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Corrupt College of DuPage president forced out

By staff

Glen Ellyn, IL- On March 31, 2016, Robert Breuder, president of the largest community college in Illinois, College of DuPage (CoD), will officially retire.

Breuder’s early retirement comes after six years of constant struggles with organized students and faculty that resulted in an overwhelming “no confidence” vote from the Faculty Association and the circulation of a student-led petition put out by the campus’ Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

On March 8, the Sun Times newspaper’s front page carried the headline, “Fine Dining on the Public Dime.” The article is an expose of Breuder’s lavish spending on an expensive restaurant at the mainly working class community college in the suburb of Glen Ellyn outside Chicago.

Teachers’ union and students stand for education rights

The article mentions the efforts by the campus faculty union and student activists to oppose the president for his corruption and outrageous spending on himself and his administration.

Breuder’s administration denied faculty their role in program review, and instead made the college’s public relations office initiate what his administration called “Critical Program Review.” This included transforming the student-led newspaper, the Courier, into an appendage of his office.

This dirty move involved sacking the Courier’s outspoken advisor Cathy Stablein in 2011, simultaneously choking the Faculty Association and the student press. Stablein’s sacking also meant the de-facto elimination of the only class to teach local politics.

“Critical Program Review” was also used to eliminate several other departments in order to remove the tenured faculty heading them.

Appallingly, in 2011, Breuder blamed faculty salaries for tuition increases at meetings, stating that his plan, “includes raising tuition, growing enrollment and cutting expenses by replacing full-time faculty with part-time adjuncts.”

The attacks on the faculty eventually led to a vote of no confidence in September 2014. This was the final straw leading to him being forced out. SDS joined the faculty with a petition expressing student opposition to Breuder as well.

SDS was formed at CoD in 2012, after Breuder used the campus as a staging area for the area police and military forces assembled to repress the protests against the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The NATO war makers were hit with a week of mass protests in Chicago, culminating in the largest anti-war protest since Obama came to office.

The early struggles of CoD SDS were covered by student journalists who called for an “Occupy CoD” to ally with the Faculty Association against the corruption.

Trustees bail out disgraced president

As part of Breuder’s severance package, the equally-corrupt Board of Trustees authorized a $763,000 payment, a hand in selecting his successor as president, and the privilege of having the college’s “Homeland Security Education Center” named after him. The center was built on the site of a memorial constructed in the early 1970s to the student protesters who died at Kent and Jackson State as they were opposing the Vietnam War and the national oppression of African Americans.

The move has fanned feelings of indignation across the community and is expected to affect the upcoming Board of Trustees election on April 7.

According to Jeff Westberry of SDS, “Breuder and his friends on the board say the media attention around their actions 'hurts the reputation of the college.’ The truth is their detestable behavior is solely to blame for any negativity. We students, activists and educators have to be the ones to save what we have at this institution.”

The League of Women Voters, SDS and other forces in the community are expected to pack the board meetings until April’s election, demanding Breuder be fired, as well as legislation be passed (the “Breuder Rule”) that would ensure a severance package as large as his is never distributed again.

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