Dodge City Community College’s associate professor Justin Weil said he wasn’t interviewed by an investigator about his credentials. College officials haven’t questioned him, he said, or indicated there’s a problem.
"In 10 years of employment," said the welding instructor, "my integrity, my knowledge and my commitment to the college have never been questioned. Never."
He was surprised, then, that his name appeared in two different investigation reports recently released by the college.
Until The Hutchinson News interviewed him Friday, he said he hadn’t been interviewed by the press, either, about the reports.
Weil is the son of Peter Weil, one of eight Nov. 7 candidates for Dodge City Community College Board of Trustees.
Attorney Allen Glendenning, contracted by the college in February 2017 to investigate possible fraud by misuse of funds and equipment by former Dodge City Community College executive vice president Danny Gillum, submitted a summary report dated June 23.
The DCCC board voted this fall to release the summary, which was done Oct. 10.
On page 14, it devotes two paragraphs to Justin Weil under the heading "Justin Weil’s credentials."
It opens: "Justin Weil is an instructor at DCCC and Danny Gillum’s nephew by marriage." The sister of Weil’s mother, Ronda Weil, is married to Gillum.
It notes that 45 hours toward Weil’s degree were awarded based on life experiences. It mentions Gillum as issuing an email to the registrar stating that Weil had completed all requirements.
Weil said he was awarded the 45 credit hours in welding classes. He tested with the American Welding Society to be a certified welding educator. In turn, Weil said, he met with Mike Ahern, who was the then-chief academic vice president at DCCC, not Gillum.
Gillum was Weil’s direct supervisor and his email to the registrar reflected the authorization by Ahern, Weil said.
The Higher Learning Commission reviews credentials and Weil said his credentials as an instructor have never been questioned during at least two reviews that have been carried out while he’s been there.
He also noted he is a certified welding inspector, a relatively rare designation in southwest Kansas.
The first three names that appear in a Sept. 17 report on an investigation into misuse of Carl D. Perkins grant funds at DCCC are Justin Weil, Ronda Weil, a now-retired tech program recruiter at the college, and Danny Gillum. The college released the report to the public Sept. 22.
The Kansas Board of Regents investigated the expenditure of Perkins funds over a 2009-2015 period at DCCC. The college told the Regents’ investigator when asked about the 2009 lodging expenses for the Weils, related to a Colorado trip for a mountain rescue course, that the college had planned to pay the expenses out of its general fund but – inappropriately, as it turned out – paid them from the Perkins grant dollars.
The Kansas Board of Regents’ legal team made the decision to redact the names of Gillum and the Weils and all others in the Perkins grant investigation except for the requestor, for personal privacy reasons, according to Matt Keith, communications director for the Board of Regents.
The only names redacted in the document released by the college were the names of students.
When the Hutchinson News asked Carla Patee, executive assistant to DCCC’s President Harold Nolte and clerk for the board, about the release showing the names, she said an open records request would have to be filed and reviewed by counsel.
An August primary was needed to reduce the large field of candidates for four seats on the DCCC board to eight.
"I’ve been hearing lots of comments," said candidate Weil, of the inclusion of his son and wife in the investigation report releases.
"I’m not so sure it’s been a negative effect," he said. "You’re talking about two people who are devoted to the college," he said.
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