Concerned citizens hold rally at Shawnee Community College - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Concerned citizens hold rally at Shawnee Community College

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ULLIN, Ill. -- Concerned Pulaski County citizens spoke out at a rally then at a Shawnee Community College board of trustees meeting calling for change and unity.

Everyone from concerned citizens to faculty members and students participated in the rally.

"This is our chance again to ask the board to do a comprehensive review of Dr. Bradford's leadership and performance as the president of Shawnee Community College," said Sheryl Ribbing, faculty member and SCC Education Association President.

Others expressed concerns and shared their thoughts during the meeting.

"We are Shawnee family and this divisive nature hurts me," one woman said.

"Aren't we tired of seeing everything destroyed in the southern five counties of Illinois," one man said.

"No way in the world this board would have hired a person who does not have the leadership ability to run this college," another man said.

Steve Heisner served as the immediate past president of the board of trustees. He told News 3 he resigned in December of 2017 primarily because he didn't agree with the direction things were going. 

He also served on the presidential search committee who helped put Dr. Peggy Bradford in her new role. While he said she wasn't his first pick, he still thought she was fit for the job.

"[Dr. Bradford] graduated from a local high school, she graduated from this college, she has a brother who is a distinguished alumnus of this college, she was the story that needed to be told," Heisner said. "But unfortunately, the rapport was never built and now we're in a situation where I'm not saying it's impossible to do that but the longer that this is allowed to deteriorate, the more difficult it will be to repair."

Meantime, Dr. Bradford said she plans to serve as president for the three years she signed up for.

"I have to just stay focused on what I was hired to do," Dr. Bradford said. "I remain open, I still have worked with faculty on projects and we will continue to work."

Students, like Hannah Dover, hope to see something change and soon.

"I would just like to see the future of Shawnee preserved here," Dover said.

News 3 will continue to follow this story and bring you updates on whether or not the board will take action and conduct the comprehensive review.

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