May 4, 2009
CODFA PRESIDENT STANKO ADDESSES BOT: IMPROVING CLIMATE WITHIN THE COLLEGE IS FIRST PRIORITY
Nancy Stanko, President of the College of DuPage Faculty Association and Professor of Office Technology Information, made the following comments to the Board of Trustees at its meeting May 4, 2009:
Outgoing Board Comments:
Good evening Board members, Dr. Breuder, administrators, and guests. I am Nancy Stanko, president of the COD Faculty Association.
We were disappointed with your decision to extend our president's contract after only three months on the job. You require all other work groups to wait a full year before considering extensions and raises. I understand that since this contract was not part of a union process, the evaluation procedure (and new contract) has not been made public. The taxpayers will now have to pay millions of dollars; and we will continue to hear public outcry because of your decisions.
This Board's words and actions have been a mismatch. You have stated you would operate with greater transparency and fiscal responsibility. Instead there is much waste with money; funds have simply been diverted from one category to another. You have reduced services to students but increased costs to students. There are items on this evening's Agenda that should be left to the new Board. Allow the new Board the opportunity to make their decisions.
Improving climate within the College is shown as the first priority in the January and April versions of the Institutional Priorities. Climate has not been improved because all groups of people working at the College (including full- and part-time faculty, administrators, classified, and other groups) are in fear. We continue to witness whistleblowers losing jobs and employees threatened for speaking up. Program cuts have been threatened for people speaking up. The use of lawyers at every turn continues to escalate within.
The hiring procedure used for new positions, including the many new vice presidents, does not meet the quality, ethically-shared governance structure we used in the past. The diversity training has not been developed or implemented that was a priority listed in the original and 3 Month Update of Institutional Priorities. Personnel decisions should be left to the new Board.
Our enrollment was up for spring term; it is now quite a bit down for summer—I have heard as much as 13 percent. We have been told that the changes in our computer software for registering have not been so user-friendly and staff has had to work many, many additional hours to accommodate the registration process. Thank you to the many extra hours our registration staff has worked to help our students get registered.
One of the elements our College's financial plan is based on is enrollment. I would like to remind this Board that in the early 1990s our enrollment was at our all time highs until the three years prior to our 2005 Conversion (from quarters to semesters). After this conversion that many members of this outgoing Board were responsible for—and that the faculty did not support and spoke out many, many times—our enrollment dropped by almost 10 percent Annualized FTE Enrollment. We have not increased this number since then. Yes, the faculty association would love to see enrollment increase. We believe, though, that cutting student programs and support services will not help us to do this.
In addition, Dr. Breuder's Institutional Priority of increasing the school's fund balance from 30 percent of our general operating budget to 50 percent has already had a high cost to students. In real terms, this means raising our savings from the current $42 million to $60 million. Our current reserve is already well above what is recommended for public colleges, and COD has a Triple A bond rating. But even though we are a healthy institution, Dr. Breuder dictated in February that $4 million be cut, and within a month, it was. The result is a disaster. What we are experiencing is a decimation of programs and services.
We have hope that our newly-elected Board's words and actions will be consistent. We look forward to working with our new Board.
New Board Comments:
Good evening Board members, Dr. Breuder, administrators, and guests of our meeting. I am Nancy Stanko, president of the COD Faculty Association.
We look forward to working with you to establish and develop Board relations with you. We are confident you will work with us to:
- strengthen our core values including integrity, respect, excellence, ethics, and real collaboration
- focus on academic quality for our students when decisions are made
- make sure decisions are more open and collaborative and not made simply by filling in a "template." Collaboration includes all stakeholders that have the ability to voice their opinions. Points of disagreement are resolved in face-to-face meetings
- share our vision and welcome ideas where all perspectives are respected
- conduct truly open searches and forums for candidates for positions
- encourage others to not just follow orders and look for the "cash cow" as the determining factor in decision making
We urge you to not accept the Board Policies that the last Board approved on March 19 and April 16. We urge you to instead vote to return to the Board Policies that had been in effect for over 40 years on March 18. It was never shown by the last Board which policies were not in compliance with state and federal laws. You have received many letters from state as well as nationally-recognized organizations that have encouraged you to overturn the provisions in the "Academic Bill of Rights", and the other policies which threaten academic freedom. We believe that these policies will compromise the quality of the education of our students.
Contrary to what Dr. Breuder has stated (most recently in the COD Courier), the process of shared governance was not used to develop the Board Policies that were passed in March and April. Policy and Procedure 1001 was not used as it had been used for the past 40 years. Yes, Dr. Breuder did eliminate the Leadership Council at his first meeting of attendance in January. Constituency groups were not given the opportunity to meet face-to-face to discuss the changes in the policies.
I urge you to reverse the actions of the last meeting and vote to return to the original Board Policies that were in effect prior to the March 16 Board meeting. Please do this for our students, faculty, staff, and institution. Begin a New Day at the college. Bring back the integrity to the College and help to rebuild our reputation for academic excellence.
Begin a New Day with us by maintaining open dialogue with the community and act in the best interests of the College and the district it serves while ensuring the College's excellence in academic standards and programming.
Begin a New Day with us by reversing the actions of the last meeting and vote to return to the original Board Policies. Thank you.