Accreditation agency questions capability of board

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Accreditation agency questions capability of board

Kelly Wynne, News Editor

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The Higher Learning Committee met with the College of DuPage board of trustees on July 21. The special board meeting focused on the capability of the board to act as one. These concerns come following accusations of little solidarity and the college’s past inability to run a transparent administration. HLC members began the meeting with concerns about the 4-3 split vote seen at almost every meeting since new board members were elected.

Trustee Dianne McGuire was fast to voice her opinion on the productivity of the new board. “The 4-3 split is disturbing and upsetting,” said McGuire. “It is intensely political.”

McGuire referenced a vast amount of “conflicts of interest,” commenting that numerous new hires have personal ties to board members. She also explained that some hires have not gained approval of the entire board, but rather from Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton and Interim President Joseph Collins alone.

McGuire also spoke of a lack of communication between the seven trustees. “There are three members on this board who have been essentially excluded,” said McGuire. Examples of lacking communication included receiving no response from Collins and Hamilton when questions were prompted prior to board meetings. McGuire also noted an inability to produce financial records per her request.

Trustee Erin Birt backed up McGuire’s accusations explaining that her time on the previous board had run smoothly. “Prior to this election we all had a different perspective, but were still able to vote 6-1,” said Birt. “We were able to put students first.”

Birt seconded the allegations of ignored conversations, explaining that the current board struggles with a “lack of trust, lack of communication, lack of rapport, and lack of information.”

Longest standing trustee, Joseph Wozniak, finds the current board to be different than the previous boards on which he has held a seat. “This is the first time I’ve experienced a board like this,” said Wozniak. “I’m just trying to get people to talk and work together.”

Hamilton did not deny the problems addressed, but explained that the previous board had too voted 4-3 on a variety of issues. Hamilton expressed her idea for a “board retreat” in hopes to boost camaraderie.

HLC members followed up the conversation with doubts as to how the board currently operates. Concerns included the ability to work without personal agendas and the will to keep students at the forefront of board decisions. Public comments involving student disapproval on board meeting bickering raised this concern.

Hamilton described her vision for the board’s effort to cooperate with each other. She expressed that a civil board is necessary for the good of the college. “We are going to be working on the way we get along,” said Hamilton. “I’m sure we’re going to get there.”

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