Senate Unanimous In Vote To Stop Land Sale

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Two resolutions are presented here: one by Bob Wallen (a full-time science faculty member) and Yvonne Sligh (the college librarian) and the other by Gerald deBané (full-time science faculty).

Both resolutions passed the Senate by unanimous 6-0 votes.

During the discussion a supporting letter from the science faculty was read into the minutes and is also reprinted below.

The Senate directed Senate president, Lynda Myers, to send the resolutions and the science faculty letter directly to Martha Barra of the Foundation executive board and land committee.

The Wallen/Sligh resolution(S98.04):

"Be it resolved that the Academic Senate requests that further land sales of any College or Foundation property be stopped until a study and recommendations by the Mendocino College faculty for site development for instructional field studies is completed."

The complete resolution (including Whereas-es)

The deBané resolution (S98.05):

"Let it be resolved that the Academic Senate will seek to have a faculty member on the Foundation Board in order to insure proper communications between the faculty and Foundation."

The complete resolution (including Whereas-es)

Supporting Letter From The Mendocino College Science Faculty

To: The Academic Senate
From: Science Faculty
Date: April 6, 1998
Subject: Support for the Resolutions Concerning the College Property

The science faculty listed below wish to express our support for the resolution to stop any further sale of the college property until a study can be made to determine the best educational use of the property. We further wish to express our support for Bob Wallen's comments to the Board of Trustees at the March meeting.

We feel that it is very unfortunate that such a wonderful gift that offered so much to the students of our college has turned so sour that it has precipitated Senate action. We recognize that some of the property that has been sold or is in escrow and nothing can be done to change that. It is our hope that before the remaining property be sold, an evaluation by the faculty should be done in order to gain the maximum educational use of the property. It is unfortunate that the faculty, especially the science faculty, had no input in the original decision on the use of the property.

The students and faculty have voiced our desire to be involved with the decision process and were led to believe that we would, in fact, have input. One inservice day was partially spent on off-the-top-of-the-head possible uses. The chemistry and biology faculty had a Flex meeting at the property last fall to discuss a possible proposal which would eventually be submitted for a grant from the National Science Foundation. Ruth Kirkpatrick, the part-time botany instructor, devoted a great deal of her own time putting a NSF proposal together. She will start the pilot program for her proposal this summer with the financial support of MESA. The chemistry department intends to have the lab classes start monitoring the creek on an on-going basis. Christy Scollin, a part-time chemistry instructor, has recently taken her students to the property for testing. The biology department also plans to study the creek for living organisms in some of its lab classes. This is a natural laboratory that will lose its educational value without careful planning and consideration of the environment.

The science faculty has communicated our intentions and our deeds through the established process, however, our voices were not heard. On the contrary, after the sale of some of the property, the president of the college expressed to one of the full-time faculty that this is not a shared governance issue. Somehow, the shared governance limitation was not communicated to us before the sale, and in fact, we were led to believe that we would be involved.

There was very little communication from the administration about any sales until after the fact. In fact, the first time that the sale was heard about was on the college quad during a Board election debate. When questions were asked and the issue reached the local media, Foundation Board members and administrators stated that our requests had been listened to and property of our choosing had been set aside. This is not true, and in fact, no dialogue or request had been made.

Finally, we feel that it is unfortunate that the Board of Trustees heard about a part-time faculty member's grant efforts for the first time at the March meeting. Our part-time faculty receive minimal compensation and every effort should be made to recognize their extra efforts.

Once again, we strongly recommend that you pass the resolution.

Science Faculty

Gerald G. DeChaine
Alan B. West
G.F. deBané


We received a brief note from Neill Bell who was present when the letter was read and the two resolutions passed:

The clear message here is that the Mendocino College faculty believe that it was left out of the process of considering what should be done with the 1800 acres "originally donated to the college, then assigned to the Foundation by the college Board of Trustees" to improve the instructional program.

Eagle Newspaper's previous coverage of the land issue

In December (4 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. 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).

Go here for excerpts of Wallen's comments at the March 4 Board Meeting:

Maps of the property in question

Want to see maps of the land gift that show what's being sold?

Land gift map, Dec 1997 - This is the map we published 4 months ago.

Land gift map, Apr 1998. - This is a full-color map showing the latest land sale information we have,as of April 10, 1998. [212K gif file]

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