HCC will hire a new Chancellor


The Houston Community College System Board of Trustees voted on Wednesday not to extend the contract of Chancellor Cesar Maldonado.

The trustees’ decision was close: Four voted in a special meeting to consider a new contract and five opposed. Board Chairwoman Cynthia Lenton-Gary was against the contract, as were District IV Trustee Reagan Flowers, District V Trustee Robert Glaser, District VI Trustee Dave Wilson and District IX Trustee Pretta VanDible Stallworth.

It was not immediately clear why the majority declined to continue their relationship with Maldonado. The trustees’ vote occurred after more than one-and-a-half hours in executive session, and neither Maldonado nor the trustees made public comments before the decision.

Maldonado’s contract expires Aug. 31.

“Chancellor Maldonado has had a notable nine-year run, in part, expanding student achievement, ensuring a high credit rating for our institution, forging value-added partnerships with the community, and expanding the mission, vision and strategic priorities of HCC,” Lenton-Gary, also the District VII trustee, said in a statement. “On behalf of the HCC governing board, we celebrate the successes of HCC under the leadership of Dr. Cesar Maldonado and extend our gratitude for his leadership and longstanding service as HCC’s Chancellor.”

While Maldonado oversaw several physical expansions at HCC, his time at the system will also be marked by multiple shakeups in the board and controversies in the administration.


At least one lawsuit rose to public attention in 2021, after a former instructor accused Maldonado and the system of retaliating against her for reporting that she was being sexually harassed by board member Robert Glaser. Most recently, the system has struggled to maintain steady enrollment, having lost more than 12,000 students between fall 2019 and fall 2020.

The contract vote on Wednesday passed without many visible reactions from the trustees. Only District III Trustee Adriana Tamez spoke afterward, saying she was upset enough to not participate in a subsequent vote to engage the Association of Community College Trustees for a new chancellor search. The item passed 7-0, with District VIII Trustee Eva Loredo also making herself absent for the vote.

“Chancellor, I sincerely apologize that you were brought out here like this,” said Tamez, who voted in favor of a new contract. “I’m just in disbelief and in shock right now in terms of conversations that we’ve had and your willingness to work with us in a transition. But to have you here and for the result to be this, I think you deserve more respect than that.”

Loredo, Vice Chair Monica Flores Richart, of District 1, and District II Trustee Charlene Ward Johnson cast the three other votes in favor of Maldonado’s contract.

Campos is pissed about this. I can understand that, and I will say that any time Dave Wilson is your fifth vote for something, you should maybe question what you’re doing. On the other hand, there’s that sexual harassment lawsuit, for which Maldonado is one of the defendants (as is Trustee Robert Glaser, who was also a vote for not extending Maldonado’s contract) and for which a settlement agreement was not approved by the Board. The matter is headed for trial, which raises the possibility of a significant judgment against HCC as well as who knows what potentially embarrassing evidence coming to light. Given that, it’s easy to see why the Board may have been reluctant to extend Chancellor Maldonado’s contract. We’ll see who they bring on as the successor. In the meantime, I thank Chancellor Maldonado for his service and wish him well with whatever comes next.

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5 Responses to HCC will hire a new Chancellor

  1. John Hansen says:


    This does not adhere to your usual fair-minded presentation. You are implying that because the Chancellor has been sued, he must be guilty of something. You don’t really believe that, do you?

    I served on the HCC Board from 2016 thru 2021 and was Board Chair in 2020 and 2021. So, I have more than a passing knowledge of the various lawsuits. The Board rejected Ben Hall’s settlement offer on a different case because we did not believe he had a winnable case and his settlement offer was outrageously high. On the Dodd case that you reference, the Chancellor got sued along with Robert Glaser based on a claim that Cesar knew about the alleged sexual harassment and did nothing about it. The Chancellor has denied it to me face-to-face and as of the time I left the Board, no evidence had been presented to support the claim that the Chancellor was so involved. These lawsuits take an excruciating amount of time to work their way through the courts, but the trustees have an obligation to defend the College and the taxpayers’ money so long as they think the College is in the right.

    I don’t believe this vote is based on a failure to perform by the Chancellor. Much of it is actually based on personal grudges individual trustees have with the Chancellor. The background is really a struggle over control of the hiring and purchasing decisions the College makes.

    The Chancellor has been criticised for the lawsuits that have been filed against the College, but one does not have to be in the wrong to be sued. It just takes a plaintiff willing to pay the filing fees. Although allegations of termination of black employees in favor of Hispanic candidates have been made, the College has submitted extensive documentation to the courts showing that there have been no substantial changes in the % of employees who self-classify as black or as Hispanic since Cesar took over as Chancellor. Claims of some massive conspiracy to get rid of all black employees and replace them with Hispanic ones provable nonsense. HCC tries to hire the best people available to the College.

    Vendor decisions are more difficult to evaluate as much of the College’s purchasing is awarded to the lowest bidder and the College does not control who makes the lowest bid. The Chancellor has had continuing struggles with trustees who want to control these purchasing decisions, but trustee control usually leads to the kind of bribery that the Chronicle article alludes to.

    As you might guess from my remarks, I believe Cesar Maldonado has been a successful Chancellor for HCC. The biggest hit on his performance has been the decline in enrollment. Sadly, there has been a national trend of declining community college enrollment which HCC has not escaped.

    During my tenure on the Board, I successfully pushed for a more aggressive direct marketing program in the area high schools. This effort has started producing enrollment gains. I also successfully pushed for a more effective remediation program. Roughly 80% of incoming HCC students fail the TSI test in at least 1 area. This blocks them from proceeding with their College level courses. Previously, only about 1/3 of these students were successfully remediating. That meant that the majority of incoming students did not have a prayer of ever successfully completing their program. The continuing dropouts were a major reason for HCC’s declining enrollment. Several years ago we implemented a major overhaul of our remediation program, going to a co-requisite model, and the successful remediation rate has risen to 60-70%. That is a major turnaround.

    The Chancellor implemented these measures and created many new programs that have created career opportunities for students. He has brought to HCC an emphasis on career preparation that it did not previously have. I think the Board’s decision to not extend Cesar Maldanado was ill-advised and reflected personal disagreements that had nothing to do with student success. The Board majority has now said that they can find a better CEO. Well, talk is cheap. Let’s see who they find. I don’t think the way they have treated Cesar on the way out is going to help their recruitment effort. And, Campos is right.

    Sorry for the long response, but some things need to be said in public.

  2. John, thanks for the feedback. That wasn’t what I was trying to say, so perhaps I didn’t express myself clearly. I believe the Board members who voted to not extend Chancellor Maldonado may have taken the lawsuit into account in their decision-making process. The allegations are serious, and they may believe – especially after reviewing the proposed settlement agreement – that those charges have merit.

    I don’t know the merits of this case, but I didn’t comment on that. I just noted that this lawsuit exists, and because it exists that is a risk for HCC, which the trustees may have taken into account. I don’t believe that is unfair or unwarranted.

  3. John Hansen says:


    Thanks for your response. There is no question that the trustees of HCC have been unhappy with the lawsuits. However, the departure of Cesar Maldanado isn’t going to cause the lawsuits to disappear. They will continue under the next Chancellor until they are resolved in the courts of jurisdiction. If the trustees think that a new Chancellor won’t get HCC into any more lawsuits, I think that is a triumph of hope over experience. We have become a very litigious society and tort law has become an entrepreneurial business. No matter how well it is run, some people are going to try to turn HCC into a lottery ticket (at the expense of the taxpayers.

    Anyway, rest assured that I appreciate the effort you put into your daily posts and will continue to follow you each day. Thanks, again.

  4. Andrew Lynch says:

    Thank you Chancellor Maldonado ! HCC has been improving over the years

  5. Pingback: I don’t see any issue with HCC campaign contributions and the Maldonado vote – Off the Kuff

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