COM should focus on its employees (Yeabsira P)

COM should focus on its employees

Special to The Daily News

Published March 1, 2012

In my opinion, Jose Boix (“A better way to rate our schools,” The Daily News, Feb. 11) is wrong when he says the big problem with College of the Mainland’s management has been the lack of a “unified set of measurable goals.” 

I believe the big problem at the college is its mistreatment of faculty and staff. I also believe most people in the community are against this mistreatment, though Mr. Boix doesn’t seem to be aware of this big problem at all.

COM used to have a reputation as a good college and a good place to work. The college used to know that treating employees right is necessary so students in our community can get the best education possible. It is really sad this has changed so much. 

A column in this newspaper in December said 14 lawsuits have been filed against the college. Former President Michael Elam has said none of these lawsuits was justified, but I have read that three of them were settled out of court. 

Last year, there were two new members on the college board, and the board later accepted Mr. Elam’s resignation. But I am afraid the problem of mistreating employees is still going on. 

In November, another college employee filed a lawsuit. The plaintiff said she was retaliated against by her supervisor because she is a witness in an earlier sexual harassment lawsuit — against the same supervisor.

I know people who work at the college, and I have read both of these lawsuits. I am stunned by the illegal activities claimed in these lawsuits. Sure, the supervisor, the college president and the board deserve to be heard in court. But I think that if the college loses or settles either of these lawsuits, everyone responsible for the scandal needs to go. I am glad the college employee union has been helping the workers in these cases and other workers being mistreated. 

I have learned from people who work at the college that a few other lawsuits are going to trial in the next six months. Two lawsuits have to do with racial discrimination. One has to do with national origin discrimination and academic freedom. Another one has to do with reverse racism. Then there is one that claims the college fired an information technology expert for reporting false data and security problems to the administration and state authorities. 

I am one of the many longtime supporters of the college who did not vote for the bond last year. I wrote in a column before the election that, as a working woman and an educator, I cannot support a college that is mistreating faculty and staff. A public workplace should be a fair workplace. Also, as I said before, I don’t want my family and friends to pay for the college’s lawyers to defend the mistreatment of employees.

The college continues to be in very bad shape and needs to change direction. Until the board and administration start treating employees and the union right, I will not support another dollar for the college. And I believe most people in the community feel the same way.

Joanna Mora lives in Texas City.

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About internalmarket

This blog and its accompanying Twitter account have been established as social media learning tools for the Internal Communications and Employee Engagement class at Columbia College Chicago. Through this blog, we will share our observations about current events, change management and employee communications theory, and the application of social media in shaping employee engagement.
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