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18 August 2006 @ 10:15 am
The plot sickens...  
No-confidence vote urged at CCAC
Faculty circulating petition criticizing President Sutin's decision-making and spending

Thursday, August 17, 2006
By Moustafa Ayad, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Union representatives and faculty at Community College of Allegheny County yesterday began circulating a letter urging faculty to support a vote of no confidence in college President Stewart Sutin, in the wake of troubles the college has experienced in the past year.

Faculty members said four copies of the drafted petition were circulated yesterday at the annual All College Day meeting for CCAC's main campuses. The meeting brings together faculty members from the North, Allegheny, South and Boyce campuses and satellite centers.

Union representatives said the letter addressed four main points, each centering around criticism the Sutin administration has received over spending, decision-making and the closing of key facilities at the college.

Faculty said the negative publicity the college has received for its lack of oversight and frivolous spending has become an embarrassment for faculty members and the image of the college.

"People don't see this negative image ending unless Dr. Sutin goes," said John Dziak, president of the faculty union, the American Federation of Teachers. He said in the college's 40 years of existence he has not seen a single year in which negative publicity was as prevalent as in the past year.

Mr. Dziak said the petition started as a grass-roots movement and that the executive committee of the union had not participated in its drafting. He said union members who helped with the drafting of the letter were acting as individual teachers. But Mr. Dziak added that he supports the movement and was planning on signing the petition.

In October, three-quarters of the faculty from the North Campus expressed an array of grievances in a letter to Dr. Sutin, including campus decisions made without adequate faculty input and the granting of double-digit pay raises for some administrators, even as the cash-strapped college was cutting courses in 2004.

In recent months, the college and Dr. Sutin have come under fire for initially refusing to make public its budget and other financial information, and for what some believe are the president's excessive travel expenses.

Cutbacks touted as cost-saving measures at the college's Bethel Park Center angered municipal and state officials who believe the college plans to close the facility.

Joyce Ann Ditka, one of two union vice presidents from the North Campus, said the movement for a no-confidence vote was spurred by the college becoming a laughingstock in the community.

"The publicity of late has been terrible," said Mrs. Ditka. She said she saw no other solution than a no-confidence vote in the president.

"It's something that has to be done," she said.

Dr. Sutin said he had heard about the petition and its circulation yesterday, but had not seen a copy of the letter. He said he respects the faculty and that he has faced a number of difficult situations that required difficult solutions over the past two years.

He said he had worked with the CCAC board to implement a strategic five-year plan that set out goals that exceeded those of previous years.

"In essence, leadership is difficult," said Dr. Sutin. "If it's a difference of opinion, we could work to resolve whatever our differences are."

"I think we have to work hard on constituency building," he said.
Tags: ,
Feelin' : embarrassedembarrassed
West End Geek: Duck Amuckjtmulc on August 18th, 2006 02:19 pm (UTC)
If this were any other college but the one I attend, I'd laugh it up and say it's business as usual. However, this isn't another college and this one is heavily funded by state and local dollars and is thus subject to a lot more scrutiny.