Amidst waves of student, faculty and alumni protests over soaring tuition rates and alleged capital mismanagement, trustees of the Art Center College of Design announced yesterday that Richard Koshalek's contract as president won't be renewed when it terminates at the end of next year. The move was a bit of a shock, as many on campus figured Koshalek was a lock to remain at Art Center and continue his plans to build a $50 million Frank Gehry designed library and research center.
Koshalek was the primary advocate of the building, and with his departure from the college eminent, the future of the DRC, as the building was to be called, remains unclear. In an online statement posted on Art Center's website, Chairman of the Board of Trustees John Puerner said that “the DRC, [is] now being reevaluated and reprioritized by the facilities and finance committees of the Board.”
Last week, hundreds of Art Center students braved the the 100-plus degree heat to protest outside Art Center's South Campus, where trustees were gathering to make their decision about Koshalek. Students petitioned the Board for an increased emphasis on educational spending, scholarship enrichment, and more transparency about where their tuition money is being spent.
“I think this is a good thing,” says Art Center Student Government Director of Communication Ezekiel Wheeler, of the planned change in leadership. “So much trust had been breached between the administration and the student body that I think it would have been difficult to move forward otherwise.”
Read more about the turmoil at Art Center in the LA Weekly story “Is Art Center Gehry-Rigged?”