Past administrative follies require we proceed with caution.
After a series of disastrous missteps, including spending over $200,000 on a website that never went live, losing $627,000 in funds from Morrow County, turning away $200,000 in federal Title II grant funds, and planning to eliminate educational offers, the faculty of Blue Mountain have reluctantly concluded that the college administration cannot be trusted to serve the college, its students, and our communities.
It’s often the case that as leaders become more confident and more entrenched in their roles, they stop seeking feedback. The college ignored the advice of its own experts and as a result spent over $200,000 on a website that never worked. **Can this administration recognize their own limits in understanding and accept the wisdom of others' expertise? **
College enrollments ebb and flow with economic fluctuations. When the economy is low, students return to their coursework to become more competitive candidates for the workforce. When the economy is high, students often leave college for gainful employment for a time. For the college to address this temporary enrollment drop with permanent cuts to programs is hasty and short-sighted. It says a lot about this administration that they would rather cut programs and faculty than seek to recruit more students. Simply cutting in order to cut as part of a wider strategy is not the best option—particularly when finances are healthy. Not to mention, what support systems will be in place when students return to campus? Is this administration thinking about the long term ramifications and stability of BMCC.
The college administration and College Prep faculty spent the month of March working diligently to prepare a comprehensive application for federal Title II grant funds under the auspices of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). These funds support adult education, GED, and ESL students at the college. On April 6th, without warning or consultation, the college administration withdrew its application, resulting in the loss of approximately $200,000 in federal grant funds. Who turns away free money?
BMCC’s 2022-2023 budget cuts over $90,000 of scholarships for student-athletes--a cut of 30%, despite the fact that athletics brings in revenue. Despite the fact that many students have already signed a letter of intent to attend BMCC. These are legally binding agreements between BMCC and promising students. Who will tell a third of these students that there is no funding available to them anymore? Is this how easily they break promises?
These same administrators have claimed they used data to make these informed decisions, but when pressed they have neglected to share any of the “data” to support their claims. If there is no data, are we comfortable with their arbitrary claims and conclusions? No-- because facts matter, a decision can be no better than the information upon which it’s based, and critical decisions based on poor-quality data (or none at all) can have very serious consequences.
All things considered, given this track record, can we really trust them (on simply their word) that this is the best course of action? Given the number of recent mistakes, shouldn’t we be cautious in considering their ultimatums and seek a second opinion before throwing BMCC into chaos because we are being told it is “innovative and bold”? Shouldn’t we demand that they support their actions with relevant data?