Chapter 10, Part 5 – 1995
The crisis precipitated by the DCM proposal distracted the college for much of 1994 and 1995, but it was not the only crisis to distract the college during this period. Plans to construct a new lecture facility on campus were derailed in early 1995. The neighborhood association came out in full-force to oppose new construction on campus. Central to the association’s concern was the prospect of increased traffic flow through its neighborhood. The association argued emotionally before the Portland City Planning Department that WSCC students speeding to class or to home would run down their children. The emotional discharge from the neighborhood association ended any possibility of fast-track construction. More time, expense, and negotiations would have to be invested before agreement could be reached.
During this same period, the college’s alumni association began to air its displeasure with the college, ostensibly because of the DCM proposal. As had always been the case, the association was run by a handful of rotating officers and regular attendees. Many of the officers and regular attendees were the more senior, local chiropractors, who were never shy about voicing their disapproval of college decisions. The association had never completely forgiven the college for forcing it to surrender funds collected in the college’s name and for prohibiting them from offering continuing education programs. The college had a continuing education department and it didn’t need another one with which to compete. Nevertheless, in early 1995, the association chose to conduct a fund-raising seminar on campus, in the college’s name. They were informed they were exceeding their authority and could not conduct their seminar on campus. The association held the seminar anyway, but at an off-campus location. Defiance of college authority was unacceptable. The Board of Trustees resolved to disband the alumni association and instructed them to cease and desist from any further use of or activities in the college’s name.
Disinclining to accept their punishment graciously, some of the officers and few of the regular members reconstituted themselves as the “alternative alumni association” and immediately attacked the college for a list of transgressions ranging from disbanding the alumni association to offering the DCM degree. A complaint to that effect was filed with the CCE. The complaint precipitated a costly focused site team visit to the college. The team concluded that the college had acted within its authority and had not violated CCE policies, procedures, or standards. No concerns or recommendations were issued by the CCE.
The alternative alumni association continued for almost a decade, but their strength in numbers, insurgent activities, and support from the chiropractic profession faded over time. In disbanding the alumni association, the college understood this action would divide the chiropractic community, erode support for the college, and invite further criticism. All three came to pass. As distasteful as it was, the college had no other option than to wage an unproductive, unpopular war against itself at a very inopportune time. There were no winners in this episode.
Much of 1995 was spent defending the college from unrelenting attacks. The college had lost support of its alumni base and there was growing opposition from the students. They were becoming increasingly distracted by the negativity surrounding the DCM. The conservative, philosophy-based element within the chiropractic profession took every opportunity to mischaracterize and malign the college and the DCM proposal. In spite of the pessimism and disapproval, the college continued to enjoy support for the proposal. President Dallas traveled extensively to meet with groups interested in hearing more about the DCM. He met with other chiropractic college boards of directors, the president of Oregon Health Sciences University, and the president of the Oregon Senate (later elected to the U.S. Senate.) The college was also successful in eliciting support from the University of Colorado Health Sciences School of Pharmacy; they agreed to offer a program on the pharmaceutical management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions. In the midst of all of these conflicting activities, phone calls of interest in the DCM continued to pour into the college from across the country.
During 1995, the college hired a new radiologic technologist, Hank Hirsh, to work in the campus clinic. It would not take long before Mr. Hirsh’s expanding interest in clinical education led him to the classroom and labs, where he taught radiation use and safety and X-ray positioning labs. Mr. Hirsh would also teach for the department of continuing education, instructing radiology certification courses to chiropractic assistants. As was the case for most of the college faculty, Mr. Hirsh had talents in other areas; he was an accomplished jazz musician and bandleader. Mr. Hirsh and his jazz ensemble were perennial favorites to provide music at the college’s annual Christmas gala.