BOT meeting, April 7, 2016 – Public Comments

Ed Garzano, advocate for Buffalo Theater Company. Describes professional model BTE provided. Life changed by taking an acting class.

Craig Bergen, Founder of Buffalo Theater Ensemble. Calls for return of BTE and praises its development by faculty such as Canaday-Howard.

Mark Misiorowski, resident. Calls for restoration of email and other electronic evidence that may have been deleted. Makes it more difficult for COD to defend itself. Hire data recovery specialists as quickly as possible. Gravity of harm is very great, extraordinary risk and exposure to the institution. Argues that HLC and IRS among other agencies will require this evidence.

Don Westlake. Speaking in support of BTE. Distinguished past, hopes for distinguished future.

John Kraft, Edgar Cty Watchdogs. Supports comments of Misiorowski. References earlier cases related to open meetings and hiring/contracts. Secret ballots in violation of law. COD meeting March 6, 2014, alleged that BOT held secret ballot w/ assistance of attorney, who said should not vote in closed session, just raise hands, authorize chair to extend contract. McGuire, Birt, and Wozniak opposed releasing the audio of the closed session. They were there.

Kirk Allen, Edgar Cty Watchdogs. Thanks those responsible for listening when problems exposed. References electronic records destruction and policy. Action sends message to HLC that concerns are being addressed. Good governance. Take this one step further and retain forensic data recovery specialist. Asks three BOT members to resign based on open meetings violation. Also calls for firing of Bruce Schmiedle based on Herricane Graphics contract irregularities.

Allen Kallas, Buffalo Theater Company advocate. Notes the tagline used in college promotion about learning from professionals. Reinstate those bragging rights for theater program.

Jen Roper, advocate for BTE. Speaks to value of theater background in broader employment situation because of ability to improvise, team player,

Richard Jarman, VP of COD Faculty Association. So it is come to this: an important question that has been on our minds for months will tonight be resolved one way or the other. To be or not to be? That is the question for Buffalo Theatre Ensemble. The answer lies in your hands. While I am not suggesting that anyone need make their quietus with a bare bodkin, the consummation that we, the faculty, universally devoutly wish, is for BTE to return. Can I persuade you further to support this?

In the packet before you is a reasoned argument that points to the importance of theatre in the educational experience, not only impacting students involved directly in the theatre program, but also impacting other students and community members in myriad and less quantifiable ways.

You heard from former students and community members tonight and over the past year and received a petition signed by over one thousand members. You will also hear a passionate and persuasive presentation from theatre faculty Connie Canaday Howard and Amelia Barrett.

I can personally attest to some of the former students’ testimonies, having once been one myself. I know what Bryan Bosque meant by receiving an apprenticeship. Like Todd Mantell, I didn’t become an actor but the experience of theatre has other benefits, such as in engaging students in a classroom. Robyn Coffin learned how to be a professional early on. On the green banners produced in the branding exercise, we are told that the best way to become a professional is to learn from one. I am looking at one right now. I learned from Connie.

With this decision there is opportunity for this board to make a statement about the weight it places on the importance of COD in the community and academics. The past year has been dominated by the fallout from the toppled regime. Too much we have heard of lawyers and accountants.

Here the question is, what is the ROI on $250 thousand over two years? Wouldst that you could simply inject a few numbers into an algorithm and crank out an answer. It is way more complicated and nuanced than this; the returns are more subtle and less quantifiable. I would argue that the return on good will alone from making a gesture that this board lends its support to BTE far exceeds the required investment.

Glenn Hansen, President, COD Faculty Association. Spoke of anticipation of new president and excitement in the halls – especially from faculty, staff, and even some administrators. Looking forward to tomorrow, finally moving forward. Constituencies inside and outside will be watching and speaking, and I have been encouraging them to speak to you. Who will lead this college forward? Thank you, and good luck.