March 3, 2017
The Community Must Reject Reggie Lewis Center Transfer of Power/Oversight Legislation!
The saga continues as it pertains to the continuing administrative chaos at Roxbury Community College. It is a well-known fact that under the present administration led by Dr. Valerie Roberson, student, staff and faculty morale is at an all-time low. In addition and of vast importance, the community that the college is meant to serve does not trust the present administration and has lost all confidence in it due to a constant stream of lies and deception. It is time for them to go!
The latest administrative debacle revolves around the Reggie Lewis Track and Field Center which is a component of the Roxbury Community College campus. In September 2016, longtime director Keith McDermott was fired from his position and the situation at the Reggie Lewis Center has been in a downward spiral ever since. The Reggie Lewis Center is the elite track and field venue in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and due to the incompetence of the Roberson administration. We are on the brink of in fact losing administrative “oversight” for this invaluable facility.
It is a confusing situation in that State Representative Russell Holmes and State Senator Linda Dorcena-Forry with State Senator Rush lurking in the back ground have filed legislation that would “establish a five person independent governing board” that would be selected by the Baker administration and they would assume “oversight” responsibility. A major question is why would State Representative Holmes and State Senator Dorcena -Forry file legislation affecting a facility (Reggie Lewis Center) that is not situated in either of their districts? Also very troubling is the silence coming from the office of State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz whose district the Reggie Lewis Center resides in.
It appears we are represented by the “gang who could not shoot straight syndrome!”. We must applaud newly elected State Representative State Representative Chynah Tyler for convening a recent meeting at the Reggie Lewis Center that resides in her district. The meeting was designed to discuss the proposed “transfer of power/oversight legislation” and solicit community opinion in moving forward, I spoke and made it clear the position of the “Friends of Roxbury Community College” was that the “oversight” responsibility should remain with Roxbury Community College and Dr. Roberson and her administration are the focal point of the problem and should be fired!
Various comments were made at the meeting condemning the incompetence of the Roberson administration as the primary source for the problems at the Reggie Lewis Center and the college itself. Based on that fact it would seem to be a contradiction to take “oversight” from a highly criticized administration at the college and then let them remain to continue their inept ways. Seemingly the appropriate energy should be directed towards removal of the present administration and replace them with a competent type leadership that would have a mandate to “right the ship” at the college which would carry over to the Reggie Lewis Center with “oversight” responsibility. This would be in the best interest of the community and others it may serve. It was quite apparent at the meeting that the suburban dominated Massachusetts State Track And Field Association sees the present problems at the Reggie Lewis as an opportunity to take advantage of the situation to control the process that would then seek to establish a separate board.
We must not let that happen! Once again the position we must take as a community for the college to retain “oversight” of the Reggie Lewis Center and seek the removal of the present college administration that is the source of the problem. Otherwise we are looking at the possibility of the previously mentioned Mass. State Track And Field Association taking control through the proposed and poorly thought out “oversight” legislation. This would lead to our community having at the most, minimal to virtually no access at all to the Reggie Lewis Center located in the heart of our neighborhood.
We as a community must send a clear message to State Representative Chynah Tyler (617-722-2425) and State Representative Russell Holmes (617-722-2220) by immediately calling their respective offices to clearly express that we want Reggie Lewis Center “oversight” to remain with Roxbury Community College and the removal of the present administration at Roxbury Community College.
In closing, Donna Lewis, the widow of the late Reggie Lewis eloquently expressed her opinion at the meeting. It was her position that she was “against removing “oversight from Roxbury Community College and we should come together to address the many problems at the college itself!” Well said Donna!
Facilitator, “Friends of Roxbury Community College”
Director, Black Community Information Center Inc.