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May 20, 2024

College of DuPage – President Collins Response to HLC

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On November 15, 2015

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

Douse the Spotlight on COD, all Issues at COD have been addressed………

Thank goodness, all reform efforts at COD are complete, with a 100% success rate. Whew, for a moment there, the citizens of Illinois were getting a bit worried. But since everything is A-OK at COD, the Higher Learning Commission should realistically expect to see the following events transpire in short order, right?

  1. FBI, US Attorney, and US Department of Education, effective immediately, will cancel all of their pesky criminal grand jury subpoenas and investigations at COD. COD has resolved all issues, so the feds should resume the investigations of other educational institutions like CPS or CSU and issue a letter of apology to COD for wasting COD’s time.
  2. State’s Attorney of DuPage County, should issue a second letter of apology to COD, then click his heels together three times and repeat: There were no Open Meeting Act Violations at COD…there were no Open Meeting Act Violations at COD…there were no Open Meeting Act Violations at COD, just like in the Wizard of Oz. Following that, the DuPage Prosecutor will drop all charges against COD’s former radio engineer for stealing taxpayer monies from COD.
  3. ICCB will Stop looking at COD’s SLEA program and for goodness sakes the ICCB will retract its demand for money back from COD. ICCB’s whining makes it sound like Illinois is out of money or something.
  4. Members of the Illinois General Assembly—COD is genuinely sorry to have wasted your time on those unnecessary reform efforts. Can COD make it up to you—how about a meal and drinks at the Waterleaf? Darn, COD closed that restaurant last month, what was the BOT thinking.
  5. Tribune, Daily Herald, and Sun Times will begin to write about something else for a change. Anything other than COD. How About them Bears!
  6. Dr. Don Haider of Northwestern—will immediately cease his work and investigations at COD and goes on sabbatical. I mean, no one reads those Reports anyway.
  7. HLC- Hey Dr. Gelman, aren’t Accreditation Agencies supposed to be Watchdogs that Don’t Bite. That’s what Arne Duncan told us. So follow Arne’s instruction and put a muzzle on it.
  8. James Smith, David Wendler and Sam Kerr—Your report on COD is filled with sophomoric factual errors; it deserves an F-!!! Who pays attention to Internal Audit Reports anyhow? Certainly, not COD.
  9. Alix Partners—Okay so who hasn’t lost $2.0 million in IMET…it’s not like COD was the largest LOSER of taxpayer dollars from Illinois or anything…so what’s your beef?
  10. Citizens: To the 500 people who turned out for the COD Special January 2015 Board Meeting, Sorry to have woken up the sleeping giant… COD has everything under control, please return to your sit-coms.
  11. COD Ethics Dept.–what do Ethics or Integrity have to do with COD anyhow? Just because COD hasn’t received the Ethics Training Materials yet, and COD knows that it hasn’t scheduled any dates or reserved any rooms for the ethics training, and COD knows it hasn’t completed the ethics training yet…but it plans to, just as soon as everyone gets off COD’s back.
  12. COD Faculty. COD Faculty issue a third letter of apology to COD, and then take their unsolicited No Confidence Vote on COD and Stick It Where the Sun Don’t Shine.
  13. College Foundation…Quit Fixating on the Foundation Board already, ‘cause what happens at the Waterleaf, Stays at the Waterleaf!
  14. Acrimony—what Acrimony? Not anymore, the COD BOT has turned a new leaf. Meetings are now filled with “harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding, no more falsehoods or derision.” It’s like COD has entered the Fifth Dimension. The Age of Aquarius is happening at COD. Just ignore those two new lawsuits filed within the last month by Dr. Breuder against COD….and that third lawsuit filed by a COD student claiming police brutality by the COD police dept. HLC doesn’t need to know about those three new lawsuits, do they?
  15. COD’s Past, Present and Future: COD holds a community referendum to change the school’s fight song. The Two top contenders are: Queue Shania Twain’s song “Ka Ching!” and John Belushi’s hit “Money (That’s What I want).” Illinois Auditor General William Holland is authorized to cast the final vote for the new school fight song.

You just never know, but with all the recent attention on Accreditation Agencies from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Senate, the HLC might just want to see for itself how events unfold at COD for the next week or so, before it rules on the probation recommendation. Time will certainly tell if COD has everything under control….or whether COD’s report to the HLC of last week is just another lesson in malarkey.

Now, enter the Twilight Zone!

How many have ever convinced their parents they were wrong by playing gotcha games with words  while being disciplined?  I know for myself when I tried that with my parents it made things worse because they knew I knew better, and playing word games trying to wiggle out of what I did wrong meant I had not learned by lesson.

Is Interim President Collin’s letter to the HLC any different?

  • The current Board Policy Manual was completely revised in 2009, and since that time there has been no Board Policy prohibiting the use of College funds to pay for alcohol. So at the time of the charges for alcohol at the Waterleaf, there was no violation of Board Policy as the evaluation team claims.

Did he seriously just tell HLC they were wrong because COD doesn’t have a policy that prohibits it?  Using this logic can a student shoot a another student since there is no policy prohibiting it?  NO, and we all know that because we have LAWS that forbid such action, just as we have laws that prohibit public funds being used for personal matters, in this case alcohol.

  • “During an interview with the internal auditor, the team was advised that a contract with Herricane Graphics was entered into after the contract deadline. According to the internal auditor, this contract was therefore invalid. Yet, despite knowledge of this clear violation, the contract was still accepted by the College.” This statement is not correct as written.”

Dear HLC, Herricane Graphics entered into multiple no bid contracts and even though she is a Foundation Member and Trustee McGuire raised concerns of Pay to Play appearances many months ago and there was no legal RFP process for the contract in question, your statement is not correct as written.  That being the case, please go back and re-write it accordingly to properly expose all the things wrong with this no bid contract to a person claiming to be an Architect that is not an Architect.  Wait, never mind, she said she would no longer accept any more COD work so problem solved.

  • The team reported “there was an internal audit of the SLEA credits but the report only stated that the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) approved the change, which was not entirely accurate as revealed in an interview with the Executive Director of the ICCB”. This statement is not correct.

Yep, HLC got it wrong again.  But wait, let’s look at another problem that is exposed in this response:  “However, there was no audit performed of the SLEA activities.”  

Maybe the HLC should sanction the College for knowing such a problem existed and NOT doing an audit to get to the bottom of who is responsible, which to date has yet to be identified.

  • “The ICCB Executive Director referred to the non-credit SLEA program converting to criminal justice credits as a Prior Learning Program, but cautioned that ICCB is still  conducting a targeted audit.   The College’s Vice President for Academic Affairs likewise referred to it as Prior Learning Program credit.” SLEA submitted a request for additional credit hours based on students being concurrently registered in a number of courses. We have never attempted to ‘justify’ this credit as credit for prior learning.

He actually tells them they have never attempted to ‘justify’ those credits as credit for prior learning.  That being the case, why was it happening?  Who was responsible?  Doesn’t there have to be a justification for such action to take place?  Never mind, that makes to much sense and someone would have to be responsible.

  • “The report then goes on to refer to the cadets as “students” with the quotation marks, implying that we are falsely categorizing them as actual students”. In fact, though, all individuals enrolled in College programs are counted as students, whether they take classes for credit or for non-credit.

Counted how?  As in we ‘call’ them all students or we ‘count’ them in our reporting numbers for enrollment?  SLEA cadets are not students and do not meet the requirements of COD District 502 students but hey, since they sit at a desk in a room with a teacher we call them students.

  • “Senior administration (and particularly the Vice President for Academic Affairs) noted that faculty “owned” the College and that the faculty’s primary interest were their “own benefits and money.” The VPAA states that she was misquoted. When asked who owns the curriculum, she recalls saying “the faculty”, but she was not asked and did not say they owned the College, nor does she believe she said or otherwise attempted to imply that faculty were only interested in their “own benefits and money”.

Can anyone tell me the value in accusing the HLC of misquoting Dr. Kartje?  It will be interesting, now that they have been accused of misquoting her, to see how the three of them remember it.

  • “Specifically, the College has not permitted the faculty to participate substantially in the development and implementation of curriculum.” This unqualified statement by the evaluation team is grossly inaccurate.”

And his proof is because they have a Guide to Curriculum that states that “Full time faculty are responsible for curriculum development and faculty has a contract.”  And lets not forget, “If the College did not follow this contractual requirement, the recourse for the faculty is to file a grievance. There is no pending grievance currently related to this issue.”
What does the ‘recourse’ the faculty has have to do with the fact they were not involved in the SLEA debacle?

I could go on for hours over this response to HLC but let’s bring it to a close with one last clear misrepresentation of the truth by Dr. Collins.

  • “In the past six months, no further allegations have been raised regarding improper business relationships between the Board and the Foundation Board or its members.”

I guess this article published September 23rd of 2015 was overlooked?  WRONG!  Not only was it not overlooked, the program was halted because it was clearly improper for a Foundation Member who practices in the area of estate planning in her business to be hosting estate planning at COD.   The allegation was that she was using the campus as a means of increasing her private practice client list.

And yes, it was well within the last 6 months.

Having written many evaluation reports and response  in my years in the military I learned early on that it never helps to use accusatory language that pushes back attempts to minimize responsibility.
Although parts of this response do point to corrections made, I believe any response to the HLC that ‘first’ point out 7 bullet points accusing them of getting it wrong, is going to do little to help the situation.

I suspect sanctions and probation are  in the near future for COD as it relates to their accreditation.

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Joe Collins


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  • FYI
    Posted at 10:09h, 16 November

    Funny that you chose to target Joe Collins. Everything is written by the chair and her lawyers. Joe is just used as her distributor.

  • CC
    Posted at 14:19h, 16 November

    He needs to go.