A heated night at Martin Community College board meeting - WSPA.com

A heated night at Martin Community College board meeting

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WILLIAMSTON, N.C. - It was a heated meeting at the Martin Community College board meeting.
It's the first time trustees met since allegations arose about the school’s president.

9 On Your Side first reported problems at the school last month, when students signed petitions asking the Board of Trustees not to renew the president's contract.
And we were there last week when students and the NAACP held an open meeting to address the issues.

A lot has happened since our newsroom got a copy of the ten page letter containing numerous allegations against Dr. Britt and the Board of Trustees.

The document titled the crisis state of Martin Community College blames the board for having little to no interest in investigating issues repeatedly brought to their attention.
9 On Your Side investigated the allegations regarding student government.
SGA president Brandy Jess says the president has been using SGA funds without student approval.
People have come out, saying the allegations are false, but Jess is standing behind her proof.

"As far as SGA is concerned, I feel like we have our proof, we our documents, we have witnesses, we have staff that is willing to talk,” said Brandy Jess, SGA President. “I think the other allegations are very troubling and I do think it will impact our school and that's why I feel it's important that the community come out to get answers and to hear and to see what's really going on."SGA President Brandi Jess was denied the opportunity to present her organization's budget.

Chairman Jackie Gillam said it was Jess' responsibility to submit the budget prior to the meeting and therefore had to wait until the next meeting which sparked controversy among the audience.

Prior to the outburst and controversy Chairman Gillam showed her support despite allegations and a movement to remove Dr. Britt from her position as president.

Board members also showed proof that they are not at risk of operating in the red. An audit shows they are $10t million in the black, after considering grants and financial aid funding.

At the conclusion of the meeting Gillam released this written statement:

"We alone have received national and state recognition repeatedly in last several years in connected but separate initiatives. The common denominator is student success. Keep in mind that we are not talking about access only, but successful completion of goals. The motivating factor in these initiatives had been Dr. Britt. True, faculty-staff-and board support have been critical. However, efforts were spearheaded by a President who personally feels obligated to facilitate student success.

While there is room for improvement at MCC, I proudly state that there is much to be proud of here. We have some outstanding faculty and staff on this campus. We have programs that are well thought of. The system president recently said that while we have managerial issues with some personnel, our primary challenges are those that rural schools in poorer counties share. We cannot compete with industries in hiring and keeping some of the key personnel that is necessary. He did offer some strategies that might makes a job here more attractive on a long term basis rather than our campus being a place to come to gain experience and skills. 

There have been many unfounded allegations made and countless misrepresentations presented as fact. I feel that when this is over, we will be able to get back to the business of educating and improving lives and our school and community will be better than before. I stand behind the difficult decisions that Dr. Britt has made and firmly believe that she has been and will continue to be our strongest asset. I can attest that about fifteen years ago, our school was on the verge of being closed by the system office. Only the fact that Dr. Britt was willing to come here and try to turn things around precluded that event. MCC is blessed to have her expertise during this difficult time and it is my honor to be a member of the board."

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