Many in Del Norte County were saddened and somewhat mystified this week by the forced resignation of College of the Redwoods-Del Norte campus vice president Dave Throgmorton.
Saddened because Throgmorton has been a visionary leader, not only for CR's 600-student Crescent City campus but also for the larger Del Norte community.
Mystified because CR officials have refused to say what led to Throgmorton being placed on administrative leave late last month and his eventual resignation.
State law does allow the college to remain mum on personnel matters such as this. But in doing so, CR is allowing the local rumor mill to spin unchecked. What's more, the college is failing its Crescent City faculty and staff by keeping them completely in the dark concerning what Throgmorton did or failed to do that led to his ouster.
CR-Del Norte professor Tom Owen said this week that he was "shocked beyond belief" by Throgmorton's departure. "I know him to be an honest man of unquestionable integrity," Owen said. CR counseling assistant Susan Calla said, "I think our community needs to know the details as to why this happened. This speculation is even worse than if we knew the details."
The only thing certain is that Throgmorton's departure has set off a huge wave of uncertainty on the CR-Del Norte campus.
We do know that Throgmorton has been a strong advocate for CR-Del Norte and for the educational needs of Del Norte County as a whole. We also know that he is an outside-the-box academic whose recognition of the community's educational needs and creative thinking abilities have led to some innovative and successful programs that will serve this community for years to come.
It was Throgmorton as much as anyone who pushed the concept for the Klamath River Early College of the Redwoods into reality. Launched last year by an educational partnership involving CR, the Yurok Tribe and the Del Norte County School District, the Klamath charter school is providing a much-needed alternative high school for young Native Americans, who have one of the worst dropout rates of any ethnic groups in the country.
Geneva Wiki, director of the school, said Throgmorton's "vision and willingness to think outside the box has meant a significantly greater access to education in the Klamath
As a community leader, Throgmorton will be missed. Most of all, the community will miss his vision for what education can do for Del Norte.
The Daily Triplicate