On The Money: College President Paid To Stay Away From Campus

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Imagine being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to stay away from work – well it happened to a local college president who is now staying home, while taxpayers are footing the bill.

The students at San Joaquin Delta College are learning a valuable lesson on how to fight back.

“Five hundred thousand was taken from us.” That’s Bronche Taylor’s opinion. As the student body vice-president, Taylor is upset over the loss of the college’s big money maker – weekend flea markets that generated cash for student activities, until the administration seized control.

Students put the blame on Jeff Marsee, the former president of San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton.

“Dr. Marsee came in without having a conversation with us the students,” said Nicholas Aguiree, the student body president. Aguiree added, “He stripped away the flea market, which for over 30 years was the way students funded scholarships.”

Marsee also made enemies with the faculty. In fact 96% of the instructors voted “no confidence” in the school president.

“He was manipulative to a degree that was stunning,” said Dr. William Ferraiolo, a philosophy professor at the college.

“Presidents come and go but for him to do so much against our college in eight months, that just shows how really bad it was,” noted Dr. Elizabeth Maloney, a psychology professor at the school.

It got so bad, Maloney said, that the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to put the president on paid leave – before eventually terminating his contract. Marsee is now expected to collect an estimated $353,000 to stay away from campus.

“And that’s very unfortunate, “stated Bronche Taylor. The student body vice president added, “I feel that money could be used to bring back some of the programs that have been cut, some of the classes that have been cut.”

All this – following a nationwide search for a college president who lasted less than a year. And yet there were warning signs about Marsee – signs the college overlooked.

. “I think that our board might have been misled,” stated Diane Oren, an English professor at the school.

Diane Oren was on the search committee to find a college president. She told CBS 13 the search consultants instructed committee members not to do any background checks.

“Not to Google or to interview or to ask questions of other campuses, which I think was a big red flag,” said Oren.

Red flags showing that Marsee left two other colleges in California in a sea of controversy before landing at San Joaquin Delta College, where faculty members openly wonder why school administrators didn’t do their homework.

“You might want to do a background check, find out,” said Diane Oren, the English professor.

Jeff Marsee did not respond to CBS 13’s requests for an interview. College administrators also declined to be interviewed for this report. The Board of Trustees voted on March 2 to release Jeff Marsee from his contract, but not before agreeing to pay him $353,000, for which taxpayers are ultimately responsible.

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