Monday, January 30, 2017


By Juan Montoya
Sunday's Brownsville Herald front-page story about the two complaints filed against "a minority" on the board of Texas Southmost College alleging that the college was out of compliance with the accreditation standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission On Colleges was interesting because of the facts it does not contain.
Image result for rene torres, TSCImage result for dr. reynaldo garciaIn journalism, it is who what and where, and not necessarily why, although it might be critical in this case.

So it was intriguing to us to see that the Herald described the source of the January letter from the COC to TSC Interim President Mike Shannon as "according to documents provided to the Brownsville Herald."

We had heard of the complaint letters before and went through the information request process back in Oct. 24, 2016 when we asked VP Edgar Chrnko for any correspondence between Dr. Reynaldo Garcia and the SAC-COC we were told then that TSC did not have such documentation. Then, three days ago (January 27) we requested the correspondence again. So far we have not heard from Chrnko, but the improvising sort that we are, we obtained a copy of the correspondence through other means.

It surprised us to no end that the two persons making the complaint against the college with the accrediting institution that could begin the process of removing accreditation from the community college after an arduous three-year effort to obtain it, are none other than former TSC trustee Rene Torres and current board of trustees member Dr. Reynaldo Garza.

Why would they charge that a "minority" is running the board? Last time we heard, it takes four votes of the seven to pass anything on the agenda.

Who "provided" the Herald with the correspondence is not mentioned in the Sunday article? Neither is the identity of the complainers. Was a deal cut with the newspaper's editors or reporters to make the letter available to the newspaper in return for not publishing their names?

More seriously, the letter from the SACS-COC seeks basically the same information that will be used in the discovery process of the lawsuit former TSC President Lily Tercero will use to buttress her lawsuit against the college. In other words, the college's answers to the complaint filed by these two men will be used by Tercero's lawyers to aid her in her lawsuit against the college which seeks the payment of the three-year extension at $228,000 per year for a total of $684,000 plus attorneys fees.

In her lawsuit, Tercero says she was terminated “without good cause and in violation of her right to due process.”

“The termination was orchestrated by Defendant Adela G. Garza, the Board Chair, and the other individual Defendants because Dr. Tercero would not take ‘orders’ from individual board members when the directives were not approved by at least four members of the board at a lawful meeting,” the lawsuit states.

In the SACS-COC letter to the college, it states that "both complainants allege that since the last election, the institution's board of trustees is being controlled by a minority of board members, led by the current board chair...," basically echoing Tercero's lawsuit.

Tercero was dismissed and placed on paid leave after a hearing held Sept. 19, 2016. Some of the trustees were unhappy after the Texas Board of Nursing put the college's vocational nursing program on “conditional approval status” for lagging passing rates for the state licensing exam. This January, the state ordered the college to shut the program down.

Tercero also faced questions over why she agreed to a campus windstorm policy without board approval.
The windstorm insurance renewal (done without board consent) was one of the nine reasons TSC attorney Frank Perez listed as cause for dismissal at Tercero’s dismissal hearing.

Other reasons included her inability to comply with “reasonable” requests.

“The requests are unreasonable given their breadth, scope, and the limited time allowed for compliance. The requests are illegal because they were not approved by at least four members of the board after being deliberated in open session as required by Texas law,” her attorneys charged.

With these questions now before a court, why would a current and a former trustee file a complaint that is mirroring the same issues that Tercero's lawyers are alleging in the lawsuit against the college?

The SACS-COC review requires that TSC answer their questions on the alleged violations of five core requirements by February 20, 2017. Does anyone care to bet that the answers the college gives to the COC will be included in the attachments to the Tercero vs. TSC lawsuit to try to get her $684,000?

We recall that Torres played a critical role in defending the college from the former UTB-TSC "partnership" president Julieta Garcia who wanted the board to turn over all the assets of the community college to the UT System and that the district be dissolved only until the taxpayers finished paying off the $68 million in bonds she had used to construct buildings on the campus.

Torres was replaced on the board by Art Rendon after both filed and then waited until the last moment when no one else filed for the position and Rendon didn't have an opponent.

Later, Rendon wanted the board to name the REC building after Torres, only to discover that TSC policy did not allow for the naming of buildings after individuals who are still alive. In fact, the person must be dead for three years before being considered.

Garcia has been at odds with the rest of the board and only he and Rendon voted  not to terminate Tercero. He has defended her role in the loss of the nursing program, her unilateral renewal of the windstorm contract without going before the board, and her use of rubber stamp signatures of trustees no longer on the board to sign hundreds of checks totaling $1,502,082.

But are personal differences with the current majority on the board reasons enough to endanger the accreditation of the college after years of trying to get it? If they are successful, the loss of accreditation could severely impact the students, parents, and faculty and staff at TSC. Is personal satisfaction worth that much?

The COC has five options at its discretion after getting the TSC response to Torres' and Garcia's complaints. It could:

1. Authorize a Special Committee to visit the institution
2. Forward the complaint case directly to the SACS-COC Board of Trustees and its standing committees for review and action
3. Include the case in an upcoming scheduled visit to the institution
4. Request additional information
5. Close the complaint.


Anonymous said...

Lily charned both of these men by rubbing their legs during Board meetings. Onr is hurt because the REC Center was not nemed after him and the other is deeply in love with Tercero that nothing really matters to him but his true love. Both of these gentlemen were well respected in the community until they fell under Tercero's love spell. Sad to see them make fools of themselves.

Anonymous said...

Por eso esta Cameron County como esta. A bunch of inept,two bit politicians. Morons. They squandered an opportunity to get the citizens of Cameron a quality community college. They people lose on so many fronts: no quality college, employers won't go there because of the lack of a trained workforce, brain drain, and these supposed trustees are a bunch of inept idiots. No excuse. Who in their right mind hires a CFO to run a college that is just starting out? Idiots. All of them. No redeeming qualities.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong being Lesbian or Gay, but this two G and LiTer are out to destroy TSC out of a pervert passionate vengeance, Endon a frustrated Bisexual is mad because he didn't get what he wanted, pathological narcissist Tores, we all know why he is throwing his tantrum, poor ego inflated nobody wanted a building in his name.

Anonymous said...

Jefe, what does buttress means?

Anonymous said...

Sometime ago, one of the trustees asked me what I thought about the TSC/UTB split. I replied that it was the dumbest thing these shitheads had done. Talk about a bonehead move. These dumbasses never saw the big picture. They thought they were "socking it" to the UT System, but instead they ended up "socking it" to our local student population. Bola de Punetas el Kiko, Trey, Adela y los demas pendejos. In the end, the students were the ones left holding the proverbial "bag" because these clowns wanted to pound their chest and show Austin who was in charge. Hazme el favor! Babosetes, all of them.

chief cool arrow said...

politics as usual and the beat goes on, just like Washington puro pedo

Anonymous said...

So, by their own finding the renaming of th North Building to Mary Rose Cardenas was and is illegal? That needs to be addressed!

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous Jan 31, 6:55 AM - very well said. Stupidest thing they ever could have done. Yep, showed them didn't they?

Anonymous said...

SACS COC is an unfortunate acronym. Just name your group COCK SACKS and get it over with.