Advocate staffers have learned that Linn-Benton Community College Vice President Dave Henderson withheld key material facts from a reporter last month. The paper has contacted the college’s Board of Education concerning the matter, though Chair Shelly Garrett said she will not comment on it, at least for now.
Last month, Advocate reporter Hannah Darling asked Henderson if the school had picked a direction for plans to expand its Corvallis campus. He responded that they had not, that they were only considering various options. The reporter and Henderson last communicated about the piece on Jan. 18, and the story ran in the Advocate’s Jan. 21 issue.
Later on the 21st, the paper learned the college planned to purchase a neighboring lot for the project. LBCC’s President Greg Hamann then admitted that Henderson was involved in work to acquire that property at least as early as the beginning of January. In other words, Henderson told the reporter there was no new news, when clearly that was not the case.
In a similar incident last year, Jeff Davis admitted being untruthful with another Advocate reporter. Davis is the school’s Director for Benton County.
Paper and School Respond
There are some at the college that view this current matter as a series of miscommunications. The paper has instituted new safeguards specific only to coverage of LBCC’s administration—our experience leads us to believe these procedures will not be necessary covering other organizations.
We will continue to cover events and programs at the school as we always have. The people that put these offerings together and what they produce deserve our support. In other words, our changed protocol will only apply to the school’s administration.
The college may have found a good plan with its intention to purchase the First Student bus yard adjacent to its Corvallis campus. Time will tell as details become available. Initial reaction from the neighborhood is largely positive, and city officials are pleased about that. Part of the agreement with First Student requires the school to find it a replacement property, so stay tuned.
By Steven J. Schultz