Cuesta College president resigns

November 15, 2009


Saying, “I have concluded that I am not the best person for the job,” Cuesta College president Dr. David Pelham announced his resignation Monday night. Pelham made the surprise announcement in a campus wide email sent out at 5 p.m.  The resignation, effective at the end of December, allows Pelham to accept a new position as the president of an unidentified overseas group. Pelham has been president of Cuesta for less than two years.

“As the Superintendent/president, I am responsible for what happens, or does not happen at Cuesta,” Pelham wrote in his email. “I accept responsibility for not facilitating the changes in the organizational culture that needs to happen.” Pelham acknowledged “a campus climate that had a history of acrimony” and expressed frustration for not being able to change the organizational culture.

Pelham is not expected to spend much time on campus in the coming weeks. He is scheduled to undergo a gastric bypass operation on Tuesday to drastically reduce his weight.  He is expected to spend several weeks in recovery. As one Cuesta faculty member told CalCoastNews, “We were informed simply that Pelham was having a medical procedure. But we all know what that procedure is. He’s been ordered to lose weight by his doctor.”

This has been a challenging semester for the college president. First, he lost in a highly-publicized battle to remove June Stephens as head of the Cuesta Foundation. Then Pelham took flak for abruptly applying to be the head of the entire community college system in Alabama. He didn’t make the final cut. Now surgery. Then moving overseas.