A-B Tech president to resign, cites campus discontent

Dr. Betty Young announced Dec. 23 that she will resign as president of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Hired in 2007, Young was inaugurated in May 2008.

Her resignation followed a six-and-a-half-hour closed-door meeting with the college’s board of trustees the day before, which came on the heels of another closed-door session last month. Personnel issues are confidential under state law, and trustees and the board’s attorney have had little to say about the matter.

In an e-mailed memo sent to college faculty and staff, Young cited her goals and accomplishments, then went on to say: “So with so much being accomplished, what has created a sense of discontent among some people of A-B Tech? Have we moved too quickly, is there not enough buy-in, is it my style of leadership?”

Young said she’s proud to have served but that it’s time to move on. “As we approach our 50th anniversary, I don’t want to see the discontent of people who make up our A-B Tech community get in the way of progress,” she wrote. “Therefore I will begin my search for a new opportunity to provide leadership where my talents may better match the needs of the organization.”

Young’s announcement said she would begin her search for a new job immediately, but it didn’t specify when her resignation would take effect.

In a later e-mailed statement, board of trustees Chair Carol Peterson said the board respected Young’s decision.

“We appreciate the contributions made by staff and faculty of the college under her leadership, and we wish her well in her future endeavors. We will have no further comment.”

The community college has a $54 million budget and serves a mostly part-time student body—nearly 18,000 continuing-education students and about 9,400 curriculum students. The college’s fourth president, Young—the first woman to hold the job—came on board in May. She replaced K. Ray Bailey, who retired after serving as the school’s president since 1990 and was subsequently elected to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.

Before being chosen to lead A-B Tech, Young served as president of Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Ohio, for four years. At A-B Tech, she is paid $190,104 per year plus a $200 monthly technology stipend.

This isn’t the first time Young has faced pressure from a college community. An August 2004 story in Toledo’s The Blade reported that the administrator was the target of a no-confidence vote by Northwest State Community College’s faculty and support-staff union. The union felt that Young wanted to make changes without going through a traditional negotiating process, according to the report, which noted that she had the support of that college’s trustees. Young said the no-confidence vote was taken by the union to try to stop her from moving the college forward, according to the story.

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