June 21, 2007

NEWS: Perilla Shuns Trustees

Perilla passes on final meeting
Remaining trustees meet, welcome new president

Ending the financial year, Johnson County Community College trustees welcomed new president, Terry Calaway, at their monthly meeting, June 21.

Calaway took the helm June 18 when Larry Tyree departed June 15 after serving 11 months as interim president.

The meeting was also the last official meeting for trustee and former board chair, Elaine Perilla.

"The trustees also recognized Elaine Perilla, who is leaving the board, for her 12 years of service. Mrs. Perilla, who was absent from the meeting, will receive a plaque and a vase," read a posting on the college's e-mail list server that recapped the meeting.

Perilla's pained past
Perilla's no-show ended her term under a campus-wide No Confidence vote that stemmed from allegations that she new of and dismissed allegations of harassment against former President Charles Carlsen.

Carlsen resigned April 20, 2006 a week after The Campus Ledger, JCCC's student newspaper, published its 13-month investigation into the charges.

Trustees acknowledged and validated the claims of harassment against Carlsen in a press statement Oct.19, 2006. Perilla's sole vote against faile to prevent the board from realeasing it.

"Concerning [the victim'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, [the victim] and Ms. Perilla disagree about whether these events occurred," the statement reads.

Perilla's history with the college began in 1985 as a biology and anatomy instructor.

After leaving her position, Perilla leveled charges of sexual harassment against the Carlsen Administration. She brought a cartoon that was circulating around campus as evidence.

“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.

After the meeting, Perilla said she would focus on addressing issues of sexual harassment, financial waste and mismanagement in her campaign for a seat on the board. Perilla failed to garner enough votes.

In 1995, Perilla succeeded in securing her seat with the endorsement of the college's Faculty Association.

Twelve years later, the same Faculty Association spearheaded the call for a the vote of No Confidence in Perilla.

"I've done 12 years, and it's time for someone else," she told The Kansas Star.

Current trustees, Lynn Mitchelson and Jon Stewart secured seats on the board in the last general election as did newcomer, Don Weiss, dean of evening, weekend and graduate studies at DeVry University in Kansas City.

Weiss will take Perilla's seat on the board at the next trustee meeting, 5 p.m. July 12 in the Hugh Speer board room, 137 GEB.

Board of trustee meetings are open to the public.