Copyright 2024 All Rights Reserved.

April 19, 2024

College of DuPage – If not Kartje, who?

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On October 25, 2015

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:

  • harassment
  • discrimination
  • 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.

[gview file=””]

Jean Kartje

image name


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on print


  • Denise Anastasio
    Posted at 20:28h, 26 October

    I was a colleague of Dr. Kartje’s at the College of Lake County during the entire time she worked there. We were both deans and worked closely with our fellow deans, faculty and other academic leaders. I will say without hesitation that I have the strongest confidence in Dr. Kartje’s integrity and honesty. She is a champion and advocate for the mission of community colleges and for student success. I don’t know the particulars of the faculty member’s lawsuit but I do know that Dr. Kartje always had the best interests of the students at heart. For example, despite the demands of leading the largest academic division at the College, she made it a point to attend almost every student performance in music, theatre, and art, often working 12 hours before her day would end.
    Dr. Kartje is someone that I looked to as an ethical and conscientious leader. She consistently demonstrated a commitment to high standards that sometimes resulted in disagreement; however, I believe she always acted in good faith, committed to the College and to the students it serves.

  • S. Hultgren
    Posted at 21:04h, 26 October

    I am commenting on your article, “College of DuPage – if Not Kartje, who?” I found your remark in this article about being responsible applies not only to Dr. Kartje but also to you, the author of the article. How can you expect the educated public to accept your version of the situation regarding Dr. Kartje when you never contacted her to confirm your conclusions? You do not have all the facts and cannot expect to be respected as a viable source when you present partial quotes and highlight alleged conduct while Dr. Kartje was at the College of Lake County. As noted in the article, the case was dismissed as Ms. Easton failed to provide evidence to support her claim. For you to use accusations to support your statement that she has, “failed to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of her position as pitiable decision-making and judgement have been as inextricable part of Kartje’s professional history” is absurd. Dr. Kartje is a true professional. She wants the best for the students, faculty, and college as a whole and works tirelessly to that end.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 08:56h, 27 October

      The value in posting the documents in the article is that the people can read them and make up their own mind as to who is responsible. She has already refused to take responsibility and claimed she was misquoted. Interesting position that is consistence with the paper trail. As a means of avoiding claims of not presenting all the information, we included the documents in entirety, not just snip-its as you insinuate. I appreciate you input and we trust that the readers are fully capably of comprehending the situation presented.

  • Lourdene Huhra
    Posted at 06:46h, 27 October

    I was a colleague of Jean Kartje at the College of Lake County from the time that she served as Dean of the Communication Arts Division until she resigned to accept a Vice President position at another institution. Throughout this period Dr. Kartje demonstrated the highest level of integrity and accountability, and was well respected by the college community. In the opinion of most employees, the lawsuit that was filed was not credible, given that the allegations made were inconsistent with the behavior of Dr. Kartje toward other faculty and staff. As noted, the plaintiff later walked away from the lawsuit. Throughout my professional association with her, Dr. Kartje demonstrated an exceptional level of competence, commitment and dedication, and it is unfortunate to see her efforts and effectiveness undercut by articles such as this. I am not sure who will benefit from this article, but it certainly won’t be the students of COD.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 09:00h, 27 October

      No, the plaintiff did not “walk away” as you claim. Her attorney abandoned the case and left her hanging and her letter to the judge confirms she did not just walk away. What I find of most interest in the comments supporting this person is the fact none are coming from faculty. They know the truth of what happen and in spite of all warnings not to do what was done with SLEA, she did it anyway and now accountability is being called for.

  • Jean V. Kartje
    Posted at 08:16h, 27 October

    This article boarders on libel. Introducing a frivolous lawsuit that is ten years old is clearly intended to malign. If the authors had checked their facts, they would know that Ms. Easton is an African-American lesbian and a member of multiple protected classes. The fact that after two depositions–neither with Judge Darrah (see The Robing Room)–the suit was not taken further speaks volumes to its lack of validity. Unfortunately, not everything that people say is true. This is also true of written words. I believe that this post needs to be removed and a retraction made.
    With regard to SLEA, Schiff Hardin LLP has paperwork in hand indicating my understanding that faculty were involved in the review of the learning objectives and that I had consulted ICCB prior to making the decision–a decision that I have always owned. I made the best decision I could based on the facts at hand. It was not made to for nefarious ends, but to help our students succeed. It is said that if you never make any mistakes you are likely not doing anything. In hindsight, maybe I should have asked again about faculty involved. Hindsight is always 20-20.The College has not received any funding from the State and the number of students/credits involved did not change the College’s statistics significantly. At this point, the decision has been reversed and participants in SLEA are not receiving any credit for their work.
    I will not be posting on this website again.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 10:24h, 27 October

      Comment approved however we have no way of knowing if this is in fact Dr. Kartje Posting at this time.

  • Mary Ann Bretzlauf
    Posted at 11:03h, 27 October

    As a former English professor who worked for Dr. Jean Kartje at the College of Lake County (CLC) in her capacity as Dean of Communication Arts, my firsthand experience makes me more qualified to describe her leadership abilities than the “watchdogs” who manage this site. I know and admire Dr. Kartje’s style of management; she does not micromanage and assumes those who work with her and for her exhibit the same honesty and integrity she does. I was also a colleague of Ms. Easton and am intimately familiar with her performance in the classroom and with her fellow teachers. I also have been an outspoken and knowledgeable advocate of disability rights, having served as advisor for the Disabled Student Alliance at CLC. Ms. Easton was not discriminated against on any of her charges; rather Dr. Kartje bravely attempted to hold her accountable to her institutional responsibilities. I wouldn’t characterize Ms. Easton’s lawsuit as frivolous, not because her charges were unfounded – they were – but because this suit is now being used as “evidence” to sully Dr. Kartje’s professional history. If your readers carefully review (past your judicious highlighting) the attached document, they will discover that most motions to dismiss by Dr. Kartje were granted.
    It appears to me that the “watchdogs” of this site are casting about for more salacious stories connected to the COD saga, which has been thoroughly and accurately covered by the Chicago Tribune staff and other local news outlets. This site’s authors refer to themselves and their small team as having over 20 years of combined journalism experience. Journalists report the full story and allow their audience to draw their own conclusions. Journalists also proofread. Your site should be called what it is: a platform for muckraking and half-truths hiding behind the auspices of protecting the public from corrupt governance. How about a little truth and transparency, as your mission statement purports?
    As Shakespeare wrote, “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” Show yourself to be the wise “watchdogs” you presume to be and acknowledge you did not do your due diligence in your philippic regarding Jean Kartje. The wise man would remove this post and publish a retraction.
    Mary Ann Bretzlauf, Professor Emeritus, College of Lake County

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 12:17h, 27 October

      “I wouldn’t characterize Ms. Easton’s lawsuit as frivolous, not because her charges were unfounded – they were”
      Wow! First you claim they were unfounded yet then admit most motions to dismiss by Dr. Kartje were granted.
      Rather conflicting to be unfounded and yet not have all the motions to dismiss granted.

      • Mary Ann Bretzlauf
        Posted at 17:19h, 27 October

        Wow! Not conflicting at all . . . just stating the facts, something you should consider.

        • Kirk Allen
          Posted at 18:42h, 27 October

          Mary Ann, you stated they were unfounded. That is not the facts as if they were they would have been dismissed and by your own words you acknowledged not ALL the motions to dismiss were granted. We welcome any clarification you wish to post.

  • Michael Flack
    Posted at 12:19h, 28 October

    I am currently employed at College of Lake County (CLC) as a full-time instructor of music, Dr. Kartje was my Dean and direct report during my first two years at the college. When hired at CLC, I had already been teaching for ten years and had worked for many other administrators. I am very thankful to have had her as my Dean; she was very supportive and had a positive attitude when approaching concepts and strategies regarding teaching and learning. Dr. Kartje was instrumental in procuring funds for our first international trip to Italy with our jazz and wind ensembles. She discovered and wrote a grant that helped to defray the cost of the trip for all students who attended. She supported my ideas to improve the aging instrument inventory of the college and to raise the teaching standards for those who sought employment within the music department as faculty. Most importantly, Dr. Kartje made an effort to attend concerts, recitals, and other performances within my department. She was approachable, a good listener, and consistently put the interest of our students first when making decisions. Dr. Michael Flack

  • Elizabeth Keats
    Posted at 11:10h, 10 December

    As professor emeritus, I was privileged to be teaching during Dr. Kartje’s tenure as Division Dean. I also once had a close friendship with Ms. Easton. We in Communication Arts supported her in virtual unanimity. (And anyone familiar with Communication Arts’ folks knows how rare it is for us to agree on anything). In fact, I can still recall the time I mentioned to our Vice President how much we all appreciated the job Kartje was doing only to be astonished to hear that her position was in jeopardy. Though it was years ago and my memory isn’t what it was, I remember going from one faculty office to another only to be met with shock and anxiety that we might lose such a wise and caring mentor and a courageous leader. And lose her we did.
    On the other hand, my friendship with Ms. Easton quickly shattered. Having been an enthusiastic member of her hiring committee, I welcomed her warmly into my home and family. She, however,viciously turned against me in ways that never made any sense. Dr. Kartje was the only administrator brave enough to hold her accountable. And she (and the College of Lake County) paid the price.
    You, Mr. Allen, should be ashamed of yourself for propagating this cruel and ugly misinformation.

  • Joyce Gatto
    Posted at 12:38h, 12 December

    I have been a full-time faculty member of the English Language Instruction department at CLC since 1999. During the time that Dr. Kartje was at CLC and dean of our Communication Arts division, I was also the chair of my department and therefore worked closely with her. I had the utmost respect for her and was very sad to see her leave our college, as were many of my colleagues. It was definitely our loss.
    Dr. Kartje was very supportive of my program and students. Any problems or concerns I had, she would spend the necessary time to listen to me and get me the resources necessary to take care of them. She always had the welfare of my students in mind and I trusted her judgment for that reason. As one example, she was instrumental in resolving many of the problems that we encountered in launching our first language laboratory at the college.
    As my dean, Dr. Kartje inspired me to be a better faculty member and I learned so much from her example of professionalism, honesty and hard work. I am sorry to read this very negative article that does not take into account the positive impact that she had on me, my students and department, and the College of Lake County.

  • Kishwaukee Kougars
    Posted at 02:19h, 24 January

    She had a rough departure from her last job as well. LOL