Monday, August 17, 1998

DISSENT'S DISTRICT NEWS ROUNDUP: AUGUST '98

The following has been edited down, but it still comes across in places as "inside baseball."

Still, it gives one a sense of what was happening in the district in the Fall of '98.



8/17/98
DISTRICT NEWS
Affiliated with the ‘Vine and the Dissent”

DID YOU KNOW…?


THAT Liberty Lobby’s infamous anti-Semitic newspaper, the Spotlight, has “covered” the Frogue story and, in recent months, has championed Frogue’s cause? (See, e.g., the June 29 issue.)

THAT the founder of “Friends of Steven J. Frogue,” Orange County’s own George Kadar, is an avowed “white separatist”? (San Diego Union Tribune, 8/29/91)

--He is also the founder of American Spring, an anti-immigration group that has staged protests at the Mexican border.

THAT the chief “scholar” whom Frogue invited to participate in his Warren Commission Forum, Spotlight’s Michael Collins Piper, recently “reported” in that paper that Israel—the supposed killer of JFK--might have been behind the Oklahoma City bombing, too?

“If an Iraqi was really ‘John Doe No. 2’ in the Oklahoma City case,” gushes Piper, “this could suggest that Israel’s Mossad was involved in the bombing”! Inquiring minds want to know!

THAT, among the speakers who have repeatedly appeared at board meetings to speak on Frogue’s behalf is Joe Fields, a white separatist and Holocaust “revisionist,” who has said that Jews deserve “everything they get, even extermination”? (See Michael Novick’s White Lies, White Power)

THAT, owing to a mailer sent to Spotlight readers by Piper, more than fifty “patriots”—including Kadar and Fields--attended the June board meeting intending to speak in support of Frogue/Piper?

THAT, to date, Frogue has never repudiated the support of any of these people?

…..

THAT, at the June board meeting, honor student Julie Abel, addressing the board majority, held her honor certificate in the air and asked, “So what do you expect me to do with this thing?…Please send me a new certificate without your signatures”?

THAT, during his remarks at the June board meeting, Frogue’s friend Michael Piper accused Roy Bauer of vulgarity and bad taste because, minutes earlier, Bauer had read aloud to the board one of Piper’s profanity-laden and threatening epistles to district personnel?

THAT, at the end of his remarks, a flustered Piper pointed to the JDL’s Irv Rubin and said, “If ever there was an argument in favor of anti-Semitism, it’s…this self-appointed spokesman for the Jewish community right here”?

THAT, according to a June 13 article in the Register, when state investigators arrived in our district in April, “two of the district’s seven trustees [namely, Williams and Fortune] took what the state chancellor’s office calls an ‘unprecedented’ series of actions to impede its investigation…”?

According to the Register, trustee Williams unsuccessfully demanded that a court reporter document the interviews of faculty and staff by the state’s investigators. Further, for eight hours, trustee Fortune paced outside the interview room and periodically glared through the window in an effort to intimidate interviewees.

THAT, as reported in the Register (6/13), in May, trustee Williams sent trustees for Chabot College articles in which new Chabot College president Terry Burgess is quoted as criticizing the management of his old district?

Reportedly, Williams declined to explain why he mailed the articles.

The Register reported that, according to acting chancellor Hodge, “Williams’ action shows that written guidelines are needed for board members who wish to send letters…on district letterhead.”

THAT the Register article described an episode in which, during a board meeting, trustee Fortune rudely cut off student Shelly Riddle seven times as she struggled to answer the trustee’s question concerning a student government “no confidence” vote in the board majority?

THAT, in the Register article, IVC VP of Instruction Glenn Roquemore stated that “I haven’t found [the majority trustees] to be controlling or intimidating in any way”?

THAT, with complete indifference to district complaint and grievance procedures, for weeks, Roquemore shopped around for a dean to help him to pursue alleged student complaints against board majority critic Roy Bauer?

THAT, when advised by one dean (Greg Bishopp) to follow district procedures and, indeed, to drop the “Bauer”matter, Roquemore explained that he was “getting pressure from the board”?

Among the complaints Roquemore was pursuing: Bauer does not take roll. In fact, instructors are not required to take roll.

THAT, during an address at the May board meeting in which he defended himself against a 74% faculty vote of no confidence, IVC president Mathur, offering no evidence whatsoever, falsely accused three faculty of sending him racist “mail threats”?

When one of the three demanded an apology, district legal counsel Spencer Covert responded on behalf of the district with a letter asserting that Mathur, by virtue of his participation in a “legislative proceeding,” was protected by an “absolute privilege” that is not lost “even if the person making the statement acted with actual malice or with intent to do harm.” The district will not urge Mathur to apologize, then, since he is invulnerable to prosecution for making his irresponsible statements. Thank you very much.

THAT, on June 5, state chancellor Thomas Nussbaum wrote to acting chancellor Hodge requesting answers to five questions by July 10?

The questions concern IVC president Mathur’s illegal actions regarding the formation of a curriculum committee without Academic Senate participation and the board’s reported approval of courses put forward by that committee.

In the letter, Nussbaum warned that compliance with provisions of the Ed Code that require collegial consultation is a requirement “for [the college’s] receipt of state aid.” Reportedly, $4 million is at stake.

I am told that Mathur authored the answers that were sent to the state.

THAT, in the course of a meeting with two Academic Senate officers in May, IVC president Raghu Mathur—the only person ever to have been officially censured for lying in the history of the college--raised his hands to the heavens and declared that, because he is a Believer, God is on his side and that, in the end, there will be justice and retribution?

THAT, in a June 21 letter to the Times, retired Saddleback VP Everett Brewer wrote, “In a very short time, the existing Board of Trustees has nearly destroyed everything we labored so long to create”?

According to Brewer, “Talented and experienced administrators left the colleges and district because they could not tolerate the behavior and abuses of the board” which “has betrayed its trust.”

THAT, at the January, 1998, meeting of the Accrediting Commission, “concern” was expressed regarding two “developments” in our district: (1) administrative “capacity” (a reference to dramatic administrative personnel changes and sudden radical structural changes) and (2) “financial stability”?

According to an April report prepared by Judith Watkins and George Boggs of the Commission, in January, the Commission “was concerned that the institutions in the District would not be able to demonstrate that they were in continuous compliance with the eligibility requirements and standards of accreditation.” As a consequence, it arranged for a team to visit the District in order to verify its “progress report.”

THAT, during their April 13 site visit, the team “verified concerns…regarding administrative capacity”?

According to the team’s report (also dated April 13), “major restructuring of the administration” has indeed occurred in the district but “none of the parties with whom we spoke verified…the development of any plan or rationale by which the reorganization was to be accomplished.” [Note: the team evidently spoke with the Vice President of the Board, Dorothy Fortune.]

According to the report, “the [Commission] team was unable to confirm that the stated objectives of the reorganization occurred.”

The report also addressed the “absence of a clearly developed rationale and design for the reorganization [or] a realistic assessment of the consequences and an analysis of the cost implications of the decisions.” According to the report, the site visit team expressed particular concern “about the reassignment of such a large number of administrators from Saddleback College without a reasoned assessment of the requirements of an institution of that size and complexity.” Said the report, “The District and the colleges are urged to link decision making to planning in order to reduce the apparent reliance on ad hoc decisions.”

THAT, in a June 19 letter to chancellor Hodge, David B. Wolf, executive director of the commission, stated that “the Commission continues to be very concerned that the district and its two colleges have not made positive progress in addressing the consequences of reorganization. Fundamental issues of governance and administration remain unresolved, and possibly exacerbated, at all levels”?

According to Wolf, the district’s progress report “does not indicate the presence of a coherent planning process for the recent reorganization of the district colleges.” He adds, “nor has any objective evaluation of the consequences of that reorganization been developed…The Commission remains very concerned that the district does not effectively link planning to decision making, thereby continuing the practice of ad hoc decisions at the Board level. Two examples are the reorganization of the two colleges and the administrative appointments policy. The Governing Board has a major responsiblity to review its practices in this area.”

THAT, owing to this continued concern, the Commission requested an “additional Progress Report” by September 1?

THAT, in a July 1 Times article, the Accrediting Commission’s Judith Watkins is quoted as saying, “…we’re really trying to speak to the board to say ‘Don’t mess up your colleges’”?

THAT, in a July 2 Register article, Watkins describes decision making among the trustees in this way: “Someone gets a bright idea in the middle of a meeting, and the next thing you know some decision has been made that changes the world”?

THAT, according to a July 1 Register article, on the 30th of June, the ACLU “sued Irvine Valley College President Raghu Mathur, accusing him of violating students’ civil rights in May when he restricted a campus demonstration criticizing his leadership”?

Spencer Covert has sent a draft of proposed district reg’s for student assemblies and protests to the ACLU’s Carol Sobel. (He is particularly concerned about the use of “props.”) Sobel has responded with three pages of objections. Stay tuned.

THAT, according to the same article, “Legal fees in the district jumped from $197,064 during the 1995-1996 school year to $373,649 this past school year”?

THAT clueless IVC VP of Instruction Glenn Roquemore, apparently unaware of summer scheduling’s affect on the budget, expanded summer offerings by 24%, thereby overspending to the tune of $354,201?

THAT, on July 8, a Times editorial reviewed recent events in the district and concluded by suggesting, “The prospect of losing money or accreditation is serious and the clock is ticking. Put the welfare of the district and quality education first”?

THAT, in July, popular IVC VP of business services Bob Loeffler tendered his resignation and released a statement which said, “During the past year, I have found that I can no longer effectively or happily work in the unsettled political and administrative environment in both the district and at IVC. This has forced me to reluctantly look for employment at other community colleges even though it will create significant disruption to both my personal and to my family’s life”?

According to an article in the Irvine World News (July 9), Loeffler will take a “significant cut in salary” in accepting a similar job at Chabot College.

The article quoted an apparently featherless IVC president Raghu P. Mathur as saying that it is a “feather in the cap of the district” that people who have gained experience here have gone on to find excellent positions when they have chosen to go elsewhere.

It is no secret that Loeffler left exactly because he could not continue to work under the execrable Mathur.

THAT the July 9 issue of the Irvine World News featured a letter by trustee Dave Lang in which he complained of board president John Williams’ “amazing” ability to “distort facts” concerning the chancellorship hiring process?

Lang closed his letter by saying: “Williams’ blatant disrespect of the shared governance process and his fellow trustees is yet another example of his poor leadership. This micromanagement of the chancellor hiring process reminds one of the administrative reorganization and Irvine Valley College presidential hiring process a year ago, the effects of which continue to haunt this district and our community.”

THAT, in July, trustee Joan Hueter announced her retirement from the board, saying that she blamed the board majority for a pattern of “micromanagement and poor judgment” that led to an administrative exodus and state investigations? (Times, 7/20)

THAT, on July 20, the California Citizens Commission on Higher Education issued a report that proposed sweeping changes for community colleges, including the elimination of locally elected boards?

According to a July 21 Register article, “The commission…believes that members of locally elected boards get into office based upon which group provided campaign support, which can make them beholden to special-interest groups on campus.”

THAT, in the Times article concerning the Commission’s report, our district is used to illustrate the “disarray” that characterizes community colleges?

THAT, during a July 20 closed session, the board appointed Pamela Zanelli acting director of public affairs?

Zanelli was the Faculty Association consultant who, in 1996, suggested to the union leadership that it exploit alleged voter distaste for “domestic partners benefits.” Later, as a district employee, she was responsible for the infamous 2/19/98 press release entitled “Weapons Confiscated at SOCCCD Board Meeting” that, despite immediate efforts at damage control by chancellor Hodge, yielded a Times story according to which knives and pepper spray were found at a SOCCCD board meeting. (See Times, 2/20/98.)

THAT, during the July board meeting, members of the “fiscally conservative” board majority once again balked at supporting the college foundations, despite the fact that the IVC Foundation raised $611,000 last year and the Saddleback Foundation will probably raise $750,00 this year?

According to a July 23 story in the Irvine World News, district foundations director Don Rickner estimated that “the incoming funds compare at about a 3-1 ratio with paid out expenses.”
In that article, Dorothy Fortune was quoted as saying, “We should not be paying [for] this [i.e., foundations] out of taxpayer’s money.” Trustee Frogue stated, “The foundations were supposed to be independent six or seven years ago. My patience is at an end with this.”

THAT, against the unanimous urgings of Irvine Valley College counselors, president--and notorious autocrat--Raghu P. Mathur approved the transfer of Armando Ruiz from Saddleback to IVC?

According to IVC affirmative action officer Frank Marmolejo, the hire might have violated Title V regulations. (Irvine World News, 7/30)

THAT, in violation of the California Open Meetings Law, the board discussed the controversial hire/transfer of Ruiz in closed session, despite not having agendized the matter?

THAT, despite board president John Williams’ claims of wide representation on the chancellor search committee, the group included no students or community members?

THAT board president John Williams rejected the search committee’s recommendation that two of the candidates (including the union’s man, Bill Jay) not be interviewed?

THAT, on the 6th of August, on the third floor of the Saddleback Library, Bill Jay and John Williams had an argument in which Jay complained about Williams’ failure to keep his promise to appoint Jay chancellor?

Jay resigned his Vice Chancellorship on the spot. He will now return to the classroom.

THAT, recently, Steven Frogue called David Wolf, executive director of the Accrediting Commission, questioning Chabot trustee Isobel Dvorsky’s membership on the Accrediting Team that will soon visit our district?

Wolf , who took umbrage, asked Frogue whether his misgivings about Dvorsky derived from her trusteeship in a district in which Terry Burgess is a college president. Frogue wouldn’t cop to it.

Wolf later called Dvorsky to confirm that she will definitely be ON the Accrediting Team. (Dvorsky is the president of the Association of Community College Trustees.)

THAT Raghu Mathur, that celebrated slasher of reassigned time, has been busily cutting back-room deals with some faculty (e.g., Sue Long), releasing them from 50% or more of their teaching duties?

Reportedly, Mathur defends himself as follows: these faculty aren’t getting reassigned time; rather, they’re getting “assigned” time. Oh. No confirmation yet on reports that Mathur is changing Irvine Valley’s name to “Stanford.”

(Before he became IVC’s president, the wily Mathur was unequaled in his ability to get massive amounts of reassigned time. At the same time, he managed to be among the highest paid faculty in the district, pulling down $124,000 a year. --24% and dropping, Goo.)

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