Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Road Ahead for State Community College

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Road Ahead for State Community College

Article excerpt

Supporters of State Community College in East St. Louis are discovering the same immutable truth that all first-time political winners must come to grips with: Winning an election may be the easiest step on the road to true victory. Now that the college has gained its independence from control by the state of Illinois, it must begin planning for life on its own. Judging from the rocky time it has had recently, that life may not be easy.

State Community College was set up on an experimental basis 25 years ago, funded by and controlled by the state. The Legislature voted to end that status and gave voters in the area served by the school a choice: independence or absorption by Belleville Area College. Fueled in large part by pride and a feeling that the predominantly black school should be in charge of its own operations, the independence option won overwhelmingly on Nov. 8, with a vote of 80 percent.

Since then, rather than being able to celebrate and plan for their autonomy, which takes effect in July 1996, supporters at the school have seen students threaten to boycott classes; board members vote to look for a new president, then be lobbied to reverse that move; and a list of demands for change from the Student Government Association, including a strategic plan, new academic programs, more and better teachers and more respect. …

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