Story about College Board candidate removed from LMC Website
By Allen Payton, Publisher
A success story on the Los Medanos College (LMC) website about current candidate for the Contra Costa Community College Board of Trustees, D’Juan “De’shawn” Woolridge has been removed.
The discovery of the story, made by this writer on Saturday, October 6, 2012, while doing an online research about the candidates for Ward V, which includes most of Antioch, resulted in the removal of it by new LMC President Bob Kratochvil, today.
An email to Kratochvil, college district Chancellor Helen Benjamin and all five trustees asking them if they were aware of the story that showed a photo of Woolridge with another person, and mentioned he “ is currently running for public office,” and what they planned to do about it, received two responses. The first was from Trustee John Marquez, who represents Ward I, covering West County.
Marquez stated in an email, “I don’t see any implied endorsement or promotion of De’shawn Woolridge by LMC over the other candidates for Ward V. I just see this as an expression of pride by LMC of the successes of its alumni. I was not aware of this write-up. And, I’m not concerned about it since the other candidates have not raised any concern. If they do, I might personally ‘consider’ removal until after the election.”
He also wrote in the same email, “I read the biography of De’shawn referenced by you, and concluded that the story did not
mention anything about his current candidacy for College Board Ward V. While I have not endorsed De’shawn, I have known him for many years and knew he has always had political aspirations. As I read the biography, I noticed all the excellent steps taken by De’shawn and staff at LMC to see his goals achieved. By the way, his hair is not as long as shown on the photo, which implies the biography was written sometime ago. LMC should be proud of the ‘success stories’ of all its Alumni. Further reading of the LMC website reveals the successes of other alumni such as Dave Tollefson, football player during the Super Bowl XLVI, and Wade Harper, candidate for Mayor of Antioch, among others.”
“Just to be fair about the political process, I will ask for consideration of a policy change by the Board at our meeting in November,” Marquez added.
New LMC President Bob Kratochvil had a different response.
“The story about Mr. Woolridge that is on our website is among several ‘stories of success’ regarding students and programs at Los Medanos College, a series that has been in place for quite some time. It is my understanding that the article about Mr. Woolridge has been on the web page for more than a year, apparently written initially upon his graduation from LMC (approximately Spring/Summer 2011) and coinciding his candidacy for a council seat in the City of Pittsburg. Subsequently, information in the article was updated after he graduated from University of the Pacific,” Kratochvil wrote in an email.
“I acknowledge that, since Mr. Woolridge is a candidate for a seat on the Contra Costa Community College Governing Board, such a story should be pulled from our website until after the November election so there is no inadvertent perception of endorsement. We will do so immediately at the start of business on Monday morning. Thank you very much for bringing this matter to our attention,” he added.
When asked about the website story, Woolridge stated “The article has been up there for awhile. It was up there before the election and written two years ago.”
However, the story has been updated in the past few months, because it included two new facts about Woolridge: “De’shawn has completed his bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of the Pacific…and is currently running for public office.” He graduated in May, 2012 and filed for office by August 16.
Woolridge spoke with LMC Marketing Director Barbara Cella regarding the website story. “She contacted me and asked me if I had graduated and I said ‘Yes’,” he stated.
Cella was unavailable for comment when contacted Monday morning.
“The fact that it doesn’t even say ‘the governing board,’ I don’t have a problem with it being on the website, since it was written two years ago. It’s not really highlighted for a campaign,” Woolridge added.
Regarding removal of the article, he said “I don’t really have a problem with it being removed. I’m not going to sit there and have a heart attack. I would hope it goes back up after all the work I’ve done at LMC. It’s an honor to have the article.”
In a review of the list of Alumni Success Stories on Monday morning, October 8, 2012, the articles on both Woolridge and Harper, who is currently running for Mayor of Antioch, had been removed from the LMC website.
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