Article on ACC Did a Disservice to All

RECEIVED Wed., May 17, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Your article on the Austin Community College Board of Trustees election campaigns did a disservice to everyone involved and to ACC in general [“ACC Race: The Dirt,” News, May 12].
    As you all know, I have been personally involved in ACC politics for more than 15 years. I am finishing my third term as president of ACC's Adjunct Faculty Association, and I have worked on many ACC board campaigns over the years. I do not recall a time when the political climate has been calmer.
    Your only evidence for calling the election an "ugly, rumor-mongering mess" seems to be a letter to the editor you published in your May 5 issue [“Postmarks”]. That letter was rebutted by another in the May 12 issue [“Postmarks”]. That's it – exactly two letters to the editor, total, and none at all in the American-Statesman. That, my friends, is not an ugly mess.
    Your article focused entirely on the race between Allen Kaplan and Ana Mejia-Dietche race for Place 9, and didn't even mention the other race for Place 8 between James McGuffee and Rodney Ahart. I know all four of these people, and I assure that all of them are well qualified and would make great board members, and all are on friendly terms. The only real differences are in length of experience at ACC.
    ACC is a tremendous resource for our city and our region, and deserves more respect from you. As an underfunded institution of higher learning facing tremendous growth, we do have problems. Adequately compensating all of our employees remains a challenge, along with finding adequate space for everyone. These are problems we are all working on together.
    Your view of ACC seems to be stuck in the Nineties. I wish you all would catch up to this decade – before we get into the Teens.
John Herndon, adjunct professor of English and Creative Writing
President, Adjunct Faculty Association
Austin Community College
   [News Editor Michael King responds: John Herndon appears to believe that the only means voters and campaigners have of communicating their perceptions, disagreeable or otherwise, to reporters and editors is via letters in "Postmarks." As our endorsements reflected, we don't disagree with his overall judgment of the ACC candidates – but our reporters' job is not to "do a service," good or ill, to either the candidates or indeed ACC. We didn't invent the bad historical blood still lingering beneath one of the campaigns, and we reported what we found there. If Herndon truly wants ACC to move into the 21st century, perhaps a good beginning would be to abandon the provincial "speak no evil" approach to public affairs reflected in his letter.]
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