College of DuPage Faculty Say Probation Status Places 'Black Veil' on School

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 18, 2015 | Go to article overview

College of DuPage Faculty Say Probation Status Places 'Black Veil' on School


Byline: Marie Wilson mwilson@dailyherald.com

College of DuPage faculty say probation status places 'black veil' on school

College of DuPage faculty and supporters Thursday decried trustees and administrators for actions that resulted in the college being placed on probation by the Higher Learning Commission.

"While the academics are solid, probation in the eyes of many puts a black veil on academics," retired economics professor Rosa Lee Danielson said. "I can only hope that the status of probation will not harm even a single student."

Faculty members said that after the probationary status was announced Wednesday, students asked whether credits will transfer to other institutions. The Higher Learning Commission said "in most cases" credits from schools on probation are accepted but students are encouraged to confirm with the institution where they intend to transfer.

"The college's core functions of academics, teaching and learning are not called into question in the HLC report," English professor Tom Tipton said. "It's the board and administration who are on probation."

The board was led Thursday by Vice Chairwoman Deanne Mazzochi, who called the meeting a "working group" because the board lacked a quorum to take action. Several professors who spoke called for resignations of three absent trustees -- Dianne McGuire, Erin Birt and Joseph Wozniak -- and top administrators.

The fallout came one day after the commission, in a letter to acting interim President Joseph Collins, informed the school it was placed on two-year probation for failing to act "with integrity in its financial, academic, personnel and auxiliary functions."

"It was terrible. It's the worst findings it could possibly have been," English professor Jackie McGrath said.

The three board members present Thursday -- Mazzochi, Frank Napolitano and Charles Bernstein -- listened to faculty concerns about the probation status despite being unable to take action.

Mazzochi then listed actions in progress to address reasons the college was found out of compliance with accreditation standards.

Reasons cited by the commission include breaches of investment policies; lack of documented response to problems found by an auditor; alcohol purchases at the Waterleaf restaurant; money paid to a former employee for unneeded items; awards of noncompetitive bid contracts to members of the school's foundation board; irregular review of financial statements; ineffective faculty governance; failure to act after faculty expressed no confidence in then-President Robert Breuder in fall 2014; and limited or no ethics training for faculty, staff and students. …

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