DuPage Co. (ECWd) –
During the October 8th 2015 College of DuPage (COD) Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting, Vice Chairman Deanne Mazzochi responded to the recently released Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) report that revealed COD had improperly provided academic credit to Suburban Law Enforcement Academy cadets and subsequently was out of compliance with Administrative Rules 1501.507 (c) and 1501.302 (2).
She stated that such violations are now, “. . . hitting at our real heart and soul, which is the academics.” Taxpayers throughout the state, but in particular District 502, should be highly alarmed by the ICCB and Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) findings of non-compliance and demand that COD do everything it can to protect the ‘heart’ of the institution.
“protect the ‘heart’ of the institution”
How can you protect the heart of the institution? It’s actually pretty simple. Identify the individual or individuals who are responsible for failing to fulfill those responsibilities associated with their position and hold them accountable.
Sadly, it appears when it comes to public officials the term ‘accountable’ is foreign to them. With accountability being a term void of any logic now days in the public sector may I suggest using the term responsible. The violator must be held responsible and that requires action. Doing nothing sends the messages to every student, faculty, and taxpayer that neither policy or law have any value or meaning. Most would agree that is the wrong message to be sending.
We must demand accountability and stop rewarding bad actors.
Anyone who is dedicated to COD’s Vision and Mission likely agrees with Mazzochi’s statement and would want to have those responsible for COD’s academic foundation; that is, the HEART of the institution, to have a determined commitment to academic and professional standards.
Regrettably, the one person entrusted with strengthening the college’s academic vision is the same person who has shirked responsibility for the latest SLEA credit debacle remains unaccountable. Even the HLC found that Vice President for Academic Affairs, Jean Kartje, failed to check if faculty were involved in a process used to ‘justify’ the increase in academic credits to SLEA cadets. She simply indicated that, “she thought the faculty were involved since the Associate Dean of Behavioral Sciences brought it to her for approval.” (See page 42 of the HLC report)
According to the COD organizational chart, Associate Dean Hunnicutt reports to the Dean of Health and Sciences, Tom Cameron, which makes it difficult to understand why the Chief Aacademic Officer would simply accept something to be true without verifying what she knew or should have known was the importance of faculty participation in anything curriculum based. Regardless of these facts, Kartje was unable to accept responsibility for that decision and remains committed to the narrative of acting in good faith and obliviousness.
It should be no surprise to the COD BOT or any administrator that VPAA Kartje has failed to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of her position as pitiable decision-making and judgement have been an inextricable part of Kartje’s professional history.
For example, in July of 2008, Easton College of Lake County and Dr. Jean Kartje were named as defendants in a case filed in the United States District Court N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division, alleging discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, and disability.
According to the Memorandum Opinion and Order, suit was filed against Kartje based on allegations of discrimination against an Easton College Professor who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. We find the following list of alleged behavior troubling and would ask the public to demand answers from the COD BOT, the Senior Management Team, and COD Human Resources as to those circumstances surrounding the process and ultimate reason for hiring Kartje as the replacement for now Acting Interim President Joe Collins.
Per the incident memorandum, during the period from August 2004 to July 2006, Dr. Kartje engaged in various acts of:
- docking of pay without cause for a justifiable absence,
- accusing the employee of excessive absenteeism despite her absences not being excessive under the standards of the contract
- refusing to reimburse the employee for PhD classes,
- requiring the employee to notify Dr. Kartje if she would be out of the office for more than fifteen minutes
- misrepresenting her absences to the Board
- restricting her teaching for the summer to online classes
- Told the Professor that developmental students were not worthy of a full-time faculty or her time
- chastised the employee for having an illness that causes her too be absent, “all the time” told the Professor that, “You are an excellent teacher, but you do not fit into the College of Lake County Community.”
This list of described behavior appears to reflect indifference and a lack of character. Does that point to why VPAA Kartje avoids accepting responsibility for her actions or statements regarding the HCL findings, which she vigorously argues were misquoted and/or taken out of context?
It should be noted the above case was dismissed because Easton failed to provide a response to the Defendants motion to dismiss, which was In contravention to the rules of the district. The judge stated in his order, “Easton failed to provide a response to Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment. The motion is granted on that basis alone. Furthermore,Defendants have met their burden of demonstrating the absence of any genuine issue of material fact such that they are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law, and Easton has not presented any evidence to rebut Defendants’ arguments and factual assertions” (Judgement)
About now many are going to jump up and use that statement as a defense for Kartje. I understand such a position and it may have merit, however one must ask the question, why was no response provided? Was this matter disclosed prior to hiring?
I think the letter Ms. Easton sent to the Judge points to the reason the case was dismissed: “My attorney is Robert V. Gilda and my case number is 1 :07-cv-06127 (07 CV 6127), which was filed on 3/10/2008. You are the listed presiding Judge. My dilemma is that after my second deposition, Attorney Gilda moved to an undisclosed location. He has since disconnected many of his phone numbers (office, home, fax) except for his cell phone, which I have called numerous times with no response. I have left many messages and as of today’s date, Attorney Gil do has not contacted me…..” “I do not want it dismissed due to negligence on my attorney’s part without my knowledge.” (Letter to the Judge)
Regardless of the court action outcome, according to the COD All Employee Information (7/9/2015) guide, “The Vice President of Academic Affairs is the educational leader of the College. This position is responsible for the development and implementation of policies, programs and services that reflect the College mission.”
Clearly, the importance of leadership is vital to the development and quality of modern curriculum. It is difficult to determine how VPAA Kartje is adept enough to develop and implement policies, programs and services, when she is increasingly implicated in the SLEA credit catastrophe.
If the ICCB and HLC reports were not compelling enough, then maybe the COD BOT and Senior Management Team (SMT) will examine the federal suit and consider the significance of what appears to be a common thread.
The public should consider this question:
“Do you trust Dr. Jean Kartje with the ‘heart and soul’ of COD?”
If you don’t, then this is the time to demand real change and accountability by holding her responsible.