Aaron Kucharik has resigned as secretary of the Garden City Community College Endowment Association Board of Directors Monday, saying he hopes to return to the organization after the environment around the college improves.
Jeremy Gigot, the association's executive director, said Kucharik handed copies of his resignation letter to all board members at their Monday meeting. Kucharik states multiple times in the letter that the resignation was a voluntary, personal choice done in the best interest of the association.
Kucharik, who is manager of Price and Sons Funeral Home in Garden City, has stood alongside a group of faculty and community members criticizing GCCC leadership’s actions amidst recent controversy. He addressed the GCCC Board of Trustees at its April meeting about sexual harassment allegations made against former cheer coach Brice Knapp and spoke at a Faculty Senate meeting in May about allegedly facing retaliation from GCCC President Herbert Swender for his words.
He said he resigned to keep his actions and comments as an individual separate from the intentions of the association.
“I don’t want anyone to think that in any way, shape or form that I was speaking on behalf of the Endowment Association. I was speaking on behalf of myself, personally, as a community member,” Kucharik said.
He has been with the board for more than three years, and ends his first two-year term as secretary of the board six months early, Gigot said.
“(Kucharik) was a longtime board member and … the board as a whole is sad to see him leave … (He left) out of concern for the Endowment Association to protect us from any unwanted publicity. He resigned with the knowledge and intent that someday, hopefully, he will be able to return as a board member,” Gigot said.
The association is an independent organization that works with the college to offer scholarships and grants to students and programs. In his resignation letter, Kucharik asked the board to reiterate the board’s independence from the college by distancing the association from the college’s administration and Board of Trustees, using independent auditors, design and printing companies for the association’s needs, not allowing administrators to greet guests at association events and not allowing trustees to serve on the association’s board of directors.
Trustee Jeff Crist is currently a board member for the association.
Kucharik also suggested in the letter that the association end its partnership with the Broncbuster Athletic Association until the latter’s financial issues are resolved, Title IX allegations against Athletic Director John Green and other college administrators are settled and the NJCAA sanctions are dealt with.
He also said he believed Swender should be removed as an ex officio member of the association until the investigation into allegations against the president were complete.
“I strongly believe in the mission of the Endowment Association, and I look forward to working alongside the Endowment Association when the atmosphere at GCCC improves for the better,” Kucharik wrote near the end of his letter.
Gigot said he is looking for a current board member who could replace Kucharik as secretary. As far as the association itself, he said it will move forward.
“For 51 years, the Endowment Association has served the students of Garden City Community College by providing scholarship and equipment and material grants, and whatever the future holds, we will continue to do that,” Gigot said. “That is our mission, and that is what we do.”
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