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I am working on a story about the college's finances and its commitment to the preservation of historic structures based on an agreement between the college and the city.
My publication deadline is January 5th.
Members of the community have approached with concerns about the College's financial condition and its commitment to the agreement it has with the City of Whittier particularly as it regards preservation of the president's house and certain other historic sites owned by Whittier College.
I am also looking for information on the termination of certain athletics departments and Whittier College's diversity program and the respective costs of each program.
I understand that the College is a private non profit organization. I am seeking any financial records that the college would have had to file with the state in its capacity as a non-profit receiving donations from the public.
Concerns were also raised in the community about the administration of the College so I am looking for any information about the College's current president and any policies she adopted after accepting the position.
So the top 3 issues I am investigating are:
1. Was there any financial mismanagement of funds? This is an allegation being made in the community. This is a request for information on the financial status of the College, including relevant documents. Donors in the community have questions about where their money has been going.
2. The second question regards the College's commitment to abide by its agreement with the City of Whittier and with the community to preserve properties specifically mentioned in those agreements. This question is in light of the recent statement in a letter from the College President saying the president's home will be sold due to financial issues.
3. With regards to the athletics and diversification programs: What were the costs and did any of those costs play any role in the colleges financial difficulties if the college is experiencing some difficulties or shortages.
Thank you in advance,
Whittier 360 News Network"
Email to the City of Whittier seeking comment on the Wardman House issue.
The following is the city's response received on January 4th. Despite stating we had a deadline of January 5th, we never heard back from Whittier College. The text of the image reads, "Good morning Rebecca:
I was not aware the College was selling the president’s home but I will have our staff follow up. We do not track the finances for the College so I would not be able to confirm any financial issues they are facing.
I do not believe we have an agreement with the College that requires them to keep the home. However, while it is not in a formal historic district, I can assure you that we will do everything possible to make sure it is preserved and not demolished.
Since then, in light of recent events we have received an update from the city on the specific issue of the Wardman House. In the email, dated April 17th, City Manager Brian Saeki writes, "Good morning Rebecca:
It is our understanding that the Wardman home is for sale. We have not heard that demolishing it is a consideration. That will be difficult to do in light of its historical significance. If any new information becomes available, I will let you know.
We also heard back from Councilmember Cathy Warner and Whittier Mayor Joe Vinatieri. Warner's email, dated April 16th, just said she was asking Brian Saeki to respond to Whittier 360's inquiry.
In his email, Mayor Vinatieri wrote, "Rebecca, we indeed are aware of the discussion. We will ask Brian to review and get back to you shortly. Thanks"
Mr. Saeki sent a response the following day.