Wallen Says Science Faculty Left Out in Decision to Sell Land


Comments by full-time science instructor at March 4 meeting of the Board of Trustees

In December (3 months ago), the Eagle published an article written by members of the Ecology club ("Mendo's future for sale"), which questioned the sale of a large gift of land. At the March 4 Board of Trustees meeting, there was a lengthy discussion of the role of the Board and its oversight of the Foundation. (Look for more posts about this in the near future). At the end of this discussion, a well-known science instructor, Bob Wallen, spoke strongly on the sale of the donated land, which he described as "the gift of a lifetime." (An audio tape of the meeting is available from the Eagle).

The following are excerpts of Wallen's comments:

Bob Wallen:

Speaking as a science instructor, I was very disappointed about the way the whole process of the land donation was handled by the Foundation, and also that our board here did not properly monitor what they were doing in receiving the gift. I would rather not have even received the gift under the current conditions, because as we look at it there was no real assessment of its value for education. And what is the motto of the Foundation but to pursue excellence in education and service?

I was out there (on the property) 3 times but I was never shown the property that was considered for purchase. I wasn't even aware of the purchase until after it was in escrow and neither were any of the other science faculty.

I was therefore shocked that we had taken it this far with virtually no input (from the science faculty)

I came from Rio Honda College. We had 80 acres of watershed. We developed a complete outdoor lab. These labs would be easily applicable to this area. I was ready to implement them, but I suddenly find that we had no opportunity to do this.

How can you make a decision to sell property without proper assessment? I don't mean an assessment in terms of development. I mean assessment in terms of educational land use in all the disciplines. We were in the process of developing grants, from the National Science Foundation and others. One of our science instructors had already written a proposal thinking that we had this full property which was an almost intact watershed and yet it has been broken up

Who made the decision which parcels to sell or keep. I certainly didn't have any voice.

I just wanted to express this as a faculty member, a full-time faculty member, a pioneer from the beginning, this was an event that I find one of the most disappointing events while working here at the college.



Want to see a map showing the land gift and what's being sold?

The Eagle web site will carry a more complete transcript of the March 4 Board meeting and letters as we receive them. An audio tape of th meeting is available from the Eagle.

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