Was $890,000 in EOPS funds mispent?
Has administration mishandled hiring practices?
Are faculty and staff intimidated by threat of retribution from administration?
Is Dean Susan Bell being threatened with the loss of her job because she asked these questions?
And, is the public "inter-ferring" in College business because people are asking for answers to these questions?
The Eagle has put out a survey to ask for your opinions about the controversey, these questions. We have received any interesting variety of responses. Some have said "What controversy?", some have given very insightful remarks, and one student asked us to explain why we are asking for your feedback with this survey. That is one question I do have an answer for - and it's right here.
These questions raise very disturbing issues to my mind. EOPS funding is designed specificaly for disadvantaged students. If the accusation about $890,000 dollars of EOPS funding being mishandled is true, then how many low income students did not receive help that was supposed to have been provided for them? Almost $90,000 a year for ten years - that's a lot of money in a county like ours, where so many students need help.
The questions about administrative conduct are equally important, but perhaps appear to have a less immediate impact on the lives of our students. The idea of money out of pocket is so personal: we all relate to that. But consider the more subtle effects of lost trust creating a climate of intimidation here.
Fear is real for some teachers at our College
If our teachers are working under a cloud of possible retribution if they are not seen as "team players", then how can we ever have the open, enthusiastic, creative educational environment in which the most exciting and effective learning takes place? (I heard one teacher remark to another, " If they can do this to Susan Bell, and she's a dean, what do you think they could do to us") This was a real question.
Much has been said and written about all this in the past six months, and much has been published in the Eagle. We have been criticised and censured because of it.. Our link to the College internet web site was cut off because administration didn't approve.
We have heard that we are merely a "student paper" and shouldn't concern ourselves with administrative (adult?) matters. Diane Pauli of the Board of Trustees believes that "everybody on this campus has a job to do...The kids need to pay attention in the classroom."
Well, this "kid" believes that these questions, and their answers, affect us students at least as much as anyone else on this campus. We are all here because we are trying to learn, and upgrade our lives. If money is being "siphoned off" from student programs, if our teachers are working in a climate of fear, if administrative arrogance interfers with an open dialogue about legitimate issues, then we are not going to receive the quality of education that we should have available to us.
And the Eagle stands firm in its conviction that these are right and proper matters for us to explore with you, our reading public.
Is Mac Leitch right?
We are reprinting the following article because it defines these questions from an informed viewpoint. Certainly Mac Leitch has years of experience at Mendocino College. Are his statements correct and accurate?
We are trying to ask the relevant questions, and give you a chance to do the same. We don't have any final answers. Nor does the administration. The Board of Trustees has taken on the responsibility of conducting an investigation, for which we applaud them. They hope to have more information by fall, which we will report to you in another Eagle Extra at that time.
We continue our survey. What do YOU want to say?
Yellow forms are on the Eagle newspaper stands, which you now can find in the Ad building lobby, and in the Eagle's Nest. Look for our Eagle on the wall and drop your comments in the suggestion boxes on the sides of the stands.
The Eagle is listening and your voice will be heard.
Marya Legrand, Editor
Copyright Mendocino College Eagle 1997
Permission granted to excerpt or use this article if source is cited.