BOT Letter #6

From: Davis,Jason [jadavis@wccnet.edu]
Sent: Friday, May 02, 2014 11:36 AM
To: trustees@wccnet.edu
Cc: ftfaculty@wccnet.edu; adjunct@wccnet.org Faculty (adjunct@wccnet.edu)
Subject: Regarding The No Confidence Vote
Dear Board of Trustees,
I was hesitant to write you as I am not as articulate as some of my colleagues but I feel it’s important for you to have the opportunity to hear as many of our voices as possible. First I want to give you some perspective on what this institution means to me. Both of my parents dropped out of high school in an effort to work to support their new baby. Both of my parents eventually got their GEDs and came to WCC to start their college education. Because of my parent’s determination and the wonderful education they received at WCC I did not have to grow up poor. I had my fair share of problems in life and my high school councilor told me I’d be dead before my 21st birthday. No one believed in me and my ability to embrace the scary, yet necessary, positive change I needed to make except my family and the faculty at WCC. Without WCC I would not have been given the educational opportunities that I needed to prove to myself and the community that I could be a productive member of society. I love this institution so much I have it tattooed on my arm, an honor not even given to my mother. This is where I am coming from as I write to you.
You say we don’t want change. It may come as a surprise but not all of us were happy under the last administration. Under Whitworth the math department was forced to limit itself to two developmental math courses. We were then required to “push up” the curriculum requiring us to increase the math level on our classes and leaving thousands of students with no math class they could take. It was former VP Stewart Blacklaw that worked with us during Whitworth’s retirement year to help rectify this injustice. I tell you this because I was incredibly optimistic about getting new leadership. I was begging for change at WCC, but I wanted progressive change that rekindled the open door mission of this college and put students first.
I voted no confidence because I am concerned that the current administration does not understand or does not care about the population that I serve here at WCC. To say that my students struggle financially is a profound understatement. My students are single mothers trying to provide a better life for their children, my students are homeless teens who cannot even afford to take the bus so they walk to school every day, and my students are losing their homes, being evicted from their apartments, food insecure. My students are poor and yet they pay their tuition and buy their books and pay for notebooks and pencils and take time off of work to study for final exams and they do so without complaint because they trust that we are good stewards of this money and would not charge more than necessary to provide a quality education. I see administrative positions exploding exponentially and I question if this is the reason that we have had to raise the tuition of those who least can afford it. I see excellent instructional leadership being fired or driven out and my heart breaks because I realize the impact this will have on the current and future students of this institution that has been a lighthouse for so many lost people like me and my parents. I owe WCC my life and I am paying what I owe every day. I only hope that you will sit down with our union board and listen deeply to their concerns for the health of our college and the future of our students depends on it. Our WCC community needs healing and that healing will only occur through meaningful dialogue.
Thank you for your time,
Jason Davis
(reprinted with permission)

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