What you missed: a recap in COD politics


Kelly Wynne, Editor-In-Chief

The past year at College of DuPage has been a whirlwind of media attention. While students may have spent their break watching Netflix and avoiding daily responsibility, college politics refused to take a back seat to the winter winds. Here’s what you missed since classes adjourned.

Kathy Hamilton Resigns

Kathy Hamilton, chairwoman of the COD board of trustees, abruptly resigned on Dec. 13. Her removal from the board was effective immediately. Hamilton released a letter detailing “personal reasons” as her reason for immediate dismissal. Hamilton did not release any other information besides saying that she was deeply saddened by her decision to step down, but it was something previously discussed with her family. 

  Public forums shed light on community’s ideal president

Two public forums were hosted on Dec. 14 in order to gain insight into the wishes of community members when it comes to choosing a new president. Most who spoke up detailed a president who will keep their own personal integrity, as well as the college’s, throughout their term. “Honest,” “Humble,” and “Collaborative” were words mentioned repeatedly in describing the ideal new president. Anne Kavanagh, former WFLD TV journalist, hosted the sessions. This became controversial when media pointed out that Kavanagh was paid $2,500 to host the events.

COD placed on probation

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) responded to COD’s letter of advancements with a notice of probation. The college has until Feb. 2017 to prove it has been able to meet the core components for accreditation previously missed in the 2015 HLC investigation. This probation will have no effect on students or transfer credits. Acting Interim President Joseph Collins made the letter accessible to employees upon its arrival. Collins sent an email detailing his stance. “In my opinion, this decision by the Higher Learning Commission is not reflective of the excellence we provide at College of DuPage for our students on a daily basis,” said Collins in the email. “However, there is nothing more important to this College than its accreditation status with the HLC. As the acting interim president of this institution I will do everything in my power to move swiftly to address all of the HLC’s concerns.”

Board of trustees boycott ICCB may appoint new member

Trustees Erin Birt, Joseph Wozniak and Dianne McGuire began a boycott of all upcoming board meetings on Dec. 17. Their reasoning behind this statement is that, since the resignation of former Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton, they have not had an organizational meeting. Though the next organizational meeting is not scheduled until April, Birt, Wozniak and McGuire believe it is unconventional to move forward without proper organization. The three trustees attempted to call a meeting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 7 but did not attend when the three remaining trustees, Deanne Mazzochi, acting chairwoman, Frank Napolitano and Charles Bernstein called a meeting at 6:45 p.m. the same day. At the time this issue was sent to print, the three board members have boycotted a total of six meetings. At the Jan. 21 meeting, community members and COD faculty expressed their outrage in the boycotts. Many commented on the three being “neglegent” and explained that the boycott may soon have an effect on students and education at the college.

The office of State Attorney Robert Berlin is considering taking legal action against the trustees for their repeated meeting absense. A spokesperson from Berlin’s office explained that the office is exploring its legal rights over the COD board and what actions can be taken in order to kickstart the board’s responsibilities.

The current board has until Feb. 11 to appoint a new trustee after Hamilton’s abrupt resignation. The past two meeting agendas have specified this duty, but no advancements have been made due to the ongoing boycott. Without the trustee’s vote, the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) will be forced to appoint a member to the COD board. McGuire and Birt reportedly sent a letter to the ICCB explaining that the current COD board will not be able to reach a conclusion, and implied that the ultimate decision will be in the hands of the ICCB.