Oct 9, 2012 7:00 PM by Erin Steuber
An administrator, who has worked at T.H. Harris Technical College in Opelousas for the past 34 years, says he was fired from his job for speaking out. Harold Schexsnayder says he was against the merger with SLCC and made it known.
As KATC's Erin Steuber found out, this educator is now determined to remain an advocate for technical colleges.
Harold Schexsnayder says since the merger in July with South Louisiana Community College, there has been potentially disastrous effects on technical training at Acadiana campuses.
"I chose to be quite verbal about what I saw happening to technical education," said Schexsnayder. "I'm being dismissed because I've been speaking out about this."
Schexsnayder says he was hand delivered a letter of termination, citing his blatant defiance and saying quote the action is final.
"I felt that this has damaged my reputation," said Schexsnayder. "I feel that it's been horribly embarassing. I do intend to hold people accountable for that."
Schexsnayder says it's not about getting his job back, but being an advocate for technical colleges around Acadiana.
"The technical side of this issue is suffering, and if Acadiana doesn't come to terms with this, and doesn't hit this head on and reverse this merger, we're going to lose our technical training programs in Acadiana," said Schexsnayder.
The Opelousas technical school has been a selling point for incoming businesses to St. Landry Parish.
"In order to continue all of this positive, we have to keep the campus intact," said St. Landry Parish Chamber of Commerce CEO, Frankie Bertrand. "We have to keep workforce development at an all time high, otherwise nothing will continue and this will not happen."
But SLCC says the merger is not trying to rid T.H. Harris of it's identity.
In a statement to KATC, SLCC says, "We've had no change in technical offerings at T.H. Harris since the merger. We're committed to making sure the campus excels as a community partner and workforce development entity. "
The college would not comment specifically on Schexsnayder's termination.