Superintendent Beebe announces sudden retirement

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Superintendent Beebe announces sudden retirement

Delaney Smith, Editor-in-Chief

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Superintendent-President Anthony Beebe abruptly announced his retirement Friday morning in an all-campus Waypoint email, stating that his decision was for health-related reasons.

“After 31 years in education, I have decided to retire this summer, after serving SBCC for three years,” he wrote. “This was not planned, but as many of you know, I have been struggling with significant health-related issues, including cancer and heart problems.  

“Not addressing these issues has caught up with me, and I now need to focus on my health.”

His email thanked the college and the Board of Trustees more specifically for its support, and celebrated positive milestones the college achieved during his three years as president.

He ended his email by saying that he “feels good about the progress we have made at the college” and attached a poem he wrote for City College.

Beebe had an annual salary upwards of $200,000. His three years at the college was preceded by previous President Lori Gaskin, who left after four years of employment with the college.

Board of Trustees President Robert Miller said that the Board will appoint an interim superintendent-president to take over for Beebe in the summer until further notice.

His retirement also comes at an unprecedented time when the campus has been in turmoil over racial and equity issues.

Beebe has faced scrutiny in recent months, with some even calling for his resignation over allegations of poor leadership and lack of response towards race and gender equity issues on campus.

“SBCC will now be able to move forward into a period of healing and rebuilding and I look forward to being a part of it,” said chemistry Professor Raeanne Napoleon. “Some of us have been demanding better leadership and will now have some space to have that.

“It’s unfortunate that Dr. Beebe focused on his health and accomplishments in his announcement, as there is a lot of wreckage that needs to be repaired. I’m confident that we can repair broken relationships and improve upon our campus from here forward.”

The departure comes four days after The Channels published that Vice President of Business Services Lyndsay Maas was paid for all but the first eight days she was on leave, a total of around $34,000. Beebe in his Nov. 20, 2018 email said she was placed on “unpaid administrative leave,” but failed to mention she was being paid again eight days later. Maas was placed on leave for using the unabbreviated version of the n-word in a Gender Equity Workgroup meeting the day prior in reference to harassment a student experienced.

Tuesday, Beebe led a College Planning Council Meeting which met to discuss anti-racism training and other ways the group could take action against the college’s institutional racism. Academic Senate representative Gwyer Schuyler pleaded with Beebe for “more leadership” on the matter, at which he said he took offense and disagreed.

Problems first arose for Beebe after Michael Shermer, a science writer with published sexual assault allegations, was invited to campus March 19, 2018 by a then-adjunct philosophy instructor.

When chemistry Professor Raeanne Napoleon sent out a campus-wide email informing attendees, and Shermer threatened to sue Napoleon as well as The Channels and the college as a whole, but later dropped his case.

Following this ordeal, Napoleon and three other female faculty members reported being repeatedly harassed by the philosophy instructor, who was still employed with the college at the time, and filed four Title IX complaints against him.

Napoleon said in a published Letter to the Editor that they “begged Dr. Beebe and his Administrative staff for guidance, reprieve from the harassment, questions about college procedures, advice for how to deal with the media, and so many other specific, tangible, obvious things” but were met with nothing.

The instructor was initially terminated May 14, 2018 after receiving his third negative teaching evaluation from Philosophy Chair Marc Bobro, but later was listed as “resigned” and the negative evaluations were dropped on Aug. 3, 2018 after he settled with the college for $120,000.

Napoleon as well as several other faculty members openly admitted they were disappointed with Beebe and the administration over the settlement and the way the situation was handled, to which he apologized via email for Sept. 12, 2018.

Maas’ n-word controversy came a month later and re-sparked contempt towards Beebe and his administration, causing protesters to demand her resignation and Beebe to take action.

Beebe reported that he had placed Maas on unpaid administrative leave the following day, but at the same time attached her letter of apology to his campus-wide email announcement. Some faculty members said they were outraged Beebe gave Maas a voice instead of the black students and faculty who were affected by Maas’ use of the word.

This story was updated at 2:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8.

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