The student’s place

Politics, contrarianism not serving students

The recent events at College of DuPage regarding its president and board of trustees speak for themselves.

The leaked e-mail Dr. Robert Breuder sent out at the beginning of the summer sounded bad. In the e-mail, Breuder pushed for securing a $20 million state grant by identifying “a project that would help release our state funding,” coinciding with Gov. Pat Quinn’s commencement speech in May. Regardless of his intent, the message itself did not paint the college in a positive light. Its release was, in no uncertain terms, embarrassing.

The response on the party of Trustee Hamilton, and her recent media campaign to bring more outside voices to the board meetings is also embarrassing. Between Trustee Hamilton, the watchdog group “For the Good of Illinois,” led by former Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Andrzejewski, and other Tea Party groups, our board meetings have turned into a circus.

The rest of the board of trustees, in voting to censure Trustee Hamilton, acted carelessly, and seemed to act more out of spite than legitimate desire for progress.

If this were a clear ideological debate over the direction of the college, with those involved trying to improve the school, it would be bad enough. Unfortunately, it no longer appears that the college or the students are the primary concern.

That is why, in the argument between those mentioned above, we side with the students.

It appears to us that some members of the board may have forgotten their purpose, which is, at a basic level, to ensure the continued well-being of the college in favor of political grandstanding, needless contrarianism and a ceaseless thirst for greater name recognition. Infighting is one thing, but the outside ears that are tuning in are of concern. The reputation of the college is, in no uncertain terms, being tarnished.

The product that students are paying for diminishes in value when the school is perceived as dishonest, as it did in the wake of Dr. Breuder’s e-mail. The college’s legitimacy as a serious place of learning is brought  into question when board members are going on the radio to invite people to meetings, as Trustee Hamilton did. There is a glaring lack of respect between the members of the board, and as such they are undeserving of our respect.

Please get your acts together. This isn’t your place. This is our place. Try not to forget that. And to every person standing up, yelling out of turn at future board meetings; you’ve come to the wrong building. You learn how to raise your hand in kindergarten, not college.