommended for all community colleges to have, such as the board’s relationship with the student body.
“It’s interesting that we never mention students in our code of ethics,” said Superintendent Kathy Hart.
The lack of this makes the Board’s goals unclear.
The Code also lacks consequences for violating the code, which is something that’s required by the Community College League of California.
“The code must contain a clearly defined statement for dealing with behavior that violates its code,” the CCLC states.
Without a proper consequence system, it becomes hard for board members to hold each other accountable when making policies.
Without consequences, there can be no accountability on behalf of the students and the school.
Problems with the code are attributed to its amending in January 2009, when the board was comprised of four newly elected members out of six total.
These new members had no knowledge of what was expected.
“You’ve got 4 brand new members on the board, the board is lacking one member and at the January 20 meeting we were given this [Code of Ethics] for second reading. We had no idea what we were doing, we had not even attended the effective trustee workshop yet,” Brown said.
Members of the Board have expressed desire to clean up their Code of Ethics in order to ensure goals are clearly expressed.
“The reason why we’re here is to educate students, that’s why the word college is in our name,” said Brown.