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Competency problems start at the top

April 7, 2011

Former students Tara Knack–Moreno and Thomas Crowley filed a civil rights suit in federal court in June 2009. The defendants were Sullivan County Community College and James Murphy (instructor). It alleged that the instructor made sexual remarks about the plaintiffs in 2008-2009. The plaintiffs reported the comments to Donna Belgard, director of the nursing program. In the complaint, “Belgard assured plaintiffs that they would not suffer any form of retaliation or reprisal for reporting these comments.” The plaintiffs believed that they subsequently experienced hardships in retaliation for speaking up, and therefore believe the college took no corrective actions.

Research also suggests major competency issues with the administration of the nursing program. The responsibility goes from president Dr. Mamie Howard–Golladay to Belgard.

Lawsuit two, filed on February 25 in State Supreme Court, involves students with a GPA of 3.13, who were “failed” out of the nursing program by improperly administrated competency tests. Five and a half weeks after the third semester ended, the competencies were administered. The testing area was not organized in a professional manner. It was a scavenger hunt, looking for supplies and materials and waiting in line. Results were 13 (16%) passed and 67 (84%) failed, indicating substandard instruction. A week later, the failed 67 retested, leaving an overall failure rate of 23%. Unacceptable. If the nursing students had as much practice time as the Sullivan Generals, all would pass.

President Harry S. Truman remarked, “The buck stops here.” Dr. Golladay, in the past four years you signed a lease agreement without reading it, authorized payment of over $2 million for a nonexistent wind turbine, installed an outdoor $370,000 swimming pool for a nonexistent summer school population, seen two lawsuits involving the nursing program and 53% of the graduating RNs pass the state boards versus an 85% state average. You have spent money for lawyers, legal fees and toys being better used for education.

You have failed your competency test for management.

Kenneth Walter
Grahamsville, NY