Math instructor ends Academic Senate term

Posted on May 18, 2010


After two years of dedication to the Academic Senate, mathematics instructor Eduardo Arismendi-Pardi is stepping down from the post and leaving behind a legacy.

“Eduardo is going to be a hard act to follow,” said Lorraine Prinsky, vice president of the Coast Community College District Board of Trustees.

Arismendi-Pardi will be succeeded by associate political science instructor and current Academic Senate secretary Vesna Marcina.

“I have a lot of confidence and a lot of respect for her,” Arismendi-Pardi, a Venezuelan native of Italian decent, said. “I look forward to helping her.”

Marcina said that her goals are to represent the senate.

“I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Marcina said. “(Arismendi-Pardi) created goals and he accomplished those goals. Basically, I think we’re on the right path.”

She attributed that to Arismendi-Pardi, adding that she would also like to promote faculty participation like he did during his presidency.

“It’s all about teamwork,” she said.

Prinsky praised Marcina for her work as the senate secretary and believes that she will do a great job as senate president.

The Academic Senate is a group of faculty members who work with the board of trustees to look over issues regarding accreditation, classroom curriculum and faculty, as well as mandating necessary changes.

According to colleagues, Arismendi-Pardi, who said he will return to teach mathematics full-time next semester, morphed the senate into a more unified and organized force.

“Because of Eduardo’s structure, (the senate is) a much stronger and cohesive group,” Academic Senate staff aide Allison Paine said. “They’ve got a voice and platform to do what’s important for students and what’s important for the campus.”

During Arismendi-Pardi’s presidency, when Coast was in danger of losing its accreditation in 2008, he pitched a transparency proposal — expected to remove any future accusations of censorship to the college’s accreditation progress report. The proposal was passed in a landslide vote two weeks later.

Arismendi-Pardi also restructured how the senate was organized in relation to what body they worked with.

“Before me, there was the perception or belief that the Academic Senate was underneath the (college) president,” Arismendi-Pardi said.

There were contentious issues and friction when he joined the executive board, he said, because he moved to challenge the organizational chart.

“I didn’t want to take orders or be influenced by the president,” Arismendi-Pardi said.

Under Title 5 in the California Code of Regulations, the senate has a relationship directly to the board of trustees. Arismendi-Pardi used this to assert his authority and change the organizational structure of the senate.

“Some people didn’t like the change and the direction it was taking,” Arismendi-Pardi said. “I was probably, how should I say this, I was challenging the administration on viewpoints.”

Lately, he has been working to create a good relationship with the new college president, Dennis Harkins, and a strong organizational relationship with the board of trustees.

“The new president is not like the old president,” Arismendi-Pardi said. “The old president was really controlling and the new president is not like that.”

Regardless of the problems he faced during his presidency, Arismendi-Pardi said that his critics helped him the most.

“Whether I agreed or disagreed with them, they all contributed,” he said.

His dedication to the senate, charismatic speech, organizational skills and impeccable taste in fashion are just a few things that make Arismendi-Pardi unique from other senate presidents, Paine said.

“He’s very particular,” Paine said. “He wants things done in a certain way.”

This is true not only with his attitude in the office, but with his wardrobe as well.

“It’s not often you work with someone who’s more fashionable than you as a woman,” Paine said. “He’s got flair and he wears it well.”

Arismendi-Pardi is known by many as the man in the fedora for his colorful three-piece suits and the style of hat he wears on a daily basis.

“He dresses professionally because he wants to be treated professionally,” Paine said.

Arismendi-Pardi said he likes fashion, which is why he focuses on his wardrobe. He said he has every color suit — from dark to light — along with shoes, handkerchief, fedora and glasses to match.

Next semester, Arismendi-Pardi intends to return to teaching mathematics full time, serve on the senate and take a class, something he does every semester to keep his mind “sharp and focused.”

Originally published in the Coast Report, Orange Coast College’s student-run newspaper.

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