Local News

Former Employees Testify Before Committee Investigating Embattled College President

Posted October 26, 2005 6:48 a.m. EDT

— The Halifax Community College Board of Trustees could finish up its investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by the school's embattled president this week -- just days after a state agency released its findings concerning related allegations.

College President Ted Gasper was suspended in September while the board of trustees, North Carolina Office of the State Auditor and the State Bureau of Investigation looked into allegations that Gasper mistreated employees, wrongfully cancelled classes and inappropriately used college funding and resources.

On Wednesday, the board of trustees' investigative committee heard from employees about how they said Gasper and the college administration treated them.

Former employee Wilhelmina Hill fought back tears as she explained what it was like to work at Halifax Community College; how she worked two jobs only to see her career destroyed by misinformation passed down from the top.

"And then, those people who are in supervisory positions evaluate you and tell you that you did well, then you don't have a job," Hill said. "I don't know how that works like that."

Kimberly Robinson, a former federal grant writer, faulted the college administration.

"I want you to know that it does not stop at Dr. Gasper," Robinson said. "And no one who is a professional should have to go through harassment, ugliness, cliques and talked down too."

This week, the board of trustees also moved to restore several courses that were slated to be cancelled -- courses that would be vital to the area's economy.

For example, the welding course that was expected to end would train workers for new construction jobs at the new Roanoke Rapids entertainment center. Other restored courses to be offered this fall include interior design, advertising and graphic design and electronic engineering.

On Tuesday, the board decided not to renew Gasper's contract, which now puts his future at the college in jeopardy.

In a news conference Thursday, Gasper is expected to formally respond to questions raised in the state auditor's report. After the report was released Tuesday, Gasper did issue a written statement saying that he had done nothing wrong.