PCC Says Farewell to President Brown

On May 18th, Portland Community College announced the departure of President Brown, who joined the school in 2013, replacing Preson Pulliams. The board acknowledged Dr. Brown’s success with fund-raising and strategic planning, which will carry over as the board gets ready to find a new president.

Before Brown came to PCC he found himself in a similar situation with the board of Dowling College when low student enrollment and looming debt went unresolved. When he took office in 2011 the school’s deficit was $977,000. The month his departure was announced that debt had grown to 60 million—the school wouldn’t release Brown’s salary.

That’s a far cry from his previous experience at Edinboro university, which had this to say about him: “Brown will leave behind him a legacy of growth, accomplishing what would take many other institutions upwards of 15 years to accomplish.” But that’s nothing compared with a few of his other credentials: a doctorate in physics, he served on the faculty of Princeton and Rockefeller, and has published over a hundred scholarly articles.

Dowling’s settlement is unknown, but PCC is giving him a $300,000 settlement. That’s enough to pay for 90 credits for 34 students. I contacted Executive Vice President Sylvia Kelley, who promptly provided a link to the board’s public statement. I asked students how they felt, but many simply weren’t aware there was any issue.

Trouble began when “Willamette Week” put out an article confirming Brown had applied for a chancellor position at Mid-South Community College in Arkansas. A week later the paper reported that the board was unhappy with Brown, and was negotiating a severance package. Word spread among faculty that Brown went on leave after the news broke, but it’s unknown whether it was paid or not. Brown’s contract officially expires next month.

 

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