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Acting College Of DuPage President Seeks To Reassure Students After School Placed On Probation

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The president of the scandal-plagued College of DuPage said students really haven't been affected by a standoff on the community college's board of trustees, but he expects the situation to be resolved within the next two months.

A meeting of the board of trustees was canceled this week, after three board members boycotted the meeting, leaving the body without a quorum to conduct official business. The board has been left evenly split between two factioning groups, after the sudden resignation of chairwoman Katharine Hamilton this week.

With Hamilton gone, interim acting President Joseph Collins said he hasn't received much direction from the remaining six trustees.

"I work for six people; and three people are on one side of an issue, and three people are on the other side, and there's no tiebreaker," he said.

However, Collins said the Illinois Community College Board would appoint a seventh board member if the two sides don't reach an agreement on a replacement for Hamilton by Feb. 11, 2016.

"By state statute, the Illinois Community College Board, the chairman of the Illinois Community College Board will choose our seventh trustee if our board by February 11 cannot come to a consensus," he said.


Hamilton's resignation came just three days before the Higher Learning Commission – the school's accrediting agency – placed College of DuPage on two years' probation, due to concerns about its administration in the wake of a series of published reports about lavish spending.

Collins acknowledged being on probation is a black eye for the school, but he said students shouldn't worry, as they will continue to receive full credit for their courses.

"I can reassure those people that those credits will transfer just as before. Being on probation means you remain fully accredited," he said.

Collins said the ongoing turmoil hasn't affected classrooms or academic progress so far.

In October, the College of DuPage board voted to fire President Robert Breuder, following internal investigations that found evidence of misconduct and mismanagement that he either participated in, oversaw, or failed to prevent.

Breuder had been under fire for allowing extravagant spending at the taxpayers' expense, such as top administrators spending nearly $190,000 on meals at a fancy restaurants, paying bills to the private company of its radio station engineer, and allowing that engineer to authorize his own invoices for equipment and services he did not provide.

That engineer has been charged with stealing more than $200,000 from the school.

The board had previously voted to authorize a $763,000 contract buyout for Breuder, which would have been effective next spring, but the deal was publicly vilified. The public outcry led to the election of three new trustees, who joined the effort to fire Breuder for cause, which meant he no longer would receive the controversial severance deal.

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