That's certainly one viewpoint.
But it ignores entirely the faculty's feeling that its members had no say in campus matters.

And Dr. Walker was widely viewed as ruling the campus like Idi Amin Dada. Walker enforced a gag order that forbade all faculty and staff from making any public statements without first clearing them with the administration.

A former music major who had been the band instructor at Parker High School, Dr. Walker acted as if the faculty at Yavapai College were a regiment of troubled tuba players who would allemande left at the wave of his baton. Before long, Dr. Walker would come to understand that far from drilling a pack of pubescent piccolo pipers, he was dealing with the full and terrible majesty of the faculty of Prescott's most prestigious junior college.

As a cost-cutting measure, Dr. Walker was accused of slashing assorted shop and home-ec classes without consulting the appropriate instructors or constituting committees.

The conflict in Prescott built to a fever pitch. At one public meeting with the college's Board of Governors and Dr. Walker, undercover police were discovered in the audience.

There is a man standing next to me with a gun under his jacket," screamed participant Joe Chancerelle. ÔAnd I am afraid of what is going to happen if I speak out!"

None of the teachers, students or concerned citizens was gunned down or even pistol-whipped, else you'd have read about this dispute a long time ago in your big city daily. It was clear, though, that people had their blood up.

Board member Dr. John Oakley, considered an ally of Dr. Walker's, informed those assembled that he'd invited the cops in because of threats telephoned to the administrators.

Kathy O'Halleran might be a journalist who is full of herself, but she was also a journalist with a sense of mission. The dispute at Yavapai College had her initials, B.I.G. S.T.O.R.Y., all over it. With her departure from the Sun, there was a vacuum.

Following O'Halleran's resignation, Schrader said 35 picketers showed up outside his office, which for Prescott is a crowd equivalent to the German mob that tore down the Berlin Wall. Soon signs began appearing on the Prescott Sun's circulation boxes asking, Where is Kathy?"

A kind of town meeting was called at the Prescott Pantry, a sandwich shop specializing in gourmet food, white wine and insurrection. O'Halleran was asked to attend.

People donated money, formed a foundation and asked O'Halleran to start a new paper.

And she agreed.
I've been in the business 15 years and that night I cried," recalled O'Halleran. I was there to say goodbye to these people. It still gives me chills and goose bumps."

And sure enough those skinny little arms poking out of her sleeveless dress begin to bubble up until her limbs look like defrosted chicken wings.

The people here, I'd have felt I let them down if I didn't do it," said O'Halleran. Daily, I have a knot in my stomach. It's like having a baby."

Except that childbirth isn't nearly as much work.
O'Halleran and her relentless cohorts, Jody Bell and David Dupree, worked around the clock getting out the first nine weekly issues. The paper accepted no ads, relying entirely upon donations, subscriptions and street sales. The weekly Citizens' Monitor adopted a sassy tone and covered Prescott's news, particularly the uproar at Yavapai College, like javelinas.

The toll on O'Halleran is considerable.
I may be getting a little bonier, but I'm not getting bitter. If anything, I'm less cynical. It's a mental thing. I don't think I'm getting ill, but every penny counts. If I don't eat as often as I would like, that's the sacrifice. I make sure my two kids eat."

On April 25, the foundation that supports the new publication held a benefit at a local steak house.

O'Halleran was in fine form. She told the cheering crowd that if Gordon Schrader got down on his knees and begged her to return she would just tell him, Take your job and shove it. Yee-ha."

Back at her table she let on that the steak and chicken platter was the first square meal she'd had in some time.

The evening's fund-raising concluded with an auction of some truly stop-you-in-your-tracks western art.

In the audience were a lot of good ol' boys with Budweiser tumors hanging over their rodeo belt buckles as well as rail-thin guys with extravagant sideburns who looked to be familiar with the business end of a slide guitar. This group was not bidding up the art.

Nonetheless, Alan Feingold, an out-of-work sheriff, said they raised $1,000 for the Citizens' Monitor.

Last Saturday, May 9, the executive committee of the statewide board which oversees Arizona's community colleges convened in Paradise Valley. It took comments from Yavapai board member Dr. John Oakley, who dismissed the concerns of the faculty.

The statewide committee had already written a letter on April 23 to Yavapai's administrators saying that it found the situation in Prescott extremely serious." The letter worried over the school's accreditation, gerrymandered districts, deteriorating image, violations of open-meeting laws and impairment of educational services."

Arminta Tupper is an observer of the bucolic scene in Prescott. An administrative assistant with the Yavapai County Library District, she said she is concerned both with a free press and a free campus.

Describing board member Dr. Oakley as extremely arrogant," Tupper said Dr. Walker was his Siamese twin." We've been accused of being quasi-union," said Tupper, which in Yavapai County is like being accused of being in the Klan."

She claims that Dr. Oakley has called his detractors irrationally emotional," while Dr. Walker has branded them liars."

These labels outrage her. How can public officials say such things?" she demands.

Not being a public official, Arminta Tupper is free to offer that both men are borderline sociopaths" and suggests reading M. Scott Peck's People of the Lie to anyone who would truly grasp the nature of the administrators at Yavapai Community College.

In stirring up the faculty and the supporters of the faculty, Dr. Paul Walker has done more than provide compelling copy for the Citizens' Monitor.

Dan Hussey owns B & L Carpets in Prescott, and his wife teaches English at the college.

Hussey has made it his business to explore Dr. Walker's credit-card receipts.
For approximately two and a half years, Dr. Walker has taken board members out to dinner after their public meetings. These monthly expenses ran between $250 and $400, which he has charged to the college.

Hussey reasons that if Dr. Walker and the board were discussing business, which would justify use of the college's credit card, then they violated Arizona's open-meeting law. If Dr. Walker and the board did not discuss business, then it was a social dinner and the expense should not have been reimbursed.

Dan Hussey has asked the auditor general and the attorney general to investigate.

Reached by telephone last Sunday, Kathy O'Halleran sounded exhausted but resolute. She'd been up 38 hours straight without sleep, getting out the latest edition of Citizens' Monitor. It was Mother's Day and she'd gone to the park with her two small children. Their softball game ended when the ball lodged in the branches of a tree. Her boy threw a rock to dislodge the ball, but the rock passed its target, returned to earth and whopped the youngster in the eyebrow, necessitating a trip to the hospital and stitches. And now the telephone was ringing.

O'Halleran is encouraged that the state board is continuing to probe the affairs of Yavapai College but is frustrated that things are taking so long.

When I was in Houston, this would already be under a grand jury. Sometimes I think this county will never clean up its act."

Dr. Paul Walker was in meetings when telephoned for comment.
His administrative assistant, Judith Hinchman, said it was very frustrating for so much misinformation to be floating around.

Regarding the cutting of classes like shop and home-ec without faculty input, Hinchman was adamant.

It's not true, no, never. That's part of the problem. Oh, yes, we've heard that. That's one of those things that's been voiced. But it's not true."

She asked for understanding if Dr. Walker did not return the call because he was under so much stress. Everyone was.

Yes, and it's regrettable to see such a state of tension in lovely Prescott.
She agreed.
By the way, what does Judith Hinchman do to relieve the anxiety of living in Prescott?

She gardens.
Oh, really?
Of course.
But what about the javelinas?

Leave the poor javelinas alone," implored Hinchman. They're just trying to get a free lunch."

Hinchman leaves the beasts alone by using an electric fence to jolt them when they get near her plants. Tough love.

Does it work?
Yeah, you better believe it."
Hinchman interrupted the most pleasant chat yet encountered in this awful business to emphasize that she was not speaking on behalf of Yavapai College or Dr. Walker, but only as a private citizen gardener.

Her wishes must be respected.
But what of the tiger manure?
Yes, of course, I've heard of it, but it doesn't work," she volunteered, laughing. The zoo began charging for it when it became the rage. I don't know, maybe if it's quite fresh. Electric fences work. Maybe we should use electric fences on the faculty around here. Tiger manure! I'll bet some crazy professor who majored in zoology made that one up. I'll bet the javelinas are laughing up their noses at us."

My dear Ms. Hinchman, it's not just the javelinas.


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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey