Administration removes three more, cancels campus open forum

Posted on 04 September 2013 by admin

Board member Joan McGivney weighs in




The St. Louis Community College Board of Directors held a press conference at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15, explaining the most recent information about the April 18 incident, in which STLCC-Meramec student Blythe Grupe was attacked by fellow student Jevon Mallory in a women’s bathroom at the Meramec campus.

The press conference came following the public release of an investigative report of the incident completed by the local law firm Armstrong Teasdale L.L.P., at the request of the STLCC Board of Trustees.

Since the release of the report, Meramec Campus Police Chief Paul Banta, STLCC District Chief of Police Robert Stewart and Vice President of Student Affairs at Meramec Linden Crawford have been removed from their positions. Meramec President George Wasson resigned from office on April 26.

Meramec currently has an interim president, interim police chief and an acting vice president of student affairs.

“I felt okay with the fact that Pam McIntyre [became interim president at Meramec]. She had been at Meramec for many years before. She was in a leadership position and then she went out to Wildwood,” Board of Trustee member Joan McGivney said.

In addition to McIntyre as interim president, Lt. John Schwerb has taken over the duties as interim police chief and Kim Fitzgerald is now the acting vice president of student affairs. There is no district police chief in place.

“Currently the police operations at the four different campuses are reporting through the campus presidents,” McIntyre said. “That’s a temporary arrangement and then once the Chancellor and the Board decide how they’re going to be proceeding ahead, then that could change.”

If a situation were to arise on campus, Lt. Schwerb would report to McIntyre, bypassing the district police chief position in the process of notifications.

“Right now he’d come to me around anything that would take place. Basically, the process in terms of emergencies and situations on the campus in the past when the police chief became aware of a situation,” McIntyre said, “ was that the police chief would let the district police chief know and then let the campus president know. The campus president would then let the chancellor know, so it kind of had a route in which the information was received.”

According to the 18-page investigative report, “the college should investigate the possibility of having local municipal law enforcement cover the campus as opposed to having its own police force.”

McGivney, however, is open to any proposals.

“I think we’re going to try to put together a volunteer task force together of different police chiefs and different people in the law enforcement area. Then we, as the Board of Trustees, will have a discussion with them and get their input to see what the pros and cons are,” McGivney said. “What if there is a robbery in the hallway and they have an incident in a home nearby in Kirkwood. If they are short staffed, where are they going to put their priority? I think the Kirkwood Police and the local police are fine, but it’s just when your taxpayers are paying, you don’t know where the priorities will be. I’m open minded to hear any proposal.”

The Board of Trustees planned on attending an open forum following the removal of the three administrators on Aug. 15, however, McIntyre stopped that.

“I had said to the board chair that I would prefer waiting for a couple weeks, so that we can get classes up and going and people can be get to their classes,” McIntyre said. “We’ll look at that later on as a possibility.”

McGivney was ready to come to Meramec, had the open forum continued.

“I am concerned with the repercussions of Meramec, so I was going to go,” McGivney said. “If they had another gathering, I’d be glad to come.”

According to McGivney, another date has not been set.

“I think it’s important to listen to the students,” McGivney said. “I haven’t heard of any plans to have another one.”

McIntyre said she believes that students and faculty will work through the situation in their own way.

“I think people are working through there own personal reactions to the report and in particular the personnel actions that were taken as a result of the report,” McIntyre said. “For some people, that’s harder than for other people.”


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