Prairie State SGA President Bryce Johnsen (right) addresses the PSC Board Tuesday evening. (Photo: ENEWSPF)
Chicago Heights, IL—(ENEWSPF)— Prairie State College Student Government Association President Bryce Johnsen delivered a scathing condemnation of Board Chair Mark Fazzini at Tuesday’s regular board meeting. His voice hesitant at times but determined, Johnsen said he already had 200 student signatures to support a vote of no confidence for Fazzini, and was seeking at least 1,000. His concerns about Fazzini stem from the Board’s split decision to not offer another contract to Dr. Paul J. McCarthy, President of Prairie State College.
“I am in the process of working with the student leaders in the various clubs and organizations to encourage their constituents to sign the petition and attend Board meetings to express their concern, and voice their displeasure for the direction the Chair has opted to take the College by not extending Dr. McCarthy’s contract. From this group of student leaders, I will develop a student advisory board to strengthen our campaign for a vote of no confidence for the Board Chair.”
Johnsen, speaking for the school’s Student Government Association, asserted he was expressing the collective “disgust” of the students of the college, “Insomuch as we have not received any student opinions to the contrary on the subject matter contained herein, suffice to say that we are speaking on behalf of the general student body.”
“While we do understand that the student body of this college has historically remained silent, we as responsible citizens of this college find it necessary to voice our concerns with regard to the way the elected decision makers have chosen to conduct business of late,” he continued.
Citing McCarthy’s "progressive leadership," Johnsen continued, "We appreciate attending an institution where our instructors are not up in arms about college policy. We appreciate having access to the leader of our institution. We appreciate reading about the community functions our president attend and those at which he is featured.”
"What we do not appreciate are uninformed or under-informed members of this Board deciding the fate of Dr. McCarthy..."
He then had sharp words for some board members, “We appreciate a President who, unlike our Board, will both promote and attend functions of all genres which are facilitated by us, the students. What we do not appreciate are uninformed or under-informed members of this Board deciding the fate of Dr. McCarthy without the benefit of first-hand knowledge of either Dr. McCarthy or his work practices. To our knowledge, in accordance with the Open Meetings Act of the State of Illinois, persons attending Board meetings are to be asked to sign in, and there is no record of either of the new Board members having attended any meetings, thus affording them precious little knowledge of what has gone on in this college.”
Johnsen spoke of a perceived absence of board members at PSC events, “We are highly offended that the same seven people that make the very decisions which affect our quality education, thus ultimately affecting our lives, do not attend any of the campus functions. Certainly the bound notebooks that they have at these meetings must have information about what is going to be going on at the campus.”
He expressed concern for the future accreditation of the college, “The Board seems to have made some very irrational decisions lately with regard to the administration of the college. We only hope that you are able to be accountable for your actions and support your reasoning when the accreditation body comes to our campus.”
Johnsen concluded his remarks pledging vigilance, “We understand that when the Board takes an action, it is not the Board in its entirety, but rather the majority. And we are well aware of who the majority is in each vote that is conducted. We are here and we are holding you accountable for properly governing this institution. Without us, there is no need for you. So do keep that in mind as you carry out your sworn duties.
“We are here and we are watching.”
Coming Monday: Complete PSC Board meeting coverage, including board responses.