October 10, 2006

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."