John Mundy, the chairman of Central Oregon Community College’s board of directors, resigned effective immediately from the board Friday morning, mainly because of stress from what he said was negative press the college has received during his tenure.
“I’m sorry for the situation I’m putting the college in, but I can’t do this anymore,” he said. “It’s too stressful for me, and I’m not putting in 20 hours a week to put up with this bulls---.”
Mundy resigned in an email addressed to COCC President Shirley Metcalf.
“It has become apparent in recent months that I am unable to effectively work with you or your staff on issues relating to the college,” he wrote.
He didn’t wish to discuss issues with COCC staff members with The Bulletin and said, “I wish Shirley and the board the best.”
Mundy said a major reason for his resignation was that COCC’s communication department didn’t have a good relationship with The Bulletin, and it was hindering his ability to recruit a replacement for Metcalf, who has said she’s retiring at the end of the school year. Specifically, he cited multiple recent editorials from The Bulletin that were “close to the last straw.”
Recently, the Bulletin editorial board has written about COCC campus security under-reporting crimes to Bend police and the militarization of COCC’s campus security vehicles. The Bulletin has also reported at length on the 2016 murder of Kaylee Sawyer at the hands of COCC security guard Edwin Lara on campus, and the fallout from that incident, including Sawyer’s family filing a federal lawsuit against the college.
These issues have fed long-simmering tension between COCC campus security and the Bend Police Department and Deschutes County District Attorney’s office over what police have described as campus security acting too much like police. Law enforcement officials have said COCC hasn’t done enough to keep to promises to tone down its campus security. Bend Police Chief Jim Porter said this endangers the community and denies crime victims their constitutional rights. Porter and others are behind a legislative effort to “depolice” campus security in Oregon.
Mundy said the editorial board never called him to get his side of the story whenever they wrote an editorial, and he felt like recent editorials have felt like “an attack on the board.”
He did clarify that Sawyer’s family’s lawsuit was only “one of a number of things” that cause him to resign, and wasn’t nearly as much of a factor as the stress caused by what he said was bad press. He said his previous positions working for San Francisco’s port and public utilities commissions didn’t bring as much news-related stress.
“Any bonehead should know that any bad media should impact our ability to recruit,” he said. “I can’t fix it. I’m one person, and I hope the person that’s been recruited (to replace Metcalf) can fix it.”
Metcalf said she was surprised by Mundy’s resignation, and wasn’t sure why it happened.
“I really enjoyed working with him; he has contributed a lot to our college,” she said.
Mundy’s four-year term, his first on COCC’s board, was set to expire in May. As for his future plans, Mundy declined to share, saying “I probably wouldn’t share it with your newspaper.”
COCC spokesman Ron Paradis said a special board meeting will be at 10 a.m. Monday to elect board officers and discuss the process to fill Mundy’s vacant seat.
— Reporter: 541-617-7854, firstname.lastname@example.org