LONGMONT — The Front Range Community College chapter of the American Association of University Professors wants former FRCC President Janet Gullickson reinstated.
The group has asked its membership to write letters to legislators asking for an investigation into why Gullickson was forced out of her position.
Karen Reinertson, the former director of the Department of Health Care Financing and Policy, was appointed to lead FRCC a week and a half after Gullickson’s July 21 resignation.
The association also would like the Legislature to look into what is happening throughout the Colorado Community College System.
Gullickson “had such a positive influence in the short time she was here,” said Dana Waller, a member of the AAUP at Front Range. “Sure, you can find things she didn’t do exactly right or that she would do differently next time, but not enough to have anyone question whether she should stay on or not. I don’t think her competency was an issue at all.”
Nancy McCallin, president of the Colorado Community College System, has said since the day Gullickson resigned that she can’t discuss the reasons behind her departure.
Because Gullickson was replaced so quickly, many faculty and administrators at Front Range say they feel betrayed because they had participated in two nationwide searches to find Gullickson and nobody at the community college was consulted about Reinertson’s appointment.
More faculty would protest Reinertson’s appointment, but there is “this atmosphere of intimidation and fear among the community college’s faculty,” said state Sen. Brandon Shaffer, a Democrat who represents parts of Boulder, Longmont, Erie, Lafayette and Louisville.
Ever since Gullickson’s resignation, Shaffer said, he has been inundated with phone calls, letters and e-mails from people concerned about the direction in which the community college system is headed.
Shaffer said he is not satisfied with the response he has received from McCallin.
McCallin has stated numerous times that she appointed Reinertson quickly because she didn’t want to leave Colorado’s largest community college to go too long without a leader.
“What she fails to mention is that the largest reason that position needed to be filled is that she fired the previous president for no real reason,” he said.
Shaffer said he has discussed higher education with many of his colleagues at the statehouse, and many “expressed concerns over what is happening with community colleges in our state and the unbridled power that a person like Nancy McCallin can wield as it relates to the community college system,” he said.
He added that there’s been discussion at the Capitol about new legislation or holding a special hearing and inviting McCallin to speak about what she is trying to accomplish, he said.
“Let her reveal what her hidden agenda is,” he said. “A lot of people on both sides of the aisle feel ... there at least has been a violation of the spirit of the law and how the process should operate.”
McCallin “is not an elected official. She should be held accountable to somebody when implementing public policy regarding our community college system,” Shaffer said.
Waller said her colleagues at FRCC are “all mourning.”
“We all feel a tremendous loss from Jan’s (departure) and each of us has to work it out in our own way, and many of us feel that we can’t let it go until every avenue has been pursued,” she said.
In a written statement, McCallin told the Daily Times-Call that her appointment of Reinertson to lead Front Range was done with the “full support of the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education.”
And “that is not going to change,” she said. “Karen Reinertson has the unwavering support of the state board and the system.”
Paula Aven Gladych can be reached
at 303-684-5211 or by e-mail at email@example.com.