Ron Oden says he has taught thousands of COD students

PALM DESERT — Within minutes of the College of the Desert Board of Trustees voting unanimously to start the process to fill a vacancy on the board by provisional appointment, former Palm Springs Mayor Ron Oden announced that he will seek the appointment.

Oden is seeking to fill the seat Fred E. Jandt left vacant when, due to health reasons, he resigned effective March 31. Jandt was serving as vice chair.

Trustee Area 2 Bea Gonzalez will now become vice chair and Trustee Area 1 Rubén AríAztlán Pérez will become clerk, according to board policy.

Trustee Area 3 includes parts of Cathedral City and Palm Springs where a $300 million-plus expansion of the COD campus is slated to be built.

Jandt assumed office in 2016 and won a second term in 2020. That term was slated to end in 2024.

Attempting to fill the vacancy by provisional appointment will save COD about $180,000, which is the cost of a special election, according to Matthew Ceballos, Chief Deputy Registrar of Voters for the Riverside County Registrar of Voters.

The person appointed to the position will hold office only until the next regularly scheduled election for District Board members — that would be November 2024. Applications are now being taken.

“I am excited about the opportunity to represent my community, the Coachella Valley and COD as a Trustee,” Oden said in a statement to Uken Report. “I look forward to representing COD Area 3 and the entire Coachella Valley to bring progress and positive solutions to COD’s future.”

Oden began teaching at COD in 1990 and has taught thousands of students.

“I also have served as a board member of Cal State San Bernardino’s Palm Desert campus,” Oden said. “I earned the confidence of Palm Springs residents when, for a dozen years, I served them as a consensus-building Mayor and Councilmember.”

As someone who has served on the faculty of COD, Oden said he understands what is working well and where COD can improve to best serve students and recruit and retain the best faculty and staff.

“As the grandparent of a recent graduate, and having interacted with COD students for three decades, I know the challenges students face and the incredibly rewarding benefits of higher education,” Oden said. “I look forward to completing my Area 3 seat appointment application and being interviewed by the COD Trustees.”

The COD Trustees deserve credit for swiftly approving the Area 3 seat appointment process, so all students and residents have representation, Oden said.


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