Monday, November 1, 1999

LISA’S DEPOSITION: A “STRATEGY OF HARASSMENT”

From Dissent 35, 11/1/99
Slightly updated, 7/10/06

On Tuesday, October 5, 1999, IVC English professor Lisa Alvarez was deposed in regard to Roy Bauer’s First Amendment lawsuit. She was represented by attorney Bob Myers, formerly City Attorney of Santa Monica. Also present were Bauer’s attorney, Carol Sobel, and the Chancellor’s attorney, David Larsen.

Essentially, Bauer’s lawsuit was a response to an action perceived by him as a first step toward termination. The district (Chancellor Sampson, the Board Majority, Raghu Mathur) was sick and tired of Bauer’s newsletter, which was highly critical of those in power and the ruthless unionists who put them there. And so Sampson and the board went after him. Bauer and his contributors’ satirical writings suddenly were labeled “violent” and “racist.” Bauer was told to cease his violence and discrimination and to seek anger management counseling.

Bauer refused to go to counseling or to change his publication. Instead, he and attorney Carol Sobel went to federal court.

From the beginning, things went Bauer’s way. Early on, a judge described the district’s action against Bauer as “Orwellian.” Later judges seemed to agree.

After much legal wrangling, Bauer prevailed. The district appealed. Bauer prevailed again. This took years.

In the course of the litigation, the district deposed several persons, including Bauer’s office mate, English professor Lisa Alvarez. Her deposition is presented below.

Here are some facts to keep in mind. Bauer did much of the writing of his newsletters (‘Vine & Dissent), but, in those publications, he also published pieces by colleagues, including Rebel Girl and Red Emma. These, of course, are pseudonyms.

I’m happy to report that these two individuals continue to write for Dissent, i.e., Dissent the Blog, under the same pseudonyms.

Six specific elements of the newsletters were cited, by Chancellor Sampson, as violating the district’s anti-discrimination and “workplace violence” policies. As I recall, two of them were actually authored by Red Emma.

I think you’ll find the deposition to be interesting.

CONTENT:

1. They want to know what she thinks:
2. On Sampson’s “surprising” declaration:
3. The clock tower incident:
4. The Accrediting Team’s report:
5. Anger, faculty assemblies, raised voices:
6. Shit list:
7. Mr. Goo:
8. “Going postal” deconstructed:
9. The infamous “MAIM” remark:
9b. That would be a beheading
10. Unabauer:
11. Shared governance and the school chair:
12. Discomfort, threats, passion:
13. Lookin’ for dirt:
14. Civility, fear, petitions:
15. A hostile work environment:


1. They want to know what she thinks:

Q Do you recall what [Mr. Bauer] said…about the excerpts [from Bauer’s newsletter that appeared in Sampson’s letter to Bauer in December of 1998]…?

MR. MYERS: If you’re asking what Mr. Bauer told Ms. Alvarez, I think that’s an appropriate question. Any commentary that Ms. Alvarez may have made concerning her opinions drawn from reading a newspaper, I don’t think are within the scope of legitimate questioning at this deposition because it may relate to her political beliefs, opinions, and other matters.

MR. LARSEN: Well—

MR. MYERS: This is not a forum for the college to find out what other faculty members may think about their chancellor.
…..
Q Do you recall anything else that Professor Bauer said about the deposition excerpts that were published in the newsletters?

A Not in particular.

Q What did you say with respect to those deposition excerpts?
…..
MR. MYERS: [To Lisa:] If your comments were your expressions of opinions concerning the excerpts, I’ll object to the question on the basis that it violates the First Amendment of the State and Federal Constitution to inquire into her political commentaries and opinions.

MR. LARSEN: Are you going to instruct her not to answer?

MR. MYERS: If that’s the purpose of your question—…to inquire into her opinions about what she thought of the chancellor’s deposition—yes, I will instruct her not to answer.

MR. LARSEN: Well, I think, Counsel, that I’m entitled—if she made expressions about testimony that’s been elicited in these proceedings, she’s commented on testimony that’s been elicited in these proceedings, I’m entitled to know what those comments on that testimony are.

MS. SOBEL: Why?

MR. MYERS: Why?

MR. LARSEN: Why? Because she’s been designated as a witness.

MS. SOBEL: To events that occurred long before Chancellor Sampson’s deposition was taken…David, if Chancellor Sampson at [his] deposition said he did not have any idea what the Christian Coalition was—which is I believe something he testified to, which I believe was excerpted in [Bauer’s] newsletter—what relevance does that have to anything—any information Professor Alvarez has that led to the district, now almost a year ago, issuing the disciplinary letters to Professor Bauer that they did?

MR. LARSEN: Her commentary on evidence in this proceeding is very, very relevant, if nothing else, to show its bias, prejudice. I’m not going to argue with you. If [Mr. Myers is] going to instruct her not to answer, let’s [do] it and we may have a judge decide [the matter].
…..
MR. MYERS: It seems to me, Mr. Larsen, that the only point that you have is the bias to the extent she becomes a witness in the proceeding…[B]ut that doesn’t seem to justify some open-ended inquiries into what Professor Alvarez happens to think about the chancellor of the [district]. Maybe we can just agree that…she has disagreements with the chancellor without you using this as an opportunity to inquire into her political beliefs.

MR. LARSEN: You know, my question is really simple, and I think everyone is trying to twist it, but I’ll ask it one more time. You can either instruct her not to answer or not.

Q What comments did you make [to Mr. Bauer] about Dr. Sampson’s testimony [i.e., his deposition]?
…..

2. On Sampson’s “surprising” declaration:

A Among the comments I made, I said I was going to read the testimony, that I would find it interesting.

Q Did you read the testimony?

A Yes, I did.

Q Okay. What other comments did you make to Mr. Bauer about the testimony?

A I believe I indicated I was surprised.
…..
Q Okay. Did you identify any of those statements that you were surprised about?

A I know I indicated surprise about the chancellor’s professed ignorance about the Christian Coalition, a political action group.

Q Any others that you expressed surprise at?

A I believe I indicated surprise at the chancellor’s characterization of a college gathering that I…attended.

Q Any other statements that you made to him about surprise?

A I was surprised at the chancellor’s characterization of one of my colleagues, a bearded man [not Bauer]—his characterization of him as “menacing.”

Q Any other statements that you—

A None in particular. I think…that in general I was surprised at the sections of the deposition I read…I think that’s an honest, accurate assessment of my response and the comments I made about it.

Q Did Mr. Bauer respond to your comments?

A Nothing that I recall in particular. I mean he listened as office mates do.

3. The clock tower incident:

[The “clock tower” incident was a more-or-less impromptu response to rumors that President Mathur planned to transfer his secretary, owing to his unfounded suspicions of her. On the morning in question, two or three Humanities & Languages faculty—not Bauer—quickly organized this show of concern, which led to a discussion with the Chancellor. Bauer heard about the effort and witnessed it, but he was advised by his Brown Act attorney not to become directly involved. Though he helped inform a few people of the event, he also heeded the advice.]

Q Now, you say you were surprised at a characterization of a college gathering that you attended. What college gathering are you referring to?

A It was a rather spontaneous gathering of faculty and staff in the A quad by the clock tower, and I’m trying to remember the date, but I cannot. My sense is it might have been last spring, but I’m not sure.

Q Outside the president’s door/window?

A Yes.

Q A spontaneous gathering—How many faculty gathered?

A I believe the student newspaper indicated it might have been 40 faculty and staff.

Q This was spontaneous? Everybody just happened to be there at the same time?

A Perhaps “spontaneous” is imprecise…I was not on campus last year. I was on sabbatical, so I don’t know the nature of communications around this particular event. I received a phone call at home.

Q So somebody invited you to be there?

A Yes. [They] suggested that something was happening.

Q Okay. Who made the phone call?

MR. MYERS: I object to that question. If you want to ask about comments [people made] about the deposition, that’s fine. Now, you’re inquiring into a political event on campus—who organized it, who was involved with it. And as a state institution, I don’t believe that your client can inquire into these political matters. This is getting pretty far afield.

MS. SOBEL: I’m going to interpose an objection, too, on behalf of a third party who is not present, but because the First Amendment permits third-party protections to be raised by someone who is present in a proceeding such as this, I’m going to interpose a “First Amendment right of association” objection for whoever it was who telephoned Professor Alvarez.

MR. LARSEN: Was it Roy Bauer?

MR. MYERS: Objection to the question.

MR. LARSEN: Are you going to instruct her not to answer?

MR. MYERS: Yes. If you want to sit here and violate the constitutional rights of my client, we will object and instruct her not to answer.

MR. LARSEN: You and I obviously have disagreement—

MR. MYERS: Let the judge decide.

MR. LARSEN: Okay.
…..
Q What surprised you about the chancellor’s characterization of this gathering when you read his testimony?

A His rather casual dismissal of the concerns of a large [group] of my colleagues.

Q So you…disagreed with how he viewed the gathering?

A. …[His] attitude…became obvious.

Q Now, you said that you were surprised by the characterization of a colleague as “menacing”?

A Yes.

Q And what colleague were you referring to?

A In the deposition, the chancellor mentioned a bearded man in his fifties, I believe.

Q Okay. Who did you understand him to be referring to?
…..
A At first, I assumed it was biology teacher and later I revised my…assumption to…the art history professor.

Q Was Mr. Bauer involved in this gathering?

A Mr. Bauer was in attendance at the gathering.

Q And did Mr. Bauer say anything or do anything that you noticed?
…..
MR. MYERS: What is the relevance of inquiring into people’s political activities at a political event?

Q This was a public gathering, correct?

A It…was a public gathering, political in nature.

Q …Your understanding was the purpose of the gathering was to communicate something to the chancellor?

A Not necessarily to the chancellor, no. I believe the chancellor happened to be in the college president’s office at the time. It is my recollection that people were surprised to have discovered that Dr. Sampson was in the college president’s office at the time we gathered at the clock tower.

MS. SOBEL: Counsel, I’m going to object to inquiry about my client’s [i.e., Roy Bauer’s] political activities. I don’t believe this gathering is in any way the basis of any of the charges the district made against Professor Bauer regarding discrimination, harassment, or violent overtones in his writings.
…..
Q Did Professor Bauer say anything at this gathering?

MR. MYERS: Objection on the basis that you’re inquiring into areas that are clearly outside the scope of the litigation and designed to inquire into the political activities of a professor at Irvine Valley College. And it’s inappropriate and I instruct the witness not to answer.
…..
MS. SOBEL: …the chancellor did not observe anything done by Roy Bauer at that event…the district has absolutely no contentions that…anything Professor Bauer did at that incident was in any way part of the charges against him.

MR. LARSEN [to Lisa]: Well, are you going to refuse to answer the question?

MR. MYERS: If you would like to ask a question that’s related to her observations of any conduct that might be within the scope of your lawsuit, I’m certainly going to allow her to respond to that question. But these open-ended questions that inquire into political beliefs don’t seem to be narrowly tailored to getting at the information that you need. Since the First Amendment is at stake, it seems to me that you have some duty to narrowly tailor your inquiries to get at the information you need without trampling [on] Professor Alvarez’s First Amendment rights.
…..
Q What do you recall Professor Bauer doing at this gathering?

A Standing around.

Q Was he in any way close to the window?

A Not to my recollection, no.

Q Do you recall anything that he said at this gathering?

A I believe I noticed he said nothing.

MR. LARSEN: That wasn’t so bad, was it?

MS. SOBEL: But it took you a long time to get to a direct question.

MR. MYERS: [To Larsen:] If you ask the narrow questions, we’ll try to accommodate you.
…..

4. The Accrediting Team’s report:

Q Have you ever read the evaluation report [of the accrediting team or commission]?

A I’ve read sections of the evaluation report…I recall reading the cover letter….
…..
Q Did you agree with it?

MR. MYERS: Hold on a second. What is the relevance of whether or not a faculty member agrees with the evaluation report of an outside entity to this litigation?

MR. LARSEN: Well, Counsel, it’s an exhibit in these proceedings. She’s a witness—potential witness—in these proceedings. I’m entitled to know if she’s read [the Accrediting report]. Are you going to instruct her not to answer?

MR. MYERS: You need to do a little better than that, Mr. Larsen…Professor Alvarez is not a party to this litigation. The college, I don’t believe, has a right to use this deposition as an opportunity to find out what faculty members believe about the organization that they work for. So can you do a little better in explaining what the purpose of this inquiry is?…We’re trying to be fair and reasonable here. This is a professor of a college institution. You are representing her employer. You cannot use a deposition as a fishing expedition into Ms. Alvarez’s beliefs about matters unrelated to the litigation….
…..
MR. LARSEN: [I want to ask Ms. Alvarez about] the summary of the evaluation report, which happens to consist of three and a half pages, which she testified she read. My question is, was there anything in the summary that she disagreed with?

MR. MYERS: The college has no right to know about her beliefs concerning the summary report.

MR. LARSEN: Are you going to instruct her not to answer, Counsel?

MR. MYERS: Yes, I am.

Q [To Lisa:] Are you going to take the advice of your counsel?

A Yes, I am.

Q Going to page 4 of the document, [it says] “Though the team was aware of the trouble[d] times.” Did you agree [with the Accreditation team] that there are divisions between factions of the faculty?

MR. MYERS: Objection…Until you provide a reasonable explanation as to why you want to subject a member of the college faculty to a general inquiry about her political beliefs and other opinions, …I will object.

MR. LARSEN: Well, this has nothing to do with political beliefs. It has to do with the comment and impact of the comment on the college, and if you’re going to instruct her not to answer—

MR. MYERS: Why don’t you take the deposition of the evaluation team if you’re interested about their opinions? [Lisa’s] opinions are irrelevant to this litigation. You couldn’t ask this in court. She’s not an expert witness. Ms. Sobel couldn’t ask her questions about this evaluation report. Nor can you, and particularly you can’t because [you represent] her employer. And to have her sit here and respond to these questions seems to be completely unreasonable and in violation of her constitutional rights.

So why don’t you move forward in the areas that might be relevant?

MR. LARSEN: I’ll ask more questions and we’ll let the judge decide [whether my questions are relevant].

MR. MYERS: Fine.

Q The last paragraph talks about divisions paralyzing governance, shattering collegiality, and adversely affecting students. Both current and future. Do you agree with that?

MR. MYERS: Once again, I object to the question.

MR. LARSEN: Are you going to instruct her not to answer?

MR. MYERS: She’s not going to be answering these questions.
…..
Q Are you aware of any hate mail on the campus?

A Yes. I received one.

Q What’s your definition of “hate mail”?

A I actually don’t have a definition that I carry around with me.
…..
Q I’m going to direct your attention to page 25 of Exhibit 5. Under “Recommendations,” item number 3, it says, “The team feels strongly that all players need to cease their negativism and focus on constructive steps toward building a future.” Do you see that?

A Uh-huh.

Q Do you agree with that?

MR. MYERS: Why is it relevant whether she agrees with it or not? Why do you need to know what her beliefs are concerning this report?

MS. SOBEL: I would object to its inquiring into political beliefs about the negativism of Mathur…, Sampson, and other public officials in the district.

MR. LARSEN: Well, Miss Alvarez, is there negativism at Irvine [Valley] College?

MR. MYERS: Once again, why is her opinion relevant to this litigation? And you have to have a compelling showing of relevance to overcome her First Amendment interests that are at stake.

I just don’t understand why you think you can have a deposition and call in a faculty member and start asking a faculty member about [her] opinions.

If you want to ask about observations, statements made by Mr. Bauer, things that might be relevant to this litigation, please do so. But to use this as part of the college’s strategy to harass faculty members seems to me to be inappropriate.
…..
MS. SOBEL: We would disagree strongly that what you’ve asked are questions about what is at issue in these proceedings.

What is at issue in these proceedings is a letter issued by the district in December delineating six writings and graphics in [Bauer’s] newsletter that the district contended evinced discrimination and harassment by Professor Bauer as well as a violation of the district’s policy on workplace violence.

And what is at issue is whether the district then lawfully sought to discipline Professor Bauer and direct him to psychological counseling…That’s the scope of this lawsuit, whether they had a basis for doing that. Not whether any individual faculty member believes that there is negativism on the campus…It is not a field day for you to inquire about everyone Professor Bauer interacts with and what their views are of what’s going on [at] the campus based on your client’s narrow reading[]—the contention you’ve made to the court, which the courts have squarely objected [to], that Professor Bauer is single-handedly responsible for every problem identified in the accreditation review—which would, as I indicated earlier, include the financial irregularities of district officials, the factionalism of the board of trustees, the problems of the union at both campuses.

…Professor Bauer would probably love to believe that his newsletter is so extraordinarily forceful, but since many of the issues raised in the accreditation review predates his newsletter by five to six years, it is highly unlikely he has any relevance [to these issues], and many of them have not been covered in his newsletter…If you’re going to get to the newsletters, that’s fine. That’s what we’ve said all along. But you’re not asking about that, Counsel.
…..

5. Anger, faculty assemblies, raised voices:

Q Ms. Alvarez, in the last two years, have you attended faculty assemblies with Roy Bauer?

A Yes, I have.

Q And at any of those, [was] Dr. Mathur present?

A On occasion, yes.

Q And have you witnessed any interchange between Dr. Mathur and Mr. Bauer?

A Yes, I have.

Q During any of that interchange, …did Mr. Bauer use a raised voice?…Have you ever seen him speak louder than was necessary to communicate?

A Not in my opinion, no.

Q Have you ever seen him become angry at the president?

A Not really. I wouldn’t characterize it as anger.

Q How would you characterize it?

A Like many faculty, I believe he feels disappointed and sometimes frustrated with the president.

Q Has he expressed that disappointment and frustration in faculty assemblies?

A Yes.

Q What has he said in that respect?

A I recall once he asked the president when he was going to answer questions, because no time allotted to questions appeared on the agenda—or else we had run over time and the items that were removed from the agenda were the items devoted to questions.

Q Did he do that in a raised voice?

A As I indicated earlier, …we have over a hundred faculty at Irvine Valley College, and in such assemblies it is not uncommon when speaking from the floor to speak in a tone of voice that is louder than the voice one would use for normal discourse.

Q Have you ever seen Mr. Bauer angry?

A I have trouble with that adjective. It doesn’t seem accurate to me, so I would say no. I would say I haven’t really seen him angry.

Q Have you ever seen Mr. Bauer distribute his publication?

A Yes.

Q How has he distributed them?

A Informally. Sometimes when faculty or staff approach him for a copy, and at other times through…mailboxes.

Q Have you ever seen him go from desk to desk and leave them—

A No, I have not.
…..

6. Shit list:

[In the November 2, 1998, Dissent, Bauer described a (trustee) candidates’ debate. At one point, he wrote:

“Padberg also spoke…of the need to bridge the “gap” between the warring sides in the district. Evidently, she believes that the sides can come together and be pals again—perhaps by means of a carefully planned Halloween party. I don’t think so. I, for one, have etched the name of Sherry “Realpolitik” Miller-White and others of her ilk on my permanent shit list, a two-ton slate of polished granite which I hope someday to drop on Raghu Mathur’s head.”]

Q …[Let’s go to the article that] talks about “two-ton slate of polished granite.” Did you ever discuss that with Mr. Bauer?
…..
A I believe mention was made of it because it appeared in the…charges that the chancellor made [in his letter to Bauer of December, 1998].

Q So what did Mr. Bauer say about it in that discussion?

A I believe he indicated surprise that this [remark] was considered a threat, a credible threat.

Q Did you say anything to him about it?

A I believe I concurred with his surprise.
…..
Q Were you involved in the editing of this comment in any way?…Were you involved in the editing of this article?

A No.

Q Did Mr. Bauer ever tell you he had a permanent shit list?

A No.

Q Did he ever discuss with you people that—did he ever tell you or talk to you about having kind of a list of people?

A No.

Q Were you surprised to read that he has a permanent shit list?

MS. SOBEL: I’m going to object. Assumes facts not in evidence.

MR LARSEN: The document says he has one.

MS. SOBEL: The document—as he’s testified to in his declarations and as the court found—suggests that this is rhetorical, political hyperbole, not that he has a shit list, permanent or temporary. [The document suggests]…that he wrote an article in which a sentence appeared, and I believe he has testified in his deposition as well [that] he has no such list. This was political hyperbole.

Q Are you aware of any list of names that he has of people that he doesn’t like?

A No, I am not.
…..

7. Mr. Goo:

Q …Has Professor Bauer ever told you that he hates anybody in connection with the South Orange County [Community] College District?

A No, he has not.

Q Did [he] ever tell you that he doesn’t like Dr. Mathur?

A No.

Q Has he ever told you he’d like to see Dr. Mathur removed?
…..
A As college president?

Q Yes.

A Like 70 percent of our faculty…, I believe that Mr. Bauer does not approve of the policies instituted by the college president. And I believe…when we voted no confidence in the college president—that was an indication of our desire to see someone new in that office.

Q Have you ever heard Mr. Bauer refer[] to the college president as “Goo”?

A Verbally?

Q Yes.

A No.

Q Have you ever seen him do it in writing?

A As far as the Dissent goes, I know there’s occasional references. Using I think a longer term than that…with a title in front: “Mr.”

Q Mr. Goo?

A Yeah.

Q Did Mr. Bauer ever tell you why he used that term?

A I believe it came up in discussion in terms of the cartoon character Mr. Magoo.
…..

8. “Going postal” deconstructed:

[The Nov. 9, 1998, Dissent included an account of election night. It included this somewhat humorous passage:

“Later in the evening, someone said that, as you look around the room, you see the very best people of the district: people known for their integrity and decency. I could not help imagining the party for the other side: Mr. McClendon discoursing on democracy and unionism; Lee Walker in the corner, trying to think of the name of the Governor; Ken Woodward hissing and sneering and alerting others of his “Ph.D. in economics”; a bepolyestered Sherry bitching and moaning about her unparalleled labors at the Xerox machine; some of the “Scandalous Boys” leering and choking and turning red; Frogue and Mathur trading paranoid fantasies. In a room like that, no decent person could resist the urge to go postal.”]

Q Have you ever heard the term “going postal”?

A Yes.

Q What does it mean to you to go postal?

A …It’s…a term in sort of popular usage now, I believe, which has its…original roots in certain episodes in post offices, but has grown I think [to be] very…common. My students use it often to indicate [despair], frustration.

Q Does it have any connotation of violence to you?

A I believe it depends on the context in which it’s used. When my students tell me they are going to go postal because I have given them yet another assignment to do, I don’t think that’s a threat of violence. I think it’s…an expression of frustration.

…It has roots in specific incidents. And now it has metamorphosed into…a popular slang term. I think those roots were originally violent, yes. But I think…the way it’s used now, it doesn’t really carry that weight.
…..
Q …Did you ever discuss [the appearance of the phrase “going postal” in the newsletter] with Mr. Bauer?

A …[W]e discussed this [phrase] because it appeared in a letter that Dr. Sampson wrote [to him].

Q Did Mr. Bauer share that letter with you?

A I…can’t recall, but I was made aware of its existence.

Q How did you become aware of it?

A He mentioned it to me.

Q What did he say about it?

A I believe he indicated surprise at the contents of the letter.

Q Did he indicate any concern with the letter?

A He indicated concern that the procedures that we have in the district had been overlooked…I think he was concerned that the letter had been placed in [his] file without…allowing him an opportunity to respond, which I think is the policy in the district.

Q Did he ever discuss with you a meeting that he had with Dr. Sampson to discuss the letter?

A Yes.

Q What did he say about that meeting?

A I think in general he was disappointed and frustrated.

Q What did he say?

A I couldn’t recall exactly…I believe he anticipated an opportunity…for serious discussion with the chancellor, and he…felt he did not have that opportunity.

Q Did he tell you whether or not the chancellor asked him any questions?

A None that I can recall…I recall [that Roy] indicated that the chancellor suggested that he had an obsession with military hardware and guns, which struck both of us as surprising.

Q Did he laugh about the meeting? Did he laugh about that assertion?

A He did not laugh about the meeting, no. I think he found that assertion sort of absurd and very sad.
…..

9. The infamous “MAIM” remark:

[I won’t go into the details again. Suffice it to say that, in a piece entitled “A modest proposal,” Red Emma humorously compared Mathur to Milosevic, using the acronym “MAIM.” Red was implying, of course, that Mathur is ruthless; no reasonable person could infer that he was expressing the intention to injure Mathur or anyone else.

[Larsen attempts to determine who authored the “offending” article. Note: neither Lisa nor I authored it.]

Q Did you discuss that article “Modest Proposal” with Mr. Bauer prior to its being printed?

A I actually don’t recall. I don’t recall if I did or not.

Q Did you edit the article?

A No, I did not.

Q Do you know whether Mr. Bauer edited the article in any way?

A No, I don’t.

Q Do you know whether Mr. Bauer wrote the article?

A I know Mr. Bauer did not write the article.

Q How do you know that?

MR. MYERS: Objection. Calls for information that’s privileged and protected by the First Amendment.

Q Did you write the article?

MR. MYERS: Objection. Calls for information that’s protected by the First Amendment.

Q Are you going to refuse to answer?

A Yes, I am.

Q What does the term “maim” mean to you?
…..
A To wound in a particular way.

Q In what way to wound?

A …I’m trying to do better here with my definition—

MS. SOBEL: You can only do as well as you can do, Lisa.

A Well, I’m an English teacher. I have certain standards…It’s when…you’re wounded and you lose a certain portion of your body, I suppose—a limb or something to that effect….

Q So it’s a term of violence?

A Term of violence? It could be. It’s not always, you know.

9b. That would be a beheading:

Q …You see the cartoon in the upper right-hand corner? [Larsen is referring to the “Backdoor Gooster” graphic, which accompanied an article about Mathur’s “enemies list.” The graphic shows a fiend holding the head of his victim.]

A Yes, I do.

Q Do you consider that a violent depiction?

A I consider it a comic depiction of…something that is, I suppose, literally violent, the same way a Superman comic is violent or a Fantastic Four [comic] is violent.
…..
Q Would you consider the depiction in the upper right-hand corner as being one of maiming?

A Actually, I would think the only body part that you could [lose] and not have it be considered maiming would be your head. I would offer that that would be a beheading. I’m sorry, I am this English teacher, okay? So I am amending my earlier definition of “maim.” Now, I…believe this is a depiction of a beheading, not a maiming.

Q Now, right underneath…the picture is a phrase, “a slimy and duplicitous rat-bastard.” [Actually, the phrase occurs in this context: “Unfortunately for the Gooster, Larios (to whom Raghu had offered the enemies list) was not a slimy and duplicitous rat-bastard….”]

A Yes.

Q Did you ever discuss that with Mr. Bauer?
…..
A No, never.

Q Did you ever discuss this particular cartoon with Mr. Bauer?

A I believe the cartoon was one of the ones indicated, again, in the chancellor’s letter to Mr. Bauer.

Q What was said in your discussion with Mr. Bauer about this cartoon?

A I think I pointed out that I was surprised that [the graphic] was perceived as a threat, since my understanding of the cartoon was that it indicated that the people being threatened were the faculty by the college president.
…..

10. Unabauer:

Q do you know when [Bauer] first started using [UnaBauer@aol.com] as an e-mail address?

A I believe he started using it after a high-profile piece appeared in the Orange County Register where the…then-president of the board of trustees of the college district, John Williams, compared Mr. Bauer to Ted Kozinski, the Unabomber. I believe he…said that the newsletters were similar to the writings of Ted Kozinski.

Q Did you ever discuss with Mr. Bauer why he used that as his e-mail address?

A I think he was—we did discuss it, yes.

Q What did he say?

A I think he thought [Williams’ “Unabomber” comparison] was an absurd comparison and…he needed an e-mail address….
…..
Q In this discussion about the letter from the chancellor, did he say anything about, “Gee, maybe I’ve been misunderstood.”

A Nothing that I would characterize as “Gee, maybe I’ve been misunderstood.”

Q What—did he say anything to that effect or anything similar?

A I believe he expressed disbelief that…his writings were seen as threats of violence, credible threats of violence. He expressed surprise. We discussed Jonathan Swift and the role of satire and rhetoric and hyperbole and irony.

11. Shared governance and the school chair:

[Since the summer of ’97, it has been clear that the IVC “Chair” model is gone forever. Nevertheless, Bauer’s critics have insisted, absurdly, that he is motivated by a desire to become chair again. Bauer had been chair for two months. He has never sought administrative positions.]

Q Did [Bauer] ever discuss with you…his feelings about the elimination of the school chair position?

A Yes.

Q Did he tell you he was upset about that?

A He thought it wasn’t a very good policy to remove the school chairs.

Q Did he ever tell you that he was upset that he was no longer a school chair?

A He expressed disappointment that our school chair model had been abolished.

I know personally he was not looking forward to his term of service as school chair, but was willing to serve, so he did not express…personal disappointment that he was not a school chair. He expressed disappointment, again, about [the abandonment of] this model of administration that we had enjoyed at the college.

Q Did he tell you why he was not looking forward to serve?

A It’s a lot of work…I don’t know…any faculty member who looks forward to their term as school chair. People do it because they’re committed to the institution and to their colleagues and to the idea of self-governance.
…..

12. Discomfort, threats, passion:

Q Have any…employees ever expressed to you any discomfort as a result of any of Mr. Bauer’s publications?

A Not to my recollection, no.

Q Are you aware of any faculty members that have sent any e-mail or any other threats to Raghu Mathur?

MS. SOBEL: I’m going to object to the question as assuming facts that are not in evidence at all in this case. And “e-mail or other threats” makes it sound like there were e-mail threats, and I don’t believe that there is any documentation of such threats. And I’m also going to object to the extent that it suggests that Professor Bauer has ever sent a threat of any type to Raghu Mathur.

MR. MYERS: Miss Alvarez will be happy to respond to the question as interpreted as…is she aware of any threats being sent to Raghu Mathur by e-mail.

A Okay…Am I aware of any faculty members…having sent threats by e-mail to President Mathur[?] No.

Q Are you aware of anyone having sent any written threats?

A No.

Q Have you ever heard Mr. Bauer make any threats about Raghu Mathur which you would consider to be threats?

MS. SOBEL: I’m going to object to the question as vague and ambiguous. Threats of what? Threats to bring a Brown Act action? He did that. Threats to challenge other actions and question the college president in meetings? He’s done that. What do you mean by “threats”?
…..
Q Have you ever heard Mr. Bauer threaten Raghu Mathur?

A I have never heard Mr. Bauer make physical threats or threats of violence toward President Mathur.

Q Have you ever heard him make any other types of threats toward President Mathur?

A I have heard Mr. Bauer passionately oppose some of the policies instituted by Mr. Mathur and suggest that he will oppose those policies, those measures.

Q Describe what you mean by “passionately oppose.”

A I believe Mr. Bauer, like many of the faculty, [is] outraged, for instance, about the abolition of shared governance on the campus. Many, including Mr. Bauer, are quite passionate about it.

Q By “shared governance,” you’re including the school chair model?

A Shared governance is sort of a broad term that…indicates the areas where faculty are required by law to participate in governance of the campus, curriculum, hiring, et cetera. And yes, the school chair model…is a result of shared governance, but the process by which it was abolished struck many as…outrageous.

Q You would include Mr. Bauer as one of those that was outraged by that; is that correct?

A Yes.

13. Lookin’ for dirt:

Q Did Mr. Bauer ever discuss with you any directive from the chancellor that he seek some kind of professional counseling?

A Yes, I believe it was part of the letter that the chancellor placed in his file.

Q What did he say about that?

A Again, he was surprised and disappointed that…the chancellor saw the situation [as he did].

Q Did Mr. Bauer ever tell you that he participated in any way previously in any type of counseling?
…..
A I…seem to recall some sort of mention of…a counseling session in the past, but it had to do with…Mr. Bauer’s wife, I believe, but, again, this…is years ago….
…..
Has Mr. Bauer ever indicated any type of anger with respect to his marital dissolution?

MS. SOBEL: I’m going [to] object to the question on the grounds of privacy.
…..
A No.

Q Frustration?

A No.

14. Civility, fear, petitions:

Q In your opinion, is civility important on a college campus?
…..
A …I expect civility in my classroom. I hope for civility in other places, but it’s the nature of the academic institution that…discourse becomes…contentious sometimes.
…..
Q Has anyone, any…employee of the college…district told you that they’re fearful of Mr. Bauer?

A No.
…..
[Larsen seizes upon an OC Weekly profile on Bauer.]

Q Are you familiar with this article [from the OC Weekly]?

A Yes, I am.
…..
Q Did you have any involvement in getting this article published?

A No, I did not.
…..
Q Last sentence of the first partial paragraph says, “But most faculty won’t even sign a fucking petition.” Do you see that?

A Uh-huh.

Q Do you know what petition he’s referring to there?

A It could have been the petition that was being circulated [for] the recall of Mr. Frogue. I know some faculty expressed concern to me that if they signed the recall petition, they would be subject to reprimand by administration. But this is also some time after the…recall, so it could also have to do with another petition.

I know that there was a petition being circulated…and finally given to…President Mathur about his recognition of faculty accomplishments. I think there was also another petition.
…..

15. A hostile work environment:

Q If staff members were to testify that, in their view, Mr. Bauer’s publications create a hostile work environment for them, would you disagree with that?
…..
A I would hesitate to disagree with people’s perceptions, but I would point out that I think Mr. Bauer’s publications respond to a hostile work environment. I don’t think they create it….

Q So you think the working environment at Irvine Valley College is a hostile working environment?

A On occasion, yes.

Q And from your perspective, in what way is it hostile?

A I’ll give you an example. I write for local publications. My work has appeared in the LA Times and the OC Metro. And on occasions I have been in meetings with the college president where he has asked people not to talk to the press, where he has suggested that this is an inappropriate way for faculty to communicate.

I was disturbed by that. [I]n some ways I’m a member of the freelance press. I thought it was an inappropriate comment for him to make, to say that we should not speak to the press as faculty members about the situation on campus.

I think it’s a hostile work environment when policies are not followed on campus in terms of hiring, in terms of reprimand, and such. It creates a climate where the rules are broken and people are afraid such as the example I used earlier, with people being afraid to exercise their rights to sign a recall petition because they were afraid of retribution by their employers.

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