6/13/96, Times Argus


By Robert Piasecki - Times Argus Staff

PLAINFIELD - The 16 Goddard College employees who lost their jobs last week called on the school's board of trustees to suspend the firings pending a complete and impartial investigation.

The employees also asked the trustees to voluntarily recognize a union representing faculty and staff at Goddard, and devote as much time as is necessary during the board meeting this weekend to discussing President Richard E. Greene's management style.

The fired employees said Greene has repeatedly violated Goddard's governing principles and policies since he became the college's president on July 1 1994. They made their complaints against Greene during a press conference at the school's library Wednesday.

Mark Greenberg, one of the Goddard employees who lost his job, said Greene is "systematically and ruthlessly" dismantling the college with at least the tacit approval of the trustees.

"He is killing it under the guise of improving it," Greenberg said.

Mark Greenberg, part-time associate campus faculty member, is applauded by Jennifer Tripp Mead at a press conference Wednesday held by fired Goddard College employees.

Greene's opponents claim 11 other employees have resigned and 12 others have been forced, to resign since Greene was named president nearly two years ago.

The combination of the resignations and firings will have a broad and lasting impact on the quality of education at Goddard, Greene's critics said Wednesday.

Parents and students are already asking questions about the recent turmoil at Goddard, said Catherine Weidner, an instructor and member of the College Executive Committee. She said many are planning to attend this weekend's trustees' meeting to find out what is going on.

"Many of the programs students depend on have been eliminated. The education process has been severely disrupted," Jeanette Bacevius, a Goddard student, said.

To back up claims that Greene is anti-union, Greenberg read a letter from Seth Bramson, an instructor at St. Thomas University in Florida, where Greene was president before coming to Goddard.

In the letter, Bramson said Greene will use "any means possible" to stop the Goddard employees from forming a union.

Greene, however, disputed that claim saying Bramson was a disgruntled employee who was angry because he didn't get a promotion.

"St. Thomas had a free and open election and the faculty turned down a proposal to unionize," Greene said today.

In addition, Greene said a delegation from a Goddard search committee went to St. Thomas University before he was hired and came back with positive reports about his time there.

Greene said he believes that Goddard's board of trustees will give the community a chance to comment on management of the college.

"If they want to do that, it will happen," Greene said today.

The president's critics Wednesday also asked the trustees for a chance to present them with an alternative budget.

Weidner said the alternative budget would achieve $300,000 in savings by spreading out the cuts more equally than Greene's proposal.

There would still be layoffs or job cuts, Weidner acknowledged, but they would be done much more fairly than Greene's proposal.

Greene said be thinks the trustees will agree to look at the alternative budget proposal this weekend as well as his plan.

Greenberg Wednesday repeated complaints that Greene fired him along with two other employees -- Kiko Nobusawa and Manuel O'Neill -- simply because they were members of the union organizing committee.

But Greene said he didn't even know who was on the union organizing committee, and has told the community on several occasions that he has no problem with a union forming.

"We encourage them -- in fact, we even told them that they could use campus buildings for meetings," Greene said.

Greenberg said he, Nobusawa and O'Neill were the only employees who lost their jobs last week who were also banned from campus. He said that was evidence that they were all fired for their union activities.

Greene acknowledged that Greenberg, Nobusawa, and O'Neill were banned from campus but said that stemmed from fears that they might be disruptive, not because of their union activities.

Goddard's board of trustees will meet on Friday and Saturday. Greene said it appears as if the community will have a chance to speak with the trustees sometime around 11 a.m. Saturday.