By the staff of the Daily Post
The Foothill-DeAnza Community College District Governing Board decided last night in a closed-door meeting not to renew the contract of Foothill College President Thuy Thi Nguyen after five years of service.
The job paid him $ 242,816 in 2020 and $ 354,153 with benefits, according to Transparent California.
Board chairman Peter Landsberger gave no clue as to why the board voted unanimously to let Nguyen go.
After announcing the council’s closed-door decision, he said:
“While I am limited in what more I can say about the action and what led to it, I can say that the board feels that this action is necessary for the college to move beyond the current state of conflict.
“The Board of Directors respects President Nguyen’s accomplishments and recognizes that she is admired by many. Nonetheless, the board’s priority must be to take action to establish the conditions under which administrators, faculty, staff and students can work collaboratively to achieve student success with universally equitable outcomes.
“The board has made achieving the goals of equity and student achievement in the district a top priority. Nothing in this action should be construed as a withdrawal from Foothill’s equity plan. Foothill-De Anza has a long history of promoting equity and inclusion, and this work will continue unabated. As an organization, we are committed to breaking down barriers for our students and helping to create a just society where all can be successful.
While Landsberger said the board is not backing down on “equity,” the board has fired the first Vietnamese American college president in the country.
When she was 3, Nguyen and her family joined the wave of “boat people” who fled Vietnam after the war ended, according to the biography of Nguyen from the University District. His family drifted in the Pacific Ocean on a boat for more than 20 days before a commercial ship rescued them and took them to a refugee camp in Japan and then to the United States.
Nguyen holds a BA from Yale and a law degree from UCLA School of Law, where she was a member of the inaugural class of the Public Interest Law and Policy Program.
In an email, Chancellor Judy Miner said former President Bernadine Chuck Fong would return to serve as interim chairman while the board searches for a replacement for Nguyen.
Miner, Fong and Landsberger will hold a “college-wide meeting” on Tuesday (November 1) at noon “to begin the healing process,” Miner said.