It is always sad to see members of our Linfield community leave us, especially when not told why it is happening.
With almost 14 years on staff in the Health, Human Performance and Athletics (HHPA) department, Christine Kirk was shocked to hear her contract would not be renewed shortly after the end of the 2012 fall term.
“I was told that the college was going in another direction, and it didn’t include me,” Kirk said.
Rumors of Kirk’s dismissal began to appear on Facebook, calling for students to send President Thomas Hellie an email or letter about Kirk’s dismissal.
The Facebook page stated:
“After 12 wonderful years, Christine Kirk’s contract to teach yoga, aerobics and other fitness classes was discontinued mid-contract. As you all know, Christine is an icon at Linfield, and it won’t be the same without her. Future generations shouldn’t be deprived of her awesomeness.”
In response to the posting on the Facebook page, both Hellie and Kirk have said that her contract was not ended mid-contract.
According to Kirk, her contract for the 2012-13 school year was drawn out for August through December.
“Christine was an adjunct (part-time) instructor, who worked on a semester by semester basis at Linfield,” Hellie said via email. “Her employment was not terminated. Rather, her contract was not renewed.”
Kirk received an email at the beginning of the winter break from the HHPA department chair, Gary Killgore, requesting to meet with her.
“I went to go meet with him, and he basically said you’re done,” Kirk said.
Killgore declined to comment on the situation.
Attempting to find out any more information, Kirk went to Melrose hoping to talk to someone from Human Resources, but Kirk could not reach anyone because the campus was closed for winter break.
While Kirk has no resentment toward anyone at Linfield College, she said it’s the connection between the students and the community she’ll miss the most.
“I have alumni whose weddings I’ve gone to and whose baby showers I’ve attended. It’s that connection I’m going to miss,” Kirk said.
“I have people who ask me, ‘why do you live in McMinnville, there’s nothing there?’ And I say, ‘oh yes there is. We have a beautiful community.’”
Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.