Dr. John R. Crooks was named as interim president of the Eastern Gateway Community College in late July, but on Wednesday, the union representing the teachers at the school issued a letter of no confidence in its leadership.

Eastern Gateway has two campuses, one in Youngstown and one in Steubenville, with more than 15,000 students between the two campuses.

According to the letter, the action by the members of the EGCC Education Association results from "ongoing failures of the College to resolve the systemic problems identified by the US Department of Education at the College, although the employees throughout the College have been working collaboratively with all offices, such as financial aid, admissions and registration, to process students.  Each area of the College works collaboratively to ensure compliance with the US Department of Education guidelines. Unfortunately, the Associate Vice President of Financial Aid has not shared in the same priorities, and has been unable to complete the accurate and timely submissions that the US Department of Education requires."

The union also pointed at Interim President Crook's "failure to engage in the collaborative resolution of problems through shared governance structures.  Different administrators at different times have issued decisions without consultation or concern for shared governance. Dr. Crooks has failed to define lines of accountability for his leadership team."

The union also stated the Board of Trustees’s failure to oversee and correct these failures of senior leadership at the College as the need for the no-confidence vote.

The letter from Union President Jim Corrin says "our anger and frustration at being ignored and at our ideas being marginalized during this time of crisis for the College.  We believe strongly in the College and its mission.  Our goal is to teach our students.  We believe the College needs to work collaboratively with us, leveraging the expertise of our members, to resolve the impediments that stand in our way."

The EGCC Education Associates comprises 140 faculty and staff members at both campuses.

Eastern Gateway Interim President Crooks issued the following response to the no-confidence vote Wednesday afternoon:

"At Eastern Gateway, our doors are always open to discussing issues, thoughts, and finding solutions. We are committed to a transparent and inclusive process to advance the success of our students, faculty, staff, and the communities we serve. While this has been a trying time for the greater College community, and as we address our declining enrollment, we believe we can persevere by working together.

At Eastern Gateway Community College, the Board of Trustees and Administration are committed to putting the student first. We have been addressing the issues from the Higher Learning Commission and the U.S. Department of Education. We continue to provide updates to all of our staff and faculty as we reestablish the importance of Eastern Gateway in the communities we serve, most importantly in our service district of Trumbull, Mahoning, Columbiana and Jefferson Counties.

Eastern Gateway has served the Ohio and Mahoning valleys for more than 60 years. The Board of Trustees and Administration is committed to providing a high-quality, affordable education opportunity to our students for the next 60 years. Although shared governance is core to the values of our administration, the institution must manage its limited resources effectively."