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Victoria Munoz Richart has resigned as superintendent/president of MiraCosta College, a community college with 10,000 students and two campuses in Oceanside and Encinitas.

The college has been in near constant strife over the last two years after Richart initiated an investigation into improper money handling that led to the felony conviction of one faculty member and the dismissal of an administrator.

Richart’s decision to leave was announced this morning, after she and the Board of Trustees came out of an intensive all-night closed session meeting that began at 8 p.m. and finished shortly before 6 a.m. During the meeting, the Governing Board of MiraCosta Community College District reached an agreement with Richart to buy out her contract.

Since joining the administration in August 2004, Richart has continued to be at odds with members of classified staff and teaching faculty. At the regular board meeting yesterday afternoon, retired professor Katherine Herd called for Richart to step down.

“As much as you try and destroy collegiality, it will never be destroyed here at MiraCosta,” Herd told the board.

In May, Richart said that she had received an anonymous death threat and in early June a letter signed by 30 faculty retirees was given to the board asking for her to step down.

In an interview yesterday morning before the meeting, Richart called the faculty letter “shameful.”

“Colleges and boards get letters like this all the time,” Richart said. “I don’t think there is anything in there worth discussing.”

Richart didn’t mention any thoughts about a possible resignation, and said that she had come to terms with the faculty’s disapproval of her management-style.

“I don’t agree with the reactions of the faculty,” Richart said. “But I understand them.”

Asked if she was glad she took the position, Richart said yes and said she remained proud of her work at the school.

“When I think about all of the accomplishments this school has made since I came here it helps me to push the rest of this aside,” Richart said. “There has to be a point when we agree to disagree and then move on.”

SUSAN GRANT

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