This is supposed to be a time to celebrate the 50th year that East Central College has been in existence. There’s not much to celebrate with the unrest that currently prevails and the accusations that are being fired at the board and the president.
Any way you look at it, the reputation of the college is being tarnished, and that’s what concerns people in the district and supporters of ECC.
Higher education is under attack these days, particularly because of the high cost, tenure and the lack of funding from legislative bodies. Lower costs at community colleges still are the norm and are what make them attractive to students and parents, along with academic values.
While higher pay for faculty and staff at ECC is said to not be a major issue, we believe it is a priority in the overall demands being made. Other people have told us the same thing.
We don’t know many faculty and staff members. There was a time when we knew many of them. From the beginning ECC had a dedicated faculty and staff that made the college what it is today. The unhappy ones moved on. Over the years, retired faculty members told me the pay was not at the level of some other colleges, but they liked living in this area, and the environment at the college. The faculty and staff in those days built the college and gave it the quality reputation it earned.
Officials from other colleges and universities in those days praised the ECC graduates who attended their institutions. The pre-engineering graduates especially were given praise because the college had prepared them so well. Later the nursing program was started and it is one of the academic gems of ECC.
In the campaign to sell the creation of the college, working toward an election to establish the institution, the steering committee really hit on two points: The opportunity to earn an associate degree while living at home, and the low cost advantage. Other promises were made such as the opportunity for adults who needed to complete their degree work could do so close to home while maintaining their jobs, and the technical program offerings that would be offered to train students for good paying jobs. Job skills are needed, especially today.
Every promise made was fulfilled.
Blame for the current unrest has been placed on the president and board members. For injuring the college by their actions, faculty and staff who oppose the leadership, regardless of what they say, must share the blame for damage done.
We would hate for ECC to lose the support of people. What is going on now is damaging to community support.