DUPAGE CO - The vice-chairman of the College of DuPage Board of Trustees says that a July op-ed published in Illinois Review is part of the reason she was censured by four of her colleagues Thursday night during a board meeting.
But the action has not intimidated CPA Katharine Hamilton (photo right). Instead, it has emboldened her to speak out even more, and has ignited an effort to work towards a majority of reform-minded people on the board, she told Illinois Review.
"The Board of Trustees is accountable to taxpayers, the students and faculty," Hamilton said. "We are here to serve, and this board has forgotten that."
Hamilton didn't hold back when she recounted why she thought four of the other six board members reprimanded her.
"It was retaliation and bullying because I spoke out against tuition increases, proposed tax hikes and the quality of budgeting," Hamilton said, "... Plus my op-ed published on Illinois Review."
In her op-ed, Hamilton criticized a $50 million plan the COD president had proposed as a way to grab $20 million in additional promised state funds. She was the lone vote against the plan, and because of the controversy created, Governor Quinn eventually withdrew the offer, shutting down the president's plan.
The board members said Hamilton's efforts to inform taxpayers "embarrassed" them, and provoked what Hamilton called a "distorted" resolution of reprimand.
"The board's goal is to repress and not to reform," she said Friday. "They wanted to repress freedom of speech. We are accountable to the taxpayers, who should know what's going on."
A graduate of the New York University School of Business, Hamilton told IR she takes budgeting and accounting seriously. She argues that her background and commitment to transparency was why two and a half years ago she received more votes than any candidate for College of DuPage trustee had ever won previously.
"My platform was accessibility to education for all, relevance to the community and accountability to stakeholders," Hamilton said. She wants to stop the abuse of taxpayer dollars, be open to the public and do what's best for the faculty and students. She said the opportunity to make those changes could happen with new board members.
"I'm looking for three other qualified individuals to run for the board in eight months," she said. "Please tell anyone interested to contact me on my Facebook page or at www.ElectKathyHamilton.com. We can reform this board and make it accountable to the voters."