Highland Community College President's Resignation Sparking Controversy

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

As outgoing Highland Community College President Dr. Ronald Field mingled and said goodbye at this ceremony, you wouldn't have guessed there was any problem; until you stepped outside.

"One person may say, oh, that he's not right. He didn’t do his job, so if he didn't do his job, then have a reason to vote him out. It's not fair," Taisha Self said.

These protesters, from two Freeport church groups, believe Dr. Field's ouster could possibly be racially motivated. However, Highland's Board of Trustees say Dr. Field and the college's mutual decision for him to step down was based not on race, but results.

"The board felt, and Dr. Field felt that the support wasn't at a level of acceptance where we wanted it to be for accomplishments, so that's why we made a decision," Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Kroeger said.

Highland Board of Trustees deny any bad blood with Field, and say the president's resignation is being handled well by both sides. But for these demonstrators, those comments are just lip service.

"What was his job performance? Did he do a good job; did he do a great job? If so, why was he asked to leave?" Rev. Peter Williams said.

So what does the source of the protests think? Dr. Field says while he's proud of his accomplishments at Highland - including the college's first off-campus center - he was mum on Monday's demonstration.

"I learned about it this morning, like I said, I haven't spoken with anyone, so I don't have a comment," Field said.

And though both sides are in agreement of the good things Dr. Field did at the helm of Highland Community College, it's a disagreement and confusion of how and why he was let go that's causing a stir.

Dr. Ronald Field will remain with the Highland Community College as a consultant. Meanwhile, the board of trustees will soon begin the search for an interim president. That person will likely serve about a year until a permanent replacement is found.


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