Community College president Larry Whitworth says $4,024 dinner was shocking, personally picks up the tab
June 3, 2010
The president of Washtenaw Community College announced today he's personally picking up the $4,024 tab for a dinner attended by WCC trustees, calling the bill excessive and shocking.
But President Larry Whitworth also defended the dinner - attended by 23 individuals, including WCC trustees and school officials - saying it was a strictly-business affair and is a tradition.
Whitworth's decision was sparked by a 54th District state representative candidate who made the dinner a campaign issue last week. Democrat Lonnie Scott criticized fellow 54th District state representative candidate and WCC Trustee David Rutledge over the March retreat dinner.
The dinner was part of an annual two-day board retreat in Detroit at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. The total bill for the weekend came to more than $9,000, of which $4,024 went to the dinner and $600 paid for alcohol.
At that retreat, trustees decided on a 10 percent tuition increase. The raise amounts an increase of $7, for a total of $80 per credit hour in the 2010-2011 school year.
“This tuition increase comes at a time when many families in Washtenaw County and the 54th District are struggling," Scott said in a May 26 statement. "Couple that with the news of this $4,000 dinner, and the whole thing is very hard to stomach."
Whitworth called that criticism inappropriate and blamed himself for the extra expense.