Article - Office of College Advancement

Retiring Ohlone College leader critiques board

By Todd R. Brown, The Argus.

Friday, June 13, 2008—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.

Fremont—Douglas Treadway, the departing president and superintendent of Ohlone College, made no bones about what he sees as accomplishments and setbacks during his five years in the posts.

"I feel very blessed to serve here," he said this week in his final report to the board of trustees. "Campus morale is very high. I don't feel I could leave it in any better shape."

Treadway, who will officially retire June 30, touted record enrollment for the summer session and said the college likely will have no trouble meeting the state's student enrollment goal for the fall.

He highlighted plans to recruit more local Latino and Afghan students to help the campus better reflect the area's diversity but said budget problems threaten the long-term health of Ohlone and must be addressed through creative revenue strategies.

"You can't just live off the state apportionment and do a good job here," he said, pointing to sluggish progress in developing the fallow frontage property to help fund campus renovations and technology needs.

That led him to the board itself, accused this year by an accreditation team of failing to work in accord for the good of the school.

A commission was expected to deliver a report on the college's academic status this month in light of the report, but president's office spokeswoman Sarah Daniels said the document may be delayed until July.

Treadway said some trustees hew to personal agendas and refuse to support collective decisions, griping to the media after board votes and making "overt attempts to micromanage the operations" of Ohlone.

"What we're talking about is conduct unbecoming of a board," he said, urging members to "keep dialogue civil."

Responding to allegations from unnamed trustees that he influenced the accreditation team's tough assessment, Treadway said faculty, staff and even students went directly to the team with concerns about the board.

"They'd hardly got on campus when this started occurring," he said. "The last thing I ever wanted as president was to put the board or Ohlone College in any kind of bad light."

After the remarks, the trustees had only kind words for Treadway, widely regarded as an enthusiastic communicator who moved his office down the hill from its elite perch to be closer to students and faculty.

Board President Garrett Yee said there was an outpouring by the college community to encourage Treadway to stay after he announced his departure plans.

"That is the sign of a good leader when the people who report to you all the way down the line say, 'Hey, we want this person to stick around,'" Yee said.

Treadway said he may assist incoming President/Superintendent Gari Browning as a sustainability consultant but that "the last thing I would do is be a ghost around the new president."

Reach Todd R. Brown at 510-353-7004 or todd.brown@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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