Editor’s note: This is the last day of political letters to the editor the Dodge City Daily Globe will run. We will not run political letters to the editor in Tuesday’s edition.
Thank you to all
I would like to thank the voters of Ford County for their patience and attention during this long election season. There are positive developments past and current at Dodge City Community College.
Over the past several years we have built two new dorms, remodeled a third and built a Student Activity Center which is the envy of many in the conference. All for the benefit of students, keeping the college attractive and competitive, and without needing an increase in the mill levy.
There is the recent No. 1 ranking for community colleges in Kansas, a tribute to the hard work and purposeful attention of the current student body, administration, faculty and staff.
The nursing program has made great strides in the 2 years in pass rates and continues to add qualified faculty leaders and great students. Voters should be gratified that so many are staying focused on their commitment to providing great education and opportunities for students.
Meanwhile the board has been faced with man challenging situations and has operated in an effective and professional manner, using experience, judgement and good decision making to continue furthering the interests of the college. To keep the future of DCCC bright, it is imperative the voters elect trustees who can function effectively in the boardroom, have no conflicts of interest, and are able to use their various skills to the benefit of the college.
Merrill R. Conant
Time for a change
I have read all the newspapers. I have read all the mailings. What it comes down to is our present Dodge City Community College Board of Trustees.
They were the ones who hired this president. They were the ones in control, in position when all of these problems happened. Starting with the conversion to Fort Hays State University, the mayhem in the Department of Nursing, the misuse of taxpayer funds, a Federal grand jury investigation, going into massive debt and extreme poor faculty confidence.
This happened under the existing board of trustees term. These incumbents were there when all this happened. They weren't paying attention then. They won't be paying attention now. Vote the incumbents and the like-minded candidates out.
Vote the incumbents out!
Children are the future
Yesterday we welcomed about 170 goblins, ghosts and princesses as seems to happen every year at Halloween. This reminded me of why I am running for the DCCC Board of Trustees. It is for the kids (and all the people) in Ford County for whom the community college represents their opportunities for a better life. It is for the young people who need a quality, affordable higher education. That, in a nutshell, is the reason community colleges exist.
This is what the campaign should have been about, our visions for what the community college could do for Ford County residents. Instead, this campaign has descended into anonymous letters, mudslinging and wrong information.
Here is the truth:
The Board of Trustees’ actions have gotten us into $26,000,000 of debt.
The Board of Trustees’ actions have made us the target of an 8.5 million dollar federal grand jury investigation of the helicopter program, claiming we have overcharged them.
The Board of Trustees’ actions have gotten us into a federal Title IX violation.
The Board of Trustees’ actions are costing us tens of thousands in lawyers’ fees.
The Board of Trustees voted to authorize all of the above. They have voted for all the expenses that created $26,000,000 dollars worth of debt. They voted to approve all the fees, tuition and other costs for the helicopter program. They have failed to address Title IX issues for several years.
When you are on the board of trustees, you can’t keep saying, "It wasn’t our fault. We didn’t know." They had board reports, and they had administrative reports. At any time, they could have asked questions, but they didn’t. They just voted yes.
It doesn’t have to be this way, you can vote for candidates that will ask questions and fix this mess. This board has shown they can’t.
DCCC trustee candidate
Smear campaign continues
Today in the mail I received another unsigned letter that has been part of a smear campaign designed to target the candidates for change. However, the anonymous writer got some things wrong. I am submitting a request to Roger Bluhm to reprint the entire content of the speech I read when I addressed the board for the vote of no confidence against Adam John and the president Harold Nolte. (Editor’s Note: We are unable to do so.)
None of that was about guided studies classes, which faculty have opposed for years. After I gave the vote-of-no-confidence report to the board, the board’s response was a vicious personal attack compiled by the administrators about whom the report was written.
After that November meeting Morris Reeves told me that I could no longer give the faculty report because the college didn’t want to hearing "whining and complaining." Apparently some board members felt it inappropriate to make problems at the college public. That report sparked retaliation against instructors that still continues.
Of course, everyone recognizes that the purpose of the letter was to portray faculty as part of dirty dealings. It takes a tortured mind to get there.
Faculty members recognize the issues. The college has a $26,000,000 debt, but faculty doesn’t vote on who gets hired and what they get paid. The $8.5 million federal grand jury investigation is certainly worrisome, but again, the board was approving those decisions for that program. Faculty had no input.
Beware of gossip, rumors
I am writing to appeal to the community as a whole to not accept gossip and rumors, or the loudest voice, as truth without investigating further. Having been a part of another community college, it is easy for me to see so many positives at Dodge City Community College. I want to see us continue to improve and to better serve our community. However, the atmosphere of tension was so great last year, I was ready to leave. The reason I decided to tough it out was because of my students, Dr. Nolte, the board of trustees, and the discovery that there were faculty and members of the community who agreed with me. Yes, there will continue to be disagreements between individual faculty members of Dodge City Community College, between some faculty and the current board and administration, between the community and the college, between the individual board members, and between the board and college administrators. But, there is a democratic process in place to bring all who are willing together as a single unit. In the past we were asked to "trust the process," and it worked. It will continue to work if we continue to work together and listen to each other. It will continue to work if we use facts to reason with each other.
I am representing only myself in this letter. I will not break the confidences of others, nor do I want to waste anyone’s time. Just please consider that this community college is like any other entity or dysfunctional family. There are difficult personalities here capable of acting like a spoiled child throwing a temper tantrum if they do not get their way. It is unfortunate that some feel justified in using any tactics which will bring self-satisfaction. If things are going well, we all want to take credit for our accomplishments. If anything goes wrong, we look for a scapegoat. President Nolte and the board of trustees will always be the scapegoat for DCCC.
I have two questions that need to be considered. Was there really a vote of "no confidence" last year? Can any single person be an expert on everything? First, the vote of "no confidence" did not include all faculty of DCCC. It was not a "secret ballot," and there were actually multiple points of confusion over what was being voted on. I have been strongly ridiculed for even expressing these concerns and voicing my opinion that I could not put any value into the alleged vote of no confidence. I was relieved that after this "vote" the board of trustees saw fit to extend Dr. Nolte’s contract. Last, my greatest frustration here at DCCC are the number of experts who believe only they are capable of making the correct decision and refuse to listen to others, true experts, or even the research.
In closing, I beg that you who believe in the power of prayer, pray for us. After I made the decision to stay, I have been daily praying for my Heavenly Father to strengthen our leaders and fill them with wisdom, and to move the road blocks out of the way so Dodge City Community College can be a great place to get an education.
Mary G. Scott, M.D.
Professor of Biology
Dodge City Community College