Further Public Comments from COD Employees:
Richard Jarman, Vice President of the Faculty Association, addresses STEM and stated he is happy to see a new emphasis on manufacturing during a time of high unemployment and various federally funded initiatives, and stated that it is a timely issue. Jarman stated this is “one of the many initiatives that separates COD from the crowd.” He also suggested other important initiatives like outdoor labs, and spoke about a CODFA Faculty Senate resolution calling on COD to develop outdoor labs, including the COD Community Farm. He stated these outdoor labs “have a central role to play” in making students literate in sustainability.
Deborah Adelman, COD Faculty, Diana Strode, COD Faculty, and Shamili Sandiford, COD Faculty, spoke about the Community Farm. Adelman asked COD to support a permanent site for the Community Farm and explained the history of the farm itself, as well as statements the College Administration made about the Community Farm in the past. Adelman explained the focus and outcomes of the Community Farm and the fact that it is self-funded and costs the college only what it costs to move it to different locations when it is forced to move. Strode described the sustainable elements of the Community Farm and other area initiatives related to the project. She provided information about urban agriculture and the development of sustainable food supplies, and she pointed to resources that list community colleges as significant leaders and resources in this movement. Strode questioned why COD has chosen to dismantle the Community Education farm at a time when it is essential to economic growth and sustainable food supplies in the region. Sandiford described the interdisciplinary nature of the Community Farm, and explained how it fulfills ICCB’s mission. She described its programming and produce sales, and stated that the Community Farm is an example of sustainability itself. She explained that faculty are administrators and fundraisers for the project because faculty value the academic merits of the project. Sandiford thanked President Breuder for urging them on this path, and asked the College to inform her about the new site for the farm on campus. She explained how the Community Farm aligns with the new COD Brand, The New School of Thought, in several ways. Adelman asked COD to provide a permanent location on campus, as promised by COD, equivalent to the site it occupied in 2009.
David Goldberg, COD Faculty: I am a faculty member, taxpayer of Dist 502, and citizen. Tonight, the BOT will consider an item on the consent agenda that involves awarding a no-bid contract for $50,000 for seafood at the Waterleaf Restaurant. At the last board meeting in Feb., the BOT approved a no-bid contract for $60,000 for meat and poultry for the Waterleaf. In November of last year, the board approved a $105,000 no bid contract for produce for Waterleaf and the Culinary Arts Program. For a total of $215,000 no bid contracts to fund Waterleaf Operations. Yesterday I found out that the current administration has decided to kill the community garden project. This project has been administered by my colleagues and friends in English and Natural Sciences for eleven years. During that time, more than 500 students have utilized the community garden as an outdoor teaching and learning space. The garden has provided produce to local food pantries. Under the current administration, the garden has been forced from its location three times. When the current administration revoked any college support and demanded the garden become financially self-sufficient, my friends and colleagues did so. They wen to the community, applied for, and received grant money to continue operation of the community garden. Yesterday, they were told there is no place for the community garden. It has effectively bee killed. A program that has served hundreds of students, the community, and costs no money to the college has been eliminated. Ironically, the farm to table movement of which the community garden is a part is not a part of the ever-expanding project of fine dining at the college of DuPage. To put this in larger perspective, how many bottles of the $260 California Cabernet on offer at the Waterleaf would it take to fund the community garden? The answer is zero. The current branding campaign, COD The New School of Thought (which was priced at $290,000) included academic excellence as one of COD’s greatest resources. Academic excellence, like revenue at the college, is primarily generated by faculty led activities. It is sad when a faculty led supported and funded initiative at the cutting edge of higher education is shut down precisely because it is faculty led. I urge the current administration to reconsider this decision.