Credit: Facebook

In my four decades as a faculty member in the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) I have seen different schemes administrators have used to save and raise money to supposedly benefit the District and the two colleges (Santa Ana and Santiago Canyon) and its students. 

Former Vice Chancellor of Business/Fiscal Services Peter Hardash befriended vendors on the golf course in return for contracts.

Raul Rodriguez who served as chancellor from 2010-2019 thought partnering with schools in Saudi Arabia would bring funds into the RSCCD Foundation to help students at the two colleges.

Honoring Herself

Jeannie Kim, who began her tenure in January as the seventh president to serve Santiago Canyon College (SCC) tried a different approach. She made herself the center of attention by holding her very own inauguration.

Kim raised money for an event that may have benefited students, but it was all about herself. She should have begun her tenure like her six predecessors – quietly with an introductory press release.

SCC’s Very Own Coronation

Five days after the world watched the coronation of King Charles, the Santiago Canyon College community had their own – The Inauguration of Jeannie Kim.

The unprecedented inauguration was nothing more than a self-promoting party.

Faculty and administrators were dressed in academic regalia and together they formed a line as Kim was escorted in a procession to the podium where Chancellor Marvin Martinez introduced her.

Following a speech by Kim guests were treated to hors d’oeuvres and music by the Wemberley Blue Grass band. Those holding tickets to the inauguration were then seated in the gymnasium for a fine dining meal consisting of five courses.

Everyone Asked to Pay

Faculty, administration, community members and local businesses helped fund Kim’s inauguration. Single tickets began at $300 with an entire table going for $2,500.

There were no boundaries when it came to soliciting donations. An inquiry was even made to the Associated Student Government to determine if there were sufficient funds in their budget to contribute. That’s right – the students of SCC were asked to help fund Kim’s inauguration.

There were other ways to raise money including the always popular annual spring SCC Golf Tournament which had to be re-scheduled for 2024 because of the inauguration.

At the very least Kim could have held a community event that would have provided her the opportunity to informally meet the college community with no fanfare and at no cost.

Conflict of Interest

One sponsor of the inauguration was a builder who had worked within the RSCCD on a bond construction project. At any other time, this would have gone unnoticed, but with the RSCCD expected to put a bond on the ballot in 2024, taking money from any builder was as shortsighted as the inauguration itself.

The Perception Was Obvious

Deals memorialized on a golf course and partnerships with schools in Saudi Arabia may have been questionable, but they were done with the perception of financially helping the District’s two colleges and its students.

There was no such perception about the inauguration. It was done to promote Jeannie Kim herself.

Dr. Barry Resnick retired in 2022 after 42 years as a professor of  counseling with the Rancho Santiago CCD. In 2020 he was a semi-finalist for OC Teacher of the  Year. He has resided with his family in Orange for 36 years.

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