I was born and raised in Galveston County and I have lived and worked here my whole life. Two months ago, I retired from my job at College of the Mainland after 26 years. COM used to be a wonderful place to work and a great place to get an education. 

When Larry Stanley was president at COM, management, professors and staff were like one big family. We were all in it together. Everyone worked together, took good care of students together and served the community together. Employees received good pay and good benefits, and we had a real voice in making decisions. The community strongly supported COM.

It really hurts my heart to see a great college turn into such an ugly place in the last five years. I have been the vice president of COM-Unity since 2008. I have seen how professors, staff, students and the community have suffered because of the way the COM board of trustees and administration treat them.

Many people have read about all the complaints and lawsuits and bad publicity at COM. But the situation at the college is even worse than nonemployees know. There has been so much mistreatment. In my opinion, more than 25 employees have been wrongfully terminated, and a lot of other people have been wrongfully disciplined.

There is so much fear and intimidation at the college today. The morale of employees is so low. Most employees have not had a pay increase for five years, but top administrators have. And it seems like top administrators now get their jobs because of politics or personal connections.

All this has a trickle-down effect on students. I am out in the community a lot, and I hear directly from a lot of people at church, in the grocery store or in the neighborhoods. Folks are saying that COM does not value its students anymore like it used to. And I hear a lot of folks saying they won’t support COM.

Support and trust for the college in the community are at an all-time low. There is a big disconnect between the COM board and administration and most people in the community. This puts the future of the college at risk.

COM-Unity has kept on helping employees stand up for their rights at the college. But instead of admitting these problems, the COM board of trustees and administration have tried to crush the union and union voices. I strongly believe that COM-Unity President David Michael Smith was fired because he was proactive and effective as a leader in exposing all the wrongdoing at the college.

The poor attendance at recent homecomings shows there is very little support for the college among alumni, retirees, employees and students.

The COM board and president need to work together with COM-Unity, the employees, the students and the community as a whole. If the board and president can’t do that, we will get a board and a president who will do the right thing. Our community can’t afford to lose the college.

Jeanette Slaughter lives in Texas City.

(10) comments

Matt Coulson

Typical union b.s. Replace the words COM with any company name and you have the form letter for union complaints. The people trying to run the publicly funded college are not exactly corporate elites, they are members of the community with everyone's best interests in mind. COM is not the union's personal play ground. Perhaps if you took your special interest group's name seriously and tried to promote unity rather than strife everyone could enjoy the school at its best. Put aside your personal agenda and find common ground, make peace, build something good. Remember that a community college is not about employment for you it is for the community and it's betterment.

Leon Lion

Boo Hoo, here's a quarter go call Smith and cry on each other's shoulder.

Mike Meador

Kumbaya my lord, Kumbaya.......

George Croix

The paper tiger now just mews...
I can't speak for anyone lese, but that's a big plus as far as I'm concerned.
Employees should expect to be treated fairly, and well.
Of course, there's a flip side to that...
Maybe it would all come into perspective if the area taxpayers made up signs and protested against the clownish lost-in-the-70's behavior of staff members trying to make a workers paradise out of a juco, and Admin. asking for a top quality champaigne bond for a mid-level wine facility....
No, I doubt it....same players...same play...

Carlos Ponce

When Mao Tse Smith was on the payroll, people said COM was short for COMMUNISTS of the Mainland. To further their education I would recommend Alvin Community College or Galveston. Now we can breathe a little easier. There are still a few problems but are on a better track.

JBG JBG

Standing off looking,...I would say it ls looking better to me,...but I'm just watching. Here where more time can so some good. Whenever you can see a little teamwork,...you got something to go on, and hope for,..but what does an Old Sod-Buster from West Texas know?

Robert Buckner

Close it all down and we'll have one less taxing entity to pay into.

john brown

I think that once the "queen B" is removed from the board things will be aligned to a better system. as long as she is involved it will cost every taxpayer more than she is worth by millions.

Chris Gimenez

Ms. Slaughter, I support COM more now than I did when the Socialist Smith was allowed to lead his flock in all the lawsuits that wasted my tax dollars. Your "The Sky is Falling" column is not convincing.

Pete Nanos

Draining the swamp is painful and takes some time.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.