Robby Collins takes the seat of former Cape Fear Community College Trustee Jimmy Hopkins
Robby Collins is Cape Fear Community College’s newest trustee. This will be his second term. He was a previous appointee under the New Hanover County School Board; his term finished in July 2022.
Collins did want to be re-appointed by the school board in June; however, he lost his bid to current trustee Ray Funderburk III, despite a campaign for his reinstatement by representatives of the college and county commissioner and Trustee Bill Rivenbark.
Rivenbark’s brother, Wilmington City Councilman Charlie Rivenbark, was one of Collins’ references, as was District Attorney Ben David.
Collins is taking the place of former Trustee Jimmy Hopkins who was removed by New Hanover County Commission Chair Julia Olson-Boseman; the county alleged he had three unexcused absences, which Hopkins denies. Complicating the issue, the college also stated they do not track absences as excused or unexcused.
Hopkins did retain legal counsel for his alleged unlawful removal but ultimately decided against the move. North Carolina general statutes give the authority to the board of trustees to remove one of its own members — which is what Hopkins believed the board would do to him.
And after his removal by the county, in late October, Hopkins also alleged that Collins was openly discussing his reappointment by the county commissioners as a done deal.
At the Monday commission meeting, Collins was reinstated unanimously without any discussion.
In his application materials, Collins did not submit a detailed resume like applicants Dr. Donna Hurdle, a current consultant to human service agencies and a former University of North Carolina Wilmington professor, and Timika Murphy, a social worker at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Murphy is also a graduate of CFCC.
Hurdle wrote this criticism of the current trustees’ leadership in her application.
“Cape Fear Community College has served its community as a leader and innovator for many years. However, recent media attention to leadership problems and poor academic decision-making has diminished a previously stellar reputation. The Board of Trustees needs to take an active role in understanding the current problems and their origins. In addition, the Board should conduct a comprehensive assessment of all aspects of the academic programs and college services in order to identify other potential problem areas and develop a plan to address them in a comprehensive manner. I have the background as a university educator and the expertise as a program evaluator to assist the Board with these activities at this critical time,” Hurdle said.
Collins will join the board for its meeting Wednesday. He will now serve out the rest of Hopkins’ term, expiring on June 30, 2024.
To view the four applications for the CFCC Board, click here. (Pages 179-207)