Register Star praises with faint blame

The Sept. 14 Rockford Register Star editorial concerning Rock Valley College (RVC) included the following: “Change is not cheap, and Chapdelaine has the school headed in the right direction. In part through massive construction programs, he repositioned RVC from a parochial technical school to a sophisticated community college. It has begun to offer the education and job training necessary to meet the changing needs of local and national economies.” It is beyond time that the Rockford Register Star ceased its role as the cooperative spin doctor for the administration of RVC. Their editorial is a masterpiece of praising with faint blame. In truth, change can be very costly-especially if it is not change for the better. The “direction” of the college, if “right,” as the Register Star editorial board maintains, certainly seems to have resulted in great numbers of involved RVC personnel trying (and voting) to either put on the brakes or—indeed—turn around. “Parochial technical school” indeed! (perhaps they meant the equally offensive and erroneous provincial rather than “parochial”?). Such a comment is an insult to taxpayers, citizens and RVC’s hardworking and effective faculty and support staff. This college and the front-line educators and support personnel have been assuring quality education for years, well before the present administration. The only sophistry lies in the Register Star’s persistent spinning away from obvious truths regarding the situation. I could recommend to them some good texts on journalistic ethics-not that they’d be interested. The “changing needs” of this community haven’t changed all that much, really. RVC has and continues to meet the essential needs of it’s students—providing quality front-line educational interaction between concerned faculty (across a broad spectrum of content areas) and the students they are here to serve—and all assisted by front-line support personnel (some of whom have been terminated). On a related note, but for a very different purpose, I want to commend The Rock River Times on courageous and effective investigative journalism. The public should find it at least curious that few of the discoveries presented by the Times have been answered—none effectively answered or effectively challenged by the present administration of Rock Valley College. Frank Coffman is an Associate Professor of English and Journalism at Rock Valley College.

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