The Chancellor’s revolving door

By: Nick Ducote

Delgado Community College has once again been put in an odd position. The college’s chancellor, Monty Sullivan, has recently accepted the position as the president of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System(LCTCS). This leaves Delgado once again in the dark and searching for another leader. The two members on the search committee so far represent City Park and the West Bank campuses. By July, the school will need to get a strong leader at the helm who can tout Delgado’s among the best in the state.

On Wednesday Feb. 12, Mayor Mitch Landrieu visited Delgado’s City Park Campus to address his NOLA for Life Project. The project surrounds stopping and addressing the rise in crime in the City of New Orleans. NOLA for Life also has several other goals such as helping the youth of New Orleans and projects helping them to make better life choices. The project surrounded many of the festivities happening around Delgado for Black History Month. The big one happening that day was also The Panel for Black Entrepreneurship in New Orleans. Vice Chancellor Arnel Cosey introduced the mayor, an event which was under-publicized. Her introduction included a congratulatory note to our Chancellor on his acceptance of the presidency of the LCTCS.  This announcement was somewhat of a surprise to Delgado students and faculty in the audience.

Chancellor Sullivan came in with pomp and pageantry, yet was unable to complete his plans for Delgado. We are still being bleeding money in several forms of budget cuts, fines, etc. The sad part of Dr. Sullivan’s tenure here was that he will be remembered for the cuts he made in staff and programs instead of getting out the good word about the programs here.  Delgado students and faculty are listed in the top of several fields, but people still don’t know that unless you take classes at City Park. As of right now Delgado’s Biotech Program, Robotics, Culinary, Mass Communications, and Nursing are the best in the state. Not LSU or Tulane or Loyola, but the little community college in City Park.

The term “hatchet chancellor” was coined by many of the faculty and students during his short tenure with the school. When he was hired to Delgado he fired over 64 faculty, and 51 staff members, cut 15 programs and put others on the chopping block.  He was quoted saying that he wanted to keep the “core of the classes that can contribute to Louisiana’s workforce.” But some of the majors that he cut were great “contributors” to New Orleans and Louisiana. Majors such as Broadcast Journalism and Diesel Power Technology could have done wonders for the college and the booming economy of New Orleans. Sullivan was quoted saying that our economy down here is “booming,” yet he eliminated programs at Delgado that could have provided training for the work force needed. Former chancellor Sullivan leaves Delgado understaffed for the third year in a row. He also leaves us with a morale problem, in a state of dismay and confusion. Students and faculty are wondering what is next.

It was sad to see the reports on the news and on NOLA.com of Chancellor Sullivan’s departure. Sullivan addressed students and teachers at all Delgado campuses and built up hope surrounding the college’s future. Announcements of a new library and several new buildings at City Park campus, a new campus in New Orleans East gave us the idea that Delgado was back on track. Last semester, I interviewed Sullivan for over an hour to discuss his journey towards becoming the Chancellor of Delgado. I also wanted to know what his plan for Delgado was. He  pulled out several large maps that contained plans for new buildings around campus. The art of the building was modern and looked like something out of the University of Oregon’s campus or Tulane University. It gave me chills and excited me to be a Delgado Dolphin. But again we were let down by a chancellor who came through and left us nothing.

His starting base salary as the president of the LCTCS is $271,800. His current pay as the Chancellor of Delgado is $185,000, with $37,000 in housing and car allowances. The one thing that can be said about Delgado is that our faculty is the symbol of our school. Our identity is the hard-working  instructors who guide us every day. Even though Chancellor Sullivan has gone to greener pastures, it doesn’t mean that we are finished. We are still here and still striving to accomplish our dreams. We are still an historic New Orleans school. We will stay resilient again in the face of this distracting, revolving door of leadership. Hopefully the interim chancellor can step up and point us in the right direction until we get a leader who will be here for the long haul.

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