Breuder’s goodbye begins new chapter

What students need from our next president


Lucas Koprowski

President Robert Breuder

It’s been a long ride, but President Robert Breuder has finally left the building. This new drama unfolded on the evening of April 28, when it was announced that starting the following day, Breuder would be taking a medical leave for the next year. No further explanation. The following Thursday, the board of trustees voted 4-3 in favor of Breuder taking an administrative leave, with Joseph Collins appointed as acting interim president. It really is the end of an era.

With Breuder leaving, this very well may also be the end of the whirlwind of controversies that have kept College of DuPage in the limelight for the past year. Lavish spending, a heated election, and a federal investigation aren’t exactly the credentials most people look for in a college. And with a new president soon to be selected, we hope that now more than ever the board will consider the needs and wants of COD students.

At the very heart of this scandal lies one key element: the taxpayer. The citizens of DuPage County are fed up with their money going to an unworthy cause. There are more than a few people that fit this criterion, and who can blame them? Giving money to Breuder to pay for his dinner at the Waterleaf restaurant is hardly logical. It’s because of this mob of angry taxpayers that the Clean Slate was voted onto the board. Citizens wanted trustees that would fight for their dollar, and that is exactly the platform those candidates ran on.

However, although tax money is nothing to shrug at, it shouldn’t trump the fact that this college was built for students. COD exists to provide the best higher education it can offer to prepare us for further education or the workforce. This school is not a place where taxes go to die. It’s a place where students go to learn. Therefore, now is the time to shift the focus from the taxpayer to the student. With Breuder out of the picture, citizens of DuPage County can take a slight sigh of relief. Now, it’s students who should be concerned about what our next president will do for us.

It’s no secret that Breuder was out of touch with the student body. Even Pizza with the President felt less like a friendly chat and more like a passive aggressive lecture. In addition, seeing Breuder outside of his office was unheard of. Heads turned when he walked down the hall, merely because he almost never did. That lack of connection with students leads to more issues down the road: issues with trust, confidence, and overall satisfaction. That’s why our next president needs to have the people skills that Breuder lacked. Students need to believe that they are in good hands, and they should be reassured of that through face-to-face, respectful communication.

Aside from our next president’s social skills, there’s the bigger issue of background checking. It’s hard to believe that no one saw it coming that Breuder would be bought out after the same thing happened to him previously at Harper College. We hope by now the board has learned its lesson and will thoroughly look into every aspect of a presidential candidate’s credentials in order to make a more informed decision than last time. COD has had enough embarrassment.

While there is plenty to look forward to for the upcoming year, it’s important not to forget the mistakes of our past.  We need a president that is willing to do what it takes; someone who will put students first, be financially aware, and take responsibility for whatever happens in office. We also need the board to put forth the effort to find someone who fits this bill and to work together to achieve what is best for students. We’ve come this far, but we are a long way from reaching the status that COD deserves.

Clarification: The earlier version of this editorial, printed in the May 6, 2015 edition, contained a factual error regarding a former radio engineer at College of DuPage’s radio station involved in a case of alleged fraud. The radio engineer worked at COD for 32 years before the Elmhurst incident in question, and the case of fraud allegedly began before Breuder’s arrival at the college in 2009. The sentence containing the factual error has been removed.