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March 3, 2024

College of DuPage's Probation By HLC – Alcohol, Investments, SLEA, Unethical Conduct… –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On December 16, 2015

College of DuPage (ECWd) –
The news of College of DuPage being placed on 2 year probation by the Higher Learning Commission came to us this afternoon, and the findings were certainly no surprise to us, for we have been reporting on these same issues for months.
It certainly squashes the oft repeated statements of COD Trustee McGuire that all of this was made-up, a political agenda, and nothing was wrong. Now we have an outside accrediting agency telling them things were and are wrong.
No more can those cries of Trustee McGuire hold any validity. Justice is slow, but accurate.
This report covers the events of the past three years, only a few months into the new board’s watch.
Let’s start with the investment policies:
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Regular breaches of the College’s internal investment policies. Employees of the Financial Affairs Office were notified regularly, but failed to notify the appropriate individuals (including the Board).
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Over the course of the last three years, there were 43 internal audits alleging illegal or unethical conduct or violations of College policy brought to the attention of senior management, none of them had any documented responsive actions, and there was no evidence they were shared with the Board of Trustees.
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Questions of Ethics Policy violations through the purchase of alcohol at the Waterleaf and monies paid to a former employee’s own private bank account for services and equipment not needed were also listed.
One of the items we have been hammering on for almost a year was listed as out of compliance: awarding of non-competitive bid contracts to College of DuPage Foundation Board members without clear determination of whether a conflict of interest existed, and one of those awards was entered into after the contract deadline.
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This sentence pretty much explains it all. A lack of integrity in the operations of the College and failure to follow established policies and procedures.
Other items out of compliance include:

  •  the Board’s failure to review financial statements in May-Jul of 2015 due to pending review and changes to be made to the reports,
  • Failure to enforce Board policies on investments,
  • Board members directly involving themselves in matters appropriately delegated to administration, including management of the Waterleaf restaurant and hiring administrative staff
  • COD failing to address any of the underlying issues related to the faculty vote of no confidence
  • failure to consult faculty about the increase of credit hour in their SLEA program, including the Law Enforcement Academy

Items in compliance, but with concerns include:

  •  Board’s not properly respecting the role of administrators and fellow board members
  • Inappropriately awarding college credits in criminal justice for the non-credit Suburban Law Enforcement Academy (“SLEA”)
  • Lacking appropriate oversight of SLEA curriculum, and not including it in its regular academic program review process

In recent days, the College has been placed on Probation for 2 years by the Higher Learning Commission, the College has been placed on Probation for 8 years by the Commission of Accreditation of Physical Therapy Educational Programs, and there are still multiple federal, state, and local criminal investigations proceeding despite several trustees attempting to thwart their progress.
Unfortunately, with a vacant seat on the board, things will most likely come to a stand-still. We suspect there will be further attempts at minimizing the damage that has occurred in the past several years thru Breuder’s “leadership” and a board with rubber stamps. We still have faith in the criminal justice system that they will charge those involved when all the evidence is finally processed.
Until then, we are watching.
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