Monday, August 18, 1997

The excrement hits the fan: the August '97 Board Meeting

Frogue, holding Institute for Historical Review publication
From the ‘Vine, 9/1/97

Selected Transcripts from the 8/18/97 SOCCCD Board meeting (Part I)

[What follows is a transcription of remarks made during the August 1997 meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees.

ISSUE #1: On this night, the ADL’s Joyce Greenspan raised serious questions about Frogue’s proposed “Warren Commission” forum and its four invited guests. Nevertheless, the “Board Majority” approved the forum. Within a few days, that became a national, and even an international, story.

Here's how item 13, Frogue's Forum, appeared on the agenda:

Agenda Item #13, Board Meeting, August 18, 1997
$5,000 for honoraria, travel, or accommodations for Sherman Skolnick, Dave Emory, John Judge, Michael Collins Piper.

Ad: Special Forum
Saddleback College Community Education
Fall, 1997

9019.101 Warren Report on the JFK Assassination: The Test of History. After 33 years, the Warren Report on the November 22, 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, has suffered considerable criticism. Recent polls indicate that as many as 7 out of 8 Americans reject the Commission’s conclusion that a single person (unaided) accomplished the assassination; and then, was himself, murdered by a singled [sic] unaided person. The reasons for this overwhelming rejection of the government’s official findings, and the resulting lack of confidence in the government in general will be examined.

FRI, SEP 26, 7:00 -10:00 PM
SAT, SEP 27, 9:00 AM -12:00 PM & 1:00 - 5:00 PM
SUN, SEP 28, 9:00 AM -12:00 PM & 1:00 - 6:00 PM
Saddleback College, SSC 225
FEE: $99

Coordinator: Steven Frogue. Guest speakers (?) from the...?? will be featured presenters.


ISSUE #2: The union Old guard (including Garcia and Heffernin) had financed Frogue’s reelection campaign (of ’96). Indeed, that group was responsible for the “Board Majority,” which arrived in December of ’96. During the summer of ’97—one month prior to this meeting—the board acted (illegally, as it turns out) to reorganize the district and eliminate school chairs (at IVC), replacing them with deans, which, unlike faculty, were easy to control.

At the time, the union Old Guard, facing severe criticism for its homophobic and dishonest campaign flier and its support of the unsavoury Mr. Frogue, offered a red herring: that all the fuss arose from the disgruntlement of IVC’s School Chairs who had been “sent back to the classroom.” Of course, criticism of the Old Guard had reached a high pitch long before those individuals lost their chair positions. Hence, the “disgruntlement” thesis was patent nonsense.

The Old Guard strongly opposed IVC’s “school chair” governance approach, which, of course, is utterly routine throughout academia. (For a local example, just go up the road to U.C.I.) A school chair does essentially what a dean does. Hence, he or she must be “released” (or “reassigned”) to some extent from teaching to perform those duties. At IVC, “reassigned” or “released” time for School Chairs varied from School to School, but no instructor had more than 80%.

Normally, the office of School Chair rotates among faculty. There was an exception: in Raghu Mathur’s own School, the office never rotated, for Mathur schemed and connived to maintain that position for nearly ten years. Just prior to being appointed interim President of IVC in April of ’97, Glenn Roquemore was working with IVC administration to wrest the School Chair job from Raghu. When Raghu was appointed president, Roquemore suddenly became Raghu’s pal.

Reassigned time was sometimes abused. Raghu had a reputation for being the chief abuser. He contrived a load that amounted to a salary of over $120,000. The point about Mathur’s reliance on or abuse of reassigned or released time is made by some speakers in what follows. Remarkably, once he was appointed President of IVC, Raghu, the greatest abuser of reassigned time became its loudest critic.]


Public comments:

Anthony Garcia:

I’m here for three specific reasons, and the first is to commend the board for their recent actions that have rerouted more teachers back into the classroom where they belong. Secondly, it is to congratulate the board for appointing Dr. Raghu as the Interim President--[He is] a courageous moralist who has confronted many of the ills of the north campus despite the vitriolic invectives and hollow protestations that he has encountered to condemn the obscene and immoral practice of release time that some instructors—maybe we should call them former instructors because they barely instruct—have come to regard and now demand as part of their contract. [Someone in the audience says: “Raghu Mathur.” Board President Frogue says: “Order, please.”]

Release time has become one of the great scandals of academia. The pristine purpose of release time was to compensate instructors who took on added chores such as scheduling. In this case, the granting of release time was just compensation, and it is now. However, during the tenure of Constance Carrol, the granting of release time became a political quid pro quo and the effect of a convoluted and obfuscated vision of what our purpose should be. Rather than find teachers in the classroom where they belong, they could be found in the myriad of committees and self-serving projects. The cost for this release time reaches upwards of $800,000, enough to accomodate the thousands of students that petition for classes each year. Something was wrong with this picture.

One such scandal involves one instructor that had 18 units of release time—the equivalent of 58 hours of class-related time per week—and still taught his full time. Is there something wrong with this picture?

Finally, I’d like to thank Dr. Mathur for his fortitude in confronting this specific problem. The community should elect [sic] a statue to him for his courage. The people that you see at Board meetings and read about in the Times condemning his actions you would find on the Who’s Who list of release time usurpers [Sherry Miller-White: “Amen!”], if you were privy to it. Now you see the picture.

And I would like to thank four Board members—Steve Frogue, Dorothy Fortune, John Williams and Teddi Lorch—who have the courage to tackle this problem which is the root of the majority of our evils. Thank you.

Bill Heffernin (spelling?):

...When I heard that remark, I looked over at Raghu and his face showed a calm certainty of a man who accepts that, in disagreement, any kind of behavior, I suppose, is possible....

...but sweetheart deals with symbiotic faculty—symbiotic because, like a parasitic vine, they enjoy coiling and clinging, but, ultimately, they kill the host plant. Symbiotic faculty have nearly killed these two colleges. The many symbiotic faculty at both colleges have enjoyed bountiful reassigned time, or, as it used to be called, release time--that’s a more telling phrase because it explains the motivation of such faculty who want to get out of the classroom and be administrators. Reassigned time is really a euphymism for faculty welfare and has turned our college into a playground for spoiled children. Not our students, but a few faculty who want to teach courses--two courses, not five courses as they were hired to do. Some of us—and that includes Raghu—say this scandalous system for the favored few is over. If you were hired to teach, it is time to teach.

Bob Cosgrove:

...I think the accolades for Mr. Raghu Mathur are impressive; however, I think [they are] inappropriate during an active Presidential search. Have all the other candidates been advised that they could bring people to this meeting or other meetings to have their cases presented equally?

Joyce Greenspan:

Good evening. I’m Joyce Greenspan, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of Orange County and Long Beach. The ADL is an 84 year old human rights and civil rights organization whose mission is to fight antisemitism and to secure the justice and fair treatment of all citizens alike.

I am here to protest a Saddleback College Community Education forum to be given by Steven Frogue about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I believe it is important for the community to know that Mr. Frogue has personal beliefs about the assassination and ADL that must be brought to light. Mr. Frogue, in a Nov. 25, 1996 interview by the LA Times, is quoted to have said, I quote, “I believe Lee Harvey Oswald worked for the ADL. That’s right. I believe the ADL was behind it.” Unquote.

The speakers he has asked this esteemed Board to underwrite are known conspiracy theorists. Sherman Skolnick...is on the advisory board of Spotlight, the virulently antisemitic and racist newspaper of the right- wing organization Liberty Lobby that was founded by Willis Carto, perhaps the most influential professional antisemite in the United States.

Another of the speakers invited to speak, Michael Collins Piper, is on the staff of the Spotlight and a regular writer of articles for that newspaper. Piper has written a book called Final Judgment in which he...alleges that the Israel Mossad killed JFK.

...In addition, the founder of Spotlight, Willis Carto, founded the Institute for Historical Review, an organization which is a movement to deny the Holocaust. In the February 6, 1995 issue of the Spotlight, Carto refers to the Holocaust as, quote, “A profitable hoax.” Unquote.

I suggest that this Board of Trustees read a copy of the Spotlight so you can see for youself who the speakers of this forum will be. Once you have appropriately educated yourself about Mr. Frogue’s theories in regard to the JFK assassination, you may want to reconsider the negative mesage you’ll be sending the community by approving funding for speakers for this class. You may also want to reconsider holding such a forum. I thank you.

Frogue’s response:

I would just like to respond just ever so briefly...Sherman Skolnick I’ve known for years. He lives in Chicago, where I’m from. He did monumental work on the John F. Kennedy Assassination, the Watergate plane crash that killed Mrs. E. Howard Hunt near Chicago’s Midway Ariport.

Mr. Dave Emory and John Lodge are both devotees and almost disciples of Mrs....Russell, the granddaughter of the founder of the I Magnin department stores, and the daughter, I believe, of Rabbi Edgar Magnin.

Michael Collins Piper--I met him in Washington, D.C., a year ago. He has written a book, Final Judgment, which blames certain elements of the CIA associated through James...Engleton, head of counter-intelligence, and certain elements of organized crime for the assasssination.

Regarding the quote in the Los Angeles Times, November 25th: like about everything else in that article, it’s untrue. I never said it, it’s ridiculous and--how they can quote me as saying something like that--I never said it. It’s ridiculous, and I never said it. So much for that.

Roy Bauer (interrupting):

All the papers are liars. All the papers. The Register, the LA Times, the Irvine World News—they’re all liars. Is there a conspiracy against you? Is that what’s going on?

Frogue:

No...we’re getting away from this. What we have...

Bauer:

Are you still a fan of the Institute for Historical Review?

Frogue:

Mr...? You’re out of order, please.

[For media coverage, see especially:

1. Front Page of LA Times, August 21
O.C. College Course Claims JFK Conspiracy
By MICHAEL GRANBERRY
TIMES STAFF WRITER

2. LA Times Editorial, August 22, 1997 (LA and O.C. editions)
ORANGE COUNTY PERSPECTIVE
Colleges Should Stay Miles Away From Bigotry [TIMES COMMENTARY]

3. Orange County Register, August 22, 1997
College district cancels assassination seminar [KINDY]
EDUCATION: Protests lead to the demise of a class on the John F. Kennedy shooting.
By KIMBERLY KINDY
The Orange County Register

4. LA Times, Front Page, August 22
Saddleback’s JFK Conspiracy Seminar Spiked [ARCHIBOLD/GRANBERRY/BROWER]
By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
MICHAEL GRANBERRY
and KIMBERLY BROWER
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES]


[BACK TO THE BOARD MEETING:]

Alice Patton:

I’m just curious about one thing, as Bob Cosgrove was. IVC is in the middle of the Presidential hiring [process]. Is it appropriate to have people speaking about a candidate when there are people in the room that are serving on the hiring committee?...Will other candidates get equal opportunity to speak to the Board?

--And I’d like an answer.

Frogue:

This is an open meeting. People have been saying things for and against President Mathur, in his Interim Position, and I don’t know a way of stopping anybody from saying whatever they want about the search process.

Alice:

But will there be an equal opporunity?

Fortune:

There is right now.

Kathie Hodge:

I think comments about candidates is inappropriate—even though public comments—you cannot restrain public comments. I think comments regarding a active process are inappropriate. And I think it would be wise to have the future speakers on that particular issue not address that topic tonight.

Richard Zucker:

...The wastefulness and absurdity of such a process is obvious. What is also obvious is the insult, anger, and exploitation that the unsuccessful candidates will feel when they learn that they have unwittingly participated in a scheme--a scheme that I believe is intended to result in an offer to our Interim President. Dr. Lombardi is quoted in the local newspaper as not personally favoring this approach to selecting a newPresident, but he says there does not seem to be another model that would get the support of the Board majority. Thank you, Dr. Lombardi, for clarifying the true source of this ingenious plan. (Applause.)

The newspaper article goes on to say that, according to Dr. Lombardi, the Board would defend this unusual practice of interviewing all candidates regardless of qualifications to make sure that Raghu Mathur is not eliminated unfairly. That’s a quote from the article. I know that it is FederalLaw, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, to provide accomodations to the disabled, to make it possible for them to compete fairly in a world that is dominated by able-bodied people. Is this the motive of the Board to compensate for the fact that our Interim President is effectively disabled?

Last week, one of the popular news magazines...reported on abuses of the Americans with Disabilities Act—obese people, people who can’t sleep, and even people who are oversexed—are claiming that the ADA applies to them. Now it appears that people who suffer from unfavorable public opinion are provided with special accomodations, too.

My forgoing remarks are actually only a preface to this more important matter. President Frogue has publicly proclaimed his belief that balloting conducted by the Academic Senate of Irvine Valley College was rigged on at least two occasions. He has inferred on the basis on no real evidence that tampering took place to manipulate outcomes. But he is wrong. I likewise conclude that the Presidential search is rigged to produce an outcome. Prove me wrong. In the spirit of the remarks made by the esteemed member of the Board of Governors, prove me wrong by selecting your next President unanimously and with input from all constituencies.

Thank you.

Lewis Long:

...Mr. Mathur, would you please advise the Board how much reassigned time you had before you accepted the Interim President position?

Mathur:

They’re well aware.

Audience:

“We’d like to know!” (No response.)

Jan Horn:

My name is Jan Horn. I’m a professor at Irvine Valley College. Raghu Mathur is being hailed as a hero for his tough stance against reassigne d time and his tough decisions to cut that reassigned time. His position is new and surprising to those of us who have worked with him for many years prior to his annointment. Raghu received 60%-80% reassigned time as School Chair for years. In addition, for at least the past three yrears--possibly four--he received a stipend, equivalent to 6 LHE reassigned time, for his role as Tech Prep Coordinator. So he has had 100%--or close to it--reassigned time for a number of years, and now he and his followers are talking about the disagraces and abuses [of reassigned time]...Does President Mathur think he did nothing during that job?...I’d like you to take a look at his loa...and then see what he actually did about reassigned time, not what he is saying about it now. (Applause.)

Sherry Miller-White:

...I know that you cannot mandate that people act or behave in a civil or humane manner, but we’re coming very close to it being necessary!

Frogue:

Thank you very much. (I) appreciate that.

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