COD administrators reject union-sponsored candidate forum

 
 

College of DuPage administrators are refusing to allow the 600-plus member adjunct association to host a candidate forum on campus March 11, saying it violates the board's ethics policy.

Similar events were held on campus in 2009, 2011 and 2013.

The COD board's attorney, Ken Florey, issued an opinion Thursday stating that holding such a forum on campus would violate the board's rules on "prohibited political activities."

COD Adjunct Association President Cheryl Baunbach-Caplan said since the association -- which is the union representing adjunct and part-time faculty -- doesn't endorse candidates, the forum shouldn't be considered a political activity, but rather informational.

"Our lawyer has sent a response to the decision, but we have not heard back from the college," she said Saturday.

COD spokesman Joe Moore said the decision was made on the advice of the attorney and that allowing the event would violate "board policy and state statute," though Florey's opinion didn't mention any violation of state laws.

"Ideally, we would like to see legislation that would allow these kinds of events," Moore said.

Baunbach-Caplan said she does not believe the forum violates any rules or laws, pointing to forums held in public buildings at all levels of government. She said the group is considering moving the site of the forum.

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"But the thing that bothers us about that is this is supposed to be informational and educational for our students as well and we feel their attendance would drop," she said.

Three board seats are up for grabs on the April 7 ballot. The race has become hotly contested in recent weeks following the controversial decision by the board to pay COD President Robert Breuder more than $762,000 to retire next year instead of fulfill the remaining four years of his contract.

Most of the 12 board candidates seeking the three seats have been critical of the board's decision and Breuder's stewardship of the college since he took over the top job in 2009.

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