Comments by newyorker

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Posted on August 1 at 8:27 p.m.

I strongly urge you get a copy of "The Rogue Trustee" by Terry O'Banion.

Here are the behaviors of Rogue Trustees ranked by Prevalence in his book:

1. Undermining and attacking the president.
2. Making inappropriate contacts with faculty and staff.
3. Creating inappropriate alliances with unions and other groups.
4. Attacking other trustees in and out of meetings.
5. Influencing hiring and promotion.
6. Micromanaging college operations.
7. Making damaging statements to the press and to faculty and staff.
8. Threatening and criticizing faculty and staff.
9. Requesting vast amounts of information.
10. Supporting political patronage.

The following is part of an article written by the same Terry O'Banion as it appeared in Community College Week in August of 2009.

Occasionally, a trustee pursues a path other than serving for the greater good, and sometimes that trustee becomes a challenge, a rogue, who runs roughshod over the norms and standards expected of community leaders. These trustees create enormous problems for the institution, for other trustees, for the college CEO and for the community.

The following description of a rogue trustee was created for this study to help presidents and chancellors determine if they had worked with one:

Rogue trustees run roughshod over the norms and standards of behavior expected of public officials appointed or elected to office. They tend to trample over the ideas and cautions of the CEO, the trustee chair and member trustees. They place their own interests over the interests of the college. They violate written and unwritten codes of conduct. They often make inappropriate alliances with faculty, staff and other trustees. They recommend and support policies that are not in the best interests of the institution. They consume an inordinate amount of staff and meeting time. They know how to get attention, to appeal to the base elements in others to manipulate individuals and situations to their advantage. Most rogue trustees are quite bright and articulate; some are mentally unbalanced. They are sometimes loners, exiled from the herd, but they also create alliances with others to carry out their agenda. They are high maintenance. They tend to poison the culture of the college instead of helping to create a sense of community, collaboration, innovation and common values. They become the catalyst for increased defensiveness, paranoia, subterfuge and fear. In short, they cause enormous damage. The rogue trustee is the elephant in the room, creating an ever-widening circle of frustration and destruction for anything in its path.

While the college president is the most visible and easiest target for the mischief of the rogue trustee, it is the college itself that is most vulnerable to lasting damage.

“The Rogue Trustee: The Elephant in the Room” by Terry O’Banion is available from the League for Innovation at

On Serban Placed on Leave of Absence

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