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July 25

July 25, 2016
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
CONTACT:
Nannette Rodriguez
Associate vice president, Office of Marketing, Brand and Communication
Derek Rayment
Public + Media Relations Manager
531-MCC-2876
darayment@mccneb.edu
mccneb.edu
 

Statement of MCC administration regarding effect on College of debarred Board member

OMAHA, Neb. — As the situation regarding Fred Conley’s federal debarment continues to play itself out in the media, Mr. Conley’s announcement today that he will not seek re-election to the College’s Board of Governors in November does nothing to improve the College’s position regarding its eligibility for federal funds. Although his decision to withdraw his bid for re-election in November will prevent him from serving past January 2017, that does not change the fact that he has been debarred since May 19, 2016. The law in this regard is clear, as long as Mr. Conley remains on the Board he puts Metropolitan Community College’s ability to serve its mission and students in grave jeopardy.
 
The stakes are great. MCC not only risks losing millions of dollars in U.S. Department of Education Title IV funds that directly support students’ cost of attendance, the College also receives significant funding in the form of grants from other federal agencies that are in jeopardy as well. These grants enable the College to develop sustainable innovations, such as job training programs, student support programs, and equipment upgrades which improve services without raising taxes or tuition locally. While the U.S. Department of Education has given the College until August 8, 2016 to respond to its demand that Mr. Conley be removed from the Board of Governors, College administration, in accord with federal regulations, has also communicated with other federal agencies regarding Mr. Conley’s debarment.
 
The impact of Mr. Conley’s debarment is not a distant concern; the effects are immediate. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) responded to Mr. Conley’s debarment by withholding $30,000 in awarded grant funds, and disallowing a $40,000 grant application, as well as any further grant applications until the matter is resolved. The College’s total loss of NEA funding to date is approximately $70,000, part of which would have funded community outreach activities. The College still has no assurances from any federal agency that it will make an exception to established federal law and continue contracting with or providing funding to the College under any circumstances while a debarred individual remains on the College’s Board of Governors.
 
In spite of our current situation, our faculty and staff continue to focus on service to our students. We appreciate the tremendous support we have received from community members as we work toward a satisfactory resolution.

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Metropolitan Community College, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, is a comprehensive, public community college that offers affordable, quality education to all residents of Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties. Founded in 1974, MCC has the largest enrollment out of six community colleges in Nebraska and is the second largest postsecondary institution in the state. MCC serves more than 40,000 unique credit and noncredit students.