Introduction written by John Face
February 19, 2022
Final story of a 3-part series regarding the Albion College Board of Trustees.
Mr. Greenhalgh reached out to me expressing his concerns for his beloved Alma Mater. As you will see his bond to Albion College is deep and personal. I could have used his letter and reported on it but there is no way I can show you, the reader, the love he has for his school as well as his own words will.
There will be criticism of his letter in City Watch, but this according to him is what he has written publicly. He has however, reached out privately to key players that are referenced in this letter over the last few days, so this is not a “hit job” or “surprise” on the Board of Trustees by him.
In my conversation with him I found that he cares deeply for Albion College and the city of Albion as they are an important part of his life. Hopefully someday I will be able to meet him in person, shake his hand and thank him for this heart felt letter to the Editor. It takes courage to do what he is doing by risking friendships decades old. He felt these words had to be said.
About the author:
A Pontiac native, Stephen Greenhalgh earned his bachelor’s degrees in 1974 at Albion College in anthropology and sociology then earned his law degree from Washington & Lee University in Virginia in 1977. He is now retired and living in Boulder, Colo. with his wife Susan Brochu Greenhalgh, a ’75 Albion Alum after a career with the Bodman Law Firm in Detroit (where he was a corporate attorney for the Detroit Lions among other clients). He served on the Albion College Board of Trustees for 11 years stepping down in 2019.
Letter to the Editor:
One of the shortcomings of a nonprofit organization like a college is that it has no owners with a financial stake in the enterprise who can hold the board to account (i.e., remove it) when it fails. Sadly, this is all too true with respect to Albion College; no for-profit company owners would have tolerated the board’s failures over the last decade-including the loss of over $100 million and now after the embarrassing Mathew Johnson debacle which has been covered extensively in many damaging articles in the national higher ed media.
I may not have an ownership interest in the College, but I love the place and my family connections to it go all the way back to its founders in 1835. Samuel Dickie, president from 1901-1925, was a cousin on my father’s side and his wife, Mary Brockway, was the daughter of W. H. Brockway, a founder of the College in 1835. So, I have a stake.
I don’t know what you trustees are doing (or not doing) on the board. But I have to say that I have watched the value of my diploma decline since I quit the board in 2019. It hasn’t been pleasant. Whose idea was it to stick the board’s middle finger up at the almost 2,000 signers of the Johnson recall petition? Did you really think this was a good thing that would calm the waters?
It’s not my place to tell you what to do or not do. But I can say that if you had anything to do with the ridiculous “Resolution of Support” for Johnson adopted by the board in late October (2021), followed weeks later by his ignominious departure while chairman Harrington relentlessly cheered him on as he walked out the door, you should resign from the board and give someone else a chance to clean up the mess.
The board has failed miserably since Don Sheets became chairman eight years ago. It is inept and entrenched as the ruling minority have all served as trustees longer than the term limits provided in the College’s bylaws, which they themselves voted to approve. Board meetings are scripted infomercials designed to silence hard questions. The leaders do not listen; they are an echo chamber, an advertisement for the importance of board term limits.
The board is by far the largest problem facing the College; no improvement in the College can be expected until it is replaced. As the farmers say, “It’s time to grab a shovel and clean out the barn” at the board of trustees
You are all friends. But as trustees you are not above criticism, and friends speak frankly to friends, hence this letter.
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