Dodge City is very patriotic

Dear Editor

The annual Fireworks in Dodge City were great especially at the end. When the display was over a large group were still in the stadium stands waiting for the traffic to thin out.  I began to hear the remaining crowd begin to chant something. I could not make it out at first but as it grew in intensity it became clear they were chanting USA! USA! USA! an unrehearsed true patriotic response to our fireworks presentation. It was a privilege to witness their response — a truly wonderful experience. 

Happy Birthday America with many more to come!

Kent Stehlik

Dodge City

 

Board needs to act

Dear Editor,

"We should fire them all." Those words were uttered by trustee Floris Jean Hampton, just before the executive session began at the December 2016 board meeting.

The remarks were made a month after the faculty informed the board of trustees that it had no confidence in President (Harold) Nolte and Vice-President of Academic Affairs, Adam John, and after the faculty had presented the board with a list of grievances against the two administrators at the December meeting.

Never before in the long history of Dodge City Community College had the faculty voted that it had no confidence in the president. However, such "no confidence" votes seem to follow President Nolte. The faculty at Blinn College in Texas took the same action in June 2014. By September 24, 2014, Harold

Nolte had announced his retirement from Blinn College, effective January 31, 2015.

When the Blinn faculty voted no confidence, the Blinn College Board of Trustees acted quickly and decisively by seeking the assistance of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) to deal with the serious problem. The professionals at ACCT have years of experience in helping

community colleges heal and recover when the faculty loses confidence in their president.

The Dodge City Community College Board of Trustees reacted much differently than did the Blinn College Board of Trustees. The majority of the Dodge City Community College Board of Trustees wanted nothing to do with seeking professional assistance from ACCT in helping the college deal with

the serious rift between faculty and the president.

Instead, three trustees, Floris Jean Hampton, Morris Reeves and Dr. Merrill Conant, decided to take matters into their own hands and acted completely separately from the board of trustees — a stunningly unethical and completely unauthorized act.

Hampton, Reeves and Conant read a statement at the board meeting on December 12, 2016. The preamble of their statement follows:

"The Board of Trustees respects the right of those to express opinions regarding Dodge City Community College especially in light of our mission to provide opportunities for high quality learning,

enhance community and personal development in a student centered environment.

"To that end, we have investigated each item on the list of grievances as presented at the November 2016 meeting of the Board of Trustees by the group calling itself the Faculty Coalition.

"Our investigation found little support for the Faculty Coalition’s allegations of falsification of data, questionable leadership, inappropriate hiring decisions, and bad-faith negotiations. We did, unfortunately, find that some factual matters were misrepresented. Most troublingly, we found that its

unchecked voting process calls into question the Faculty Coalition’s claim that it represents a significant portion of the fulltime faculty, much less a majority.

"Consequently, we will take no action on the Faculty Coalition’s vote aside from providing a response to each item grieved."

The problem with the statement all three trustees read is that absolutely none of what they said is true. At no time did the board conduct an investigation into the basis for the faculty’s grievances that led to the faculty’s "no confidence" vote.

These three trustees intentionally misled the public. For what purpose did the three jeopardize their own reputations and integrity? Their rationale remains a mystery. Perhaps it is based in the hiring of a president that was not fully vetted by the board before hiring him. The reason Harold Nolte was

not properly vetted is that he promised that he would not seek the job of being permanent president and the board had made it clear to all applicants for the interim job that none of them could apply for the job. The integrity of both the board and Harold Nolte was badly damaged when interim President Nolte sought the job and the board, not only considered his application, but also hired him to fill the permanent position.

An educational institution cannot operate effectively when the administration and faculty are at such severe odds. The students are bound to suffer and the reputation of our college will suffer until these issues are resolved.

In an attempt to seek a resolution to the deep rift between the faculty and the president, I made a motion in February to retain the services of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) to help the board in mediating the differences. ACCT is a professional nonprofit educational organization created specifically for the boards of trustees of community colleges and is recognized as the leading organization on community college governance. Just in the last five years ACCT has provided services to more than 800 boards, conducted more than 500 board self-assessments and presidential evaluations, and has conducted nearly a dozen administrative structure leadership analysis reviews throughout the country.

My motion to retain the services of ACCT to assist our board of trustees failed at the board meeting in February, and again in April, after Gary Harshberger joined the board. Some of the trustees confidently stated during a public meeting that they would welcome an investigation by ACCT, but yet

no trustee would vote to adopt ACCT’s written proposal to assist the faculty and the president to "mend fences".

Eight long months have gone by and we are still no closer to resolving the differences between the faculty and President Nolte. As long as the trustees do not wish to address the problem, DCCC will continue to suffer as an educational institution that is in conflict.

The board’s failure to act is inexplicable, as the faculty is the life-blood of any educational institution. We owe it to the students to place them first but when the faculty is ignored and treated like second-class citizens, it is harmful to our college. We need to fix the problem.

Terry J. Malone

DCCC trustee