Fort Lewis reassigns Gulliford

Following allegations of racism and civil rights violations, a well-known Fort Lewis College professor has been reassigned to a nonteaching position at the school. FLC President Brad Bartel has announced that Dr. Andrew Gulliford, director of the Center of Southwest Studies, has accepted a new, noninstructional position in fund raising for the college and working with the Office of Community Services. Gulliford will step down as director of the Center of Southwest Studies, a position he has held since 2000, effective April 1, 2005.

Gulliford was thrust into the hot seat in mid-November after publishing an article, "The Kokopelli Conundrum," in a peer review journal. In the article, he used anecdotes, written comments and culturally sensitive material from some of his American Indian students without their permission. Bartel noted that Gulliford's article raised concerns about student privacy rights among Fort Lewis College students, faculty and staff.

"There is a sacred trust between faculty and students in the classroom," said Bartel. "Faculty cannot disrespect the dignity and privacy of students."

Bartel and several on-campus groups recently conducted thorough investigations of Gulliford's article.

"The past two months have highlighted the need for institutional reform with regard to student-faculty instructional relations," said Bartel.

As a result, Bartel has made numerous recommendations for policy changes. They include among others: The immediate establishment of an external advisory board for the Center of Southwest Studies; adding one American Indian and one Hispanic student to the Faculty Senate Intercultural Committee; the addition of a new section to the faculty handbook on the transmission of traditional and sacred knowledge in the classroom; a new orientation on program intercultural instruction and student-faculty relations; regular workshops on cross-cultural instruction for existing faculty; and a major symposium on American Indian issues each November as part of American Indian Heritage Month;

"In addition to these recommendations, it should be known that early last summer I requested the design of a Native American studies major as quickly as possible," said Bartel.

As for the Center of Southwest Studies, Curator of Collections and Public Programs Jeanne Brako will serve as the center's interim director effective April 1, 2005.

Lawsuit strikes Silverton Ski Area

Lawsuits seem to be drawn to local ski areas of late, and Silverton Mountain Ski Area is the latest example of the trend. The man who also tried to open a ski operation on Storm Mountain and continues to own property adjoining Silverton Mountain Ski Area has filed a lawsuit against the ski operation. In the suit, he alleges that employees and customers of the ski operation as well as avalanches have trespassed onto his property.

Jim Jackson is an Aspen businessman who rose to fame when he hosted the international speed skiing championships in Velocity Basin near Silverton Mountain. Jackson also proposed developing a ski area where Silverton Mountain now is. However, where Silverton Mountain includes one dated, fixed-grip, two-person chairlift, Jackson envisioned a resort including a gondola, six lifts and substantial real estate development.

Last week, Jackson issued a press release, announcing that he had filed suit against Silverton Mountain. He said that the lawsuit was the result of Silverton Mountain employees and customers knowingly trespassing on his property. He also contended that Silverton Mountain has knowingly set off avalanches that have trespassed onto his property.

"It is regrettable that it has come to legal action, but as the largest private landowner in this immediate area, we just don't feel like we can sit back passively as our property rights are continually violated by the ski area," the release stated. Jackson filed his suit last Monday in state court in San Juan County, citing several instances of possible trespass during the last four years that the ski area has been in existence.

Aaron Brill, owner of Silverton Mountain Ski Area, said that Jackson's suit and actions are an immature reaction to Brill beating him to the punch. "As you may know it's not easy running a small business," Brill said in a written statement. "It is especially hard when an individual has made it his goal to shut you down because of economic sour grapes."

Brill said Silverton Mountain has always been in compliance with the law and will continue to operate in this fashion. He also questioned Jackson's charge that avalanches have been trespassing on his property.

"We have never taken our guided skiers onto his land, and Jackson's concept of snow trespass in active avalanche paths is absurd," he wrote. Brill concluded by saying that he has always wanted to compromise with Jackson. "We have always wanted to purchase his land so this headache would go away, but Mr Jackson decided to file suit instead," he said.

Colorado Trail parking fix in works

The Forest Service has plans for the highly trafficked area around the Durango-side of the 500-mile Colorado Trail. The agency proposes to upgrade parking and install a public restroom at the busy trailhead located up Junction Creek Road and is currently seeking the public's opinion.

The Forest Service noted that the existing parking area accommodates only about five vehicles, and is insufficient to handle the large amount of hikers, mountain bikers, dog walkers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers who use this popular trailhead. Because the small parking lot fills quickly, trail users are forced to park along the narrow roadway and on adjacent private lands. The net effect has been a situation that is dangerous to the trail users and their pets, interferes with traffic and creates a nuisance to adjacent homeowners, according to the agency.

As a result, the Forest Service has proposed enlarging the parking lot to accommodate up to 20 vehicles, building a vault toilet and upgrading the trailhead sign. All of this work would take place during the summer of 2005. Written comments will be accepted through Jan. 14. For more information, call Mena Showman at 375-3308.

Officers apprehend armed robber

The La Plata County Sheriff's Office arrested a suspect in an armed robbery after aman was held at gunpoint at his home betweenDurango and Ignacio and one shot was allegedly fired by the suspect.

Midday on Fri., Dec. 10, Scot Trinklein reportedthat he had been robbed and held at gunpoint at his home on County Road 513, southeast of Durango. Strangely, Trinklein's home had also been broken into and items were stolen several days earlier. When he returned home Dec. 10, he noticed a strange pickup truck parked on the side of the road, near his house. Because of the earlier theft, he wrote down the licensenumber before entering his house.

Trinklein found his back door wide open and was suddenly confronted by a man who pointed a gun at him. The man forced Trinklein to lay face down on the ground, told him not to move and fired one shot as he fled.Trinklein then called 911 with the description of the suspect and the pickup truck. Two handguns, camera equipment and cash were discovered missing from Trinklein's home.

About an hour later, Sheriff's Office Sgt. Todd Hittispotted the suspect vehicle turning onto County Road 234 at Elmore's Corner and stopped the driver, 27-year-old Jared Folsom, and took him into custody. Among the evidence recovered included items that were taken in a theft from a vehicle at the Colorado Trail trailhead on Dec. 6, along with other items that may be related to other crimes in the area.Folsom has been charged with First Degree Burglary, Frist Degree Robbery, Menacing with a Deadly Weapon, First Degree Criminal Mischief, and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Fort Lewis looks for public opinion

Fort Lewis College is taking a hard look at itself and asking the public to lend a hand. The local four-year college is conducting a self-study as part of its 10-year national reaccredidation review.

As part of the self study, the college is turning the tables and asking campus and community members to grade the institution. A short survey is available online, offering the public an opportunity to rate Fort Lewis' strengths and weaknesses and assess its current challenges and goals.This information will be used to help the college plan for the future and better address the community's needs. Responses are anonymous, the survey takes only a few minutes and can be found at Survey results will be shared with the campus and community in February. Paper surveys can be obtained by calling 247-7194.

- Will Sands





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