Peralta colleges chancellor blasts board of trustees in scathing resignation letter

OAKLAND — After just nine months on the job, the chancellor of the Peralta Community College District has submitted a scathing resignation letter accusing the college’s board trustees of corruption and bad governance, this news organization has learned.

Regina Stanback Stroud, who was picked by the board last September to helm the Oakland-based college district, told trustees in the letter that her resignation would be effective Aug. 15 and listed multiple problems she had with them despite her “every effort to foster a well-functioning district.”

“As board members entrusted with the stewardship of the public’s precious resource, it is critical that you address the problems caused by individual board members,” Stanback Stroud wrote in her letter, dated Thursday. Those problems ultimately forced her to resign, she said.

Without citing specifics, she laid out a bulleted list of issues, including:

  • hostile conduct toward others and each other;
  • violations of confidentiality with respect to closed session;
  • violations of the Brown Act relating to closed session topics;
  • interference in investigations of complaints against board members;
  • collusion with the unions against the interest of the district and undermining the collective bargaining negotiations processes;
  • interference with fair and effective hiring practices, putting the district in legal jeopardy for unfair and discriminatory hiring practices;
  • fostering a culture of contempt by modeling disrespect and contempt for executive administration and empowering special interests to do the same;
  • exhibiting hostility and contempt toward administration, particularly a pattern of practice against African American executive staff;
  • undermining the role of the CEO and the ability of the CEO to carry out responsibilities;
  • harassment of the CEO to the extent that it creates emotional distress beyond that which is bearable or should be tolerated.

“This is not an exhaustive list detailing my experience/perspective while serving as Chancellor at Peralta Community College District for nine short months, but it certainly is a start in detailing the issues that I believe undermine the district’s ability to attract and retain leadership at the executive level,” Stanback Stroud continued in the letter.

Board members did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the allegations.

Before taking on the chancellor position at Peralta, Stanback Stroud was president of Skyline College in San Bruno for nine years and in 2019 was named president emerita by the San Mateo County Community College District Board of Trustees. Stanback Stroud’s contract with Peralta was supposed to stretch from Oct. 21, 2019 through Oct. 20, 2022 with an annual salary of $330,000, plus benefits.

She joined Peralta after its previous chancellor, Jowel Laguerre, stepped down in early 2019. Laguerre’s contract did not expire until 2020, but the board unanimously voted in February 2019 to accept his “early retirement.”

He had been criticized for his budget priorities and accused of mishandling taxpayer money as the district faced a budget crisis in 2018. Student enrollment had also dropped before Laguerre left.

In announcing Stanback Stroud’s selection last fall, Board of Trustees President Julina Bonilla expressed excitement in a written statement issued at the time, saying “early in the search process when we talked about the type of Chancellor we wanted, we said we needed a strong administrator like Dr. Stanback Stroud.”

Stanback Stroud, in her resignation letter, noted her accomplishments over the last nine months, including “filling key vacancies and stabilizing staffing across the district,” “strengthening” the district’s financial situation and restructuring debt.

But she warned trustees that the issues she outlined against them “cast a poor light on the board as a whole and the district – and place the district and its four colleges in continual fiscal jeopardy thereby undermining the ability of Peralta Community College District to successfully meet the needs of students and the community.”

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