Monday, April 12, 2010

New Coordinator Takes Over at the Campus Community Coalition

Lyndie Case became the new coordinator of the Campus Community Coalition (Click here for the CCC home page) as of April 5th. (Click here to read about the appointment) Lyndie replaces Lara Welker who left the post late last year. At the same time, the Coalition has been moved within the university hierarchy in recognition of the expanded mission of the organization. The Coalition had originally been established under the office of Prevention and Wellness Services as the primary focus was that of alcohol use and abuse. Now the Coalition will report to Sara J. Wilson, a special assistant to Dr. Eileen Coughlin, the Vice-President for Student Affairs and Academic Support Services.

The selection of Lyndie came at the end of a rather extended process during which members of the Bellingham Community, including the Zonemaven, were invited to meet with the two finalists. I found both candidates to be very well qualified but I also had a slight preference for the selected candidate. That being said, Lyndie now has to steer the Coalition into its expanded mission, thus creating an organization that many community members thought (mistakenly) to exist already. Being at the office level of a VP in the university structure will no doubt assist in this process.

It is unfortunate that, at present, WWU is the sole funding source for the Coalition in the form of the part-time salary and benefits of the new coordinator plus $12K in operating costs. The $10K that the Bellingham Police used to provide to the CCC has, unfortunately, been stripped from that department's budget. The police will continue to provide "in kind" services, such as the party patrol and officer time for events such as the Let's Talk forums. However, the city has largely bowed out financially. As late as the 2008-2009 budget, WWU provided $50,000 for the operation of the CCC, not including the part-time salary and benefits of the former coordinator. With the addition of the $10K from the city's police budget, the CCC had $60K from which to operate.

Only last fall, Mayor Pike and President Shepard were dancing cheek to cheek in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Campus Community Coalition (click here to read about that). To his credit, Dr. Shepard not only continued funding the CCC but hired a new director in the face of terrible budget constraints. That being said, the Coalition will have to survive on a starvation diet in spite of the fact that the university is the largest employer in Bellingham and its relationship with the city (let alone the citizenry) is extremely important. Time will tell whither goeth the CCC.

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