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April 23, 2024

College of DuPage – Chair Hamilton comment – misleading…or misled?

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On October 12, 2015

DuPage Co. (ECWd)
As early as December of 2014 the red flag was being thrown publicly regarding credit hours for Suburban Law Enforcement Academy cadets.  We were the first to publish a whistle-blower’s report on the matter in this article.

After the recent ICCB ruling that COD had in fact violated the rules (article here), they now have to repay a substantial amount of money to the state, and there is a call for an investigation to get to the bottom of who is responsible for this fraud on the taxpayer.

During the October 8th, 2015 meeting Chairman Hamilton read her comments on the matter that contained two important statements.

“We will investigate, we will determine, we will take action.  I will announce an independent investigation shortly.”

Sounds great provided said investigation is in fact independent, but more importantly that those responsible for this fraud on the state are held accountable.   The second comment, however, does not sound great, and one of two things are taking place already.  Either Chair Hamilton is misleading the public with her statement or she has been mislead.  I believe the latter to be the case in light of the fact she has been leading the charge in holding people accountable.

“I appreciate President Collins comments and recognize that this was not on his watch” (Hamilton comment during board meeting)

Jean Kartje is the Vice President of Academic Affairs.  According to the organizational chart for COD she answers to ONE person, Dr. Joe Collins, Executive Vice President at the time in question.  In light of documents below, we are having a very hard time coming to any conclusion that the SLEA scandal was not on Collins’ watch, either as VP or Interim President.

In fairness, we have not been able to identify Collins comments that Chair Hamilton referenced but even if said comments point to a Breuder override on the matter, true leaders have to be willing to stand firm for what is right.  Short of future exposure pointing to  serious cooperation with the Feds and or States Attorney on this I believe most would agree these events have in fact happen on the watch of Joe Collins.

COD Mission & Values
• Integrity
• Honesty
• Respect
• Responsibility

COD is proud to identify four fundamental values that were instituted to guide those entrusted with its resources, and of course, the most important mission of providing education. Although impossible to quantify, the most important of those four values is Responsibility. To date, acting Interim President Joseph Collins is reluctant to demonstrate a willingness to accept publicly any degree of this tenet. Short of silence due to Grand Jury testimony, this is unacceptable.

What exactly is Acting Interim President, Joe Collins, doing for over a quarter million dollars a year? Rephrase, at that salary, what has Joe Collins publicly accepted or taken responsibility for?

Collin’s comments in this Daily Herald article should raise questions of concern, assuming the information is accurate as we have found that not to be the case more than once.  “I couldn’t speak to anything related to the president because I really did not know much about what was going on in the president’s office,” Collins said.

“Early on, Collins said he worked closely with Breuder. But they hardly spoke in the last year and a half, and it was as long ago as last fall that they had any “meaningful conversations” about college business, Collins said. “It was quite a while. It was just unusual. But I don’t know exactly what caused it,” Collins said.”

It’s difficult to conceive the second ranking administrator at the second largest educational institution in the State of Illinois, did not know what was ‘going on in the president’s office’ nor did he have any ‘meaningful conversations’ about college business.

Does anyone believe the victim based narrative and that Collins had nothing to do with SLEA?  Maybe VPAA Jean Kartje was being dishonest when she sent an email stating that, “After considerable thought and discussion with Dr. Collins, I have decided to continue the status quo until we get direction from ICCB and HLC.”

Better yet, doesn’t Collin’s own statement in that article point to him being actually in charge of it all?  “The lack of interaction, Collins said, may be due to his role as executive vice president, a position Breuder created so Collins could manage “the core internal function of the college so that he could do something else externally.”

Let’s consider some additional information that may change a commonly held misconception that Collins knew nothing or had anything to do with the increase of academic credit for SLEA cadets, a.k.a., ‘SLEA equity initiative’.

September 4, 2014
Email ~ 10:33 a.m.: Executive VP, Joseph Collins sends email to Emmanuel Awuah, Joseph Cassidy, Daniel J. Deasy, and Trish Ambrosio Cc Jean Kartje, James Bente, Charles Currier, and Earl Dowling. States that, “We are looking good for ending in the Black on 10th day!  We have 369 FTE dual credit registered compared to last year’s 10th day number of 361. And, Continuing ED is only 5 FTE short of last year’s number, when they were up an amazing 18.6%”

Email ~ 11:02 a.m.: Dean Continuing Education/Extended Learning (DCE & EL), Joseph Cassidy, sends email to Executive VP, Joseph Collins, Associate VP Academic Affairs, Emmanuel Awuah, the Manager, CE Ops. & Grants, Daniel J. Deasy, and Program Advisor Trish Ambrosio, indicates that “Continuing Education (CE) needs 60 registrations and 20 FTE to be up 2%. ” He further states that, “Dan and team are keeping a full court press on SLEA Academy credit extension [which] is also a big part of this. Thanks Tom B., Tom C and of course Marianne for what we are calling the Hunnicutt/Casey Equity Initiative!”

September 5, 2014 Email ~ 12:19 p.m.: Joseph Cassidy sends email to Executive VP Joseph Collins, VP Student Affairs, and Vice President of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, James Bente, indicating that there is “Great News! The SLEA Academy equity increase adds 6% to the total. We had not been counting this CJ increase as a done deal. Thus our prediction of 2% did not take this into account. Taken together, CE will likely end up 10% to 11% up from last year. Dan and team are out again today canvasing the district to work with partners on testing and registering students.”

September 9, 2014 Email ~ 9:33 a.m: Executive VP, Joseph Collins, sends email to James Bente, Robert Breuder, and Senior Management Team (SMT), “. . .I want to point out two great performances. Dual Credit showed an increase of 132 FTE (a 36% increase over last fall) and Continuing ED ABE/ESL/GED had an increase of 136 FTE (a 14% increase over last fall). These two areas together resulted in a combined increase of 268 FT. If they had come in even with last year, we would be up only about 25 FTE, or 0.15%. I know these two areas were pushed hard to try to better last year’s performance (which was also excellent, by the way) and they came through with flying colors.

Hats off to Jean, Emmanuel Awuah and Joe Cassidy.

Email ~ 11:04 a.m.: Joseph Cassidy sends email to Continuing Education Staff, “Joe Collins stopped by for about 3rd time a week to say ‘holy, cow, did you guys do it!’ Along with a big congratulations and thank you.

Clear back in March of this year we published the whistle-blower’s information, and anyone with any basic understanding of how Full Time Enrollment ties to state funding could see there was a real problem that should have been investigated by those in charge at the time.
Instead, it was full steam ahead and the paper trail points right back to Joe Collins knowing what was going on, and points to his support of the actions being taken.

I once again fall back to Breuder’s reference to us as nothing but a couple of hayseeds.  Does anyone else find it odd that hayseeds could see what was wrong, yet close to a million dollars in salaries and no one was smart enough to see these actions as wrong?

I suspect they knew quite well it was wrong and that didn’t bother them a bit.  In fact, the only thing that appeared to be right in their eyes was to boost FTE at all cost, legality be damned.

I suspect if this investigation turns criminal, if it hasn’t already, it will only take one person to blow the lid off the real agenda, which appears to be fiscal growth at all costs.

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1 Comment
  • Linus C. Hand
    Posted at 15:34h, 12 October

    Daniel J. Deasy, aka the number manipulator. He helped Breuder attack the English as a Second Language Program, had been involved with SLEA, Just sayin’.