Collin College: The plot continues to thicken. All eyes should be on two mediocre white men who failed up: Collin College President Neil Matkin and HD67 Representative Jeff Leach. Matkin’s history is interesting. He got both his undergraduate degree and first professional job at Ambassador College, a college run by the Worldwide Church of God. Since then, he’s never stayed longer than five years at a job except for his current position at Collin which he started in 2015. I’d hate for him to break this longstanding tradition, so he needs to go in 2021.
Matkin’s gone through several CFOs so far and keeps an iron grip on his faculty. In October, he launched Collin College into the national spotlight when he condemned a professor for a tweet she wrote as a private citizen. He went on to say her tweet was so incendiary that he’d received “contacts and calls from legislators” regarding her employment. This claim caused attorneys for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education to send the college a public-records request for all communications from legislators connected with this incident (Here's an article
that details the situation).
Instead of handing over the records, the college retained an outside law firm to appeal the request to the Texas AG’s office. After four months of incurring legal fees (your tax dollars at work!), the college finally turned over the records revealing a single exchange with HD67 Rep. Jeff Leach who wanted to know if Dr. Burnett’s salary was paid with taxpayer dollars. Matkin’s response, “I’m aware of the situation Jeff and will deal with it. Already on my radar before the current issue. She is definitely paid with taxpayer dollars.” For his part, Jeff Leach – that bastion of free speech protection – has been threatening Dr. Burnett on Twitter with being fired.
Meanwhile, Matkin’s minimized the Covid crisis and illegally targeted three faculty members (I’m sure them all being female is just a coincidence) for exercising free speech. But his story doesn’t stop there. Since 2015, his base salary has risen from $315,000 to $400,000 and his cash bonus for 2019 was $65,000, all at taxpayer expense. His bonus alone is more than most Collin professors make in base salary.
It would be interesting to know why he received such a huge bonus. Is it tied to enrollment, perhaps explaining his push for in-person classes? And, given the negative publicity and likelihood of lawsuits, why do the Collin College Board of Trustees continue to back Matkin? I’m sure it has nothing to do with the 100 acres of undeveloped land in Farmersville owned by Board of Trustee Chair, J. Robert Collins. That the Collins’ family land is just three minutes away from Collin College’s newest campus in Farmersville (where Matkin happens to live) and has increased significantly in value over the past four years – since the bond passed in 2017 – must be just a coincidence. Matkin’s major support for the Farmersville area was surely just good stewardship, although for whom is still an open question. It’s a shame no one raised conflict of interest concerns before this was a done deal.
If that isn’t enough, the Board of Trustees appears to be one of the only local governing bodies refusing to allow remote participation. If trustees prefer to safeguard their health or if they’re physically unable to show up in person, they’re not allowed to participate or even vote. This seems illegal, both in silencing the voices of the people not being represented and potentially with regard to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Thus, it’s once again time to contact the Board of Trustees with your concerns: Contact a Board Member - Collin College
. It’s clear that not only do we need to keep a closer eye on them but we absolutely MUST vote in new trustees in May!