Category: Community College Voices

A platform for community college students and employees.

HLC Report Results: Is Morton College Violating its Own Mission and Core Values?

mission&valuesBy Veronica Fernandez

Morton College’s Mission statement is pridefully displayed on the second floor of the C building in bold blue and orange lettering: “To enhance the quality of life of our diverse community through exemplary teaching and learning opportunities, community service, and life-long learning.” Boldly listed below are the school’s Core Values: Compassion, Fairness, Respect, Responsibility, Tolerance, and Truth.

The mission statement is clear: the institution seeks to enhance the quality of life through “exemplary teaching”. Does this then, only apply to the faculty interacting with the students inside of classrooms? Shouldn’t there be an institutional-wide effort to be “exemplary”?

Earlier this month, The Collegian explored the findings of the highly anticipated report on Morton College’s Higher Learning Commission (HLC) visit last semester. The report included information about criteria that the college either “met” or “met with concerns.” The sections that were “met with concerns” are as follows: Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct, and Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness.

Furthermore, the HLC explicitly reports their concerns with the Board of Trustees and their role in governing the school. Among the information provided in the report was the decision-making process for the “new president” which was described as lacking transparency in hiring objectives.  The report then continues with a rather alarming statement that reads,

“…there remains a perception with employees that the board unduly influences hiring decisions for administrators and staff and that in many of these cases new hires minimally meet job qualifications.”

The report follows this statement up later:

“…there is a perception that current hiring practices support the
hiring of unqualified administrators and staff who then require expensive training to reach competency levels necessary to perform their assigned duties.”

If the aforementioned is occurring, where are the components of responsibility within the administration? How is this fair to the students who are striving to obtain an education from this college? Are “learning opportunities” being infringed upon when there are unqualified individuals appointed to crucial positions in administering the institution?  If the college is not providing the absolute best in regard to administration, is it then failing to “enhance the quality of life” for the community it serves?

Furthermore, the HLC reports that the atmosphere of fear and confusion has to do with the combination of a lack of transparency and communication that has overall affected employee morale. The HLC reported having found evidence of ineffective communication:

“Ineffective two-way communication appears to be gravely affecting the president’s ability to lead the institution.”

In addition to the report itself, there was a letter issued to the President. While affirming Morton’s accreditation to 2026-27, the letter states that Morton will be monitored in the interim, with a Focused Visit occurring by January of 2018.

Days after this communication from HLC, a letter was released by the administrative office to the Morton College community. This letter celebrated the college’s reaffirmation of accreditation, issued several statements of praise from the administration, noted some items about the history of the HLC, and finally the HLC “revisit” to Morton College in 2018.

The disconnect and violation occur with not only the results of the HLC visit but with the approach, the Administration decided to present this information to the community it serves. It seems as if truth is another eroded value, along with responsibility and fairness.

Moving forward, students and faculty should be taken into consideration with the matters that directly affect their environment, communities, careers and futures.

The National General Strike: Halting the Reign of Terror

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By Veronica Fernandez

It has been less than a month that President Donald J. Trump has taken office, and in such brief time it seems as if all havoc has been unleashed. The president has signed eight executive orders thus far, which include to repeal the Affordable Care Act and the immediate construction of a physical wall between Mexico and the United States. Many fear the power of these executive orders, as the United States proceeded to cease pass to individuals from seven Muslim countries a week and a half ago. In this case, the entire world has witnessed firsthand the immediate consequence generated from this executive order. What is to say about the executive orders before and proceeding it?

However, in response, the American public has not sat by the sidelines, in turn they have demonstrated its discontent with protests all over the nation in major cities ranging from New York City to Los Angeles.

The National General Strike that is to take place February 17th through the 20th is yet another step to contribute to impede this reign of terror. Strike organizers encourage participants to refrain from going to work, school, and to refrain from shopping. Although the call to action is to partake in a crippling action that will affect the economy to attract attention to the malfunctioning political system in place, the complications are deeply embedded into considerably more than just the political system. There are components of racism, ignorance, misinformation, lack of accountability and fact checking, among an array of others.

What remains is the crucial question, is it enough to simply stay home from daily obligations and responsibilities?

As the strike quickly approaches, participants should take this opportunity to vocalize all concerns about the political and social tribulations that are currently being undergone. Participants can contact Congressman Daniel Lipinski serving the 3rd district of the state, Congressman Luis Gutierrez serving the 4th district of the state, and finally, Congressman Danny K. Davis serving the 7th district of the state via letter or email. Partakers can also contact their state representatives Lisa Hernandez or LaShawn K. Ford, and senator Martin A. Sandoval in the same manner.

Another alternative in which participants can approach the National General Strike is to combat ignorance and prejudices with phenomenal enlightening reading material:

1984 by George Orwell

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

Critical Race Theory: An Introduction by Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado

Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen

Notes on a Native Son by James Baldwin

Racism without Racist by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild

The Chicago Guide to Fact Checking by Brooke Borel

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg

In a time when there is significant strain, torment, deception, fear, discomfort, and constant anxiety of the days to come, the people of this diverse nation must unify as one. Action is required to keep from the complete derailment of decades of progression. We must prove that the individuals that fought vigorously and relentlessly before us did not sacrifice themselves in vain.

These are the individuals that were voted into office to represent and serve the people; now it is time for the people to raise their voice.