Friday, July 11, 2014

Holding Breuder's feet to the fire

COD students go online; Breuder builds to the sky
Walt Zlotow

Talk about two groups going in opposite directions, consider the COD student body and the COD Board, led by irrepressible building builder Robert Breuder. While many COD students, following a nationwide trend, have gravitated to online classes, COD President Robert Breuder touts his five year, half billion dollar building empire that has turned the COD campus into a veritable city within a city. While most of the dough has gone for brick and mortar as students go for pixels in the comfort of their homes, a near fortune has gone for landscaping that would make Harvard or the University of Chicago proud. In his now infamous May 9 email to the Board agonizing over the need to hastily approve a new classroom building to justify getting a $20 million grant from Governor Quinn, Breuder told the Board they should trust him because, "in the last five years, I have led a $550 million transformation of our physical plant. By now I hope all Board members have confidence in my judgment. But, then again, this may be about something else." You bet this is about something else. It's about constructing a Xanadu of a campus on the backs of taxpayers and students with ever increasing tax levies and tuition, while COD has squired away $72 million in the bank for a 'rainy day.' Breuder told the Chicago Tribune, which editorialized against his machinations to acquire the $20 million grant without a firm construction project in place, 'he was doing what ever college president does: chasing funds.' His last comment tells all we need to know: 'he runs the college like a business.'

The Board and the community need to remind Breuder that COD is not a business, it is an educational institution. And when students are forced out because their tuition is constantly raised to build a permanent legacy for their president, that represents a business that is failing.
Walt Zlotow
Glen Ellyn

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