TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - When the Maricopa Community College System decided to undergo a “transformation,” many teachers felt they had been cut off from decision-making after that.
But now, the Faculty Association has released nearly 250 pages of some serious accusations.
The Association complained to the Higher Learning Commission, which is the accreditation body. In the complaint, they focused on four key issues with the board's behavior - politics and partisanship, racial and religious discrimination, retaliation against employees and not being transparent in budgeting or open meeting laws. They say they uncovered this by making public records requests - so many requests that Maricopa Community Colleges has told them to stop, saying they have to narrow their scope.
“In those requests, we’ve seen all kinds of evidence of communication between board members potentially in violation of open meetings laws. We’ve seen planning and intimidation,” said Faculty Association president John Schampel.
A spokesman for Maricopa Community Colleges say they need time to review the complaint before they can comment; in fact, we alerted them to the complaint before it was brought up in the board meeting Tuesday evening. He did say that at the time of the transformation, faculty members at different campuses filed complaints with the HLC separately regarding the removal of their “meet and confer” operations and adoption of a new faculty manual. The spokesman said the HLC closed the matter without taking any action.
We asked Schampel whether their own students are the ones who suffer if these colleges lose their accreditation because it could threaten their transfer credits and financial aid.
“I would argue the institution not adhering to accreditation standards set forth by HLC is hurting students,” Schampel said. “They need to remedy that behavior so it’s adhering to the standard set by the Higher Learning Commission.”
He said he hopes the commission moves forward with an investigation.
[PDF: HLC Complaint]