Adjunct tackled at BOT meeting wants Chancellor Pittman dismissed

Posted on 30 October 2017 by admin

Steve Taylor cites ‘culture of intimidation’ and lack of ‘true leadership’

By: MELISSA WILKINSON
Editor-in-Chief

pittmantaylorFormer Wildwood adjunct professor Steve Taylor recently called for the removal of Chancellor Jeff Pittman in an Oct. 25 interview. Taylor rose to attention after the Oct. 19 Board of Trustees meeting at which he allegedly “charged” at administrators and was subsequently tackled and removed by armed policemen.

“I believe the Chancellor has changed the culture. Mr. Pittman has created a culture of intimidation where faculty are afraid to express contrary opinions for fear of being fired or demoted,” said Taylor.

Pittman told The Montage he disagreed with the statement, referring to the faculty as “vocal” and non-hesitant to voice their concerns.

“The culture that I’ve been working on is one of civility, one of transparency and one of accountability,” said Pittman.

To defend his claim, Pittman gave several examples, including his attendance of all faculty and staff governance meetings, his conduction of semesterly campus forums and his issuance of monthly newsletters “to keep faculty and staff connected.”

“I [am] open and accessible,” said Pittman. “I have always done everything I can to be respectful. I never say anything mean to anyone.”

In addition to STLCC’s culture under the Chancellor, Taylor also criticized the board’s handling of Meramec student Luke Barber, who was asked to leave the meeting following an outburst after Taylor was tackled by police.

“I’m really sad to see how [the board] rejected students who voiced their concerns about what was happening. Is that the way to treat students who are upset?” said Taylor. “I think their concern for students is very hollow indeed.”

According to Pittman, however, his top concern since taking the role of Chancellor in 2015 has been students. He said he was set on his course when he met with the Student Government Association and was inspired by how bright they were.

“If you look at our initiatives the first two are fostering student success and providing a premiere student experience. Those really have been the hallmarks for me of everything I’ve worked on here,” said Pittman.

According to Pittman, his accomplishments to date include repurposing funding to include student experience and student services, raising money for student scholarships, aligning the school with community, university and employing partners and setting in motion a deal to sell the Cosand Center to increase student funds.

Despite a long list of accomplishments, Taylor is calling for a vote of no confidence and Pittman’s removal from the role of Chancellor.

“I feel like the college is under attack by this relative newcomer who doesn’t understand the culture,” said Taylor. “Pittman has shown no real true leadership. He’s responsible for the culture. I think we can turn it around but not with chancellor Pittman at the helm.”

Taylor is no longer permitted on any STLCC campus. According to Pittman, the decision was made by the human resources team and the police rather than himself.

“We set up a situation room after the board meeting. We polled the leadership first thing [the next] morning, watched the video [of the incident] and issued a statement that morning,” said Pittman. “We have to respond quickly when such incidents happen.”

Pittman said he was “very proud” of the students who spoke out at the Oct. 19 board meeting, and he invited faculty, staff and students to contact him or other board members whether they are in agreement with him or not.

“That’s about the best I can do to extend an invitation,” said Pittman.

Another board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 30 at the Cosand Center. During this meeting Pittman’s workgroups will officially make their proposals regarding how to address recent budget cuts. A proposal to reduce full-time faculty by up to 70 people is expected.

“Change is scary, hard and stressful,” said Pittman. “I feel for all of our faculty, staff and students through these times.”

A preliminary meeting to discuss workgroup findings will take place at the Cosand Center today, Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. The meeting is public but there will be no public comment section.

  • S.T.

    No public comment section at the next meeting?

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