December 28, 2006

TIME OUT: "As Told to"

Today, The PITCH published an article called, "You Can't Go Back: That and Other Lessons Learned By Locals in 2006."
Ben Paynter wrote the piece in an "as told to" style (I don't know if that's what its called -- its just what I'm calling it). I like this approach because it draws on the section technique of which I'm a huge fan. As a traditionalist, I was uncomfortable in that the style employs a single introduction attribution and eliminates quotation marks.
However, the streamlined style won me over in how easily it allows subjects tell the story in their own words. It also created a change in the byline (in the print edition but not in the online version) The byline reads: "As told to Ben Paynter"
I'm totally going to steal this approach.

My shirt reads: "Trust Me, I'm a Reporter."
-Photo by Angela C. Bond
Miguel Morales, 39, reporter for the Johnson County Community College Campus Ledger and author of articles about a sexual harassment scandal that forced the resignation of JCCC President Charles Carlsen
I probably broke the biggest story of my career while still in college. At the time, I was kind of freaking out. I thought somebody was trying to set me up. Or, if it's true, I'm in way over my head.
I had a meeting with the president, and I basically dropped the bomb. I said, "There's these allegations — did you do it?" And he says, "No," and he turns all shades of red.
Did I print the victim's name? Yeah, I did. I said, "I'm going to use your name, so what do I need to do to protect you?"
The college had this big investigation that cost half a million dollars. It's very corny, but one person really can make a difference. It's not that people have ethics or they don't have ethics.
It's just, they don't always follow them. And then, pretty soon, they're sliding down the slope where they are doing all kinds of crazy things.

The JCCC Board of Trustees recently announced that the college is going to build this $300,000 scholarship in the name of Carlsen. He's trying to buy his way back into our college.
The good ol' boy network is still deeply entrenched at the college. There are professors who have tenure who say they're not going to speak because their classes will be reassigned. They can still get to people.
I don't know if I want to be in a traditional newsroom. I'm thinking of creating a local newspaper that's only online. With today's media, you don't just have to find your place — you can create it.

December 21, 2006

TIME OUT: Takin' a Leak

I've gotta commend the guys at The Sports Blog. They post sports material that non-sporties (like me) find interesting and provide content for the sports savvy.

A Dec. 14 post does an excellent job examining how information leaks and national security affect sports reporting.

Dare I say that I'm ... an athletic supporter?

December 8, 2006

TIME OUT: Readers really do respond!

I haven't offered coaching lessons on this blog for a while. I've simply been trying to document major events in the evolution/revolution on my campus. I'll make more of an effort to do share coaching tips since this whole experience is like an intensive Master's level course.
The letter below is part of the reason for the refocus on coaching. It is one of many actions taking place on campus that doesn't get covered in the local media or even in our campus news. It also serves as a reminder that when we report and investigate with ethics and integrity, readers will respond.
I don't know if many stories inspire people to put their jobs on the line by writting such a letter. But I do know its because of letters like this that I will continue. I'll also try to report these types of actions along with the grossly overt ones.

December 6, 2006

Board of Trustees
Johnson County Community College
Overland Park, KS

Dear Trustees:

This letter is in regards to the recent public statement of support for Dr. Carlsen by a group of highly influential members of our community. The statement has created more anguish on campus, and I believe is detrimental to the process of moving forward. I hope after reading this correspondence, the Board will take quick action to continue moving us in the right direction. I am amazed and disappointed that members of our community appear to want to downplay the seriousness of the allegations regarding sexual misconduct. Certainly no individual would want their wife, daughter, mother or sister subjected to the alleged behavior. Everything I have read leads me to believe that multiple allegations of this nature are not reported unless truth to those allegations is undeniable.
The Board’s decision to release a public statement acknowledging multiple allegations were reported to the law firm of Badger & Levings was an appropriate manner to send a message that you believe the sincerity of these complaints, and more importantly, you understand the hurt these women felt and continue to feel. Asking the community to now continue recognizing Dr. Carlsen serves only to delay the healing these employees need and deserve.
The statement of support for Dr. Carlsen also seeks to recognize his leadership over the last 25 years. Certainly, Dr. Carlsen’s positive qualities need to be recognized. I believe naming a major building on campus after him accomplished this. He performed in the job he was hired for. We must also recognize that Dr. Carlsen did not accomplish any of this by himself. Demographic trends during his tenure, combined with supportive taxpayers, were major forces at play. The hundreds of competent employees serving the college during this period should also be recognized as well as the college’s generous financial support from private individuals.
One of the many reasons Dr. Tyree’s style has been embraced by the overwhelming majority of current JCCC staff and faculty is his relentless recognition of individuals’ accomplishments. I am sure his experience as a leader has taught him that the level of success accomplished by an organization like JCCC requires a team effort. Recognition of that team effort would be a positive force in moving this college in a new direction.
Lastly, I encourage the Board to make available to the public the rest of the information you received in verbal reports from Badger & Levings. A major concern on campus is that the information you received in closed door sessions over a twenty plus hour time period is about a lot more than allegations of sexual misconduct. The main concern is that the sexual allegations are just a symptom of a larger problem. That problem is simply the internal culture on campus.
I am under the impression that some Board members have been told from multiple sources that many of us believe a culture of intimidation and bullying exists on this campus. Most individuals are afraid to be more open about their concerns out of fear of retaliation, and quite frankly, a statement of support by highly influential and well connected community leaders adds to those fears.
Only the Board knows the full truth as to what Badger & Levings reported. You must decide whether it is in the best interests of our community to share the information. I encourage you to share all of the information. This action will help facilitate the structural, organizational and policy changes necessary for JCCC to achieve our Mission and live within our stated values. Dr. Tyree’s short tenure has provided a sense of hope and promise. His openness and integrity are values our next president must possess.

Thank you for your time.


Frank Syracuse
Professor of Economics Johnson County Community College

cc:JCCC Faculty & Staff
Steve Rose
Melodie Hall Blobaum
Miquel Morales

December 3, 2006

Carlsen's Cronies

In response to my column "Carlsen's Enchanted Evening," (below) former Johnson Countians of the Year wrote a letter to the community, Nov 29.

Steve Rose, of The Johnson County Sun, served as spokesman for the group and as a source for the story. I can't begin to describe the layers of cronyism, the breach of ethics and the lack of integrity this letter and those associated with it symbolize.

Here's the letter, read it and puke ...
Dr. Charles Carlsen served as president of the Johnson County Community College for twenty-five years. He brought vision and leadership to JCCC during his tenure. As a result, the college is now universally acclaimed as one of the finest community colleges in the United States.
We have supported the college for many years. We watched in admiration as Dr. Carlsen led the college to one successful and innovative venture after another.
When Dr. Carlsen came to JCCC, its foundation had less than $100,000 in assets. During his tenure as president, the foundation's assets increased to more than $20 million. Dr. Carlsen's tireless fundraising efforts generated scholarships for literally thousands of students.
In 2003, under Dr. Carlsen's leadership, JCCC received the Kansas Award for Excellence. This award, which is granted only after an exhaustive review of the institution, confirmed that the college was providing outstanding instruction for its students and a vibrant work environment for its employees.
Dr. Carlsen broke new ground by fostering many partnerships between the college and businesses. The training partnership he formed between the college and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad has been described as one of the most innovative in the nation. The National Academy of Railroad Sciences now provides training for more than 14,000 students each year and adds $14 million annually to the area's economy.
It is just as important to us that Dr. Carlsen and Linda gave thousands of hours of volunteer service to many organizations in this area. Chuck and Linda Carlsen are the kind of people who make this a wonderful area in which to work and live.
We are very pleased that members of the board of trustees are focusing on their most important task: the selection of a new college president. We want the Johnson County Community College to remain one of the most important institutions of higher education in the region. We pledge our continued support in achieving that worthy goal.

Dick Bond
Ben Craig
William H. Dunn Sr.
Ed Eilert
SuEllen Fried
Walt Hiersteiner
Drue Jennings
Betty Keim
George and Floriene Lieberman
Dr. Bob Meneilly
Elaine and Norman Polsky
Bob Regnier
Shirley Rose
Steve Rose
James P. Sunderland

November 21, 2006

THE CAMPUS LEDGER: Carlsen's Sugar Daddy

This article was originally published in The Campus Ledger Nov. 16
Walking on the Ledge:

Carlsen’s Enchanted Evening

By Miguel M. Morales
Being accused of unlawful harassment is the best thing to ever happen to Charles Carlsen.
As the former president enjoys retirement, Larry Tyree, interim president, tries to heal the college while enduring the Board of Trustees.
Last Saturday, a bolder Carlsen demonstrated his lack of integrity by attending the JCCC Foundation’s annual scholarship fundraiser, Some Enchanted Evening. Carlsen’s repulsive return to public life came with another revelation.
“Because Dr. Carlsen has been so responsible for building this college, the Foundation and the scholarship, the Norman and Elaine Family Charitable Foundation, which really is our private foundation, has granted a second $25,000 legacy sponsorship tonight. We want to put it to the Charles and Linda Carlsen Johnson County Community Foundation Scholarship Fund Endowment,” Norm Polsky said to a shocked crowd at the black-tie gala.
In April, The Campus Ledger investigated and published the first of multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Carlsen. He stepped down the next day and unexpectedly retired a week later.
Yet, Carlsen remains on the Foundation’s board of directors.
The Polskys have built a legacy of giving that has touched millions. Carlsen has only touched a few.
Carlsen’s appearance taunts the women who made the allegations of unlawful harassment.
He knows they won’t file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission nor will they file a civil lawsuit because they don’t want to hurt the college or put their families through that process.
“Friends of Carlsen have been contacting me asking ‘What can we do to show our appreciation?’ Well, it’s now up to those families here tonight and elsewhere that want to contribute $1,000 or whatever to this tax-deductible endowment,” Polsky said.
Polsky expects Carlsen’s endowment to grow to $100,000 by Dec. 31.
He also said an agreement with the Foundation dictates that it will not award this scholarship for five years.
That’s when the endowment should reach $300,000. Its earned interest will generate a minimum of 60 $1,000 scholarships per year.
“The Charles Carlsen scholarships will go on forever,” Polsky said. However, the Foundation already offers a scholarship in the Calrsens’ name. “I hope they will merge that into this endowment,” said Polsky.
There is no dispute that the Polskys have given millions of dollars to many organizations as well has having donated their time. The Polksys have built a legacy of giving that has touched millions.
Carlsen has only touched a few.
“I hope that all of you will send to the Foundation your contribution marked for the Carlsen scholarship before the end of this year,” Polsky said to funders in the audience. “I realize that there will be other efforts by other people to recognize the Carlsen contribution to the college that may be kept separate or joined to this Polsky plan.”
With this obsessive attempt to salvage his reputation, Carlsen reveals his true nature – that he has no problem using students and funders to get what he wants.
“You know how Chuck Carlsen is one great sales person?” Polsky said of one of his early encounters with Carlsen. “Dr. Carlsen came to our home to make a sales pitch. I said to my wife, ‘This is sure going to cost us.’”
That’s right, Norm. It sure is.
Polsky said the paperwork for the Carlsen endowment awaits signatures of the Carlsens, the Polskys, Tyree and Foundation president, Jill Gerlach.
The college and the Foundation should concentrate on disbursing the thousands of dollars in unawarded scholarships than creating another endowment to save one man’s reputation.
Contact Tyree and Gerlach and tell them not to sign those papers.
Tell them not to fall for Carsen’s latest pitch.
Tell them not to sell our integrity.
Tell them the cost is too high.

November 2, 2006


This article was originally published in The Campus Ledger Nov. 2
Elaine Perilla charged administrators with harassment

In 1992, Perilla, a professor, asked trustees to intervene on her behalf regarding harassment of a sexual nature

by Miguel M. Morales
Elaine Perilla, trustee, accused college administrators of harassment in 1992 and used the complaint to run for a seat on the Board of Trustees in 1993.
The Campus Ledger uncovered a June 30, 1992 article in College Boulevard News, where Perilla, then a part-time instructor at the college, cited “employee harassment, financial waste and sexual discrimination” as reasons she decided to run for a seat on the Board of Trustees.
“I have experienced firsthand the verbal harassment and sexual discrimination of our very elaborate ‘good old boy’ system at the college,” Perilla said during a board meeting June 22, 1992.

“It is really difficult to believe you ladies condone such actions. So I assume you are being bamboozled by these slick administrators.”
Elaine Perilla speaking to female members of the Board of Trustees in 1992.
According to another article published July 8, 1992 in the
Shawnee Journal Herald, Perilla described enduring “inappropriate” comments about her clothing, gender, marital status and personal finances from college administrators.
Perilla addressed female board members including current trustee, Virginia Krebs, and former trustee, Molly Baumgardner.
“It is really difficult to believe you ladies condone such actions. So I assume you are being bamboozled by these slick administrators,” she said. Perilla showed board members a cartoon that had been given to her.
It depicted a potbellied administrator answering the “The Good Old Boy JCCC Rape Hotline.” The caption read: “Aw, hell girl, you know you was askin’ for it.”
“I can honestly tell you that in my opinion, this is a fair reflection on the ignorance of this board and the focus of the Carlsen administration,” Perilla said at the meeting.
Perilla also told the Journal Herald that her campaign for a seat on the board would focus on the issues she brought to the board at that meeting.
“I will persistently bring the same issues forward,” she said.
Perilla lost her bid for trustee that year but won a seat in 1995.

When asked to comment on her actions in 1992, Perilla said she could not respond without having the article in front of her.
The Ledger then e-mailed the article to Perilla.
“I haven’t been on my e-mail,” she said from her office at the Volunteer Center of Johnson County. “I’m getting ready to go to a meeting. I guess you’ll have to write your story without [me] because work comes first.”
Molly Baumgardner said she did not recall the specific allegations Perilla made during that meeting but remembered Perilla using an overhead projector and that “everyone was appalled.”

“Seems like the 1992 Elaine Perilla was a different person than the 2006 version.”
Stu Shafer, professor of Sociology

Baumgardner said anyone who examined her record as a trustee would know that she was never “bamboozled” by anyone.
“She was very opposed to Chuck Carlsen and his administration,” Baumgardner said.
However, Baumgardner said Perilla’s attitude toward Carlsen changed upon becoming a trustee.
“All the things she was concerned about absolutely disappeared once she was on the board,” Baumgardner said. “But before she even took her seat [in 1995], she made peace and had become good friends with Carlsen and Fred Logan.”
Logan was appointed to the board in 1992. Perilla succeded Logan as board chair in 1997.
Currently, both Carlsen and Logan serve on the JCCC Foundation Board of Directors.
In addition, Logan, who is an attorney, represented Carlsen during the scandal involving allegations of unlawful harassment.
According to the Badger report, Carlsen ceased cooperating with the investigation on the advice of his lawyer.
Stu Shafer, professor of Sociology said he’s seen the Journal Herald article now circulating around campus.
“Seems like the 1992 Elaine Perilla was a different person than the 2006 version,” he said. “How can you trust someone who gets into office by condemning the ‘good-old-boy system,’ then, when she gains admission, participates in the same kind of mismanagement and obfuscation?”
Shafer said that year the Faculty Association supported her campaign.
“She promised to improve communication between faculty and administration,” he said.
Frank M. Syracuse, professor of Economics agrees with Shafer.
“It appears Elaine forgot why she was elected, and she too succumbed to the trappings of power,” he said.
Perilla recently served as board chair and now co-chairs the JCCC New President Screening Committee.
Contact Miguel M. Morales, news editor, at

THE CAMPUS LEDGER: Best 'No Confidence' Vote Ever

This article was originally published in The Campus Ledger Nov. 2
'No Confidence' Creates Cohesion
Campus community urges, warns trustees to take note of the vote
by Miguel M. Morales
The woman who ran for a seat on the Board of Trustees with the endorsement of the Faculty Association now faces their wrath.
The Faculty Association successfully launched a campus-wide vote of No Confidence against trustee Elaine Perilla Oct. 26.
The vote of No Confidence accused Perilla of “failing, as board of trustees chair, to act on sexual harassment reports against former president Charles Carlsen” and “using her position to intimidate administrators and other college employees and of contributing to an atmosphere of fear and distrust at the college.”
Four days of voting allowed full-time and part-time faculty, administrators and other full-time and part-time staff to participate.
The vote in favor of the resolution of no confidence broke down as follows:
Full-time faculty members voted 240 to 9.
Non-faculty employees, including administrators, voted 107 to 8.
Part-time faculty and staff voted 107 to 15.
“It falls now to Trustee Perilla to explain herself and her recent decisions, and to initiate a dialogue with college personnel about the steps needed to restore confidence in her stewardship,” said James Leiker, professor of History.
Perilla declined to comment on the vote.
However, Perilla will convene with her fellow trustees and college lawyers in executive session, Nov. 9.
There they will further discuss the multiple allegations of unlawful harassment against former president Charles Carlsen.

Perilla and Benjamin Hodge, trustee, will meet with the JCCC New President Screening Committee Nov. 13.
At the meeting, the two trustee co-chairs of the committee will discuss applicants for college president.

Hodge faces censure from the Board of Trustees for allegedly violating the board’s code of conduct.
“I just wanted to say that the vote speaks for itself.”
Michael Hembree, professor of History
Csilla Dunesky, professor of Science, said Perilla has tainted the search for a permanent president.
“I hope that Ms. Perilla will recognize that her continued position as co-chair of the Presidential Screening Committee is inappropriate,” she said.
Michael Hembree, professor of History, adopted Perilla’s tactic for speaking to the press.
“I just wanted to say that the vote speaks for itself,” he said.

'Guilty by Association'
For many, the No Confidence vote served as a referendum on the entire board.
Tom Bryant, assistant, Carlsen Center Box Office said there may be board members who do not agree with the “overly-vocal screening committee co-chairs” but are hesitant to contradict them.
“Sadly, they are deemed guilty by association,” he said. “There are some who think the current firestorm will cool and just go away. We can't allow that. It will grow and it will fester and unfortunately it may get nasty.”
Bryant said he wonders if any trustee is strong enough to stand up and examine how they collectively fell from grace.
“We must not overlook the other actors and issues involved in the chain of events that have led us into this travesty,” he said.
“As a long-time staff member of JCCC, I totally agree with the no-confidence vote,” said Rita Hartsook, accounting clerk, Financial Services. “If we do not stop this pattern of behavior, what will happen if another incident occurs on campus? More of the same – sweep it under the rug and reward those who participated?”
Duneczky said she hopes to see a change in behavior and a willingness to work with the faculty.
“Where we go from here depends on whether the Board listens or ignores the message,” she said.
“As for the next step, that is largely up to the board members,” said Leiker. “It has been communicated loud and clear that the employees of JCCC are disappointed with present trustee leadership.”

A Call to Action
The discussion of censure and a vote of no confidence appeared on the Faculty Association listserve Sept. 28 and appeared on the blog,, days later.
“I may have been the first to actually suggest a no confidence vote in writing, but the idea had been discussed informally among FA members,” said Leiker. “Same goes for the Ben Hodge censure.”
Leiker addressed comments Hodge has alluded to that the Faculty Association is trying to capitalize on the Carlsen scandal to push its own agenda.
“I think the results of the vote shatter the illusion offered by some that this expression of discontent is merely the work of a few radicals in the Faculty Association,” said Leiker. “Most of the bargaining unit of faculty -- FA members and not, regardless of political affiliation -- turned out to vote, as did many staff, administrators, and part-time employees.”
“The faculty can do what they choose to do,” said Ben Hodge, trustee. “I fully support their large amount of workplace freedoms.
"I hope that they appreciate that they are free to do what, in most workplaces, people are not free to do.”
Both Leiker and Bryant have called on the campus community to take action with their votes.
“Voters in Johnson County need to take notice of this as well and elect trustees who understand the meaning of collegiality and have a proven record of working with educated professionals in a democratic environment,” said Leiker.
“There are more of us than there are of them and we have to keep the issues out there for everyone, both on and off campus, to see,” said Bryant. “An election is coming and we can make a difference.”

An Unexpected Result
While a vote of No Confidence may seem divisive, many on campus say it has actually unified the campus.
“In this case, the vote created community throughout the college, which had been absent to a large degree,” said Betty Bullock, professor of Sociology. “It allowed all college employees the opportunity to voice their concerns and see they were not alone.
“The actual ballot area provided a common gathering place and an opportunity for informal sharing among colleagues we do not often get to see on a regular basis.”
Bullock said in creating solidarity, the vote moved the campus toward healing.
“I wanted to express my feeling through voting,” said Jeanne Walsh, assistant dean of Nursing. “It's important we show as a group the fact that there is a unity among all of us no matter how we vote. I think it's fantastic. I've never seen anything like it in 17 years.”
Contact Miguel M. Morales, news editor at

AWARD: Go for the GOLD!

The Ledger Named Gold Medalist
The Campus Ledger
, the student newspaper of Johnson County Community College, received a Gold Medalist rating from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in a critique of its 2005-06 issues.

The Campus Ledger earned 966 of a possible 1,000 points.

The judge wrote, "You cover your campus very well … Nice reporting jobs on the President/harassment issues in the April 13 paper! Facts weren't sensationalized, but were documented and attributed correctly."

The judge also wrote, "You've clearly worked very hard to produce a fine, well-planned publication worthy of the 'Gold' desigation!"

The editors of the 2005-06 Ledger were Joshua Seiden, Matthew Walsh, Miguel Morales and Aaron Whitebread. The adviser was Anne Christiansen-Bullers.

November 1, 2006

AWARD: First Amendment Grant

CMA awards The Campus Ledger First Amendment Grant
College Media Advisers awarded The Campus Ledger it's Ingelhart First Amendment Fund grant. The grant of $1,000 will allow The Ledger to hold a First Amendment week to coincide with "Sunshine Week" March 11-17, 2007. Earlier this summer, The Ledger earned a First Amendment award from the Society of Professional Jounrlaists.

From CMA:
In a time of world turmoil, some urge giving up basic rights to preserve security.
Others counter that what good is heightened security if we must give up the rights that are at the core of our freedom. It will not be easy to broaden everyone’s attitudes about the First Amendment, but it needs to be done. And, in the world of student media advising, with what many view as a challenge to the rights of our students and the erosion of their First Amendment protections, the time is now to provide educational outreach.

This is where CMA can help.

The grants will be awarded to CMA members to underwrite programs designed to elevate awareness of First Amendment freedoms on an individual campus. A total of Five (5) grant awards of up to $1,000 each will be awarded this year.

The Ingelhart First Amendment Fund was established by College Media Advisers Inc. and donors to educate students about freedoms protected by the First Amendment.

The fund is named for retired Ball State University journalism professor and First Amendment scholar Louis E. Ingelhart, who has dedicated much of his life to studying, writing about and teaching the First Amendment.

AWARD: Best in Show

The CAMPUS LEDGER Wins Second Place
The Campus Ledger, the student newspaper of Johnson County Community College, won second place in the "Best of Show" contest at the National Media Convention Oct. 25-29 in St. Louis.

Single issues from newspapers across the country were judged on both design and content in the on-site contest.

October 29, 2006

Shame the Devil

Truste me, I'm a reporter.

So the Board finally acknowledged what I've known all along -- that there were other victims.
Too bad it took the threat of me re-launching my investigation to get them to admit it.
But if they think this admission will stop me from getting at the truth, they don't know Miguel.

October 25, 2006

BOARD STATEMENT: There Were Other Victims

Following the regular monthly meeting of the Johnson County Community College board of trustees Oct. 19, the JCCC board met for more than four hours in executive session with Betsy Badger and Theresa Levings.
At the end of the session, the board voted 4-1 (Lynn Mitchelson, Jon Stewart, Virginia Krebs and Ben Hodge voted "Yes." Shirley Brown-Van Arsdale was absent. Elaine Perilla voted "No") to release the following statement:

The Board is grateful for the voluntary participation of so many in the recent independent review. The review process was designed to encourage open communication during interviews so that the Board could learn the concerns of JCCC employees, take corrective action where needed and move the college forward. We appreciate the efforts of the many people who assisted in achieving this.
Now that the investigative portion of the review has concluded, the Board wants to reiterate its commitment to protect the identity of the persons who participated in the review and to keep personnel matters as private as possible.
The Board does not want to betray those who participated in the review by revealing their names or the personnel matters they reported, but the Board is listening to what they had to say.
The Board also remains firm in its resolve that there will be no retaliation against those who came forward in good faith to participate in the review.
Concerning Ms. Lee’s public allegation that she gave her written narrative in 2004 to Elaine Perilla and told Ms. Perilla then about her allegations against Dr. Carlsen, Ms. Lee and Ms. Perilla disagree about whether these events occurred.
Ms. Lee did not claim that any other Board member had knowledge of her claims, and the five other Board members state that they had no such knowledge.
Any Board member is free to make a public comment about his or her personal knowledge on this subject.
The Board also wants to address questions about the cost of the review.
The 12-page report released to the public is the only written report and represents only a small part of the work done.
As the report states, Badger & Levings’ engagement included “legal analysis, advice and review of other personnel and policy matters.”
Some of the matters that are not included in the 12-page report are details of allegations by other women regarding Dr. Carlsen.
A few women interviewed during the review said that at various times during the approximate period of the late 1990s to early 2005 Dr. Carlsen touched them in a manner similar to that alleged by Teresa Lee.
They said that they concluded that the conduct was not inadvertent or accidental because it was repeated.
A few other women confirmed what they called inappropriate conduct by Carlsen during this same time period but declined to specifically describe the conduct or answer other specific questions about it.
Some of those interviewed provided second-hand information about other women believed to have been the object of inappropriate conduct by Carlsen.
Three of the women identified denied any improper conduct by Dr. Carlsen toward them.
One declined to speak with Badger & Levings, and Badger & Levings was not able to obtain more information about the others.
In addition, another woman said that there were times when Dr. Carlsen stood behind her while she was at her computer and that when he reached over her toward the computer, his arm touched her breast.
Another woman said that she specifically remembered two occasions where Dr. Carlsen stood too close to her and that, upon learning of Ms. Lee’s allegations in early 2004, the woman thereafter avoided being in situations where he could get close to her.
Another woman said Dr. Carlsen gave her a hug on one occasion that was too close and too long. She said she moved back from Dr. Carlsen because he had made her uncomfortable.
Dr. Carlsen cancelled a scheduled interview and ended his participation in the review before Badger & Levings had the chance to ask him about these other allegations.
All these women reported that the conduct occurred during their employment at JCCC.
Their allegations had never been reported to the college under the college procedure or as a legal claim against the college.
Some said they were willing to disclose their own experiences because they did not want Lee to be, as one said, “out there by herself.”
The Board sincerely regrets that it learned about these serious allegations so long after the time the conduct is alleged to have occurred.
Furthermore, the Board is fully committed to supporting the administration in addressing any issues which negatively affect the college’s working or learning environment.
While some may want to know more about the review, the Board is determined to keep details about personnel matters and the identity of those who reported about them as private as possible.
The Board has spent many hours meeting with Badger & Levings during and after the review and will continue to meet with them for as long as it takes to identify any issues that need to be addressed.
Dr. Tyree is an active participant in that process and the Board is grateful for his counsel and the wisdom of his experience.
While this effort required substantial human and monetary resources, we believe the investment is justified and will continue to have value for years to come.

October 24, 2006

THE CAMPUS LEDGER: Letter to the Community

This editorial was originally published in The Campus Ledger Oct. 19
Walking on the Ledge:I take it all back

by Miguel M. Morales

After quickly reading the 12-page report from Betsy Badger of Badger & Levings, LLC., into the allegations of unlawful harassment by former president Charles Carlsen, I knew I had to take it back.
I reread my story. I reviewed my notes and documentation. I again listened to my recorded interviews. I even revisited the letters Badger sent in May and July asking for those with information to come forward.
All that documentation convinced me to do something I should have done a long time ago -- take it all back.
So after a discussion with the staff of The Campus Ledger, here’s my letter to the community.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

With the authorization from The Campus Ledger I will re-open the investigation into unlawful harassment against former president Charles Carlsen.
Nineteen months ago, we began an investigation into the allegations of unlawful harassment against Carlsen.
The result, published April 13 in The Ledger, launched another four-month investigation costing almost $400,000.
Many who cooperated with Betsy Badger of Badger & Levings, LLC., who the Board of Trustees named as independent investigator have contacted The Ledger saying they felt betrayed.
According to the report, many of you came forward and some provided documentation at your own risk.
“Many we interviewed also said they were reluctant to talk to us because they feared the Board would learn who had made a negative comment about Carlsen or the college. We did not promise anonymity or confidentiality to anyone,” the report reads.
The report also goes on to say the investigators would reveal identities and other information at the board’s request.
Our investigation will offer what Badger’s could not -- confidentiality.
By offering this, we place ourselves at great risk because Kansas does not have a Shield Law to protect journalists from being forced to reveal their sources.
However, The Ledger staff has made this commitment.
Our risk will honor the risk you take in coming forward.
While Badger’s report confirms our original story, it also cites rumor and speculation.
“It appears that Lee enabled the release …”
“One person told us that a Ledger representative stated …”
Another misconception is that The Ledger refused to participate in the investigation.
Not true.
Investigators never asked for information from The Ledger.
In fact, I had to approach the investigators to ask why we had not been contacted.
Badger said she did not want to contact us because she knew I’d want to write about it.
That is far different from what appears in her report.
“We did not ask the Ledger how it obtained Lee’s typewritten narrative because representatives of the Ledger did not agree to speak with us off the record.”
Our report will investigate the culture of fear that, according to many, allowed the incident to happen.
Our report will talk to experts in the field.
Our report will reveal the names of publicly elected officials and their role in the incident.
Our report will reveal what Badger’s report did not.
We need those who participated in the investigation to contact us.
We also need those who did not participate.
I promise to protect you.
We just need to get at the truth.

Thank you
For your protection, do not make contact by using a JCCC e-mail address. Contact Miguel Morales at latinoreporter [[at]] gmail [[dot]] com or Send documentation to:
P. O. Box 4635
Olathe, KS. 66063

THE CAMPUS LEDGER: Campus Smackdown!

This article was originally published in The Campus Ledger Oct. 19
Trustees in Trouble
Faculty Association call for action against Screening Committee co-chairs

by Miguel M. Morales

The Faculty Association has called for action against two of the college’s trustees.
The general membership of Faculty Association announced it will call for a vote of No Confidence in Elaine Perilla, trustee.
“The faculty of Johnson County Community College hereby declares that at the present time it has no confidence in Elaine Perilla as a member of the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees,” the ballot reads.
The general membership also voted to call for the Board of Trustees to censure Ben Hodge, trustee.
“We call on the Johnson County Board of Trustees to censure Trustee Benjamin Hodge for violations of the JCCC Board of Trustees Code of Conduct (Board of Trustees Bylaws, section 114),” reads a press release from the Faculty Association.

"I have a First amendment right to voice my opinion. This is typical of liberals who talk about the First Amendment until you disagree with them.”
Ben Hodge, trustee

“This is moral suasion,” said Vin Clark, professor of History and president of the Faculty Association, acknowledging that the association’s call for action lacks teeth.
“It’s an element of democracy,” he said. “It’s part of traditional academic involvement in collegiate life.”
Clark said he transmitted the resolutions to trustees on behalf of the association and expects to make a statement at the monthly Board of Trustee meeting Oct. 19.
The association’s executive council also voted on a statement of cooperation with board and community in finding and hiring the best possible candidate as permanent president.
The statement says the lack of confidence in Perilla “need not be permanent and hoped that she would take action to restore confidence in her leadership.”
Clark said he hopes that the impaired relations with Perilla and Hodge will be temporary.

Elaine Perilla
The call for the no vote of confidence in Perilla comes a month after the board of trustees released a 12-page investigative report into the allegations of unlawful harassment against former president Charles Carlsen.
Last April, The Campus Ledger published an article describing that Perilla received a 22-page account documenting Carlsen’s alleged harassment of Teresa Lee, manager of Human Resources.
Lee’s narrative, dated Sept. 14, 2005, describes the interaction with Perilla.
“I spoke with Elaine today to ask if she had had a chance to review the documentation I had given her. She said she had,” Lee wrote. “I asked her if she had any questions. She said she did not and that she doesn’t doubt that it is true.”
Lee further described how Susan Lindahl, vice president of College Information and Strategic Initiatives, commented on Perilla’s knowledge of the allegations.
“I spoke with Susan after work, via phone, and voiced my concern,” she wrote. “She said that at least Elaine knows about it so that if Carlsen says he wants to retire, she won’t talk him out of it."
The investigative report which has cost the college almost $400,000 failed to mention Perilla.

"This is moral suasion."
Vin Clark, president of the Faculty Association

The Faculty Association also alleges that Perilla uses her position to influence and intimidate employees.
According to the Faculty Association voting will take place using ballot boxes and paper ballots.
The college declined to let the association use its electronic voting system until the college attorney approved.
“Although the Association maintains its rights to use this system, the Executive Council believed that delay in voting was inadvisable,” Clark said. “It therefore decided to employ the traditional procedure.”
The explanation on the ballot for the vote reads:

“Elaine Perilla has forfeited the trust of the college community by a series of actions and failures to act, which have been instrumental in creating an atmosphere of secrecy, intimidation, and fear throughout the college.”

The vote will take place Oct. 23-26.
The Ledger attempted to contact Perilla. She did not return phone calls up to press time.

Ben Hodge
While the Board of Trustees can employ censure using board policy 114.03, there is no consequence to the action.
“The board of trustees may, after investigation and upon the adoption of written findings of fact, adopt, by majority vote, a resolution of censure with respect to any trustee who violates the provisions of the Board's Code of Conduct or Code of Ethics,” the policy reads.
The Faculty Association contends that Hodge did violate the Code of Conduct.
“At the September 27 meeting, Hodge referred to the 22 people who had previously spoken before members of the presidential screening committee, saying, ‘I wish they were all genuine. I cannot say that I am confident of that,’” Clark said.
Hodge said he finds the call for censure unprofessional.
“I have a First amendment right to voice my opinion,” he said. “This is typical of liberals who talk about the First Amendment until you disagree with them.”
Hodge said he has contacted a lawyer about the legality of the board’s code of ethics.
“I’m reviewing it to see if the policy is unconstitutional,” he said.
Hodge said the heart of the matter comes to the Screening Committee.
The call to slow down the search process is an attempt by the Faculty Association to interrupt the process because members didn’t get their way, he said.
“Vin Clark wants to be exclusive,” Hodge said. “These calls to slow the process didn’t occur until late September.
“I find it hypocritical. It’s perfectly legal.”
Of Perilla, Hodge said the call for her to step down as board chair should have come earlier.
“She was president for too long,” he said.

Screening Committee Response

Both Perilla and Hodge co-chair the JCCC New President Screening Committee.
The committee has faced internal and external challenges to its charge.
During several open forums, members of the campus community asked that committee slow down the search process and immediately hire interim president Larry Tyree as the short-term permanent president.
The entire Search Committee became aware of these pleas at its first meeting and open forum, Sept. 25.

“These two people already have an idea of what they want in a president and are trying to convince the rest of us.”
Phillip Newton, student senator

John Hanysz, administrative assistant in Student Services and Screening Committee representative, said it is too soon to determine what the call for action by the Faculty Association will have on the committee.
However he said he will start taking a different approach.
“I will definitely speak up from now on when matters call for me to do so,” he said. “I’m not going to be intimidated anymore by the people or the process.”
Philip Newton, student senator and student representative on the committee, said the Faculty Association’s actions will have “a big effect.”
He said these actions will allow Screening Committee members to openly question the motives and actions of the co-chairs.
“These two people already have an idea of what they want in a president and are trying to convince the rest of us,” he said.
Newton also said he expects the contention between committee members and the co-chairs to escalate by the next Screening Committee meeting in Nov. 13.
Contact Miguel M. Morales, news editor, at

October 17, 2006

Buck's Lessons Worth Millions

I'm thankful for not reading headlines like, "The Buck Stops Here," or "Passing the Buck" concerning the loss of Buck O' Neil.
Buck was really an ambassador not only for baseball -- the likes no one has seen in years -- but he was an ambassador for Kansas City.
Try to think of famous people associated with KC.
There's that jazz guy, Bird, whose death was hastened by drug and alcohol addiction ... Who else?
KC tried to claim Hemmingway but he never really contributed to the city. They also try to claim Walt Disney but that's really reaching. And off the top of my head I can't think of anyone nationally or internationally known who comes from KC.
Buck was really our only celebrity.
There's a lot of lessons to take from his life that our city will probably ignore.
He was so dignified when he was passed over for the hall of fame.
He represented diversity in a city that is soooo racially divided.
I'm also sure there were times that the only reason people went to see the Royals was when Buck was there.
I mean just the fact that a non-sports gay guy like me not only knows who Buck is but respected him means that his influence really surpassed sports.
If all people remember is that he was a Negro League player, then they really didn't know Buck at all.

October 15, 2006

Grievance: Round I

Dorothy Friedrich, vice president of Human Resources, denied a grievance I filled last April.
I filed it because as I was reporting the Carlsen story, Mark Ferguson,
the Board's attorney, and Susan Lindahl, vice president of College Information and Community Relations came to the library where I work as a part-time employee.
They had me leave my post and then they proceeded to grill me about what I knew of the allegations.
Ferguson asked me if I had a lawyer and made what I believe were other attempts to intimidate me into not writing the story.
My job in the library had nothing to do with my job as a reporter for The Campus Ledger. But that didn't stop either of them from abusing their power to protect Carlsen.
Incidentally, both Friedrich and Lindahl admitted knowing of the allegations of unlawful harassment against Carlsen. They also admitted doing nothing about it.
Read about my grievance
here in The Johnson County Sun.

October 10, 2006

THE CAMPUS LEDGER: Stop the Search

This staff editorial was originally published in The Campus Ledger Sept. 28
Letter to the Board of Trustees
EDITORIAL BOARD NOTE: The Ledger has prepared this letter for those involved in the campus community to petition the board. We urge readers to tear this page out and deliver it to the president’s office in GEB 112 in person or via interoffice mail (Box 1) or through the US Postal Service.
Board of Trustees:
We call on you, as our elected representatives, to name Larry Tyree president of Johnson County Community College immediately.
We call for an immediate suspension on the search for a permanent president.
We also call on an inquiry into controversy regarding the composition of the Screening Committee as made public by the Faculty Association during the Sept. 21 Board of Trustee meeting.
Later in the meeting, Elaine Perilla, trustee, described how she picked the members of the Screening Committee.
However she omitted that the JCCC Foundation has four individuals involved in the committee making it the largest represented body from any division. Foundation board members include Jill Gerlach who represents the JCCC Foundation; Kansas Senator Nick Jordan; Sam Turner of Shawnee Mission Medical Center; and the college’s attorney, Mark Ferguson of Lathrop & Gage.

Before trustees approved the members of the Screening Committee, committee members already received letters discussing their charge. However, these letters did not come in JCCC envelopes but in envelopes from Perilla’s organization, the Volunteer Center of Johnson County.
Given Perilla’s refusal to offer full disclosure and the unprofessional overlaps between her various community roles, we call for Perilla to step down from the Screening Committee.
We also call for Benjamin Hodge to step down.
Hodge’s political grandstanding and confrontational behavior during public forums and open meetings incites hostility and divides our newly unified campus.
The board previously announced that a permanent vice president of Student Services position would not be filled until we hired a permanent president. The surprise appointment of Dennis Day, who served as interim in that position, demonstrates the board’s ability to offer Tyree the presidency immediately.
The unanimous clamor for Tyree surfaced at the Sept. 25 open forum and it continues with a flood of e-mail messages.
Trustees will betray the democratic process that elected them should they deny these pleas.

Lets face it, Tyree’s resume and actions would have earned him this job had Carlsen retired under normal circumstances.
With the current tension between the board and faculty, staff and students, the board must understand that we already have a president.

A member of the JCCC campus community

THE CAMPUS LEDGER: Report Released

Campus reacts to Badger’s report

Many question the report’s validity due to unanswered questions

by Miguel M. Morales

Terese Lee, manager of Human Resources, said she never should have participated in the independent investigation.
“Originally, I wasn’t even going to participate in the ‘investigation,’” she said.

"I had no confidence in the process."
Teresa Lee, manager of Human Resources
Lee said she felt it wouldn’t matter what she had to say because certain individuals under investigation regularly attended closed Executive Sessions.
“I had no confidence in the process,” Lee said. She also said many people who participated in the investigation offered her feedback. Lee was pleased with the questions Badger asked and consented to the interview.
Lee attended the Board of Trustees meeting Sept. 21 to receive her own copy of Badger’s report.
After reviewing the report, Lee said crucial information individuals provided concerning the allegations never came to light.
“I guess I should have gone with my initial instinct -- but at least I tried,” she said. Lee comments those who came forward.
“The courage you have is to be commended,” she said.

The Report
As of noon, Sept 27 the report had been accessed 1,425 times, according to College Information.
The Board of Trustees accepted and released the report Aug. 21 during its monthly meeting with the college simultaneously posting it online.
The report commissioned buy the Board of Trustees in May investigated the public allegations of sexual harassment against former president Charles Carlsen.
Arriving late for the meeting, Badger offered only one statement.
“Thank you for the opportunity to deliver the report tonight,” she said prior to distributing the report to trustees.
Three minutes later she was gone.
The 12-page report costing over $377,000 described accounts originally published in The Campus Ledger, April 13.
The report, as cited in its introduction, lists three primary tasks. First, Badger was to review, provide legal analysis and advice about matters related to Lee’s allegations against Carlsen. Second she was to communicate with and provide analysis and legal advice to representatives of the Board of Trustees about the allegation. Third, she was to review and provide legal advice and analysis “of other personnel and policy matters not included here.”
According to Badger’s report Carlsen refused to continue cooperating with the investigation that month.
“On July 13, 2006, Carlsen suspended his participation in our review and cancelled a scheduled second interview with us on advice from his legal counsel.”
This came in contrast to his April 13, statement announcing his leave of absence.
“Be assured I am intensely interested in clearing the air on this matter and that just as I am comfortable with my professional conduct, I do pledge my full cooperation in the independent analysis that I am asking to be commissioned by the board.”

The Reaction
While campus reaction varied from what some on the campus listserve called “the Badger leaflet” to a call for replacing trustees up for reelection in the spring.
Others said the board reneged on its promise.
“It’s a promise the board made to the public who paid for the report,” said Eileen O’Neill, administrative assistant in the Carlsen Center.
The Ledger submitted a Kansas Open Records Act request for additional information on the report. The board’s attorney, Mark Ferguson of Lathrop & Gage, denied the request citing that “these records represent and constitute the work product of an attorney.”
“I just don’t see how this institution can possibly ever recover,” O’niell said. “Our integrity is being called into question. Where are the checks and balances if the board isn’t going to be public with that information?”
Mike Martin, professor of Mathematics and vice president of the Faculty Association, questioned the omission of trustee Elaine Perilla’s name in the report.
“At the board meeting it was said that all previous published allegations would be addressed by the Badger report, yet those allegations involving the board members’ knowledge were not addressed,” he wrote in a letter to trustees the next day. “The allegations directly involve Elaine Perilla, co-chair of the screening committee, and resolving her level of involvement would allow the screening committee to more effectively do its work.”
Martin also said like others on campus, he is pledged to the college.
“But it pains me to do so in this environment,” he wrote. “I know the faculty will be suspect as this goes forward and that is healthy for no one. Can this be quickly resolved? It was my anticipation that it would have been done so by now.

“Our integrity is being called into question.”
Eileen O’Neill, administrative assistant, Carlsen Center

Lawrence Tyree even weighed in on the subject in a campus wide email and voice mail message.
“As you know, last night the JCCC board of trustees received the written results of an independent review of recent events at the college,” he said. “Maybe they weren’t what we expected, but I think we can still learn from them and especially from future communication with the attorneys.”
Tyree said he’s convinced the board will work with faculty and staff to make the necessary and appropriate changes.
He also thanked the campus community for continuing their charge.
“Let me express my gratitude for the fine job that each and every one of you are doing in taking care of the heart of this college – our students,” he said. “In this time of trouble, classes were never disrupted. You kept teaching and working with students, and most importantly – students kept learning. For that I’m very grateful to each and every one of you. I look forward to continuing working with you as long as I am privileged to be here at Johnson County Community College."


This article was originally published in The Campus Ledger, Sept. 14, 2006
Costs for presidential scandal surpass $600,000
Independent review costs time, money, patience
by Miguel M. Morales

Badger & Levings bill for the yet to be delivered report on the “the public allegation involving Dr. Carlsen” exceeds $342,880.
The Board of Trustees hired Betsy Badger’s law firm May 4.
The bill for Corporate Communications Group, a Kansas public relations firm hired by the board, grew to $54,554 and Carlsen’s voluntary retirement cost the college $234,430.
As of press time, The Ledger could not obtain fees from the law firms of Lathrop & Gage and Shook, Hardy & Bacon.

The Money

So far the grand total for the presidential scandal comes to $631,864.
How much is that?
According to the newly lowered mill levy, 2,697 Johnson County homeowners must pay in taxes on their homes (valued at $229,934, paying $234.29).
It could also provide 836 tuition-only scholarships for fulltime students (12 hours @ $63 per credit hour = $756).
During the Board of Trustees meeting May 4, Lynn Mitchelson, trustee, questioned Badger about the potential cost of the investigation.
Badger said at that point the final cost is unknown.
“Mr. Ferguson [the board’s attorney] emphasized when we talked to him that you were stewards of this money,” Badger said. “We certainly have no problem with that -- all of our clients feel that way.”
Theresa Levings, also an attorney of Badger & Levings, has assisted Badger in the investigation.
According to Badger’s acceptance and confirmation of terms letter, both lawyers bill the college at $250 per hour each. The letter also states the firm's other lawyers and staff may assist at rates ranging from $85 - $160 per hour.
"I don’t know anything about it."

Elaine Perilla, trustee
The Report
Badger told the Board of Trustees the investigation would take approximately 30 – 45 days placing the final report submission date in mid June 2006.
Despite being present when Badger presented monthly updates to the board in Executive Sessions, Elaine Perilla, trustee, denied knowledge of the report.
“I don’t know anything about it,” Perilla said.
Jon Stewart, trustee, said he did not know the exact date trustees will receive and subsequently release the report to the public.
“The target we thought we would have was the end of August,” Stewart said. “I think we should get it at anytime.”
Stewart said it may be presented at the next board of trustees meeting slated for Sept. 21.
“I don’t have any inside information on that,” he said.” I’m just hopeful we can hit it by then.”
Vincent Clark, professor of History and president of the Faculty Association, agrees with Stewart. “We basically hope the report is complete,” Clark said.
Stewart confirmed part of the delay in presenting the final report to the board came in response to a death in Badger’s family.
“I don’t know if there were other delays but that was certainly one,” he said. “I’d like to make sure that whatever we get is something that can help us put processes and procedures in place in the future that will make it a lot easier for people to come forward.”
The Timeline
April 17
Trustee meeting
– Perilla, as board chair, charges Ferguson with presenting candidates to serve as independent review.
April 26

Trustee meeting
– after an Executive Session, trustees release a document with two recommendations. The first calls for the immediate hiring of an independent reviewer to conduct a review of “the public allegation involving Dr. Carlsen.” The recommendation also calls for the independent reviewer to report results to the full Board of Trustees in Executive Session.
“The findings and recommendations will not be disclosed publicly in order to protect the confidentiality of personnel,” the document reads.
The second recommendation calls for hiring Betsy Badger of Badger & Levings, LLC.
April 28
– nine past presidents of the Faculty Association submit an e-mail letter to the Board of Trustees and the media. It calls for Perilla to “resign her chairmanship and excuse herself from any decision-making role in the Carlsen case.”
It also calls for the independent review findings to be made public.
Later that day Perilla and Mitchelson issue a joint media statement in response to the Faculty Association’s letter. The letter reaffirms the board’s intention to keep the results private.
“I believe this process is fair to the staff and responsive to the taxpayers,” the statement reads.

The Campus Ledger
reports Susan Lindahl, vice president College Relations and Strategic Initiatives, and Badger attend the same Overland Park church.
May 4

Trustee meeting
– Badger addresses conflicts of interest.
“I do attend Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church,” Badger said. “I am not a member of that church. I do sing in the choir. That was accurately reported.”
Badger also discloses that Brian Badger, associate professor of Information Technology, is her brother-in-law.
Trustees vote to sign Badger’s letter of acceptance and confirmation of terms. The letter states that communications between Badger, the firm and the board will fall under attorney-client privilege.
May 11
– the Faculty Association votes 208 - 20 to send a statement to the Board of Trustees. The statement calls on trustees to conduct a complete investigation, eliminate any possible appearance of conflict of interest and issue a complete public report.
July 13

Trustee meeting
– trustees hear an interim report from Badger.
Mitchelson reads the following statement: "The board received an update tonight about the progress of the review from our attorneys. Their work is nearing an end but is not yet complete. We hope to receive their report soon and learn from it and move the college forward. With assurances from legal counsel that the identities of persons interviewed during the investigation will be protected, it is the intention of the board to release the report of the review when it is received by the board."
Aug. 8

Trustee meeting
– trustees hear an interim report from Badger.