A SPECIAL TRUSTEE TAKES ON COMPTON COLLEGE’S SAME OLD PROBLEMBy The Compton Bulletin
Hudley-Hayes arrives as a former president of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education and the used-to-be executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King Legacy Association. She’s got chops.
In fact, after wearing titles of such vast responsibility and high profile, there’s a sense that whatever challenges Hudley-Hayes may face as special trustee to the Compton College District ought to be … well … you see … they’re going to be hard. Really, very hard.
The special trustee position was created in 2005 after the revocation of Compton College’s accreditation—pretty much the thing that makes it a college—by the Accrediting Committee for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).
But that crisis had been brewing for years and things had actually first boiled over in 2004, when the Compton College Board of Trustees informed Chancellor Marshall Drummond that it would not be able to meet payroll. Drummond simply took over the college himself, justifying the dramatic action by issuing an executive order that cited longtime fiscal mismanagement and weak leadership at the administrative level.
The ACCJC was also obliged to explain why it had revoked Compton College’s accreditation, and the evidence in that report was even more damning, not to mention overwhelming. The committee cited a total of 30 deficiencies.
Perhaps most humiliating, Compton College could only remain open by becoming part of El Camino Community College. That arrangement was voted into California law by a bill created in the state Assembly.
From that time until Thomas Henry was appointed the first special trustee, teams of special trustees have been sent to oversee the day-to-day operations of the college and to find solutions to the cited deficiencies so that Compton College can someday regain its accreditation. It’s a painstakingly slow process that even optimists estimate will take another five years.
Hudley-Hayes sounds like one of those optimists.
“I am enthusiastic about serving in this capacity and will work to help the Compton Center to again become an accredited college within the California Community Colleges,” she said.
But listen closer to what Hudley-Hayes is saying and it becomes obvious that her Pollyanna is actually professional experience—over the years, she says that she has been involved in five accreditations.
“They are all the same,” she said. “No matter what the community demographic is, no matter how new or how old the college is, the accreditation process takes several years. There’s no changing that.”