Maricopa College Enrollments Decline Due to Left-Wing Policies

Jul 5, 2019 by

By Johanna Haver –

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD), one of the largest college districts in the U.S., is comprised of ten main campuses with more than 30 additional sites spread throughout the greater Phoenix area.  Students are offered not only the usual academic, university-transferable classes, but also a rich array of programs in fields such as technology, health services, business, the culinary arts, and entrepreneurialism, all available at the low-tuition rate of $85 per credit hour.

Thus, as a MCCCD board member, it confounded me that student enrollment was declining continuously semester-by-semester at all but one of the Maricopa colleges.  Why would students prefer to pay considerably more in tuition to sit in large classes at universities, rather than take advantage of the many choices available at Maricopa colleges?  I was concerned that this situation could become a burden to the Maricopa taxpayers because their property taxes provide approximately 53% of the district’s revenues and these could be increased legally to make up for the loss of funding from tuition.

I talked to officials at Arizona State and Grand Canyon Universities, where enrollment had been increasing at phenomenal rates. I became aware of two major differences: (1) the universities maintain high standards and do not support a particular political agenda and (2) university professors are given contracts limited to specific years.  They are subject to a thorough evaluation process. In contrast, the Maricopa residential (tenured) instructors have permanent positions lacking administrative oversight.

Occasionally, we board members heard complaints.  Parents objected to a movie scene in a religion class that depicted Jesus making love to Mary Magdalene.  At a scheduled event, speakers from the American Civil Liberties Union and Black Lives Matter criticized law enforcement – with no representation from the other side.  At one college, students were urged to go on a 4-day bus excursion, “Bridging Cultures,” paid for through donations to the college. The teacher in-charge described it as a worthwhile cultural experience.  Later we discovered that the main point was for the students, as a captive audience away from home, to listen to speakers highly critical of President Trump and his policies.  We could do nothing due to the instructors’ “academic freedom” —which allows teachers to do or say whatever they choose as long as it does not break the law.

At the February 2018 MCCCD Board meeting, four of us on the 7-member board decided to take action.  We voted to end “meet and confer,” the process for developing policy that had allowed the professors, through their faculty association, to share governance with the board, the chancellor, and the college presidents.  In actuality, this had made it possible for the professors to have unreasonable control over what goes on in the colleges and job protection – a system that many excellent instructors did not agree with but accepted for fear of retaliation from colleagues.

The faculty association responded by packing the board.  They raised large amounts of money to defeat at the polls the board members who did not agree with their so-called “shared governance” policies.  They received enormous support from the local media.  In addition, faculty reps at 9 out of 10 colleges signed “no confidence” votes against their nationally-acclaimed chancellor for not having supported them against the board.

In early 2019, the new board reinstated “meet and confer.” Recently, the district paid the faculty association $112,000 for “a violation of the faculty’s constitutional rights to free speech and academic freedom.”   The status quo prevailed: a victory for the teachers; a defeat for the students and taxpayers.

Source: Maricopa College Enrollments Decline Due to Left-Wing Policies –

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  1. Avatar
    Lee Combs

    There are too many falsehoods and logical fallacies in this piece to address in a comment. It is important for readers to know that like MCCCD, both ASU and GCU employ tenured faculty, all of whom are rigorously evaluated and who play an important role in assuring educational quality and currency. GCU relies heavily on part time instructors and has an extraordinarily low percentage of tenured faculty. Academics challenge our settled assumptions based on current research results and analysis. Students learn from this experience how to evaluate critically what they hear and observe. It is inevitable that people whose assumptions and perspectives are challenged will be upset at first, and that board members will hear about it. Mrs. Haver’s authoritarian response – punishing the faculty for doing their jobs, by removing them from discussions of policy – is similar in nature to what happens in China, where teachers are not free to criticize the country’s secular religion or its authoritarian rulers. If the US is to maintain its knowledge-based competitive edge, all of us must be willing to hear and evaluate disturbing facts and offensive ideas in the ongoing search for objective truth.

  2. Avatar
    Debra Campbell

    The fact that this former Governing Board Member thinks that those are the two main differences between a four year Research One University (ASU) and the two year Maricopa Community College system, clearly demonstrates her lack of understanding of education in our state and that she is no more qualified to make this argument than she was to serve on the MCCCD Governing Board.

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