Unlike the two other races for the Central Oregon Community College board, Zone 5 has two candidates. One of them, John F. Short, says he decided to run, at least in part, so there would be more than one candidate. Short, who has experience teaching in agriculture at the community college level, says his priorities include increasing campus security, offering opportunities for child care for students and increasing opportunities for non-traditional students to gain access to COCC coursework and degrees—offering better transit options and increasing online degree opportunities.
Short's ideas are valuable, and COCC should do what it can to remove any barriers that keep some people from attending school. We also appreciate his desire to have more buy-in from student government on issues the board faces.
Still, Clinton, the incumbent, is just getting started on the board, having been appointed in January. With his years of experience as city councilor and mayor of Bend, we know him to be a mild-mannered yet effective leader. On the COCC board, his goal is to "do what is best for students," and believes the most effective online degree programs are hybrid models that require students to occasionally be present on campus. On the topic of campus security, Clinton pointed out that all the security measures and changes suggested by the district attorney and police chief have been carried out.
Clinton acknowledged that some board members have a tendency to only hear from faculty and administrators when making decisions, and acknowledged that student input is crucial. We also appreciate his notion that he's not just obligated to COCC community members, but to the voters who expect him to be more than just a "cheerleader for the administration." He also told us he rejects the "Carver model" adopted by other school boards, in which board members dictate policy, but don't concern themselves with the nuts and bolts of those policies.
On the topic of decreased enrollment at COCC, Clinton believes rebuilding morale following the negative press around the murder of Kaylee Sawyer is crucial. In addition, he's interested in increasing Career and Technical Education offerings, and collaborating with local businesses to tailor programs local employers need.
While Short brings up some valuable ideas, we believe Clinton should be given more time to serve. Vote Jim Clinton for COCC Director, Zone 5.