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BCC Students React To Burnham's Reaction

March 10, 2011 by Brian Harris

By Wilson Conde

“According to what we know at this point in time, the college took too much action against a man who was president for 20 years and who did more for this college than anyone else has,” said Matt Riccardi, a 24-year-old, fourth-semester biology student from Eatontown, who is also president of the History and Political Science Club and an ex-Marine. “He took this school from being basically a piece of scrap to being one of the top 10 community colleges in the country.”

This was one student’s reaction to news on Wednesday that BCC President Peter F. Burnham resigned, effective immediately. Burnham’s resignation comes amid widespread criticism about the many perks in his contract, including private college tuition for his children and a country club membership, and announcement from the Board of Trustees last week that their appeared to be spending irregularities in his office.

Burnham had been placed on administrative leave without pay as of March 3.

“I’m shocked. I just sort of heard about it, and everybody is flipping out,” said Danielle Dey, an 18-year-old, second-semester undecided major from New Egypt in Ocean County. “Hopefully, things will get better.”

“There are county layoffs, pay cuts and benefit decreases, and he’s got a pay raise, a take home vehicle, and tuition for his kids, all of which are county money,” said Bryan Benanno, a 20-year-old, fifth-semester criminal justice major from Neptune.

“I’ve heard that this was kind of a forced retirement because he used money from the school for his own personal benefit,” said Chelsea Alston, an 18-year-old, second- semester math and science major from Matawan.

While some students expressed shock; others, like Riccardi, praised Burnham’s accomplishments over his 20-year tenure as president.

“He’s a good guy, and he did a lot for this school,” said Mohammed Adam, a 23-year-old, fifth-semester biology student from Hazlet.

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