The Watching Adams Podcast Series highlights various experiences and perspectives of former Adams State University students and employees in long form audio-interviews.
By gathering candid insights from former insiders, these podcasts seek to cultivate unvarnished honesty about the institution. These interviews are available as online videos and in downloadable MP3 format.
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When Dr. Ben Waddell began asking questions about employee salaries at Adams State University, he was quickly warned not to look too deeply into these and other issues.
As Ben uncovered more information about the policies and practices at ASU, he realized that a series of secrets behind administrative doors were being maintained in order to conceal striking inequalities and unethical academic practices across campus. Eventually, Ben left ASU after an acrimonious public condemnation by the (now former) university president – accusing him of being a “sexist male professor.”
In this podcast, Ben discusses the struggles that rural public higher education face in a time of diminished taxpayer support, the disproportionate resources and underlying culture of athletics on college campuses, and his own successes and challenges while working at ASU from 2011 until 2016. DOWNLOAD MP3
After completing her undergrad degree at Adams State University, Lezli Martinez found herself forced to withdraw from the Masters in Counseling program after being unable to secure a practicum. Lezli describes being criticized by her advisor for her appearance and ending up in student loan debt, hospitalized for renal failure due to stress from Adams State, and unable to obtain her undergrad transcripts unless the grad program bills were paid. DOWNLOAD MP3
At Adams State University, Chicago native Meagan Smith served as a student trustee and went on to be the first African-American professional staff member – working in the offices of finance and admissions. She finally decided the combination of campus inequality, being “tokenized” as the only person of color in professional staff, her constant work overloads without equitable compensation, and a hostile workplace took an insurmountable toll on her health and well-being. She put in her six weeks’ notice but was told to clean out her desk the very next day. There was no farewell gathering to send her off.
In this extended interview, Meagan shares her story across seven years at the university – including the many challenges she faced as a full time student and single mom, the accomplishments she made for students of color, and her efforts to blow the whistle on unethical policies which failed minority students and ultimately put the university on academic probation. DOWNLOAD MP3
Adams State University custodian Andres Herrera was sitting in his truck on his lunch break when campus police approached him in the parking lot. He was informed by the officer that ASU President Beverlee McClure had reported him for “suspicious behavior”. Andres discusses the feeling of paranoia on campus and the desire to feel safe in the workplace without the feeling that he is under suspicion. DOWNLOAD MP3
Former and returning Adams State University student Alexandra Rivera recounts her struggles with multiple learning disabilities and support staff unprepared to accommodate her with these needs. Alexandra also describes the problem of disappearing faculty that had most connected her with her college education, prompting her to feel abandoned and ultimately taking a break from ASU. Lastly, she perceived a significant decline in the quality of education and services at ASU between 2012 and 2016. DOWNLOAD MP3
Adams State University alumnus Jimmy Dittmar describes his experience approaching Vice President of Student Affairs Ken Marquez to sarcastically criticize the termination of ASU police chief Joel Shults – prompting Ken to ban Jimmy from campus with allegations of “aggressively confronting” and “verbally harassing” him. Jimmy then spent the next year defying the campus ban by participating in activities on campus without incident before the ban was finally lifted. DOWNLOAD MP3
View the ban notice and associated documents here.
Celina Greer was focused on earning her nursing degree from Adams State University but took time off to take care of her mom. She took two incomplete courses that, the following semester when she was required to complete them, met at the exact same time. She tried to resolve this scheduling problem but couldn’t get support from the university, ended up taking a technical failure in one, and lost her financial aid and ability to take more coursework.
Now with $24,000 in student loan debt, and one of four siblings who didn’t finish at ASU and have loans to pay off, Celina feels “disheartened” as she works for the family roofing company as a single mom, trying to make a living to support her son. DOWNLOAD MP3
Former instructor Andy Zaugg describes the barriers he frequently encountered with Adams State University students in his developmental math courses. During his decade of teaching off and on for the university, he observed a “critical mass” of students in his courses who concluded “I can’t do math and it’s not important.” Andy decided to resign as the situation felt less and less worthwhile to him. Andy also discusses “the spouse problem” – lacking dual career employment opportunities at ASU, the increase in student athlete populations that brought with them less academic motivation for math, and the generational shift away from top-performing San Luis Valley students choosing Adams State for their degree. DOWNLOAD MP3
Former Adams State University student Drew Lamprecht describes why he left the school to finish his degree elsewhere, including a sense of diminished academic rigor among his peers and being treated in a dismissive manner by members of the ASU administration, particularly university president Dr. Beverlee McClure. Drew describes how universities increasingly treat college students like children rather than adults, particularly when they have specific concerns or wish to exercise their rights. DOWNLOAD MP3
Read the email that Dr. McClure sent to all students and Drew’s unanswered response here.
Dr. Don Miller shares his experiences as a former Adams State University Band Director, a position that has undergone high turnover for decades. Dr. Miller reflects upon his time at ASU, being micromanaged by his department chair, issues he saw with the online graduate program in Music Education, high student debt with few economic opportunities in their field, and reacts to the Higher Learning Commission placing ASU on academic probation due to compliance violations with its online degree programs. DOWNLOAD MP3
In this episode, we interview Alicia Kahre, a former Adams State University student who took over three years to earn just over one quarter of the credits towards her degree. She accrued $18,000 in student loan debt and decided to leave ASU after learning how little professors are paid and how poorly they can sometimes be treated. She reflects on what could have made her time in college more successful and how the ASU Administration and Board of Trustees could better care for the students they serve. DOWNLOAD MP3
Dr. Jonathan Rees is co-president of the Colorado Conference for the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). He discusses the role of the AAUP in advocating for shared governance, academic freedom, and due process in the university. He shares success stories from the Colorado Conference, his “nightmare” of faculty being singled out and disappeared without a hearing, as well as why a campus in good standing with the AAUP is better for students. DOWNLOAD MP3
Read the CO AAUP’s letter opposing Adams State University’s PNG policy here.
Former Chief of Police at Adams State University, Dr. Joel Shults discusses the time and manner of his dismissal from the university in July 2014 as well as his own theory as to why it occurred. He also talks in detail about issues of campus safety and equity concerning ASU Athletics that he raised publicly upon termination of his employment. Finally, Joel addresses questions of racism within ASU PD. DOWNLOAD MP3
Read his August 2014 Valley Courier op-ed, “It’s not about me.”
Read Judge Kuenhold’s August 2015 report on Safety and Fairness.
In this episode, retired professor Dr. Stephen Roberds recounts his seven years teaching at Adams State University. In particular, he recalls conflicts in the classroom with disruptive students that led to him being told by administrators that he had a few hours to decide whether he would resign or be terminated. Roberds reflects on the value and endangered status of tenure at ASU and advocates for faculty to stand up and assert their right to academic freedom and due process. DOWNLOAD MP3
In this podcast, Alamosa community member, military veteran, and part-time Adams State University student Calvin Moreau describes being repeatedly stopped by ASU police based on his appearance. He no longer feels safe being on the ASU campus and is considering completing his degree elsewhere. DOWNLOAD MP3
In this episode, former faculty member Elaine Regan recalls her experiences creating many of the courses for the emerging nursing department at Adams State University. Elaine describes the sense of being overwhelmed by upwards of 80-100 hours of work each week, being pressured to pass students who weren’t prepared for the program, and being labeled a “troublemaker” whose vocalizations were interpreted as “threatening” for speaking out about the problems she saw in the department. DOWNLOAD MP3
2014 Adams State University graduate Richard Flamm recalls his challenges paying rising tuition costs, lack of racial diversity among faculty, shrinking academic programs amidst athletic expansion, and ASU’s refusal to provide math tutoring to prepare him for the GRE. DOWNLOAD MP3
In this podcast, teacher, cultural historian, and artist Rogelio Briones recalls his time in the Chicano movement at Adams State University – a “forgotten history,” the myth of the term “Hispanic,” as well as his experiences in the Faculty Senate and observations about ASU Athletics holding too much influence over the institution. DOWNLOAD MP3
In this episode of the Watching Adams Podcast, filmmaker and former Adams State University professor Danny Ledonne joins Dr. Ben Waddell’s class of Social Psychology students at ASU to discuss campus safety, media violence, and the goals behind his website, Watching Adams. DOWNLOAD MP3
In this episode of the Watching Adams Podcast, we join former Adams State University Visiting Professor Spencer Harris. Spencer taught from 2011-2013 in the Human Performance and Physical Education department.
In this interview, he reflects on the “Thousand Dollar Problem” he encountered with Vice President of Academic Affairs Frank Novotny as well as the challenges he experienced with shared governance and the university’s prioritization of athletics over academics in too many instances. DOWNLOAD MP3