President Patton's Response to Desert Sun Football Article
Student success is our number one priority at College of the Desert. COD Athletic Programs are an important part of the learning environment. We are proud of our student athletes and our coaches, supporting staff and volunteers and the important role they play in the lives of our students.
All student athletes are also full time students. It is important to point out that the vast majority of our student athletes have a demonstrated record of both academic and athletic success, as well as service to the campus community. When off- campus incidents occur involving COD students, there is typically a team of staff members that evaluate the incident and determine the college’s level of authority and appropriate response.
Our code of student conduct sets a high standard and oversight is rigorous. Every three years, the California Commission on Athletics conducts a program review to insure compliance. College of the Desert has never been cited for violations in student athlete recruitment. Our faculty and coaches participate in required education and training in all policies and practices that guide our athletic programs and participation.
Our Student Code of Conduct is clearly articulated in the college catalog and online. Every incoming athlete also receives a student athlete honor code. All coaches review the code of conduct with their student athletes and are responsible for oversight and discipline related to infractions while on campus or participating in our programs.
Two weeks ago, serious allegations were raised related to our football and athletic programs. In response I immediately contacted the Commissioner of the California Community College Commission on Athletics, the regulating body responsible for monitoring and enforcing eligibility and recruitment rules for community colleges. We are currently analyzing whether the college needs to do any additional review beyond what is regularly done by the Commission.
College of the Desert has been a leader of higher education in the Coachella Valley since 1958. Each year more than 13,000 students turn to College of the Desert in pursuit of a two-year degree, transfer to university, certification, retraining, continuing education and/or lifelong learning.
We are proud of the work we do and the tens of thousands of student success stories launched at COD. All of us associated with College of the Desert work hard to support and maintain a culture conducive to learning and student success. But we can and must always be prepared to strive for more and better.
Inaccuracies have been identified in The Desert Sun story that appeared on Sunday, June 24th. It is incumbent upon us to correct and clarify those inaccuracies, and college staff is working to do so.
As good stewards we must take every opportunity to ensure that our students are supported and that public trust in our policies, programs and practices is preserved. We hold our students to the highest standard. We should expect no less of ourselves.
Jerry R. Patton, President
College of the Desert
Palm Desert, CA 92210