WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Following a recent change to CFCC’s compensatory leave policy for the Marine Technology Department, two program employees have resigned. One of them, the captain of the research vessel, Cape Hatteras.
About a week after the policy change, it was reversed but the employees had already quit. Students say they still feel adrift.
“Why do we have to go through this as students? I lost a lot of sleep. I know many of my peers have spent a lot of time studying. So it’s like, why did we even have to go through this when you’d reverse it in a week? Why did it happen so suddenly? We’re still not so sure. Maggie Oxendine, president of the Marine Technology Club, said. “Mr. Rogers came out, he’s the department chair, told us that some team members quit due to a change in contract and time off. So from there, the students went sort of organized together, we all got together, looked at the policies, read what was going on, educated ourselves as much as we could, got together and apparently got them to reverse the policy. still questioning, you know why this even happened in the first place, we still don’t have those answers.
Administrator Ray Funderburk brought up the subject at Thursday’s meeting.
“I would have liked to know clearly what exactly happened, because I was asked.”
Morton responded by saying Funderburk could call anytime if he needed an explanation.
“I think it was about being within the law. We were talking at the committee meeting, we were trying to make sure that we couldn’t use the term compensation time. You know, there are legal tentacles attached to it. But, we need to achieve greater legal compliance with the program,” Morton said.
“I understand that, but I would have liked to see a really clear explanation of what happened,” Funderburk said.
Funderburk was unavailable for an interview after the meeting, but he says he still feels left in the dark.
Meanwhile, the students say they will continue to press for answers about why the program has run into difficulties.
“[I’m] still confused, and the fact that we have no answers, [is] so very upsetting. I can’t speak for all of the students who showed up for the meeting today, but I just know I was so confused as to why we don’t have one. We would like to have those answers. That’s all we’ve been asking for since day one. I don’t feel like we’re asking too much and we’re doing it respectfully in my eyes,” Oxendine said.
The loss of two key program employees is significant because without a captain, the students cannot safely navigate Cape Hatteras, the program’s research vessel. Without Cape Hatteras, Oxendine said she was not getting the experience she needed and expected from the program.
“We go out in our smaller ship, for day trips, so we probably leave at nine in the morning and come back at three or four. We don’t have a captain at the moment. I know, Mr. Rogers, and they, we’re looking for one,” Oxendine said. “I love this program, I love what we learn by doing. This is how we get the job offers, hands on opportunities abroad, not sitting in a classroom. I mean, those day trips help, but they’re not equivalent to going offshore and spending time on that ship for like 10 days, we don’t have that right now. And it’s something we all look forward to. I say. That’s why I joined the Cape Hatteras program. And this time, we’re training on the job.
President Morton declined an on-camera interview, leaving many still wondering about the details of the policy change.
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