New Edison board member promises "course correction"

Matt Grant

New Edison board member promises "course correction"

CREATED Nov. 3, 2011

FORT MYERS - Could Edison State College President Dr. Ken Walker be getting his walking papers?

With two of Walker's biggest supporters on the board out - and four new people coming in - the balance of power is shifting.

"Is removing Dr. Walker an option that's on the table?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"I think all options are on the table," said FGCU professor and newly appointed board member Pamella Seay.

Seay wants the new board to take "immediate" and "dramatic" action to turn the college around.

"If faculty and students want Dr. Walker gone is that something you will take into consideration?," asked Grant.

"Absolutely," said Seay.

Over the last year the college has been rocked by a series of scandals including an expensive revolving door of firings, re-assignments and resignations.

"When you have that kind of activity at a high level in any organization," said Seay, "that's an indication that there's something amiss."

Seay says the recent turmoil at the college could hurt the college's upcoming re-accreditation.

"It will certainly have an impact," said Seay. "There's no question about that."

Another new board member, Brian Chapman, told us by phone he has "no opinion" on Dr. Walker. But he says Gov. Rick Scott, who appointed him, offered some advice.

"The only request I had from the governor was to get in there, look at the information and make a decision," said Chapman. "As if it were a business decision, as if I were running my business and do what I feel is right."

Outspoken English Prof. Marty Ambrose is happy about the board changes and hopes the new members can turn things around.

"It looks like we got a great, fresh group of people," said Ambrose, "who obviously want to be on the board because they wanted to clean up the college."

Seay tells us cleaning up the college is her first priority.

"Whatever needs to happen will happen," said Seay. "Perhaps, tomorrow."

"What could happen tomorrow?," asked Grant.

"Course correction," said Seay.

Not on the agenda

The new board members have a lot on their plate. But one thing they're not looking at now is Walker's recommendation to fire the Dean of Arts and Sciences Bob Beeson.

On Thursday, some faculty members wore blue and white buttons saying "Bring Beeson Back" in protest.

Beeson had been outspoken on the question of whether the college has been discriminatory in its hiring.

English professor Marty Ambrose says the fact that Walker's termination request of Beeson was taken off Friday's agenda is a good sign.

"I'm happy that the board is going to be reflective and they're not just going to rubber-stamp something that the president puts on the agenda," said Ambrose. "They're going to review all the evidence."

The board of trustees meets Friday at 10 a.m.

Matt Grant, Reporter