Former Foothill College president wants her job back

Thuy Thi Nguyen

Daily Post Staff Writer

The former president of Foothill College wants her job back.

Thuy Thi Nguyen was ousted in October after the community college’s faculty voted to declare “no confidence” in her. Later that day, the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District board voted not to renew her $343,153-a-year contract, and she was placed on paid administrative leave until her contract expires on June 30.

Nguyen said told the Post on Thursday that the board will discuss her future on April 4, her last chance to get another contract. She is drumming up support from students and diversity groups ahead of the meeting.

Nguyen said she has made significant progress on racial equity during her five-year tenure, and she wants to continue the progress.

“This is unfinished business,” she said. “I don’t want the college to go back.”

Members of the faculty had a long list of grievances against Nguyen. The common theme was that she failed to collaborate. Instructors said she repeatedly vetoed faculty decisions to pursue her own ideas.

Kathryn Maurer, the president of the Academic Senate, said that when issues have been brought forward, Nguyen hasn’t worked to fix them. Concerns are more about poor decision-making processes rather than specific decisions that Nguyen made, Maurer said.

Nguyen said that she would “unpack those concerns” if she was reinstated.

“I’d have some deep, honest conversations about how our college grapples with change,” she said.

Focus on racial equity

The dispute stemmed from the college’s shared governance structure, which she said elevated the voices of students and non-faculty employees on decisions. Faculty power stayed the same, she said.

Nguyen is all about racial equity, and she said during the pandemic, the achievement gap either improved or stayed the same between white students and Filipino, Latino and black students. Nguyen also said she closed a $6 million budget deficit.

In the meantime, former President Bernadine Chuck Fong is serving as acting president.

Foothill College serves about 13,000 students in Los Altos Hills. Voters from Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, Cupertino and Sunnyvale elect the five-person board.


  1. As a professor at Foothill College for over 45 years, I have witnessed many disagreements between the faculty and administrators. President Nguyen’s actions did not rise to the level that she should have been ousted by our District’s
    Board of Trustees. There were other options available. I hope she will be reinstated because she is a valuable asset to our students and our community.

  2. Like of “patriotism” and the flag were formerly, now “racial equity” diversity and inclusion have become the defensive cries of those being criticized for their performance. I really doubt that anything a community college has done is responsible for any performance gaps among the students that may exist, nor that there is much which can be done by a college to close the gaps. Efforts should be focused on elementary, middle and high schools, and reinstating rigor, eliminating social advancement and grade inflation, resuming objective measures of achievement (the SAT, etc), and giving teachers the power to maintain classroom order (eliminating the “no suspension” law for disruptive students).

  3. President Nguyen had many years to “unpack” concerns about her performance. The faculty took 3 long years to
    pass a vote of no confidence, giving the president every chance to improve her performance. While she never served in a community college position, many of us thought she would learn the ropes in time. Sadly, we were clearly mistaken. It is delusional to think she could return after essentially destroying shared governance. Students need to be heard but conversation among all parties needs to be facilitated, not manipulated. It will take years to recover from this lack of ability to lead at the community college level. I wish her good luck in her future endeavors elsewhere.

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