Board of Directors Unanimously Approves All Legislation on Docket

A packed room for the Board of Education meeting Wednesday, April 19, 2023, in the Albany Campus, Boardroom. Photo by Sarah Rose Larson

Albany – The Linn-Benton Board of Directors held a meeting to review and vote upon several resolutions on April 19, relating to administrative compensation, and campus safety. The event also saw the swearing in of the new Student Leadership Council. Several faculty, as well as community members voiced their opinions on the board’s legislative proposals.

The primary interest to many attending was the elimination of faculty librarian positions. The relevant legislation, Board Resolution 32-23, which would increase administrative salaries, was perceived by many to be funded by the termination of these positions. Almost 20 letters were sent in support of the faculty librarians. Impassioned defenses were sent to the board, displaying the strength of the LB community.

Tension was in the air as throngs of faculty, staff, students, and community members packed into Calapooia Center to hear the board speak about the potential policy changes affecting campus. Lined along the walls, sitting on tables, and crammed together shoulder-to-shoulder, some 60 people crammed into a room that only seemed to want to hold 30.

As the murmurs and chatter of attendees filled the room, President Avery announced the beginning of the meeting and the voices hushed. One of the board members outlined the procedures of the meeting and the topics to be addressed while the crowd looked on, anxiously awaiting the resolutions.

The meeting continued with the old Student Leadership Council being introduced and thanked the attendees and board members for the opportunity to serve the college. Each member announced their name and position on the SLC. After this, the new council members were introduced and incoming Student Body President Rachel Biscoe took her oath of office, after which her team followed suit. Following a round of applause, the SLC filed out of the cramped boardroom and then the board introduced each of their members individually, some of whom gave descriptions of their recent activities. 

Included was Jason Dorsette’s Equity Report and his dedication to disadvantaged and minority students, as well as their success at the college and in life.

The board announced that they would hear commentary from those who sent letters about the proposed policies and changes, including position eliminations.

The heartfelt staff and college community watched as the different speakers sat at a table in the middle of the room, between the audience and the board, voicing their concerns and pleas.

English instructor Dio Morales and Mathematics instructor Nicole Seaders address the board concerning the impact of LBCC employee cutbacks and program eliminations. Photo By Sarah Rose Larson.

One-by-one, faculty read their letters and statements of support for the faculty librarians. Some choked up in tears and some raised their voices in anger, while others read cooly the benefits that they feel the librarians bring to the school. 

Two faculty librarians spoke for themselves and their desire to continue serving LB, noting their decades of combined experience in assisting the student populace. They brought forth their concerns about helping adult students without dedicated faculty and noted the tens of thousands of Albany residents that are able to benefit from adult education programs set to be cut back or removed from the college’s budget.

Some speakers addressed diversity concerns and others dissented upon budget allotments.

After the five speakers read their pleas and concerns to retain the librarians, the board announced that they would be voting on several resolutions, including the anticipated RES 32-23, which was perceived by some faculty speakers as funding administrators’ proposed raises. 

First, Resolution 31-23 was passed, which addressed the college’s insurance concerns, and then they announced RES 32-23, addressing compensation changes for administration. RES 32-23 was passed unanimously, immediately after which 90% of the audience exited the room in apparent protest. 

All of the resolutions were unanimously passed by the board, including RES 33-23, which addressed renovations to the Benton Center, and RES 34-23, which sought to employ software companies for customer relationship management software aimed at recruiting and admissions.

After the resolutions were voted upon, the board members each spoke about their concerns for the college moving forward to an almost empty room. The topics of discussion were student safety and campus protocols for reporting violent incidents and suspicious behavior. Following these discussions the board announced that the meeting was to be adjourned. The remaining attendees left the room while the board turned to one another and spoke quietly.

The attendance and vehement support from faculty, students, and community members alike was a positive sign of the unity of the Linn-Benton Community. Future students and faculty will make sure that all who work and study at the college are both welcomed and safe, while all who go will be appreciated for their contributions to our lives and education.