am writing as a former student of College of the Mainland, as well as a community member. 

I would like to take this opportunity to express my concerns with what has been happening at the college.

First and foremost, I truly believe that the college is one of the greatest assets of our community, if not the best asset. 

In the past, the college has employed wonderful educators and staff who were highly effective in producing qualified professionals who were well-prepared in our chosen fields of study.

What I have learned is that quite a few of the professors and staff have been “let go” for various reasons that seem invalid and quite improper. 

My purpose for writing this piece is also to bring awareness to the community and hopefully bring attention to issues concerning the college, whether good or bad. 

I am disheartened to learn that good people employed by the college have lost their livelihoods, and that outside entities are being contracted to do work that could be handled with in-house initiatives.

Furthermore, as an African-American community member, I also have deep concerns over the obvious fact that there are no people of color in top administrative positions. 

Surely, there have been qualified applicants who are willing and able to fill some of these positions.   

I presume that the goal of the college, as a community college, is to serve the community. 

However, it seems that some decisions made by the college board of trustees have placed other priorities above the needs of the students, faculty, staff and community. 

The money expended on lawsuit after lawsuit because of these unfair firings and other problems is just outrageous. 

One would think that the cure for this legal issue, which costs so much money, is to handle personnel affairs more appropriately. 

It is clear that the community needs to really get active and attend board meetings and be made aware of what is going on and how it affects us all. 

If we say nothing and do nothing, nothing will change.  

The first step is awareness. 

I am seeking answers and simply raising questions on what seems to be unfair practices. 

We want our community college to be community-based and a community priority.

That is simply put.

I am proud to have been a student at the college when the classes were great and welcoming and the professors were seasoned and willing to help students. 

Please, let’s keep good people in place. 

We don’t want to lose the greatness that the college has stood for so many years. 

I hope that the same excellent trade programs stay available to our local students.  

These are just my thoughts, and I hope this column brings attention to these issues and raises questions among local residents. 

We must be aware, stay involved and evolve together. 

The whole idea is to protect the interests of the community.

Stephanie Gordon, a native of West Texas City, is a special education instructional aid with La Marque Independent School District.

(4) comments


Very good observations Ms. Gordon, and I can see some validity and legitimate concerns in parts of what you posted, but on the whole I think COM is in good hands and is swinging upwards under the management of that new President from over yonder.
I, being an African-American also, and an ex-student as well, was very skeptical of the direction COM seemed to be traveling in right after President Lewis first got there, but not anymore. Some of the individuals who moved on, weather they left on their own volition or weather they were booted out the door, it all ended up making COM a better place in order to obtain a quality education. Just my opinion, which is worth about as much as anyone else's I suppose. Have a nice day everybody.

George Croix

Good riddance to bad baggage, when the baggage really is bad. Better to pay to have cancer cut out, than to slowly die from it.
As for the color of the people at the college, or at any other job, it should never be a factor. A person's color has nothing to do with their skill level, and nobody deserves to be moved up in the waiting line because of what they look like.
It's equal opportunity, not equal outcome.

Walter Manuel

"Furthermore, as an African-American community member, I also have deep concerns over the obvious fact that there are no people of color in top administrative positions".

Wow, Ms. Gordon, seriously???

Obviously you have no problem over at the LMISD for which you work, hiring people of certain "color" in top administration positions when up until this year all of the top positions were filled with African Americans except for the Finance Manager Mrs. Diane Duron.

I'm so sick of hearing all of the "baiters" who have to take a stance on "color" rather than the qualifications of an individual that is hired to teach students at any educational institution.

As a Mexican American, I too attended COM and graduated from their outstanding nursing program and during my course of study the director of the nursing program happened to be an African American woman who was outstanding in leading her team of other qualified educators.

I have only looked from the outside in as many other people in our community have done at the job performance of Dr. Beth Lewis since her arrival, as well as, the BOT and have seen what appears to be necessary changes made that were obviously not popular to everyone, but created an environment and structure that will certainly support COM's success in the years ahead.

If your going to make a point about changing anything, you might start yourself with leaving "race" out of the equation and find something with substance in your argument in order to garner supporters who think as you do.

From what I have seen so far from Dr. Beth Lewis, she has done what it will take to make COM a successful learning institution for "everyone", students, faculty and administrators alike.

LMISD would do well to pay close attention to what is now making COM a successful learning institution. [wink]

Chris Gimenez

"However, it seems that some decisions made by the college board of trustees have placed other priorities above the needs of the students, faculty, staff and community."

Ms. Gordon, you and Comrade Smith seem to be using the same baseless talking points. Can you elaborate on your accusations?

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