SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo County Community College District Board censured Trustee Pete Sysak and “requested” he resign during a meeting on Dec. 9.
“The San Luis Obispo County Community College District Board of Trustees hereby censures Trustee Peter Sysak, and strongly requests he resign for the above-described conduct, which violates his role and responsibilities as a trustee; Cuesta College’s Mission Statement; Board Policies promoting access and equity; and his obligation to promote public trust, and to ensure a safe and healthy academic environment for students, faculty, and staff,” the resolution that passed stated. “The Governing Board of San Luis Obispo County Community College District proclaims publicly that this Board disapproves of the aforementioned conduct and finds it to be a violation of the Board Policies and Procedures and unacceptable behavior that shall not be tolerated.”
Sysak did not resign. He represents District 4 and his term expires in 2022. He was first elected in 2014 and reelected in 2018.
On Nov. 12, at a special meeting, the Board voted to seat a subcommittee to investigate the actions and complaints against Sysak and his social media posts and shares and determine if they violated board policies.
The ad hoc committee that found the social media posts shared by Sysak violated the trustee role. Specifically, the social media posts are counter to the Board of Trustees Code of Ethics/Standards of Practice:
• Each Board member will hold the educational welfare of the students of the District as their primary concern in all decisions and strive to meet the needs of all students;
• Each Board member support the efforts of and protect college personnel in the proper performance of their duties;
• The board is responsible for monitoring itself, ensuring adherence to state and federal laws and its own code of ethics
Before bringing the resolution to the Board, the ad hoc committee met seven times, reviewed multiple pieces of evidence, including Sysak’s statement read at the special Board meeting on Nov. 12. The committee also reviewed relevant Board Policies and Administrative Procedures and Resolution No. 21-10, No Place for Hate, Resolution of Respect.
On Nov. 12, Sysak defended the controversial posts and shares on his personal Facebook page, where he identified himself as a Cuesta College trustee.
“I was accused of being a racist, homophobic, an ablest, anti-choice, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, and an old man,” Sysak said at the meeting. “I will state for the record that I am a supporter of all lives matter—for Black, Latino, Asian, LGBTQ, people of color, the unborn. I’m against discrimination, hate crimes, and racist groups. And I’m against defunding the police department, and blue lives do matter.
“It is important to acknowledge that communication from both sides of the story is part of solving problems in society,” he continued. “My social media sharing of differing views on this was meant to provoke communication from both sides of the issue. Sadly, these posts have inflamed certain progressive left groups, resulting in their incendiary and untrue comments that have spread throughout the community.”
The official SLOCCCD Resolution 20-20 Censure of Trustee Pete Sysak for Conduct Inconsistent with the Boards’ Code of Ethics/Standards of Practice can be found on the Board’s website.