FW: A Tale of a Community College

Craven, Jim jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Thu Sep 16 10:31:51 MDT 1999

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Craven, Jim
> Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 1999 6:06 PM
> To:   Campus Master List
> Cc:   'rchrisjo at stthomasu.ca'
> Subject:      A Tale of a Community College
> Here is a true tale about an Indian community college; it shall remain
> nameless as it doesn't matter and sadly it is not atypical from that found
> on many Indian reservations in America and reserves in Canada.
> This community college was visited by an accreditation team and passed.
> The accreditation team visited, surveyed and made some suggestions but
> essentially gave it a clear pass. They were shown around the school and
> reservation, but there was a whole other reality--sub rosa--they were
> never shown and didn't do much to look for.
> For example, the accreditation team missed the fact that the President and
> her husband, a faculty member, plus other family members also on staff or
> faculty, were running up travel bills amounting to $73,000 per year for
> one person and close to that amount for others individually. They were
> going to "conferences" in Stockholm, Paris, Hawaii. Recently, the
> bookkeeper of that College quit out of disgust and out of fear of a
> federal investigation. The key computer person of that college, with
> access to all the records, and herself trained in law and who had tried to
> leak some sensitive information out of the college, was recently found
> dead in a highly suspicious car wreck that several insiders are calling
> murder.
> The accreditation team missed the fact that for over three years, planning
> and funding had been in place to put in a T-1 line and to hook up the
> college to internet (especially critical since the library at the college
> is abysmal) but that college still remains not hooked up due to the
> squandering of designated funds and a now former dean who was a chronic
> and lazy alcoholic and coke-head.
> The accreditation team missed the fact that on the Board of Trustees, all
> but one were trusted insiders put and kept on the Board through insider
> processes by other trusted insiders of a corrupt Tribal Council and
> several prominent and corrupt families; those Board members acted as a
> rubber stamp for anything the College administration wanted to do.
> The accreditation team missed the fact that several of the faculty members
> had been hired through insider and family connections, had no teaching
> experience, had embellished or falsified credentials, or no credentials,
> and were nonetheless in critical positions and caused critical damages
> vis-a-vis  critical and foundational subjects not being properly taught by
> those with proper qualifications.
> The accreditation team missed the fact that large amounts of funds
> designated for capital expenditures had been diverted into travel and to
> cover deficits in non-capital accounts such that critical capital
> construction was put off and when a pending audit was coming down, faculty
> and staff were pressured to surrender 10% of their monthly salaries in an
> attempt to cover the illicitly diverted funds.
> The accreditation team missed the fact that "honors graduates" of this
> college were being admitted to surrounding colleges and universities and
> were being found horribly deficient in the most basic skills and knowledge
> necessary for any beginning freshman or sophomore to have any chance of
> success; the non-honors graduates were even in worse shape, and the
> graduates of the college, percentage-wise, were small in relation to total
> enrollees and potential graduates.
> They missed diversions of Pell Grant and Workforce/Worker Retraining
> funds--to cover shortages in other accounts-- desperately needed by poor
> students on limited time and money allotments of training.( Some students
> getting checks for $4.95 after normally getting checks around $80 to $160)
> And when these and other matters are investigated, as they will be some
> time, there will be even more damages as the college is turned upside down
> with possibly excellent faculty and staff lost--along with hopefully the
> corrupt ones.
> In all of this and in much much more missed by the accreditation team,
> this college and its students were given no favor by being given a pass.
> No doubt, some of the acccreditation team members with genuine sympathies
> for the plight of Indians and the pressures/constraints of an Indian
> community college, were motivated out of a desire not to be too harsh and
> to give the college a chance to improve. But out of this accreditation
> visit, and all that was hidden or missed, many opportunity costs ( lost
> potential returns of lost or foregone opportunities) occurred and are
> mounting. This college, and its precious young--and older--students, the
> only hope for a Tribe on the verge of extinction--in terms of training the
> future leaders and workers and families of the Tribe--was left neglected
> and superficially or parochially examined; and worse of all, it was left
> with some very corrupt elements still in control and now ratified and
> legitimated by outsiders doing a superficial accreditation visit.
> When anyone, fails to do their best, fails to be honest and fails to be
> accountable or held accountable, there are indeed myriad and very
> dangerous and damaging opportunity as well as direct costs. And these
> costs and damages go on and on and on with those least able to pay paying
> the bill while those who only have taken for themselves and their cronies
> reap the short-term spoils.
> If this Tribe winds up in total chaos and extinguished, as is a very real
> possibility, some perhaps "well meaning" individuals on that accreditation
> team, who failed to do their best and were swayed by superficiality and
> "escorted access" by those who had something to hide, will be partially
> culpable even if they never come to know it. Like the legacies of the
> residential schools, the infected blankets, the hubris and parochialism of
> the Federal Government, broken treaties and racism, the legacies and the
> destruction from these and other failures will continue with mounting
> costs and victims.
> Jim Craven
> James Craven
> Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
> Vancouver, WA. 98663
> (360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
> blkfoot5 at earthlink.net
> http://www.home.earthlink.net/~blkfoot5
> *My Employer Has No Association With My Private/Protected
> Opinion*

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