‘He’s one of us:’ Wasson’s Exit Leaves Campus ‘Shocked’

Posted on 29 April 2013 by admin

‘He’s one of us. He’s part of the campus.’- Vice President of Academic Affairs Andrew Langrehr

Meramec President George Wasson fields questions and suggestions from the April 1 open forum discussing the divisional reorganization. | PHOTO BY: KAVAHN MANSOURI

By: KAVAHN MANSOURI
Editor-in-Chief

STLCC-Meramec George Wasson tendered his resignation as Meramec president on Monday, April 29.

Wasson’s resignation came in the wake of a physical attack on Meramec student Blythe Grupe on April 18. Jevon Mallory, a now expelled Meramec student, attacked Grupe in the second floor women’s bathroom of Communications South.

At 5 p.m. on April 29 Chancellor Myrtle Dorsey sent a campus wide e-mail announcing she had accepted the resignation of Wasson. In the e-mail she stressed the safety our STLCC students and the appointment of Wildwood Campus President Pam McIntyre as interim Meramec Campus President.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Andrew Langrehr said he was shocked by Wasson’s resignation.

“I’m a little shocked, a little shell shocked right now,” Langrehr said. “It’s a rude awakening. This is someone who’s been on this campus for I think nearly 30 years in a variety of capacities. To see him exit and getting this e-mail is going be a shock to a lot of people.”

Shock spread through the campus Monday evening as faculty, staff and administration received the Chancellor’s e-mail. Vice President of Student Affairs Linden Crawford said she could not believe Wasson had resigned.

“I’m stunned. I’m absolutely stunned,” Crawford said. “I have a lot of positive experiences with President Wasson and I find this to be just shocking.”

Crawford said she did not fully understand why Wasson resigned but that she was very sad.

“I don’t understand,” Crawford said. “I think we’re all capable, strong individuals but right now I’m just very sad. I’m very sad for President Wasson and I’m… very sad.”

Langehr said that although the college is taking a beating in the media, the blame cannot be put on one person.

“Sort of the aftermath of it is what the focus is getting to be. The college is sort of taking a beating in the media right now,” Langrehr said. “I feel like there’s plenty of people who feel like there’s blame to go around about how it was handled.”

Coordinator of Enrollment Management Kim Fitzgerald said Wasson’s resignation had a direct link to last week’s events.

“I think it’s incredibly unexpected. I think it’s pretty obvious there’s a direct link to the recent incidents,” Fitzgerald said. “Having been here for over 25 years you see a lot of things happen and you see a lot of people come and go. You see a lot of people go out in flames.”

Fitzgerald said the campus faces many adjustments after the resignation.

“I’m still pretty surprised. George has been there for a long time and unfortunately longevity doesn’t really get you a whole lot when it comes to matters like this,” Fitzgerald said. “I think it’s going to be an adjustment. I think people were comfortable with George being there – maybe to a certain extent people can be too comfortable.”

Langehr said the campus is losing someone who had a passion for all things Meramec.

“You’re going to lose someone who was passionate about the Meramec campus who has been a faculty member and a variety of leadership roles on this campus,” Langrehr said. “Someone who rose to the level of president because of the support of his colleagues here on the campus.”

Langehr said the campus will be blindsided by the news.

“I can’t really think of all the ways people are going to react to it – but I think shock is the best word,” Langrehr said. “I think there’s going to be some people who are sad, some who are mad, people who are kind of hurt, people who are going to want to know and from the way this looks he’s not going to be here to talk about it.”

In a challenging time, and in the wake of losing a president and vice president three years ago, the campus will feel the loss of Wasson, Langrehr said.

“It’s going to be hard on the campus to absorb this news, to absorb change to recognize we’re going to have to go through another [president] search when we just went through this not two years ago,” Langrehr said. “That was a difficult time for the campus. We lost a president and a vice president in a short amount of time.”

“I think there’s a significant hole. He’s one of us. He’s part of the campus,” Langrehr said. “A number of people have been here a long time but having a president that has that… that’s going to be a loss. I think it’s going to be a significant loss at a challenging time.”

Jacob Hight, a student who works in the Campus Life office, said the college should not look for scapegoats and instead should look for solutions.

“Horrible things are always going to happen and we should do our best to make sure they don’t happen. There’s never going to be a situation that’s so perfect an individual isn’t going to circumvent the safeguard of a certain place,” Hight said. “I think attention need to be paid to what really needs to be done instead of looking for scapegoats.”

Langrehr said Interim President Pam McIntyre will be knowledgeable to the campus, but that Meramec must lick its wounds and adjust to the change.

“People know that person pretty well because she worked on this campus for a long time,” Langrehr said. “She knows the campus and knows a lot of people here but there’s going to be some healing and some adjustments we’ll need to go through.”

Langrehr added that there are a lot of issues the campus faces outside of the resignation that will have to be discussed.

“People will have a lot of questions about the things we’re in the middle of,” Langrehr said. “We’re talking about potential reorganization of the division and we’re talking about shifting some renovation and some departments around; where they’re located. We’ll have to bring people up to speed.”

Crawford said that a perspective like Wasson’s cannot be replaced.

“It’s a perspective that can’t be replaced with any other leader,” Crawford said. “Many leaders can come to an institution but to have the kind of history and perspective and knowledge of the campus community, the culture, the students, the course work, the state legislation, the issues facing us. I think that’s what we’re losing. I think we’re losing a significant recourse for our campus.”

Fitzgerald said a lesson can be learned about student safety through the events of the past week.

“I think if we didn’t have procedures in place to deal with these kind of things – I think that’s pretty serious,” Fitzgerald said. “I think if we’re talking about the safety of students that should be the primary focus. I think if the lesson that we have to learn to get to that place then that’s just how it is.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Victoria-Barmak/1018993650 Victoria Barmak

    Shocking. Just shocking. He is the scapegoat for their unprofessionalism.

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