First Posted: 5/19/2009
A petition is circulating calling on Surry Community College officials to renew the contract of Viticulture Instructor Gill Giese.
That would seem to indicate college officials have opted not to renew the contract.
Neither Giese nor SCC officials would address the question head-on when queried by The Mount Airy News, although Giese did say school officials had discussed his contract with him recently. Ironically, that discussion came on May 1, shortly after the groundbreaking for the schools viticulture center.
College President Deborah Friedman said she is prohibited from discussing the situation by privacy laws relating to personnel matters.
While we agree that Friedman, and anyone else at the college, should not necessarily disclose why a person is not being asked to return if that is the case we also point out that Giese is a public employee and if he is no longer at the college after the Aug. 31 contract expiration date it will be plainly evident his contract was not renewed.
A simple yes or no, his contract is being renewed or it is not, would not seem to violate any law. Even more, the college owes this to those in the regions wine industry, and to prospective students looking at the colleges viticulture program.
Those in the wine industry have a vested interested in the schools program, and many will tell you SCC has played a significant role in the development of the wine industry in this region. At least part of that credit surely goes to Giese, whose expertise has helped local wineries and guided students into that field.
The wineries who depend on and look to SCC and the students who may be going there soon deserve to know if Giese will be back.
Again, we understand any details of such a decision might understandably kept private, but saying he will or wont be offered a contract seems the right thing to do for all involved.