Shawnee Community College faculty members and students met for a rally at the college’s main campus near Ullin on Monday. The protesters were calling for transparency and accountability from the college’s board of trustees and college president Dr. Peggy Bradford, who were having their monthly meeting later that evening. Photo by Benjamin Marxer.

Faculty, students, alumni attend Shawnee rally

Faculty members, students and alumni assembled for a rally at the Shawnee Community College main campus near Ullin Monday evening, June 4, to voice their concerns about the future of the college and to question the decisions made by the administration over the past year.   

The event was held before the college’s monthly board of trustees meeting, and demonstrators held signs and gave speeches before the assembled crowd calling for transparency from the board and accountability from the college’s president, Dr. Peggy Bradford.  

SCC faculty member and president of the Shawnee College Education Association Sheryl Ribbing addressed the crowd. 

“We need the board to address the concerns of faculty, staff, community members and our students,” Ribbing said. “We are calling for a transparent, comprehensive review of President Bradford.” 

Members of the organization assert that SCC enrollment is down nearly 30 percent in recent years and nearly 25 percent of the faculty have left since the hiring of Bradford. 

The SCEA blames this downturn on the policies enacted by Bradford and the board of trustees, as well as what they see as a hostile environment this conflict has created.

In March of this year, the SCEA cast unanimous votes of no confidence in both the board of trustees and in Bradford. 

The standoff continued in the board of trustees meeting, where both representatives from the SCEA and supporters of Bradford spoke out during the public comments section of the meeting agenda. 

“No way in the world this board would have hired a person who does not have the leadership ability to run this college,” said J.W. Cleary, president of Paducah-McCracken County chapter of the NAACP.

Other speakers pleaded for the facility and administration to put aside their differences and work together to help preserve the future of the college. 

SCC director of communications Rob Betts said that Bradford will undergo yearly comprehensive performance reviews, the same as any employee of the college and just as previous presidents have gone through. 

However, SCEA members are wanting for faculty and staff of the college, both past and present, to be a part of the review process, in order to give a more complete view of Bradford’s performance. 

As per the policy for board of trustee meetings, comments from the public are welcome, but an issue can not be discussed and decided on by the board unless its added to the agenda by procedure. 

No decision was made by the board in regards to the issues raised by the public comments. 

Bradford’s regularly scheduled yearly review is set to take place in July.

 

 

The Gazette-Democrat

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