WVC board releases statement supporting president, responding to faculty union report
Jan. 22, 2020
Libby Siebens, community relations executive director, 509-682-6436 (Mon.-Thurs.)
The Wenatchee Valley College Board of Trustees released a statement today in response to the WVC Association of Higher Education (WVCAHE) faculty union’s call for the removal of WVC President Dr. Jim Richardson. They also released the 11-page report that was presented to them by WVCAHE. The request was made at a public board meeting Weds., Jan. 15 by full-time, tenured faculty and their union representative following a no confidence vote.
The statement praises Richardson and addresses concerns presented by the union’s report. The four-person board consists of Board Chair Phyllis Gleasman, Vice Chair Tamra Jackson, Steve Zimmerman and Dr. June Darling.
The board’s statement is as follows:
On Jan. 15, the faculty union requested that the board remove WVC President Jim Richardson, citing multiple reasons for their request in a prepared statement and 11-page report.
We would like to address some of the concerns presented by the faculty union and clarify our role with the college. It is our sincere hope that moving forward, meaningful conversations can be had about the state of the college and its future.
The board is responsible for hiring presidents, negotiating their contracts and setting their salaries, and removing them, if necessary. The board is also responsible for retaining good leaders. We created President’s Richardson’s contract, including his salary, to retain someone who has shown excellent leadership and unyielding compassion for our students.
The board is also responsible for monitoring the college’s budget and holding the college accountable for its fiscal decisions. That said, we would like to put to rest the union’s claims that President Richardson intentionally misled the college and the community at large. The causes of this financial crisis are a strong economy and larger than expected declines in enrollment.
The board feels that the president has been transparent, receptive to ideas, and timely in addressing questions. The college made extra efforts toward transparency by creating a budget webpage (wvc.edu/Budget) on the public website, which provides updates and answers frequently asked questions.
The board would like to commend the president for his commitment to putting students first. President Richardson has made it clear since the very beginning that he would do everything in his power to protect students from the effects of this budget crisis. As a result, classes and academic programs have been prioritized.
We feel President Richardson has been an effective leader for WVC during this crisis and throughout his presidency. We will not be removing him.
This budget crisis will continue to have far-reaching effects to the college and how it operates. The college will also continue to face the same issues community colleges around the country are facing: low enrollment, unpredictable state funding, and an ever-changing political and fiscal landscape. However, the board is assured in the knowledge that, in its 80-year history, WVC has faced these issues before and prevailed.
It is our hope that we, along with all college employees, continue to listen respectfully to each other and improve. We feel strongly about the college’s ability to uphold the mission – we hope that our shared commitment to student success can unite us during these difficult times.
Wenatchee Valley College enriches North Central Washington by serving educational and cultural needs of communities and residents throughout the service area. The college provides high-quality transfer, liberal arts, professional/technical, basic skills and continuing education for students of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. Visit our website, wvc.edu.
Wenatchee Valley College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity in employment and student enrollment. All programs are free from discrimination and harassment against any person because of race, creed, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a service animal by a person with a disability, age, parental status or families with children, marital status, religion, genetic information, honorably discharged veteran or military status or any other prohibited basis per RCW 49.60.030, 040 and other federal and state laws and regulations, or participation in the complaint process. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies and Title IX compliance for both the Wenatchee and Omak campuses:
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