April 5, 2019

SUS Statement on Recent Actions Taken by Dr. Sandra Pacheco

We, faculty and staff of the School of Undergraduate Studies at CIIS, are most saddened by the words and actions taken by our colleague Sandra Pacheco against our community and school. After being successfully supported for promotion by her colleagues, the Dean of SUS, and receiving the promotion to full professor, she chose to begin a personal battle with administration for higher pay based on undocumented and unfounded claims of discrimination. This is particularly distressing given that there do exist inequities in Institute policies and practices, that do need to be addressed and that we are working on collectively as a school.

We are further distressed to observe how Dr. Pacheco is involving current and former students who understandably are concerned and support their beloved professor who they had wonderful experiences with. We too are concerned. Few people have heard more than one of the many perspectives of those involved; we believe that her supporters do not have a full story. We are saddened that Dr. Pacheco appears to be working against herself, as well as against her colleagues and the CIIS extended community, in what is a puzzling campaign of destruction.

It is disheartening to see a personal conflict framed as a collective equity issue, using the people and aesthetics of our Bay Area's social movements, with their respective political and spiritual symbols, for individual purposes of greater financial compensation than that of her colleagues.

  • Michelle Eng, Dean
  • Kris Brandenburger
  • YueMing Huang
  • Alec MacLeod
  • Charlotte María Sáenz
  • Sara Salazar
  • Sonya Shah


CIIS Response to Sandra Pacheco

We understand that many people have heard from Dr. Sandra Pacheco about her dispute with CIIS regarding her contract negotiation and promotion.

We are saddened and dismayed that she has chosen to attack the entire CIIS community in her campaign to increase her salary and, in essence, ask the University to discriminate against her colleagues for her personal gain.

An independent investigation has concluded that her allegations were baseless and that all 14 faculty promoted over the last five years were promoted to step one in their rank. To treat Pacheco differently would be unfair to all other faculty previously promoted.

That Pacheco would silence her School of Undergraduate Studies colleagues by removing them without their consent as Account Administrators on their department Facebook page is egregious and an alarming violation of free speech.

Silencing of faculty is counter to CIIS’ long history of being a welcoming and belonging collaborative community that holds multiple and complex narratives.

In silencing fellow faculty, she is denying them their voice and preventing other women of color from speaking their truths. We affirm our aspiration to be a community of learners, where all members feel safe, respected, and comfortable in being themselves and expressing differing perspectives.

Facts We Think You Should Know

Findings of the investigation are as follows:

  • None of Pacheco’s claims were substantiated in the investigation interviews or in the extensive examination of data about CIIS’ hiring practices consistent across all faculty at CIIS.
  • Pacheco was promoted and treated the same as all 14 people promoted in the last five years; there were no exceptions.
  • Pacheco’s colleagues in her department do not support her actions, are affected themselves, and are very concerned about how her actions are hurting the education of current students by distracting them from their studies.

This is not the first time Pacheco has made threats against a university for financial gain. She stated at a faculty meeting that she had sued universities before and was expecting to receive a large settlement from CIIS after refusing to sign her contract. She has told faculty in the past that she would bring the school down. This is a painful time for everyone involved.  We are especially concerned for the students who have been drawn away from their studies into a personnel dispute. Our commitment to an education that contributes to building a just society remains firm. The work that our faculty do inside and outside the classroom is important, especially in these troubled times. Standing together we can continue to move toward the achievement of our ideals and aspirations.

Judie Wexler, President

School of Undergraduate Studies, Faculty

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