Month: January 2016

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Have you read the latest Express-News article on the secret contract between the Alamo Colleges and Craig Follins?

Why is Follins still there? That’s none of your business. What did he do that is so unacceptable? That’s also none of your business.

You see, the separation agreement between Alamo Colleges, which is public, and Follins, who is a public employee, has a privacy clause. Yes, a privacy clause.

Yet another attempt to cover up the failed leadership of Chancellor Bruce Leslie and the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees.


Craig Follins: Express-News reader comments

Below are some of the reader comments collected from the Express-News articles on Craig Follins:

  • Working in SA

Once again, the Alamo Colleges is trying to sidestep both law and common sense morality to protect itself and to cover up it’s bad choices. Dr. Follins was hand picked by the Chancellor and was a dismal failure at Northeast Lakeview College. He bulled and harassed people while also failing to lead the college in a direction best suited for providing a quality education for our community. Alamo Colleges is a public institution of higher education. That makes all its business decisions open to public scrutiny. They are paying someone $203k to not do anything!? That is consistent with having a chancellor paid more than the president of UCLA (who also has to live in southern California!). While I am sympathetic about Dr Follins’ need to find a new job he should not be able to run and hide from what caused him to be fired in the first place. Time to take responsibility for his own failure.

  • Keturah Coleman

NLC has been a disaster for nearly 10 years with their constant accreditation failures. Leslie and the Alamo College Board tolerate and encourage horrible and unethical behavior from their presidents and high ranking administrators. Leslie’s wrath usually falls on the decent and ethical folks, rather than the wicked and corrupt, so Follins’ misconduct must be great indeed. But still he gets a paycheck until his contract runs out and he moves on to the next taxpayer funded job, where he will screw up again. It is the circle of life for incompetent educrats.

  • Former Assistant

Dr. Follins has been a temperamental and aggressive man for as long as I’ve known him. It’s surprising to me that it’s just now becoming public knowledge of his behavior. While he is an extremely gifted educator and has accomplished and brought so much to higher learning institutions, he is no one who should be managing other people. He belittles you and makes you feel worthless. His tone and choice of words can be condescending and down right MEAN. He has caused me anxiety, stress, and emotional turmoil. I wouldn’t recommend him managing or overseeing anyone. However, I would recommend him as a teacher/professor and mentor, he is wonderful in that area and I would hire him in a minute. He can really turn things around if he actually makes a change in his behavior and actually becomes a nice person. I hope he seeks counseling and anger management for his issues. Best of luck to him.

  • NLC Faculty

I’ve had the privilege of working with several great presidents in my 15 years as a faculty member and Dr. Reno was one of the best. Dr. Follins was a poor replacement. One of the worst examples of a leader I can recall. I had the misfortune of being on the receiving end of his bullying and I’m glad he’s gone. We lost a lot of good people in his short tenure as president. Many had institutional experience we couldn’t afford to lose as we approach our site visit. He was like a bull in a china shop to put it mildly. The people that stood up to him were retaliated against. Some decided to leave on their own, while others were fired or moved around the district. I decided to wait him out because I knew he would eventually be his own downfall and I didn’t want to lose my dream job. Others weren’t as fortunate.
All anyone had to do was look at the turn over from the time he started to see his failure as the President of NLC. If a person wanted a good story they might be inclined to look into how many of those who filed complaints were women. On a positive note, now we have Dr. Cleary! He has the experience to lead us in the right direction towards accreditation.

  • Hertz Clyde Dézir

@NLC Faculty
You really described the person I knew. I just couldn’t describe him as well as you did. My last encounter with him was a job interview back in 2012 at Olive-Harvey College in Chicago — after my first interview with a panel of interviewers. I call it an interview, but it was more like a dispute because he was so demanding and intimidating.

The Mystery of Craig Follins and the Secret Contract

This is turning in a real “choose your own adventure” story.

Info on Alamo Colleges deal kept hidden

San Antonio Express-News (TX) – January 22, 2016
The Alamo Colleges is fighting the release of the terms of a separation agreement with Craig Follins, former president of Northeast Lakeview College, that the district’s board of trustees approved last month in a public vote.

In response to a formal Public Information Act request submitted Dec. 17, the Alamo Colleges last week sent a letter to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asking to withhold the agreement from the public. According to the letter, signed by Alamo Colleges attorney Roxella T. Cavazos, the separation agreement stipulates that if a public records request for the document is made, the community college district will request the attorney general’s opinion.

Cavazos also said the agreement contains facts regarding Follins that would constitute an invasion of privacy if released. The district refused to release a redacted version of the agreement.

“It seems that we would be in breach of contract without going to the attorney general on this,” spokesman Mario Muñiz said.

Follins sent a similar letter to Paxton urging that the San Antonio Express-News’ records request be denied. He did not return a message Thursday seeking comment.

Kelley Shannon, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, said she had never heard of an agreement involving public officials stipulating that record requests would automatically be referred to the attorney general.

“By trying to put it behind this wall initially, they’re trying to use the law for purposes it’s not intended to be used for,” Shannon said. “They’re trying to hide the information in advance and keep the information from the public, and this is highly troublesome to me as an open-government advocate.”

Follins is still working for the district as a special project administrator, earning a salary of $205,000, Muñiz said. The district declined to say when Follins’ term is set to end.

Craig Follins Fights Firing

Ex-college president fighting termination

San Antonio Express-News (TX) – November 17, 2015

The former president of Northeast Lakeview College said Monday that he is challenging Alamo Colleges Chancellor Bruce Leslie’s decision to terminate his contract.

An Oct. 29 memorandum from Leslie to Craig Follins, obtained by the Express-News under the Public Information Act, informed Follins that his contract with the community college district would be terminated effective Dec. 21.

“You have again violated expectations set for you and engaged in a pattern of unacceptable behavior,” Leslie wrote.

On Sept. 1, Leslie had renewed Follins’ contract for two years.

In the Oct. 29 memo, however, Leslie immediately removed Follins from his role as college president and reassigned him at his same annual salary of about $205,000 as a “special project administrator” analyzing opportunities for distance learning and possibly a new bond issue. Leslie wrote that he would support an extension of the special assignment past December but that district officials were willing to discuss any separation options Follins wanted to propose.

A request for comment from Leslie was forwarded to Roxella Cavazos, attorney for the Alamo Colleges, who declined an interview through district spokesman Leo Zuniga.

Follins, who has been on administrative leave since the memo was issued, said he would be meeting with district officials this week to discuss his options, which include a possible hearing.

Follins said concerns were raised over his management style, but he denied any wrongdoing.

“My style was very deliberate,” Follins said. “There was pushback and people were saying that the style wasn’t what they expected.

“Rather than come to me, I think they decided to go around me and make allegations.”

Follins said Leslie recruited him to the Alamo Colleges two years ago, when he was president of Olive-Harvey College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. Follins said he was told to prioritize the accreditation of Northeast Lakeview, which has not received independent accreditation since it opened in 2007.

Under Follins, the college submitted an application in April for accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. A three-day candidacy site visit has been scheduled beginning Feb. 22, said Pamela Cravey, spokeswoman for the Georgia-based accreditation agency.

Follins said he went on a retreat with staff and an external executive coach weeks before he was removed from the Northeast Lakeview presidency.

“My sense was that things were moving in a very very positive direction, so I was taken completely by surprise,” he said. “We had greater community involvement. We had more student success. We achieved the goal of the visit with SACSCOC, so everything I was asked to do was moved forward.”

Thomas Cleary, former assistant vice chancellor for planning, performance and information systems, is serving as Northeast Lakeview’s interim president. Leslie has said the district will focus on searching for a new president after February’s accreditation visit.

Faculty at Northeast Lakeview were not given an explanation of the reasons behind Follins’ removal, said Dianna Torres-Lee, president of the faculty senate and a math instructor.

“He was trying to help us move forward as we prepared for our site visit, but if district decided to make a change, that was district’s decision to make,” Torres-Lee said.