Aalands were not first to see FLC’s methods

I empathize with supporters of Chris and Shelly Aaland. To offer such staunch and lasting support to the college only to be slapped in the face as the focus of much of that support, (the coaches) are terminated without explanation? I agree it’s insulting. I would also withdraw my support. Unfortunately, this seems to be the modus operandi of Fort Lewis College.

Three years ago, I was “blacklisted” by a well-known FLC art teacher, then gallery director, from applying to the gallery to show work. “Blacklist” was his word. I asked for an apology and was given one, not by him, but by Linda Schott, then dean at the college. Since then, I have asked many times if that teacher ever received any form of discipline. Because blacklisting, a term I thought had passed on to history with Joe McCarthy, was discrimination, I wanted to know only if this teacher had received even a simple reprimand. Just a yes or no. Not what it was, but if it was. Finally, I recently was told by the school’s legal counsel that the information was confidential but that the college treated this kind of thing seriously. But since that epithet was flung, that teacher still is employed at FLC. Not only employed, but the recipient of much favor from the rest of the art department and the college in general.

When I read about the Aalands, I thought: What kind of infraction could they have committed? Because, of course, if that art teacher was not fired for discriminating in the name of the college, the Aalands must have done something far worse. Whatever the story, the lack of transparency leaves nothing to the school’s supporters but their imagination. I know exactly what the Aalands’ friends are suffering. FLC doesn’t need to act like an impenetrable fortress of secrecy, especially if it affects loyal patrons – unless the college doesn’t mind seeing those patrons flee in droves.

Ron Pease


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