The fate of COD: a response to your August 30 editorial

Bob Hazard, Associate Professor, English

I wish I were as confident as the Courier Editorial Board in concerning the fate of our college. It is true that the administration and board have taken actions to “Settle the College of DuPage’s accreditation problem” but over the summer the board took actions that have harmed our college and could well threaten our accreditation, if not our national reputation as one of the best community colleges in the country.


Item 2.A in the HLC final report, dated 6/30/2017, states that “The institution…establishes and follows policies and processes for fair and ethical behavior on the part of its governing board, administration, faculty and staff.” The HLC then rated the item as “Met With Concerns”.


Last year the full time faculty was given the green light by the board to hire tenure track faculty. After a series of exhaustive and rigorous searches we selected many worthy candidates and extended job offers to them. After accepting the offers and signing contracts, pending board approval, as is the custom, the board inexcplicably chose to rescind two of those offers. I say inexplicably because our board members have chosen to not explain their actions. The closest they’ve come is Chair Mazzochi’s letter to the faculty, written almost two months after the fact, which argues that the board has the power to reject the recommendations of the administration and faculty.


No one is aguing that the board does not have the power to make this decision: it does. But the board has neither the academic judgment, nor the academic experience to make that decision. No one on the board has ever taught in a higher education setting. No one on the board has advanced degrees in the areas the rejected applicants have. Yes, the board has this power. But not once in the 50 years of our college’s existence has a board exerted this power.


Given no better explanation as to their motivations, we are left without the explanation that this decision was not made with academics in mind, and without the best interests of COD in mind.


The damage this board inflicted on these individuals is incalculable (one had already quit her job). The long-term damage to our college is equally incalculable. Who will want to waste their time applying for future positions here now that they know what could happen to them?


This is not how an ethical board operates. This is how a board with something to hide operates.