To The Daily Sun,
Recently, there has been a great deal of discussion about the crisis in the New Hampshire Community College System (CCSNH). Of course, one problem is funding. Tuition at our community colleges is the highest in the nation. The main reason is that the state contribution toward a student's education is 25 to 27 percent, while in most states it is more than 50 percent.
Even so, a large part of problem is that the CCSNH is mismanaging the funds it has. While good, competent instructors are being laid off and replaced with (part-time) adjuncts, the CCSNH is investing in new buildings, hiring more administrators, giving administrators huge raises, and wasting money on questionable software systems.
Perhaps there is something to be gained from running a college like a business. Of course, the money has to be spent wisely. But, our current administration would shock even the best business people. Even conservatives should be outraged.
Another problem is since the Community College System separated from state government, there has been little oversight of these things. The Concord Monitor and former CCSNH Vice-Chancellor Chuck Annal, as well as others, have rightly called for an independent investigation.
Such an investigation, however, should not just focus on misspending. It must also focus on the management style in the system over the last few years. This style has been autocratic and includes the creation of a toxic and intimidating work environment at many of our colleges.
The administrators are often far from transparent. Employees are often misinformed and disinformed. To accomplish their goal of getting rid of full-time employees, they have created, in many cases, a climate of fear and intimidation. If the system is to be run like a business, it is not being run like a modern, humane business, but more like a sweatshop or plantation.
As the Monitor suggested, any investigation has to be completely independent. Experience shows that internal investigations can result in consequences for those who dare speak out.
E. Scott Cracraft
- Category: Letters
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