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Candidate Profile: Carol Voight - The Galveston County Daily News : Home

September 30, 2014

Candidate Profile: Carol Voight

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Posted: Saturday, April 27, 2013 10:00 pm | Updated: 11:37 pm, Sat Apr 27, 2013.

Name: Carol Voight

Age: 48

Occupation: Adjunct Professor of Physics and Mathematics

Campaign website or social media site:

www.carol4com.com

www.facebook.com/Carol4COM

Elected offices held (with years of service): I have held no public office as I am not a politician.

Q: Are you a legal resident of the district you are seeking to represent?Yes ___X__ No _____

ADDRESS: 1514 17th Ave N, Texas City, TX 77590

Q: Have you ever been charged or convicted of a felony crime? If you answer yes please explain.

Yes _____ No ___X___EXPLAIN:

Q: Have you ever sued a public entity or been sued by one? If you answer yes, please explain.

Yes _____ No __X____EXPLAIN:

Q: Do you have any other debts (including unpaid taxes) to a public entity? If yes please explain.

Yes __X___ No ______

EXPLAIN: I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physics and Mathematics after marriage and four children, so I am still paying off my student loans.

Q: Will you have your home phone number listed in the phone book or your mobile number listed for the public to contact you directly?

Yes__X____ No_______

Q: Why should voters choose you?

A: I am the most qualified candidate. If elected, I will walk in on Day One and begin making a difference immediately. In the last several years, misguided actions and poor choices by the Board and administration have undermined the college’s mission. As a Trustee, I will do what is necessary to help resolve the serious problems faced by the college. This involves restoring respect and fairness for faculty and staff and bringing the whole community together to rebuild COM as a valuable neighborhood partner.

Q: What are your specific qualifications for the position?

A: I have greater experience with COM than the other candidates. I am a proud COM graduate, the mother of four children who attended COM, an Adjunct Professor of Mathematics at COM, and a member of COM-Unity. I also have more extensive knowledge about the college, how it operates, its future potential, the nature of COM’s serious problems, and how these problems can be resolved than the other candidates. But my most important qualification is my commitment to high quality education for our students and an excellent workplace for our faculty and staff. These are the qualities needed to move COM into the future.

Q: What are the issues in this campaign?

A: COM’s biggest problems are the large number of employee and student complaints and lawsuits, and loss of community support. Other significant problems are the declining quality of education at the college caused by the loss or intimidation of talented professors, less courses taught by full-time faculty, and the loss of programs. Another issue in this campaign is the need to restore wise and responsible use of college resources. I strongly disagree with spending one-half million dollars for a president and three vice presidents while slashing academic faculty pay by 15-20% or more. I also disagree with adding a new vice president position when pay cuts are being made.

Q: What is your platform on those issues?

A: COM—and taxpayers—cannot afford any more lawsuits, with well over $2 million already spent for lawyers, settlements, etc. As a Trustee, I will work to end practices that have led to all the grievances, lawsuits and high financial costs. Treating professors and staff fairly and restoring shared governance will also help reverse the decline in educational quality. So will committing more of the college’s resources to high quality instruction and academic excellence—not more administrators. I want to help restore the COM tradition which recognized the vital link between student success and the excellent treatment of professors and staff.

Q: What do you think has been the root cause of the lawsuits at the college?

A: There has been a lot of mistreatment, misconduct, and mismanagement at COM for the past several years. The record speaks for itself. Thus far, five lawsuits have already been settled, and at least nine more lawsuits are pending. Several employees laid-off or fired in the past year will also be filing lawsuits. As a Trustee, I will help end practices by the Board and administration that result in lawsuits. Dr. Renate True’s removal from class and the Board’s elimination of dues deductions for the employee union and professional organizations are perfect examples of such practices. I will also support a new comprehensive grievance policy which provides for mediation and arbitration.

Q: Do you support the recent adoption by the board to eliminate employee deductions for such things as COM-UNITY dues or support for United Way? Why or why not?

A: No, I strongly disagree with the Board’s action. Payroll deductions for union dues, professional organization fees, United Way donations, etc. are quite common in today’s work environments. COM has had union dues deductions for more than thirty years. President Beth Lewis was incorrect when she said this is now illegal. It is perfectly legal, and other Texas colleges and universities like UT, Texas A&M, Texas State, and Lone Star College all have payroll deductions for union dues. The Board’s action is just another misguided effort to break the union. The Board continues to make destructive decisions and prefers litigation to compromise. This has to stop.

Q: What would you do as a trustee to foster a better environment between administration and COM-UNITY?

A: For decades, the Board and administration had a great working relationship with COM-Unity. Several years ago some union members filed discrimination grievances exposing serious problems on campus, after which some board members became angry. Instead of addressing these serious concerns, the Board dismissed President Hayes and launched an anti-employee, anti-union agenda. As Trustee, I will work to end the mistreatment and mismanagement which created this terrible environment. I will help the Board and administration understand the importance of COM-Unity for employees, restore a union representative to the president’s Advisory Council, reinstate payroll deductions for union dues and other fees, and restore COM’s tradition of listening to its highly valued employees.

Q: What should the college do to address its cost per student ratio?

A: First, COM has to stop spending money on lawsuits. The underlying problems on campus have to be addressed. Restoring excellent treatment for faculty and staff is not only right—it’s fiscally practical. Almost everyone knows this. Second, COM has to stop spending so much money on top administrators, other managers, expensive consultants, expensive pay-outs, and unwise investments like the expensive Learning Center located outside the college taxing district. Third, unnecessary non-instruction positions should be identified and eliminated through retirement or voluntary separation. Fourth, because our cost per student is driven up by 70% of our students taking developmental courses, I will advocate for stronger state funding for our college.

Q: What are the programs at COM that need to be re-evaluated? Why?

A: In recent years, the Nursing program has come under fire from students for two different reasons. Some students have said our program did not prepare them well enough to move on to a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing program. There have also been three lawsuits filed by students against the college based on things that happened in the Nursing program. Now numerous students are choosing to go elsewhere to attend Nursing school. I believe the Board and administration should address the situation there. In my opinion, there are some outstanding faculty members in our Nursing program, but there are also big problems with management and how students are treated there.

Q: What programs are the strongest at COM? What are those strengths?

A: COM’s greatest strength is its outstanding faculty. We have superb instructors in every department of the campus including Math and Science, the Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Academic Success, Public Service Careers, Process Technology, and other workforce areas. Also, Collegiate High School is a thriving, popular program. Hiring the very best professors and other personnel is key to student success. COM has traditionally excelled at this. Unfortunately, the quality of education at the college has declined recently due to the loss or intimidation of talented professors, less courses taught by full-time faculty, and the loss of programs, as noted above. Programs succeed because of great professors attracting enthusiastic students.

Q: What should COM do to address its facilities needs? Would you support a bond proposal? Why or why not?

A: COM facilities are pretty old. They have been well maintained, but years of “wear and tear” have taken their toll. If we want the college and our students to be prepared for the future, updated facilities and infrastructure are desperately needed. It is clear COM needs a successful bond election. Unfortunately, the current climate at COM has eroded community support for any bond proposal. As Trustee, I will work tirelessly to restore the public’s trust in our college so we can regain community support for a bond election. Ending the mistreatment of faculty, staff and students is absolutely essential for regaining public trust and community support.

Q: If you support of bond proposal, when should it be called? If you don't support a bond proposal, what alternatives do you have to address facility needs?

A: I support a bond proposal, but some important changes at COM must occur before we ask the public to approve a bond. As a Trustee, I will work hard to resolve the main issues I have identified. Ending the mistreatment of employees and students which has led to so many lawsuits must be the first priority. Until the campus environment is fair and equitable, and until the quality of education at COM has been restored, the community will not support any bond. We also have to redirect spending toward instruction and student support. Only after these issues are addressed can a bond proposal be presented to the district for approval.

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