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.