Citing ‘discontent’ on campus, A-B Tech president resigns

Dr. Betty Young, the president of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College who was hired last year and inaugurated in May, announced Tuesday that she would resign. Young’s announcement does not say when her resignation will take effect.

In an e-mailed memo sent to college faculty and staff, Young cites her goals and accomplishments, then goes 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 is proud to have served, but that it is 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. Therefore I will begin my search for a new opportunity to provide leadership where my talents may better match the needs of the organization. I am passionate about student success and that will remain my focus.”

Young added: “For me, it is like the biblical story of cutting the baby in half and both mothers lose. I don’t want to see division, I want to see A-B Tech remain whole and to be great. I will begin my search immediately and will work with the Executive Committee of the Board to make this transition as smooth as possible for everyone.”

Young’s resignation follows a six-and-a-half hour closed door meeting with the college’s Board of Trustees on Monday. The meeting was held to discuss personnel issues which, by state law, are confidential. Trustees and the board’s attorney have not commented.

In a statement e-mailed Tuesday afternoon, trustees board Chairwoman 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. Young was inaugurated in May as the college’s fourth president. The first woman president of the school, Young replaced K. Ray Bailey, A-B Tech’s president since 1990, who retired and was elected this year to the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.

Young was president of Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Ohio, for four years before being selected to lead A-B Tech. Under Young’s contract with the college, she’s paid an annual salary of $190,104 and receives a $200 monthly “technology stipend.”

Young has faced pressure before from a college community. An August 2004 story by the Toledo Blade reported that Young was the target of a no-confidence vote by the 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 Young had the support of that college’s trustees. Young said the no-confidence vote was taken by the union to try and stop her from moving the college forward, according to the story.

Click here to go to the Xpress Files and read Young’s full memo.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor

Photo: Dr. Betty Young, president of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, in a meeting room at the law offices of Roberts & Stevens on Monday before a day-long closed meeting with the college’s Board of Trustees.

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4 thoughts on “Citing ‘discontent’ on campus, A-B Tech president resigns

  1. Barb Lause

    I so happy that people saw fit to finally put their collective feet down on Betty Youngs dictator-like style of leadership in steam rolling college bodies. I hope any future enployers examine the details of her background very closely when considering her resume!

  2. Tammy

    Everybody knew K. Ray Bailey left some big shoes to fill. Mr. Bailey really did put students first. Ms. Young was all about herself. Me, Me, Me, I this, and I that. Even in her resignation letter, it’s all about her! When she arranged for a huge shiny metal medallion to be presented to her during her 4+ hours long inauguration ceremony and reception, it was hard to see her dedication to students as being top priority. For a long time after, the home page of the ABTech website seemed to still have huge pictures of her as the main feature. Who ever even heard of a community college president being “inaugurated”? The previous no-confidence vote from Ohio should have been thoroughly investigated. It’s not hard to contact a number of faculty members at another school and get candid feedback about what was going on. I hope they make a better choice next time.

  3. Spydyee

    In answer to your question Steve the reality check (and I don’t mind stirring the pot)is that she forcibly made our sleepy little community college come into the 21st century. It was an absolute disaster. The first semester the Baily building opened with that awful “lobby” system was a nightmare. I am a dual major that has been at the college for quite some time and I knew more about how to help some of the new students than a huge chunk of the employees did. They knew their primary positions well but did not know enough about the cross-training. What should have happened, until proper cross-training could have been done, was to have a rep from each department out at the main desk and had the students move from one of them to the other as needed. THEN, when cross training was thorough enough for the employees to feel comfortable they could have implemented the other system which I feel is actually better. The other problem is with the development of online classes. A huge percentage of our instructors want nothing to do with online classes and she came from a college where she implemented a huge distance learning program. Again, the issue seems to be that she does these things much like I would do them. She is a mother and a grandmother and she tends to take that dictatorial attitude that “power moms” like Dr. Young, me, and many others take. Generally, men are kinda ok with that in another man but not so much in a woman. Women, however are often the source of greater contention when confronted with a woman like her. In this case I think the frustration that was strongly felt by the employees and often verbalized by them to the older students like myself just became too much. One of the biggest frustrations was with Financial Aid. They are ALWAYS overwhelmed by just doing their jobs and they have many students’ entire college career in their hands because they control whether that student can even pay for college or not. For any member of their staff to have to handle anything other than Financial Aid adds undue stress on the other members during that person’s absence. If they had been able to work on their files up front when they were manning the lobby then things might not have been as bad but they could not do that. A lot of things went wrong. However, with all that being said I think this resignation is too hasty. I think she needs to chill out and I think the “old farts” that are complaining at AB Tech need to either retire or get a grip. I, like many full time students/moms need more online classes and if I can’t get them at AB Tech I will find them elsewhere and my money will go to whatever school offers me the online classes. My loyalty is to my education for my kids sake not to AB Tech. Give me and many more like me what we need or we will take our money and go where we can get what we need. Dr. Betty understands that and is trying to give us what we need. I wish she would just tell the “old farts” that are moaning and complaining about the online classes to “kiss this” and keep on with her plan. However, the whole one-stop shopping thin in the Bailey building needs more time and attention and she needs to back off when it comes to that issue. Too bad the Board of Trustees could not come to the same conclusion but Carol Peterson is a no-compromise type of person too so I can see why there was a standoff and a resignation from her. If AB Tech had just hired Dr. Morrisey to replace Ray Baily we would not be having this discussion at all. She was the most logical candidate having served as Vice President of Instructional Services under Ray for years. Why was she not chosen? Oh, let me guess, can you say Carol Peterson…….

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