[Larry Stevens, hired in late 1982, proved to be a terrible autocrat. To get rid of him, the faculty union targeted his trustee supporters. The focus, then, was on the special election of late 1985. For an account of this period, see Larry Stevens.]
• Mailer in Saddleback Campaign Is Assailed: Newsletter by 'Republican' Taxpayer Group Not Sent Out by GOP, County Chairman Says, LA Times, November 1, 1985
The mailer attacks two incumbent trustees on the Saddleback Community College Board, Bill Watts and Robert Price, and also Mike Eggers, a candidate for the board. The mailer says that the "Price, Watts, Eggers Triad Seeks Control of College Tax Money."
Eggers, who is an aide to Rep. Ron Packard (R-Carlsbad) and runs Packard's office in Mission Viejo, formerly handled a public relations newsletter for 3,000 charitable organizations that sell fireworks. Eggers said Thursday that he has never had direct relations with [Pat Moriarty] and that the mailer was "a smear."
Eggers said the mailer, by linking him to Moriarty, "is probably costing me a thousand votes." He said he has received questioning calls from voters, "but after they hear the facts, they're angry about the mailer and are promising to work for me."
• Orange County Teachers Score Big at Polls, LA Times, November 6, 1985
After unsuccessfully seeking to recall three of the incumbent trustees earlier this year, the union this fall endorsed Joan J. Hueter against incumbent William Watts and Marcia Milchiker against incumbent Robert L. Price. In a third race, incumbent Eugene McKnight didn't run for reelection. The union backed Iris Swanson for McKnight's seat; Mike Eggers, an aide to U. S. Rep. Ron Packard (R-Carlsbad) criticized the union's tactics and ran as a pro-administration candidate.
1986: Trustees, then Stevens, replaced
• Chancellor of College District Agrees to Resign, LA Times, January 8, 1986
As for faculty complaints about [Larry Stevens], [Bill Watts] said: "I think their biggest complaint is that Larry Stevens expected them to work five days a week."
Stevens declined to comment Tuesday on his resignation. One of the terms of the resignation agreement worked out Monday was that neither the trustees nor Stevens would issue any "negative comments" about each other.
Faculty opposed to Stevens last year sought to recall three trustees who had consistently supported him, including Watts. The recall effort failed to get enough signatures, but in the following November election the union was able to oust incumbents and elect three new trustees it had strongly supported….
Fuentes’ “poll guard” episode
• State Assails GOP's Posting of Poll Guards, LA Times, November 9, 1988
Uniformed security guards hired by the Republican Party of Orange County were removed from Santa Ana polling places Tuesday morning after the chief deputy secretary of state termed their presence "unlawful intimidation of voters."
Outraged Democratic Party leaders had charged that the guards were harassing Latino voters in the bitterly contested 72nd Assembly District, writing down automobile license plate numbers and challenging voters to prove that they are U.S. citizens.
Santa Ana police were investigating charges that at least 20 security guards, clad in blue uniforms and wearing badges, had interfered with voters at Santa Ana polling places and displayed signs in English and Spanish warning against voting by non-citizens, officials said.
. . .
Republican Party Chairman Thomas A. Fuentes confirmed that the security guards "were part of our Election Day security effort" in mostly Latino neighborhoods in central and south Santa Ana. Along with the uniformed guards, signs in English and Spanish were posted outside polling places warning non-citizens that it is a felony to vote.
. . .
…[T]he Democratic candidate in the 72nd Assembly District, Christian F. (Rick) Thierbach of Anaheim, blasted the GOP's use of uniformed observers.
"It shows me the people in control of the Orange County Republican Party are desperate, ruthless individuals who would stop at nothing to get what they want," Thierbach said, referring to the all-out GOP effort on behalf of his Republican opponent, Curt Pringle.
Stunned Latino leaders from both political parties sharply condemned the GOP's ballot tactics.
[Republican] Santa Ana Councilman John Acosta predicted that [Fuentes and crew] had set back party efforts to recruit Latinos "by 20 years." Positioning uniformed guards outside polling places is "totally, totally un-American. It smacks of Nazism. . . ."
But David Gilliard, a consultant to Pringle, said their campaign "received a tip" several weeks ago to watch for "voting irregularities" on Election Day.
• FBI Probes GOP's Posting of Guards at Santa Ana Precincts, LA Times, November 10, 1988
The FBI is investigating allegations of voter intimidation by uniformed security guards who were hired by the Orange County Republican Party and posted at polling places in heavily Latino precincts in Santa Ana.
Republican officials said the guards were hired because of anonymous tips about a Democratic plan to bus illegal aliens to the polls to vote….
The uniformed guards were sent to the polling places with large signs in English and Spanish warning non-citizens not to vote.
The polling places were in the 72nd Assembly District, and Carlos Rodriguez, the chief consultant to the Republican candidate who apparently won there, said Wednesday that the outcome might have been different without the guards.
"I'm not at all sure we would have won," Rodriguez said.
Republican Curt Pringle was leading Democrat Christian F. (Rick) Thierbach of Anaheim by 671 votes, as the counting of absentee ballots continued Wednesday.
[Orange County Registrar of Voters Donald F.] Tanney said he visited two of the polling places Tuesday night and will report his findings to the Orange County district attorney's office for review of any election code violations, such as interference with a polling place or intimidation of voters.
. . .
Latinos and Democrats reacted strongly, likening the presence of uniformed security guards at the polls to "Gestapo" tactics.
. . .
…"We were even told that one of the guards was sitting next to a ballot box and was handling ballots as people left," Thierbach said.
. . .
Bob Hattoy, director of the Dukakis presidential campaign in Orange County, said he found four polling places where security guards were sitting at tables with volunteer poll workers….
• GOP Was Warned About Poll Guards, Registrar Says, LA Times, November 11, 1988
The county registrar of voters said Thursday, as the controversy continued to grow over a GOP decision to station uniformed guards at polling places, that he had warned Republican officials 4 weeks before the election not to challenge voters at the polls.
Registrar Donald F. Tanney said he issued the warning at a meeting requested by two Republicans involved in the race in the 72nd Assembly District.
"They inquired about challenging voters about their eligibility to vote as they arrived to cast their ballot," Tanney said. "I strongly cautioned them about any form of interference."
GOP County Chairman Thomas A. Fuentes has taken responsibility for the decision to station guards at 20 polling places in heavily Latino areas of the 72nd District on Election Day, and pressure was building Thursday for Fuentes' ouster.
. . .
State Republican Party Chairman Bob Naylor said Thursday that the GOP has guidelines specifically precluding the use of uniformed personnel at polling places because there is a "heavy-handed look to it that could cause people not to exercise their perfectly legitimate (voting) rights."
Naylor added that he was outraged by the use of uniformed guards: "It's a terrible, terrible symbolic insult to the Hispanic community to have these put in just Hispanic precincts."….
• GOP Official Says He OKd Observers at Polls, LA Times, November 12, 1988
Orange County's GOP chairman said Friday that he had agreed to use party funds to hire Election Day observers at polls in the 72nd Assembly District, but that the chief consultant to the district's Republican candidate decided that those observers should be uniformed guards.
. . .
County Registrar of Voters Donald F. Tanney ordered the guards away from the polls. Only voters and election officials are allowed within 100 feet of a polling place.
County Republican Chairman Thomas A. Fuentes, who has accepted responsibility for the incident, said Friday that the guards were requested by Carlos Rodriguez, Assembly candidate Curt Pringle's political consultant, a few weeks before the election. Fuentes said he and Rodriguez were concerned that Democrats might bring illegally registered people to the polls….
• GOP Chairman Says Poll Guard Decision Was Pringle Aide's, LA Times, November 12, 1988
…The [poll guard] incident has become an embarrassment for the Republican Party, whose leaders at the state level have joined in denouncing the plan because of its potential for intimidating prospective voters, particularly Latino voters who may be new citizens.
County GOP Chairman Thomas A. Fuentes, who has accepted responsibility for the incident, said Friday the guards were requested by Carlos Rodriguez, Assembly candidate Curt Pringle's political consultant, a few weeks before the election….
"I said we would be willing to pay for that segment of our Election Day overall voting security," Fuentes said, adding that he authorized a $4,000 expenditure. But he said the details of the security arrangement were left to Rodriguez.
GOP Assemblyman John Lewis of Orange, who assisted the Pringle campaign, said Friday that the issue of hiring uniformed personnel to monitor polls was discussed by Republican officials as early as 2 months before the election. Lewis said he recalls such a discussion at a meeting also attended by Fuentes, Pringle campaign staff members and several other GOP officials….
• Fuentes Should Resign, LA Times editorial, November 13, 1988
…No matter how [government] investigations turn out, there is no question the county GOP organization, and its chairman, Thomas A. Fuentes, are guilty of a blatant violation of fairness, decency and basic common sense in the inexcusable and reprehensible attempt to intimidate Latino voters.
County Registrar of Voters Donald F. Tanney says he warned Republican officials 4 weeks before Election Day not to challenge voters at the polls. Still, Fuentes allowed the security guards to go to the polls, where they displayed signs in English and Spanish warning against voting by non-citizens, sat alongside election officials at some polling places and, according to witnesses, wrote down license numbers and reportedly questioned some voters about their citizenship.
By singling out Latinos, the alleged security action introduced an element of racism against an innocent group of people. Santa Ana Councilman John Acosta, a Republican, said the action set back party efforts to recruit Latinos "by 20 years."
But equally detestable to the authorization of such a despicable operation was the reaction by Fuentes….
Fuentes, in confirming that the security guards at the polls "were part of our Election Day security effort," first termed the charges of harassment and intimidation "a media event." The following day he issued a weak apology and added: "I would say in retrospect, based on the brouhaha created by the opposition in the media, I would not have" hired the uniformed guards.
. . .
County Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez, probably the most prominent Republican Latino in the state, said the episode "showed a tremendous lapse in judgment."
Bruce Nestande, a highly respected county Republican leader who was co-chairman of the Bush campaign in Orange County, was shocked that Republicans took part in the security-guard fiasco, and he said "anyone who has that thought process ought not be involved in our party."
Nestande is right. And so are those clamoring for Fuentes to resign as the county's GOP chairman. … The head of the GOP should be providing leadership and sound judgment, not overseeing loathsome operations that intimidate and insult a minority community and hold the county Republican organization up to ridicule throughout the state and nation.
• Way Out of Step in Orange County, LA Times (del Olmo commentary), November 17, 1988
What's the problem with Republicans? Whenever they seem on the verge of a breakthrough with Latino voters, they shoot themselves in the foot.
…[W]hat Latinos will remember about the election of 1988 were the insulting and heavy-handed tactics used by Republican officials in Orange County (and a few other places) to keep them from voting.
…In one instance a guard handled a voter's ballot, a felony under state law.
…Republican officials explained [the guards’] use, saying they had heard rumors that the Democrats might bus large numbers of illegal aliens to the polls to vote. That explanation is so ludicrous that even Latino Republicans were not convinced….
The resulting outcry was so unanimous that Orange County Republican chairman Tom Fuentes publicly apologized, saying, "If there was an offense taken by anyone . . . we need to say lo siento , which is 'we are sorry'."….
Fuentes can apologize in any language he wants, but his explanation doesn't wash….
…Even presuming they did not know that they were doing something that might be illegal, one would hope that they at least had the ethnic sensitivity to realize how it would look to send uniformed guards only to polling places in Latino neighborhoods.…
• Hispanic Caucus Assails Precinct Guard Use, LA Times, November 18, 1988
The 7-member Hispanic Legislative Caucus in Sacramento on Thursday labeled as "vigilantism" the Orange County Republican Party's use of uniformed security guards on Election Day at 20 Santa Ana precincts where there are heavily Latino populations.
. . .
The incident has drawn sharp criticism from Republican as well as Democratic and Latino leaders. A bipartisan group is expected to file a lawsuit today to overturn the results of the 72nd Assembly District race, in which all 20 precincts are included.…
• 5 File Suit Claiming Harassment at Polls by Security Guards, LA Times, November 19, 1988
A lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana on behalf of five Santa Ana Latinos, who said they were harassed and intimidated by uniformed security guards as they voted last Election Day.
. . .
Plaintiff [Rudy R.] Rios, a member of the Laborers' Union, said Friday that the security guard at his precinct was seated behind the table with voting officials.
"As I got close, he got up and crossed his arms and looked at me," Rios said. "I thought, 'Are they expecting trouble today or what's happening?' I thought, 'Wow, this is like Mexico or something.' " Rios, a second generation American, said that his wife is from Mexico and that he has heard "horrible stories of guards and stuff" at Mexican elections from her relatives….
• B'nai B'rith Criticizes GOP for Poll Guards, LA Times, November 22, 1988
In a letter to the county's Republican Party, a Jewish anti-discrimination organization expressed "dismay" at the recent posting of uniformed guards at polling places and urged party officials not to use such "harassing tactics" in future elections.
. . .
The letter to Fuentes, which was signed by Jack Adelman, chairman of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith Regional Board, and Harvey B. Schechter, the organization's Western states director, said the Jewish leaders were "writing to you as registered Republicans" in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
. . .
"It was the unanimous recommendation of our regional board members that we write this letter to you expressing our deep concern and dismay that the Republican Party of Orange County, and you as its chairman, initiated this highly questionable harassing tactic."….
• GOP to Pay Legal Fees in Guards Case, LA Times, November 23, 1988
Orange County Republican officials have agreed to pay legal defense fees for party activists sued over the use of uniformed guards in Latino election precincts, Assemblyman-elect Curt Pringle said Tuesday.
. . .
…[T]here was no criticism of Fuentes at a meeting Monday night of the Orange County Republican Central Committee. In fact, "I ♥ Tom" stickers were handed to everyone entering the room and an agenda item about ballot security was passed over.
"If you ever imagined Jonestown, that's what it was like," said a veteran party member, referring to the 1970s religious cult headed by Jim Jones in Guyana. "It was clear that had there been a call for a vote of confidence, people there were prepared to give it to Fuentes because it was his crowd."
. . .
[Curt] Pringle said Tuesday that the issue of legal fees was raised at a meeting of the county GOP executive committee last week. "Legal assistance did come up as a topic of discussion, and there was a consensus that the party would pay to defend anyone named in a lawsuit," Pringle said.
The full County Republican Central Committee was not informed of the executive panel's decision, Pringle acknowledged. "That's a decision within the role of the executive committee," he said.
. . .
Fuentes told executive committee members that Orange County businessmen Peter Muth and Johnny Crean had offered to help pay for legal assistance, according to people who attended the session….
[Crean? Now where have I heard that name before? (Crean Lutheran.)]
• Candidate Says Poll Guard Wanted ID, LA Times, November 24, 1988
A Santa Ana mayoral candidate in the Nov. 8 election said Wednesday that she was ordered by a uniformed guard acting as a partisan poll watcher to produce some sort of personal identification when she voted on Election Day, an apparent violation of state election laws.
Sadie Reid-Benham, who finished third in the mayor's race, said she and her 19-year-old grandson, who was voting for the first time, were questioned by the private security guard at a Santa Ana senior citizens center about 10:30 a.m. Nov. 8.
. . .
The use of the uniformed guards as poll watchers in the 72nd Assembly District has caused a storm of protest and prompted Democrats to file a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the outcome of the election in that district.…
. . .
On Election Day, Reid-Benham said, the guard who questioned her was standing inside the polling place at the corner of 3rd and Ross streets in Santa Ana when she arrived to vote. She said she was surprised when the guard asked her for a "voting card. . . . He seemed to want some sort of identification that I was registered to vote."
. . .
Orange County Registrar of Voters Donald F. Tanney said Wednesday that it is illegal for anyone except appointed precinct workers to "question any voter.
[According to The Long Shadow of Jim Crow (2004), a publication of the “People For the American Way” Foundation,
The GOP officials involved in the [poll guards] plan … claimed they acted on rumors that there was illegal registration of voters. However, according to the Orange County Register, they admitted they had no evidence of such activity and were concerned because of a sudden surge in voter registration in some Latino neighborhoods….LSJC also asserts that the OC GOP eventually settled the lawsuit, paying $400,000. Further,
[The local GOP] also released some evidence gathered during the trial, including a map given to a sign-making company by the GOP campaign that indicated intended sign placement. Signs reading "Thank You Curt Pringle" were to go in predominantly white areas and bilingual signs saying "Non Citizens Can't Vote" were to be placed in largely Latino areas.1989 —Stuff happens. It's South Orange County
• Fuentes Keeps His GOP Post, Quits Catholic Diocese Job, LA Times, January 10, 1989
Thomas A. Fuentes, who Monday night won his third term as Orange County Republican Party chairman, has left his influential post as director of communications for the Diocese of Orange, it was learned Monday.
…His leaving comes in the wake of concerns that his role as GOP chairman had inadvertently drawn the Catholic Church into a political controversy over the county GOP's hiring of uniformed security guards on Election Day at polling places in predominantly Latino areas of Santa Ana. Church officials said Fuentes' departure is not related to the security guard incident.
But Msgr. John Sammon said Monday that the controversy was "not well received" in the diocese because several news stories about it at the time also mentioned that Fuentes worked with the diocese.
"It made us become part of the party, which we weren't," Sammon said. He said that many church leaders also hold leadership posts in other areas, but that being the head of a political party and working with the church—"those two are not compatible."
While Sammon said he did not think that the security guard flap was the reason that Fuentes left his diocesan post, he added that concern over the incident was expressed to the head of the diocese, Bishop Norman F. McFarland….
On Monday night, Fuentes was the overwhelming choice of county Republican Party activists to lead the GOP for the coming year.
He was unopposed in his bid for a third, 2-year term and was selected county chairman by acclamation by the 66-member county central committee, which met to elect new officers at a Costa Mesa hotel.
. . .
In a partisan swipe, he labeled the county Democratic Party as "sad and ineffective." Then, in his only public reference to the controversy, he accused the Democrats, who have filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the election results in the 72nd Assembly District, of attempting to "use the courts to seek revenge."
Referring to the Republican Party's decision to post uniformed security guards at 20 Santa Ana polling places, Fuentes said, "We would not let them then, or will not let them now steal" that election….
• College Paper [Lariat] Under Fire for Commentary Journalism: Author intended article on Israeli missiles to be anti-nuclear, but critics read it as anti-Semitic, LA Times, December 13, 1989
The strongly worded article and accompanying cartoon, written and drawn by journalism student Michael S. Boren, criticized Israel for stockpiling nuclear weapons. The headline above the article states: "Israel enters nuclear arms race."
Although Boren claims the commentary, which appeared in the Dec. 7 issue of the Lariat, was meant to draw attention to the dangers of nuclear warfare, the piece was seen as hateful by Jewish students and employees and a case of extremely poor judgment by administration officials.
"After years of engaging in conventional warfare with the Palestinians, Israel finally has launched itself into the nuclear age by announcing that it is now the proud owner of nuclear weapons."
• College Editors: Sorry, but No Retraction Journalism: Saddleback College Lariat stands by the commentary critics charged was anti-Semitic, LA Times, December 14, 1989
The chancellor says an `editor's note' of regret won't undo the harm and hints at cuts in paper's funding
"We will have to consider our support of the program," [Richard J. Sneed] said, after he learned that the Lariat staff decided not to recant [Michael S. Boren]'s opinion piece.
Boren, in an interview from the Lariat newsroom on Wednesday, said that he was not prepared for the immense outcry over his work. The 26-year-old student is both a staff writer and the political cartoonist for the newspaper and has received numerous awards for his illustrations, which he said are often controversial.
"The Lariat supports Boren's First Amendment right to express his opinion; however, we regret any emotional distress his commentary and illustration have caused."
• College Newspaper Protest Planned, LA Times, December 19, 1989
• Voters to Get $400,000 in O.C. Poll-Guard Suit, LA Times, December 28, 1989
Latinos reveal documents they say prove that Republicans intended to intimidate their ethnic group. GOP says insurance concerns forced deal.
Five Latino voters announced Wednesday they have accepted $400,000 to settle their lawsuit against Republican officials who posted uniformed guards at polling places last year, and they revealed documents that they said prove that the Republicans had intended to intimidate Latino voters.
The evidence released at a morning press conference included a deposition from Assemblyman John R. Lewis (R-Orange), who told attorneys he once joked with county Republican chairman Thomas A. Fuentes and the county GOP's executive director Greg Haskin about the possibility of driving green vans around polling places to give the impression that Immigration and Naturalization Service agents were lurking in the area. That idea was not pursued.* [*In a later “correction,” the Times specified that, in deposition, Lewis had a “vague recollection” that “someone” joked about the green vans. Though Fuentes and Haskins were at the meeting, others were also there.]
. . .
Attorney Joseph Remcho, representing the plaintiffs, said Pringle and the Republican officials "may have succeeded in buying this election with security guards," but the settlement satisfies the five voters because it marks the highest sum ever paid in a voting-rights case. … "Goons in polling places will not be tolerated."
. . .
… In [a] statement [issued by GOP defense attorneys], the defendants said the five voters had "struck out" in their bids to overturn the election results and to prove any wrongdoing by Republicans.
. . .
Flanked by four of the five plaintiffs, Remcho presented documents that he said made his case a "sure-fire winner."
In addition to the Lewis deposition, the evidence included notes scribbled by political strategist Michael R. Williams after a meeting with another Pringle consultant, Carlos Rodriguez. Williams wrote in a corner of his calendar on Oct. 17, 1988, the words Carlos and goons and, in another corner, the names of security guard companies.
. . .
An Oct. 19, 1988, memo from Williams to Rodriguez outlines the security guard program, noting that the 20 guards would be in uniform and that "voters will be challenged."
[Darryl R.] Wold, the county GOP's attorney, said that the 20 guards did nothing wrong, that in final instructions the guards had been told not to challenge or stop voters and that Williams' "goons" notation referred to Democrats who were allegedly registering voters illegally.
Other evidence presented included a map of the 72nd Assembly District, on which an employee of Rodriguez indicated to a sign-making company where they should post signs for the Pringle campaign, Remcho said.
The map showed plans to put signs reading "Thank You Curt Pringle" in predominantly Caucasian areas and signs—in Spanish and English—that said "Non Citizens Can't Vote" in largely Latino areas.
. . .
Earlier settlements of $20,000 from the county registrar of voters and $60,000 from the firm that employed the security guards bring the total settlement to $480,000.
. . .
The settlement encompasses all the remaining defendants: Pringle; the county Republican Central Committee and two of its officials, executive director Haskin and chairman Fuentes; Lewis; Pringle's campaign manager, Marsha Gilchrist; political consultants Williams and Rodriguez, and attorney William P. Godfrey.
. . .
Defense attorneys said the defendants did not want to settle, but their insurance companies insisted "for purely economic reasons."
If the defendants had chosen to go to trial anyway, they would have given up their right to insurance coverage for their legal fees, the attorneys said. The insurance firms will pay the $400,000.
. . .
Thierbach, who lost the 72nd Assembly District seat to Pringle by 867 votes, said it is a shame that "the insurmountable evidence of illegal activity" by the Republicans will not be revealed in a trial.
1993 The Frogue years: he reveals his
1994 inner loon only gradually.
• "Are you now, or have you ever been a member?" — IVC Voice (Ked Francis), February 23, 1995
Frogue spoke out against the ADL at the Jan. 23, 1995 meeting of the Board of Trustees, alleging that the ADL has conducted a “massive espionage apparatus against thousands of law abiding American citizens.”
According to Frogue, the conspiracy is widespread. The ADL has been “violating the rights of Americans, working in conjunction illegally with various police departments and police agencies, federal, state, and local.” [ See also Lecture Series to Explore Holocaust, LA Times, January, 23, 1999]
• “What's your point, Steve?” — Irvine World News editorial, March 2, 1995
Summary: The Saddleback Community College board is being led down too many side roads by board member Steven Frogue.
It's unclear what Saddleback Community College board member Steven Frogue is attempting to accomplish. ¶ At recent board meetings, Mr. Frogue has been indulging in repetitious, lengthy, and at times antagonistic monologues about such disparate things as the Anti-defamation League of B'nai B'rith and faculty senate elections at Irvine Valley College….
• “College Senate asks board to put a clamp on Frogue,” Irvine World News, March 2, 1995(?)
The Irvine Valley College Academic Senate asked the Saddleback Community College District board of trustees Monday night to prohibit district Trustee Steven Frogue from interfering in the senate's business. ¶ The senate also asked the board of trustees to apologize for disparaging remarks Frogue made about the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith at a January meeting….
• “Trustee calls IVC senate 'intellectual spur posse',” IVC Voice (K. Francis), March 23, 1995
Trustee Steven Frogue continued his month-long attack on the Irvine Valley College Academic Senate and the Anti-Defamation League [ADL] at a Feb. 27 Board of Trustees' meeting, despite attempts by fellow trustees to reign him in. ¶ Frogue labeled the reading of IVC Senate resolutions condemning his conduct as an "intellectual drive-by shooting," and referred to the Senate itself as an "intellectual spur posse," an apparent reference to the infamous Lakewood, California gang of young men who kept a tally of their sexual conquests….
• "A conversation with Steven Frogue," IVC Voice, March 23, 1995
• Teacher’s view of Holocaust stirs furor, D. Froomkin, OC Register, April 4, 1995
• “History and the Holocaust” [Letters re Froomkin’s “Teacher's view of Holocaust stirs furor”], OC Register, April 16, 1995
• “Trustee denies holocaust, according to former students,” K. Francis, IVC Voice, April 20, 1995
Despite repeated denials by Trustee Steven Frogue, former students of the trustee claim in an April 4 Orange County Register report that he teaches a revisionist version of the Holocaust and claims the killing of 6 million Jews did not occur….
. . .
In a March 23 follow-up interview with The Voice, Frogue suggested that a notorious Holocaust denial group, the Institute for Historical Review, should be allowed to "enter the debate" regarding the Holocaust, while labeling claims he denied the Holocaust as "an obscenity."….
• “Trustee Steven Frogue and the Institute for Historical Review,” R. Bauer, IVC Voice, May 11, 1995
1996: A scandalous campaign
• [Interview of Trustee Frogue], IVC Voice, October 24, 1996
• Letters to the editor [of Lariat] re Nov. 7 “advertisement” paid for by Faculty Association [union], Saddleback College Lariat, November 14(?), 1996(?)
• Adventures in Advertising, OC Weekly, November 21, 1996
Democrat, nuts use anti-gay hysteria to win college board seats
Local political observers are calling it the "most scurrilous and vile" campaign ad of the season, and it wasn't the deft handiwork of U.S. Congressman Bob Dornan, Orange County's most infamous negative campaigner. No, the ad—which critics say was designed to tap anti-gay sentiment—was sent by a college-faculty association on behalf of a slate of three conservative candidates and one Democrat vying for seats on the governing board of the Saddleback Community College District. Three of the candidates supported by the controversial ad—including the Democrat—won….
• Letters re "Adventures in advertising," Nov. 15, OC Weekly, November 22, 1996
I agree with R. Scott Moxley's characterization of one particular piece of campaign literature produced during the recent Saddleback Community College District board elections ("Adventures in advertising," Nov. 15). Moxley called the "Taxpayer Alert" scurrilous and vile, a description that also fits the role played by the Saddleback Community College District Faculty Association in the election. As Moxley notes, one slate of candidates ran a high-profile campaign infused with homophobic rhetoric. That the association supports candidates who strengthen and capitalize on such prejudices is indefensible. [L. Alvarez]
|From The conservative board majority|
• Studying the Lessons of Steven J. Frogue, LA Times (Michael Granberry), November 25, 1996
Profile: The teacher and Saddleback trustee does not retreat from controversy that his views generate.
. . .
Roy Bauer, chairman of the department of humanities at Irvine Valley College--one of two that the Saddleback board oversees, Saddleback College being the other--calls Frogue "an odd, Neanderthal presence on the board who's expressed an interest in Holocaust denial. He's made, and continues to make, a nuisance of himself."
. . .
"I believe Lee Harvey Oswald worked for the ADL," Frogue said in a half-whisper during a recent interview on the Foothill High campus. ¶ Asked to repeat his assertion, Frogue said, "That's right. . . . I believe the ADL was behind it."….
• “Faculty association campaign unethical,” Saddleback College Lariat editorial, December 5, 1996
Coming off a very successful campaign for seats on the Saddleback Community College District Board of Trustees, the Faculty Association is facing a backlash not only from its opponents, but from within its own ranks. ¶ The campaign, which has been described as "win at all cost," saw the mailing of a controversial flier accusing the association's opponents of supporting domestic partner benefits and advocating same-sex marriages….
• “Instructor feels betrayed by the Faculty Association,” Letters, Saddleback College Lariat, December 5, 1996
• “Faculty association divided: Election mailer draws charges of gay-baiting,” Saddleback College Lariat, December 5, 1996
Political fallout continues from a heated campaign in November long after voters filled four board of trustee seats for the Saddleback Community College District….
• “The Election One Last time,” from The Faculty Association December Newsletter, December 12?, 1996
[Trustee Harriett] Walther said the main issue dividing Partners in Education [a slate of candidates opposed to the union’s actions and practices and their support of such trustees as Frogue and Williams] and the Association is faculty salaries. She said the Association is more interested in protecting faculty salaries than in managing the budget responsibly. (Lariat 10-2-96)
It is the primary responsibility of the Faculty Association to protect the contract. Quality education is enhanced by a congenial work environment.
The Faculty Association was forced to compete in the past campaign because life as we know it was under threat. We fail to understand why a small group of faculty chose to support Walther's attempt to destroy our district. A few faculty agreed with Walther that faculty salaries are too high and took it upon themselves to destroy conditions for the rest of us…. [Evidently authored by FA President Sherry Miller-White]
• “Message from the President [i.e., Sherry Miller-White],” from The Faculty Association December Newsletter, December 12?, 1996
Good News Bad News
The good news is that the election is over. The very good news is that we won. The bad news is that we have a group of irresponsible malcontents trying to keep divisive elements alive. The voters have spoken. If the P.I.E. groups or the hand full of misinformed faculty want to call over 123,000 voters in the Saddleback Community College District stupid, liars, ignorant, irrelevant or ill -informed they can do so, but the outcome remains the same. It is because the voters were informed on issues that the turn out was so favorable for the candidates that the Faculty Association supported….
• “Association Critics Should Start Pitching for us,” from The Faculty Association December Newsletter, December 12?, 1996
A recent letter circulated for faculty signatures at IVC and Saddleback alleges a "crisis situation in our District" precipitated by unethical rogues in the Faculty Association. The anonymous author concludes the 4-page harangue against the Association by urging CCA President Kathy Sproles to provide copies of the bylaws and "facilitate our enrollment as dues-paying members." In the November 25 Los Angeles Times, an IVC faculty member called the Association "shameless and corrupt." Another has likened it to "an unprincipled and loathsome bully" in the November 21 Lariat. [Note: despite the letter, it was many months before critics saw a copy of the union’s bylaws. In the end, it was not clear that any legitimate bylaws existed, since substantially differing copies were offered as “the cleaned-up bylaws.”]
As IVC's membership and grievance chair, I would like to address some of my non-member colleagues who may sincerely believe these charges, even though I do not: stop whining and start participating!
Month after month and year after year, Lee Walker and I have "facilitated your enrollment as dues-paying members," but you've refused to join, apparently preferring to leave me nasty voice mail messages when displeased with the Association….
Taking potshots at the Association from the sidelines accomplishes no more than moving to Canada because you're displeased with the U.S. Congress. "Potential members" cannot vote…. -Ray Chandos
[Many faculty, this writer included, did precisely what Chandos suggests and joined the union. Nevertheless, owing to spectacularly corrupt actions—e.g., declaring “null and void” an election whose results would have eliminated the existing leadership—it took years to unseat them and truly reform the local. (CTA was of very little help; obviously, they were engaged in legal CYA.) Indeed, owing to that leadership, union money was used, in 1998, to elect Don Wagner and Nancy Padberg—two explicitly anti-union candidates (members of “Education Alliance”). That leadership (e.g., MacMillan, Chandos, et al.) also participated in the successful effort to replace resigned trustee Frogue with notoriously anti-teachers union OC GOP chief Tom Fuentes in 2000.]
• “Frogue Williams and Fortune to lead college board,” Irvine World News, December 12, 1996
• “Trustee Reelection Reveals Flaws [Letters to the LA Times],” LA Times, December 12, 1996
• Letter sent by Faculty Association to FA membership, December 20, 1996
There are several lies that are being spread. The most ludicrous one is that the Faculty Association is anti-faculty and anti-sabbatical….
As to the reassigned time issue, the Faculty Association does not negotiate college reassigned time. It is given at the discretion of administrators. Yesterday we checked with the CTA about the issue, CTA said that many state funded districts are experiencing problems with reassigned time in tight budgetary situations. It is a divisive issue for faculty. Faculty members who have reassigned time naturally want to protect it. Faculty who teach full-time and do not get reassigned time for non-teaching projects often object to what they perceive to be inequities and favoritism….
[In fact, the union successfully negotiated away reassigned time. Obviously, “reassigned time” is utterly routine throughout academia; it reduces an instructor’s teaching load in order that he or she can serve as a dean or chair, etc. The elimination of RT effectively greatly reduced faculty’s ability to participate in governance.]
VICTORY of the long-suffering and disgruntled and "oppressed"
The "Board Majority" era commences
[The meagerly educated Steve Frogue and John Williams, first elected in 1992, were conservative Republicans. But both had histories as unionists (teacher, cop); hence, they were open to Faculty Association desiderata regarding salaries and the like, whatever else they sought.
For many years, the conservative Teddy Lorch was a disgruntled part-timer who had associated with some FA leaders; upon the death of a trustee, she was brought in as a pro-union replacement. Dorothy Fortune, formerly a Democrat, joined the Frogue-Williams-Davis "fiscally conservative/anti-gay" slate, knocking former union-backed Buckner Coe out of his (Laguna Beach) seat.
Hence, starting in December 1996, "union" trustees were a majority, and, from the start, they unapologetically rammed their agendas through, uninterested in swaying or even noticing the "minority": Lang, Milchiker, and Hueter. Soon, various "Old Guard" unionists became administrators and, against best practices and all reason, chronically disgruntled and conniving union schemer Raghu Mathur became interim President of IVC. The Old Guard's imagined foes, both administrators and faculty, were harassed and demoted. Meanwhile, the Board Four did as they wished, and even the law ceased to restrain them.]
• “Trustees allegedly violate Brown Act,” Saddleback College Lariat, January 30, 1997
In a battle waging between the Saddleback Community College District Board of Trustees and the academic senates of Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges, the senates have accused the trustees of violating multiple laws and codes during the closed session of their Dec. 16, 1996 meeting….
[California's "open meetings" law is called the Brown Act. It requires that the deliberations and decisions of "legislative bodies --boards, etc.--be done openly and be properly agendized.]
• “Union's leadership embarrassing,” Letters (Roy Bauer’s letter), Saddleback College Lariat, January 30, 1997
By any reasonable standard, the conduct of the Faculty Association—or at least its leadership-during the recent election campaign was shameful and embarrassing. Among the FA's more sordid tactics was its use of the now-notorious "same-sex marriage" mailer. The mailer, which targeted South County Republicans, was a transparent effort to exploit ignorance and homophobia.
FA leaders seem willing to concede this. During an FA-sponsored event January 10, FA President Sherry Miller-White, who approved the mailer, acknowledged it was "homophobic." ("It was too homophobic for me," she said.) On other occasions, Miller-White and her colleagues have seemed to say that the FA did indeed resort to distasteful tactics, though only out of "desperation." (See, for instance, the FA's December newsletter.)
One might therefore suppose that apologies-and even resignations-are in order. But none are forthcoming. Indeed, on Jan. 10, a defiant Miller-White defended the "same-sex" mailer on the grounds that "life as we know it" (a phrase that seemed to refer to the relatively high-salaried life enjoyed by faculty of this district) was threatened. It was threatened, evidently, by a slate of trustee candidates who-Good Lord!-seemed unwilling to put faculty salaries above all other concerns….
• “Harriett Walther's so-called legacy,” Letters (Anthony Garcia’s letter), Saddleback College Lariat, January 30, 1997 [Garcia was an ally of the then-current union leadership.]
…While on the board, Walther built her political base around those bearing a grudge against the establishment or around those lobbying for special (but not popular) interests. For her own political ambitions, she supported Women's Studies despite its academic anemia; lent a Machiavellian ear to the issue of same-sex domestic benefits (while denying well-deserved benefits to part-time faculty) despite their insidious potential costs and potential for abuse; championed the North Campus over Saddleback despite its penchant to usurp an inordinate and grossly unfair portion of the district's budget; pandered to consultants with whom she had an association; and supported those teachers who "escaped" their share of teaching duties by immersing themselves in questionable tasks referred euphemistically as "release time."….
• “Trustees table China abroad,” Saddleback College Lariat, February 13, 1997
International program up for reconsideration postponed again
In a strong show of support, approximately 20 students and community members spoke on behalf of the study abroad programs offered through Saddleback College.
In its Feb. 10 meeting, the Saddleback Community College District Board of Trustees tabled the reconsideration of approval of Saddleback's China History and Culture Abroad Program.
The board had approved the study-abroad program Nov. 18 and contracts were signed by the district Nov. 20. However, issues with the program first arose after the new board members took their seats Dec. 16.
. . .
[Some trustees] said they feel the written curriculum and actual hours spent in lecture, known as contact hours, do not correlate.
"It just doesn't add up," said board President Steven Frogue.
. . .
Board members David Lang and Marcia Milchiker voiced their displeasure with the reconsideration of the program's approval….
[Study abroad programs was among Dot Fortune's bugaboos. In December, to the horror of faculty present, she likened the proposed Costa Rica program to a "surf party."]
• “Shared financial sacrifices required in budget crisis,” Saddleback College Lariat “Open Forum,” February 13(23?), 1997 (Trustee Frogue’s contribution)
As this Board of Trustees begins a new year, all of the Trustees intend giving the community the best service possible with the available resources. However, our vice chancellor of Fiscal Services reports: "The financial condition of the district at year end is still projected as very tenuous indeed."
These times require shared sacrifices by everyone. The district's financial status demands the board's close supervision. At this moment we must lead and ignore critics' objections, and we must reject a "hands off" policy which may take us down a disastrous path.
. . .
In response to this crisis, the president of Saddleback College recently announced the cancellation of over $150,000 of salary for "reassigned" or release time awarded to faculty for non-teaching assignments, and this board agreed with the president. Budget demands made that necessary.
. . .
(Steven J. Frogue delivered this State of the District address at the Saddleback Community College District board meeting Jan. 27, 1997.)
• “SCCD trustees lack culture,” Saddleback College Lariat Editorial, February 13, 1997
On Feb. 10, the Saddleback Community College District Board of Trustees met to, among other things, decide the fate of international study programs. Their decision? Postpone the decision.
More than a dozen students and teachers spoke on behalf of the programs. Among them were individuals who had been students for more than a decade and said they learned more on the international rips than in the rest of their schooling.
Since no one who spoke said anything negative, the Lariat asks what the justification is for cutting such a popular program….
• “Board may alter administration,” Saddleback College Lariat, March 6, 1997
Because of the current financial budget crisis plaguing the district, the Saddleback Community College District Board of Trustees voted Feb. 10 to l approve notifying deans and vice presidents of possible structural changes in administration.
In the past, their contracts have been automatically renewed to the next period, since notification must be made so far in advance for a change to occur.
"They're like sweetheart contracts," said trustee Dorothy Fortune. "In order to let someone go you have to do it from the very beginning or it goes on and on.
"You can never get rid of them," she said. "The current structure has been growing for 25 years. It's like a big tree that just kept growing and duplicating services."
. . .
A consultant expert on administrative organization at educational institutions has been hired to make recommendations to the board.
The process is expected to take approximately six months.
"I hope everyone is involved and that different perspectives are heard," said Dan Rivas, dean of Liberal Arts for 12 years….
[In July of ’97, acting in violation of the state’s “Open Meeting” Law, the board unilaterally reorganized the district, eliminating several Saddleback College deans, some of whom were sent to Irvine Valley College to replace School Chairs, all of whom were eliminated. Court documents reveal that, despite assuring faculty that no changes would occur during the summer, in the Spring of ‘97, IVC President Raghu Mathur directed his VPI to draw up a plan for reorganizing the district. It was that plan that was put into effect in July. Ultimately, the courts determined that the July action had violated the Ralph M. Brown Act. It was an instance of illegally secret action.]
• Chancellor Takes On Interim President Job, LA Times, March 19, 1997
Robert A. Lombardi, chancellor of Saddleback Community College District, did not have to look far for somebody to serve as interim president of Irvine Valley College: He'll do the job himself.
. . .
The district's board of trustees approved the move Monday night on a 5-1 vote, with David B. Lang objecting and Joan J. Hueter abstaining. They could not be reached for comment, and Riopka said she did not know their reasons.
[Normally, the VPI would temporarily replace an exiting President, but IVC VPI Terry Burgess was high on the "oppressed" Raghu Mathur's list of oppressors and "cabalists." Lombardi was chosen as a compromise. A month later, Frogue showed up with a petition: a handful of IVC faculty who allegedly favored selection of Raghu Mathur.for the interim position. Oddly, the signatories remained "anonymous." Since the action of appointing Mathur was unagendized, it was plainly illegal.]
• “Board renames college district,” Saddleback College Lariat, April 10, 1997
[But some] Trustees show concern about possible costs
Saddleback Community College District trustees voted to change the district name to "South Orange County Community College District" March 31 in a 4-3 vote. ¶ The board of trustees proposed the name change Jan. 27 to distinguish between the district and Saddleback College, and to recognize Irvine Valley College as an equal part of the district.
All trustees were not in agreement, however.
"I don't believe there was overwhelming support among the constituency groups in the college or the community at large to justify the board unilaterally making a decision like that," said trustee Dave Lang, who voted against the change….
• “Fortune named in flier flap,” Saddleback College Lariat, April 24, 1997
Librarian steps forward to identify trustee who tore down club's fliers
The unnamed trustee who was publicly accused of tearing down fliers posted by a student club is Dorothy Fortune, according to librarian Ana Maria Cobos.
Rick Travis, president of Associated Student Government, made the accusation during the March 31 meeting of the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees. He did not name the trustee, however….
. . .
According to Jaime Placek, an ASG senator and member of Student Alliance for Awareness, there has been an ongoing problem with the club's posters being removed.
. . .
Some of [the fliers or posters] promote attendance at the April 28 board meeting. Others target certain trustees, with statements such as: "Hey Fortune, Frogue and Williams: Do you represent the students or the Faculty Association?"
Another flier reads: "Board members or any of your associates: Stop tearing down our fliers, we refuse to go away or keep quiet!....
The CTA investigates the Faculty Association
• “Meeting With CTA,” from the Faculty Association's April Newsletter, April, 1997
CTA will be meeting at the Holiday Inn located at La Paz and Freeway 5 on May 13 and 14 to take any questions and give information on the organization. ¶ Watch for your letter in the mail from CTA detailing the meeting arrangements.
[NOTE: in fact, the CTA "meetings" were a visit by the CTA's investigative "leadership team." CTA was at long last responding to complaints about the local from over 100 full-time district faculty.]
• Saddleback College District Is Renamed LA Times, May 1, 1997
• “Irvine Valley faculty vote on trustees under way,” Irvine World News (P. Goetz), May 8, 1997
A polling of the Irvine Valley College faculty for a vote of no confidence in the college district board of trustees is under way. ¶ Ballots became available Monday and voting at special polling points will continue through noon Friday, May 9.
On May 1 the Irvine Valley Academic Senate Council called for the faculty-wide polling for a "vote of no confidence in the S.O.C.C.C.D. (South Orange County Community College District, formerly Saddleback Community College District) Board of Trustees for repeated action indicating unwillingness to participate in the spirit and intent of shared governance."
. . .
During the May 1 meeting, Senate Council members said that the board's action on April 28 to appoint teacher Raghu Mathur as interim president of the college was done without consultation with the Academic Senate and in opposition to recommendations from administrators.
According to the trustees' own policy on shared decision-making, the board must consult with the faculty before making an appointment.
. . .
Former Irvine Valley President Dan Larios, speaking from his new office as president of Fresno City College, gave full support to the Academic Senate.
He said that in his dealings with the Irvine Valley Academic Senate, the members were always willing to sit down and discuss issues through to an acceptable decision.
"They are reasonable, fair-minded, and smart and just want to be involved in decisions," he said….
• Results of vote of “no confidence”: Remarks by IVC Academic Senate President Kate Clark at May 19, 1997 meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees:
It is not a pleasant circumstance that brings me to this podium this evening—to report that the entire Irvine Valley College faculty has, by a vote of 63 to 24, declared "no confidence" in this Board of Trustees because of "repeated actions taken which indicate its unwillingness to participate in the spirit and intent of shared governance." Contrary to claims made by [Faculty Association President] Ms. Miller-White, for those of you with political understanding, this represents a disapproval rating of 72.5 percent of the faculty. ... A vote of no confidence is understood to be a most grave action not undertaken lightly. ... It is to be considered by all an overwhelming signal to the college, to the district, and to the community we serve that severe problems persist and cry for remedy. The Academic Senate is the duly constituted voice of the faculty, recognized as such by law, by Title V, by your own board policies. As the IVC Academic [Senate] President, I am the individual designed to speak on behalf of the faculty as a whole.... If I must be a cautious speaker, then I ask you as board members to be cautious listeners and to distinguish between decisions reached and delivered by the authentic voice of the faculty--the Academic Senates--and the whispered rumors or innuendoes of those who approach you outside the process. They do not speak for faculty as a whole. They cannot, and their appeals or their petitions must be weighed accordingly. The Academic Senate by law is more than just an advisor body. Your failure to understand that principle and our partnership reflects the very depth of your lack of understanding about AB 1725. We have brought our entreaties before this body as requests for meetings and orientations. We have been stifled in our attempts to bring such requests before you as a docket item. Our requests to you for legal remedies have also gone unanswered, and we tire of asking. The plebiscite just taken at our college is no longer request; it is a public demand that you work with us to rectify the ills that plague this district and to restore both the obligations and responsibilities delegated to us by law and your own adopted board policies 2100.1.
Obey the law, OK? (The Brown Act)
• Written "demand for cure and correct [re violations of the Brown Act]," read (and handed) to SOCCCD Board of trustees during board meeting: May 19, 1997
The SOCCCD Board of Trustees has repeatedly disregarded provisions of the Brown Act, Government Code 54950, et seq. For instance, on April 28, 1997, during closed session, the Board of Trustees appointed Raghu Mathur as Interim President of Irvine Valley College. As you are aware, this appointment was a violation of Government Code Section 54954.2, which requires that
54954.2. (a) At least 72 hours before a regular meeting, the legislative body of a local agency or its designee, shall post an agenda containing a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed at the meeting, including items to be discussed in closed session...No action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda...For purposes of describing closed session items pursuant to Section 54954.2, the agenda may describe closed sessions as provided below. No legislative body or elected official shall be in violation of Section 54954.2 or 54956 if the closed session items were described in substantial compliance with this section. Substantial compliance is satisfied by including the information provided below, irrespective of its format....
54956.7...PUBLIC EMPLOYEE APPOINTMENT...
54954.3 (a) Every agenda for regular meetings shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the legislative body on any item of interest to the public, before or during the legislative body's consideration of the item, that is, within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body, provided that no action shall be taken on any item not appearing on the agenda unless the action is otherwise authorized by subdivision (b) of Section 54954.2.
We hereby demand that the board substantially comply with the aforementioned provisions. More specifically, we demand that the board rescind the appointment of Raghu Mathur as Interim President of IVC and provide proper notice and solicit public input insofar as board appointments are contemplated.
[The board ignored us. We filed a lawsuit and prevailed. This occurred more than once. Eventually, ruling against the board, the judge referred to its “persistent and defiant disregard” of the law.]
• “Saddleback College cans newspaper adviser,” Saddleback College Lariat(?), June 5, 1997
Student paper has been critical of district board
Kathleen Dorantes received word May 20, without warning that she would no longer be the adviser to the Saddleback Valley College newspaper, The Lariat.
. . .
Some sources at the Mission Viejo college , governed by the same board as Irvine Valley College, say the move was politically motivated. The student paper has been critical of the majority of the college district's board of trustees since the election in the fall.
The faculty member appointed to take Dorantes' place as adviser, Lee Walker, is an outspoken supporter of the board majority.
. . .
Walker could not be reached for comment.
. . .
When asked about reasons for the change or reasons that the college president, rather than an immediate supervisor, would make a decision about a faculty teaching assignment, Doffoney said, "I think this conversation has gone about as far as it can," and indicated he did pot want to comment further.
• “CTA State Board Exonerates Faculty Association” –Faculty Association Press Release, June?, 1997
In a report issued June 23, 1997, a team from the California Teachers Association (CTA), Board of Directors, issued a report that clears the Saddleback Community College District Faculty Association (SCCDFA) of the changes [sic] of wrongdoing that a small, but vociferous group of Irvine Valley and Saddleback college [sic] administrators and faculty had forwarded to CTA headquarters in January and March….
[NOTE: The report was based on a site visit by a CTA “leadership team.” In their report, the team noted this accomplishment of the local: that "Approximately twenty-three Irvine College [sic] faculty became new members during the period from January to March 1997." It failed to mention, however, that most of these faculty joined the FA in order to reform it.
The team observed that the "concerned faculty" who had requested CTA’s assistance were troubled by the FA's conduct concerning its bylaws. For instance, according to many faculty, the FA failed to provide bylaws to members who requested them. Though CTA's own rules require that chapter bylaws be revised at least once every five years, the only copies of FA bylaws that were available to members dated from 1983 and existed in two distinct forms. FA leadership was very unclear concerning the status of these old bylaws.
Eventually, FA President Miller-White explained that "the bylaws" were being "cleaned up" of misspellings and grammatical errors. But when, after several months, the "cleaned up" version finally appeared, it contained substantial changes relative to the previously available versions. These changes (conveniently, for FA leadership) increased the power of the President and permitted a greater degree of campaign spending. The FA was unable or unwilling to explain how these changes had come about.
In truth, the report asserted:
“The team believes that the Faculty Association must take immediate action to bring the current bylaws into compliance with CTA and NEA policies and standards as quickly as possible...Copies of bylaws should be made readily available upon member request and provided to members upon joining or after a vote of revision. In the future, all changes to bylaws should be referenced by date at the end of each paragraph.”
Elsewhere, the report stated that the FA "should adopt election procedures in standing rules with specifics about timeline and the balloting process." It also reported that "even some long-term members expressed little knowledge of the election procedures and regular balloting for Faculty Association officers over the years." At no point did the report refute or even question that very disturbing observation. It did, however, recommend that the Faculty Association "avail itself of training provided CTA about election procedures....”
The CTA report noted:
“The Faculty Association does appear to take and approve minutes, but not always on a regular basis. The Faculty Association does not archive minutes of regular representative council meetings...The Faculty Association regards the PAC meetings as strategic discussions that do not require minutes.
“The chapter should establish a secure repository for archives of minutes and financial records...Minutes should be kept of all meetings. Matters of strategic concern can be discussed in executive session. Financial reports should be made monthly and published.”
The FA’s press release neglected to mention that the authors of the CTA report were clearly concerned about the FA's finances and dues collection, for the latter recommended that the chapter "receive training from CTA" and that it "work directly with CTA" in order to insure conformity with the law. (It also implied that the FA had failed to "follow its own bylaws" concerning contract proposals.)
With regard to the union’s decision to use a homophobic flier to campaign for its trustee candidates, the report lamely asserted:
“Because Faculty Association leadership believed losing the trustee election would have dire consequences for the Faculty Association, the PAC used a paid political consultant to help them win the November 1996 trustee election. [After the election, that consultant, Pam Zanelli, was hired by the district as it’s chief public information officer.] The consultant identified several "hot button issues" for south Orange County voters. The Faculty Association was convinced by the consultant that the domestic partners benefits issue could be effectively used to defeat the opposition candidates and would win what was viewed as a critical election for the Faculty Association.
“...CTA reaffirms its belief that discrimination is not acceptable in any form or forum. Therefore, in the future, the chapter must work to make sure that campaign strategy decisions do not cause more problems than the election victory intends to solve.”
• “Irvine Valley College is fast leaving democratic process in the dust,” Irvine World News Editorial, July 3, 1997
By all appearances, we're witnessing an interim college president replacing a democracy with an autocracy. It all smacks of intimidation and these methods often lead to disastrous results….
• [Article], from the Weekender (a south county insert of the LA Times), July 5, 1997
Two Irvine Valley College faculty members filed a complaint Tuesday in Orange County Superior Court alleging violations of the state's open meeting law by the college board of trustees when they appointed Raghu Mathur as interim president of Irvine Valley.
Roy Bauer, chair of the humanities and languages, and Mark McNeil, of the social and behavioral sciences, filed a writ of mandate with fellow faculty member Wendy Phillips acting as counsel. Phillips said the filing was equivalent to suing the seven members of the board as well as Chancellor Robert Lombardi.
The complaint alleges that the state's open meeting law, the Brown Act, was violated when four members of the board conferred beforehand and went into an April 28 closed meeting knowing they would appoint Raghu Mathur as interim president of Irvine Valley College. A violation would be a misdemeanor….
• “Irvine Valley's Mathur takes heat at open forum,” Irvine World News, July 10, 1997
Complaints about Irvine Valley College's interim president, Raghu Mathur, dominated an open forum conducted Tuesday by trustees of the South Orange County Community College District….
• “Irvine representative on college board issues 'wake-up call' to his colleagues,” Irvine World News, July 17, 1997
Community college trustee Dave Lang delivered a blistering statement critical of the board majority's position on management of Irvine Valley College at Monday night's board meeting.
"President Frogue, I will tell you that the good people of Irvine will not stand for what many see as the systematic subjugation of an outstanding institution," Lang said. Lang represents Irvine on the seven-member board.
Lang said Tuesday that he meant the message as a "wake-up call" to his fellow board members.
. . .
"Outstanding administrators at the highest levels have left or are considering leaving or retiring. Morale, among other employees, is extremely low, because they feel their voices are not being heard and that all vestiges of academic freedom and established processes are gone," Lang told his fellow board members.
He added that he is asked at trustee conferences "what in the world is going on in our district to cause the kind of chaos that is rumored to exist."
Lang said Irvine Valley College is in jeopardy of losing its accreditation if the pattern continues and people continue to lose faith in the college because of a lack of shared governance.
The infamous (and illegal) "reorg"
• College Job Changes Stir Controversy, LA Times, July 18, 1997
In a closed-session action that prompted three trustees to walk out in protest, trustees at the Saddleback Community college district voted 4 to 0 Wednesday night to revamp campus management at Irvine Valley College.
The dissenting trustees—David Lang, Marcia Milchiker, and Joan Hueter—walked out of the closed session before the vote on the restructuring plan was taken. The three disagreed with the plan and also accused the other trustees of violating the Brown Act by conducting the vote in closed session.
Under the new plan, which takes effect in the fall semester, all 10 IVC department heads will halt their administrative duties and return to the classroom full time. Also as part of the restructuring plan, five of 14 deans at Saddleback College will transfer to IVC to assume managerial tasks.
Meanwhile, the remaining Saddleback College deans will be responsible for more academic departments as part of an accompanying consolidation plan. For instance, liberal arts and social behavioral sciences departments will now be combined….
. . .
"We are in the grips of a Neanderthal board," Bauer said. "This is another chapter in that story.
"I think it's clear this board distrusts academics," he added. "They see themselves as the authority who issues orders, and our job is to simply follow them."….
[Ultimately, the courts decided that, indeed, the board had violated the Ralph M. Brown Act.]
The beginning of the end of Mr. FROGUE's wild ride
• “Warren Report on the JFK Assassination: The Test of History” –ad for “Special Forum” appearing in the Saddleback College Community Education schedule of courses for Fall 1997 (published in late Spring or early Summer 1997):
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
• “Why we don't support changes made at Irvine Valley College,” guest editorial, Irvine World News, August 8, 1997
By David Lang and Joan Hueter
We strongly oppose the vote of the majority of the board of trustees of the South Orange County Community College District in its action to remove nine Irvine Valley College school chairs and replace them with five deans from Saddleback College.
. . .
Although 10 school chairs and their support staffs may "cost over $1 million," this expenditure will not be eliminated by reassigning them to the classroom. The actual cost to the college for its school chairs is the salaries (approximately $200,000) of the part-time faculty that teaches the classed the chairs do not. The college will still be required to pay their salaries as classroom teachers, and at salaries identical to their former salaries as school chairs.
Ironically, it was the economy of the school chair model that was a significant factor in the college's move to adopt it in 1986. Coupled with the benefits of a "flat" organization and the involvement of the college faculty in important decision-making processes, IVCs administrative model has been a resounding success in fostering the growth and development of the college.
Trustee Fortune declares that the money "saved" by the board's action will be used to add classes. However, she fails to state that both IVC and Saddleback College have already scheduled classes for the next academic year to accommodate a far greater number of students than will be funded by the state.
To offer additional classes in such a situation is to assure that the district will incur enormous expense without a penny of off-set income.
. . .
Our last point is the most disturbing. Veiled as a "personnel action," the latest authoritarian move by the board majority was made without any consultation with or participation by the college employees it most directly affects. Indeed, top district leadership has spoken passionately against it. What disturbs us most is our firm belief that the real motive for such a precipitous action is political payoff to those who oppose certain Saddleback College deans and the silencing of the IVC school chairs who have been vocal critics of the board majority….
• “College district tosses aside procedure manual in choosing new Irvine Valley College president,” Irvine World News, August 14, 1997
Chancellor Robert A. Lombardi said Tuesday he has decided that community college trustees should choose the new president for Irvine Valley College directly from the pool of 20 to 30 candidates rather than letting a representative search committee eliminate candidates first.
He said he made the decision not to use the established hiring procedure after communicating with members of the board of trustees.
He said the South Orange County Community College District trustees will choose the new president based on their own interviews and the written comments on each candidate from each member of the 12-member search committee.
. . .
Under the established method of hiring administrators, a search committee of representatives from all segments of the college reviews applications for basic qualifications, interviews qualified applicants and ranks them in order of who they think is the best person for the job. The top three to five then go to the chancellor who makes a recommendation to the board for their approval. This hiring procedure was adopted by the board in 1988 and is similar to hiring procedures at other community colleges.
. . .
Lombardi acknowledged Tuesday afternoon that this [new] method is not the one specified in the district's Employment Procedures Manual.
"It wouldn't be my choice, if another model would get the support of the board majority," he commented.
He stressed that he is trying to "be realistic" with this board and chose this method of selecting a president so that someone will be chosen to fill the position.
. . .
In May, 72 percent the Irvine Valley full-time faculty voted "no confidence" in the board for making the interim appointment.
. . .
When asked if this is a way to make sure that Interim President Raghu Mathur is included as a finalist for the permanent position, Lombardi replied: "let's put it this way—this is to make sure he is not eliminated unfairly. That's what the board would say."
. . .
Lombardi said that to his knowledge all members of the search committee agreed to the new procedure.
However, at least one member of the search committee contradicted the chancellor, saying all members of the committee definitely didn't agree on the new procedure and that a number of them have made their dissenting opinions known both verbally and in writing.
Dave Lang, a college trustee who represents Irvine, said Wednesday he strongly objects to the new method of choosing the president.
He said there is not enough faculty input and that he believes the search committee should narrow the field of candidates before the board is involved in the choice.
• “Selection process for the new president of Irvine Valley College is a sham,” editorial, Irvine World News, August 14, 1997
Clearly, the board majority of South Orange County Community College District is manipulating the selection process by bypassing the district's Employment Procedures Manual and emasculating the screening committee.
• Editorial re SOCCCD board of trustees, Irvine World News, August 14, 1997
It's clear the four-member majority of...trustees is now manipulating the selection of a new president for Irvine Valley College. The process they've come up with is a sham...[This micromanagement and politicizing has] got to stop before those four individuals wreck the district and its two find colleges"
• Old Guard unionists sing Raghu Mathur’s praises, August 18, 1997 meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees
Tony Garcia: …[Raghu 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…Release time has become one of the great scandals of academia…which is the root of the majority of our evils…I’d like to thank Dr. Mathur for his fortitude in confronting this specific problem. The community should erect 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 interjects: “Amen!”], if you were privy to it. Now you see the picture.
Bill Heffernan: …Reassigned time is really a euphemism 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.
Jan Horn [responds]: My name is Jan Horn…Raghu Mathur is being hailed as a hero for his tough stance against reassigned time and his tough decisions to cut [it].
His position is new and surprising to those of us who have worked with him for many years prior to his [recent appointment as president of IVC]. Raghu received 60%-80% reassigned time as School Chair for  years. In addition, for at least the past three years—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 disgraces 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 load...and then see what he actually did about reassigned time, not what he is saying about it now.
• “Warren Commission [forum] guests,” Agenda Item #13, SOCCCD Board Meeting, August 18, 1997
“$5,000 for honoraria, travel, or accommodations for Sherman Skolnick, Dave Emory, John Judge, Michael Collins Piper.”
[The item passes 4-3, despite a plea from the head of the local ADL, who described the nature of some of these guests. Earlier in the day, I had read the agenda and recognized a name: Michael Collins Piper. So I called Joyce Greenspan of the Long Beach/OC ADL and gave her a heads up.]
• “Applause, hissing at college board meeting,” Irvine World News, August 21, 1997
Monday night's meeting of the college district board was marked by bursts of applause as well as hissing and booing from an overflow audience.
At issue was the reorganization of the administrative structure of Irvine Valley College in Irvine and Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.
The board voted 4-3 to ratify its decision made in private on July 16 to reorganize the academic administrative structure at the two colleges. Chancellor Robert A. Lombardi said that he thought at the July meeting—and still thinks—that the action taken was a personnel issue and could be done in a closed session.
Three board members, David Lang, Joan Hueter and Marcia Milchiker, walked out of the July 16 private meeting because they thought the issue was a policy matter and not a personnel matter, thus making the action a violation of the Brown Act, the state's open meeting law.
At the July 16 meeting, trustees Steven Frogue, John Williams, Dorothy Fortune and Teddi Lorch, voted 4-0 to reassign Irvine Valley College school chairs to full-time teaching, and at the same time cut the number of deans at Saddleback College in half. Deans were reassigned to Irvine Valley College. One resigned and was reassigned to teaching duties at Saddleback.
. . .
The action is widely viewed on campus as "political payback" for support or opposition to board candidates, according to one faculty member at the meeting….
• College Course Claims JFK Conspiracy by ADL, LA Times, August 21, 1997
The South Orange County Community College District has approved a course that claims a conspiracy was behind the assassination of President Kennedy and has committed $5,000 for flying in four guest speakers, one of whom says the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, masterminded the killing.
. . .
"All of this is out-and-out anti-Semitism," said Cheryl Altman, chairwoman of the department of reading at Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, which, along with Irvine Valley Community College, is run by the district.
. . .
Chip Berlet, who has studied the assassination extensively and is a senior analyst at Political Research Associates, a nonprofit think tank in Massachusetts that examines authoritarian thinking, laughed upon hearing the names of the panelists. ¶ "Oh, get out of here!" Berlet said. "You couldn't find . . . more embarrassing conspiracists in America. Even among conspiracy theorists, these people represent the outer limits." ¶ Some faculty members fear that the course will harm the reputation of the district. ¶ "I am profoundly embarrassed that the president of our board of trustees is a man who takes seriously crackpots such as these," said Roy Bauer, a philosophy instructor at Irvine Valley Community College….
[The story was picked up all over the country and even had a brief life on national TV. For a couple of days, the SOCCCD was that stupid college district in California with holocaust deniers.]
• Colleges Should Stay Miles Away From Bigotry, LA Times editorial, August 22, 1997
What could South Orange County Community College District trustees possibly have been thinking? They voted to allow a seminar that injects anti-Semitic overtones into conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Even Thursday’s announcement that the course will not be held on campus was unsatisfactory. The fact that the chairman of the college board, Steven J. Frogue, still plans to hold it at all is appalling….
• “College district cancels assassination seminar,” OC Register, August 22, 1997
EDUCATION: Protests lead to the demise of a class on the John F. Kennedy shooting.
A college seminar exploring the conspiracy theories surrounding President Kennedy’s assassination — including one that Israeli intelligence was involved—was canceled Thursday after faculty and community protests….
• Saddleback’s JFK Conspiracy Seminar Spiked, LA Times (front page), August 22, 1997
After receiving more than 200 angry calls from the public, the South Orange County Community College District on Thursday canceled a controversial seminar that claims a conspiracy was behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy….
• “College trustee withdraws plan to present forum,” Irvine World News, August 28, 1997
The president of the South Orange county Community College District board dropped his plans for a forum on conspiracy theories behind the assassination of President John Kennedy after the district received nearly 200 calls from people upset about the proposal.
• “Newspaper vicious toward college board,” letter, Irvine World News, August 28, 1997 (Ray Chandos)
Why does the Irvine World News, which serves a large area, concentrate its vicious attacks on South Orange County Community College district trustees and the interim president Raghu Mathur at Irvine Valley College, ignoring other news, governing bodies and institutions?....
• “Anti-Semitic JFK plot seminar shot down by college district,” OC Jewish Heritage, August 29, 1997
The South Orange County Community College District backed away last Thursday from a controversial decision to use $5,000 in compulsory student fees to finance a three-day seminar on Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories….
• “Why don't we raise hell about Steven Frogue?,” OC Jewish Heritage, August 29, 1997
My professor friend doesn't know what is wrong with the Orange County Jewish community: "Why don't you raise hell about Frogue and his gang?" he asks me, his tired voice weighed by years of accumulated frustration.
He has a point.
Why don't we do anything about Steven Frogue? Picket board meetings? Launch a recall election?
• JFK Slaying Course Draws Fire, letters, LA Times, September 7, 1997
• “Trouble Continues at Former Saddleback District,” from Senate Rostrum, newsletter of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, September, 1997 (Kate Clark)
• Excerpts from September Faculty Association Newsletter, September 1997
…The SOCCCFA and CTA have consistently promoted unity among all faculty in this district; even if we may disagree on the fine points of issues, the entire organization suffers if any one of its members is in peril or overtly attacked...We now face a unique situation. There is a contingent of dues paying members (some of who [sic] began to ante up dues only within the past few months) who have made it clear that what they want is total control of the Association in order to gut its capability to bargain for fair contracts providing equitable salaries and to process grievances.
… The color photo appearing in the LA Times was not a student at our colleges or a member of our district community. He was imported from LA. How many of the open meeting comments were orchestrated for the Times reporter
. . .
We counted 55 faculty members who said nothing, but simply observed. About 51 students stood when a speaker asked them to stand….
Who were the other outside agitators?....
…A media attack from the Los Angles Times writer Michael Granberry which started following the November election in 1996--continued until last week, and an incendiary call to arms against the faculty from the Heritage newspaper writer, Stan Brin, have alerted our Association leaders to an organized offensive against the SOCCCD faculty...Last week, Granberry ordered a Saddleback College faculty member out of his San Juan Capistrano office, with a vicious vitriolic attack on the Union's motives. As reported his exact remarks were "The only thing the Union is interested in is its pocketbook."
This quote is also the standard IVC line from faculty who lost their reassigned time (9 hours each for department chairs; total 18 for two semesters and additional 9 more in the summer).
...In the meantime, the Association is keeping the peace. We are teaching our classes and keeping the controversies out of the classroom. We are teachers, not "insiders," not whining complainers. We actually enjoy teaching….
• Blame Politics for the Debacle in South O.C. Community College: Voters, teachers group gave control to officials bent on accruing power and advancing their personal agendas, “OC Voices,” Lisa Alvarez, LA Times, September 7, 1997
…In August, the board majority, in closed session, deviated from existing hiring practices in its Irvine Valley presidential search process, abandoning, in this case, uniform rules for selection of administrators in favor of a process that permits politics to prevail over merit. In a recent college forum, Lombardi acknowledged this deviation from district policy. Now, based on this bogus process, the board majority is poised to select its candidate, absent meaningful faculty and staff input….
• College District's Actions Provoke Debate and Dissent, LA Times, September 9, 1997
Education: Saddleback, Irvine Valley board majority says changes are needed though sometimes unpopular.
• College District Board President Is Recall Target, LA Times, September 10, 1997
Administration: Decisions made in closed sessions fervently opposed by faculty and students who announce campaign to oust Steven J. Frogue.
• “Students say they will call for college trustee to resign,” Irvine World News, September 11, 1997
The Student Senate at Irvine Valley College is drafting a resolution calling for Steven Frogue, president of the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees to leave the board….
• “Campus split over Mathur's appointment,” IVC Voice, September 11, 1997 (By Sanaz Mozafarian)
Former Interim President Raghu Mathur has been appointed the fifth president of Irvine Valley College by the South Orange County Community College Board of Trustees.
Mathur was appointed on a 4-3 vote during a closed session meeting Monday night, while dozens of students, faculty, staff and community members protested outside the room…..
• “Faculty and staff sport buttons to protest board decision,” IVC Voice, September 11, 1997 (By Tammy E. Livingstone)
Baggy jeans, neon notebooks, earrings pierced on body areas other than norm. Ah, and then there's those buttons?....
• “Trustee calls for outside intervention,” Irvine World News, September 11, 1997
College district 'incapable of responsible self-government'
Decrying the process, "or lack thereof" by which Raghu Mathur was selected as the new president of Irvine Valley College Monday, community college Trustee David Lang of Irvine said Tuesday he is seeking the intervention of statewide community college Chancellor Thomas Nussbaum in the affairs of the South Orange County Community College District….
. . .
Lang said he is asking for outside intervention because the south county college board and the district seem "incapable of responsible self-government."
Lang said he also sent a letter to Orange County District Attorney Michael Capizzi asking him to investigate alleged violations of California's open meeting law and other actions by the board majority-Steven Frogue, Dorothy Fortune, Teddi Lorch and John Williams.
. . .
Irvine Valley faculty members said Tuesday they fear retaliation–harassment or even dismissal—by the board and Mathur for their lack of support during the selection of a replacement for Dan Larios, who left Irvine Valley College last spring to head Fresno City College in his hometown.
Lang said he can understand their fears.
But in an interview following Monday night's meeting of the college board, Trustee John Williams of Mission Viejo said he fully supports the process that was used by the board and the appointment of Mathur to the position.
He said Mathur was "the top candidate for the job all the way through the hiring process."
. . .
"He was just the best person for the job," Williams said of Mathur.
. . .
Trustee Joan Hueter of Tustin said Wednesday that she is saddened by recent actions of the board.
"I have worked with boards before that could disagree and still get along and move forward. This (board) is just unbelievable," Hueter said….
• “Bizarre beat goes on at college district,” editorial, Irvine World News, September 11, 1997
Four members of the South Orange County Community College Board of Trustees have made a mockery of shared governance and continue on their campaign of political revenge
…Mathur is now Irvine Valley's president.
What's next? Look for reprisals against a select list of faculty members and administrators at Irvine Valley who have spoken out against the board majority.
Such an exercise in raw political power, of course, would be repressive and wrong. That doesn't seem to bother the board majority, however….
• Students Call for Resignation of Community College Official, LA Times, September 12, 1997
Education: Irvine Valley, Saddleback campus leaders say Trustee Steven Frogue's actions hurt schools' integrity.
The student governments of Irvine Valley and Saddleback colleges Thursday called for the immediate resignation of South Orange County Community College District board President Steven J. Frogue….
• Cal. Community College Cancels Seminar on JFK Assassination, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 12, 1997
…The course was scheduled to feature Michael Collins Piper, who blames the Israelis for Kennedy's assassination; Dave Emory, who contends that Nazis killed the President; and Sherman Skolnick, a member of the advisory board of The Spotlight, a periodical that the Anti-Defamation League told the trustees is "the most anti-Semitic publication in America." Mr. Piper is a writer for the publication….
• “O.C. rights panel criticizes Frogue,” OC Register, September 12, 1997
The Orange County Human Relations Commission on Thursday night denounced the actions of a local community college board president they called "anti-Semitic" and "intolerant."
South Orange County Community College District President Steven Frogue planned to teach a seminar that raised the ire of faculty and outraged the Jewish community….
• Students Call for Resignation of Community College Official, LA Times, September 12, 1997
• South O.C. College District Salaries Are State's Highest, LA Times, September 15, 1997
Education: Trustee-faculty union relations criticized by some who link pay issue to recent controversies.
• The American Jewish Committee, Orange County Chapter, Policy Statement, September 15, 1997
The trustees of the South Orange County Community College district, just like the trustees of a corporation, owe a duty to protect the reputation of the institution. A corporation would not tolerate a president who promoted, on behalf of the corporation, speakers associated with the Liberty Lobby, arguably America's most significant anti-Semitic and racist organization. Neither should this school district.
Steven J. Frogue, president of this community college district, has disgraced this community college district (and this community) by offering a "seminar" under district auspices that would be a forum for speakers aligned with the Spotlight, the tabloid of the Liberty Lobby, which regularly exhibits anti-Semitism and racism in pseudo-academic garb, as well as advertisements for and promotions of Holocaust denial, white supremacist groups, and even groups that preach that minorities are not even human beings. According to the September 8, 1997 Spotlight, one assertion of Frogue's seminar was to be that "The CIA and the (Israeli) Mossad worked together to carry out the assassination of John F. Kennedy." Spotlight regularly promotes the classic anti-Semitic notion that Jews and Jewish organizations are parts of secret conspiracies attacking Americans.
Furthermore, students of Steven. J. Frogue at Foothill High School in 1995 accused him of denying the Holocaust, saying that it was more like 60 people than 6 million who were killed. When questioned about this, Frogue said his students misquoted him, yet asserted that the Institute for Historical Review (IHR) has "raised questions" about the Holocaust, and perhaps it should "enter the debate".
The IHR, an offshoot of the Liberty Lobby, is this country's key promoter of Holocaust denial, its theories roundly condemned by academics, history associations, and others as garbage, and many of its leaders and supporters as racists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
. . .
Based on the information that has come to light, we at The American Jewish Committee and leaders of this community call on the board to remove Steven J. Frogue as president. We support the efforts of the district's student and professional leadership to ensure the tolerance of pluralism in the educational environment and we offer our organization's expertise to further these objectives.
• College Official’s Recall Demanded, LA Times (By Michael Granberry), September 16, 1997
• “Students, parents call for ouster of trustee,” OC Register, September 16, 1997
EDUCATION: Detractors say the president of the South O.C. Community College District board is anti-Semitic.
Students, faculty and community members called on the president of South Orange County Community College District board to resign Monday night, drawing applause from an audience of 200….
• College Official's Recall Demanded, LA Times, September 16, 1997
Education: Steven Frogue, figure in dispute over course on JFK killing, is absent from O.C. meeting.
Wielding picket signs and leaflets, several hundred students, teachers and residents Monday at the monthly meeting of the South Orange County Community College District demanded the recall of board President Steven J. Frogue….
• College Official Denies He Is Anti-Semitic, LA Times (By Michael Granberry), September 17, 1997
Education: Calling the Holocaust 'one of the great human atrocities of all ages,' board President Steven Frogue, the target of a recall, issues response to critics and defends his right to free speech.
A day after failing to appear at a public meeting where hundreds of people demanded his resignation, college board President Steven J. Frogue lashed out at his critics Tuesday, saying he wants to "repudiate the lies" that he is anti-Semitic….
• Swing Vote Could Keep Frogue on as President, LA Times (By Michael Granberry), September 18, 1997
• Anti-Semitism Charge Leveled at Cal. Community-College Trustee, Chronicle of Higher Education, September 26, 1997
Steven J. Frogue, president of the Board of Trustees of Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College, has been accused of anti-Semitism because the seminar was to include a speaker who believes that Kennedy's murder was plotted by the Israeli intelligence agency.
. . .
[Frogue] was removed from his job as an instructor at a local high school in 1985 after students accused him of promoting the theory that the Holocaust never took place. He rejected those allegations and filed a grievance. He was ultimately reinstated.
• College Board Leader Survives Ouster Effort, LA Times (By Randal C. Archibold), October 21, 1997
• State Warns It Might Take Over S. County College District Finances, LA Times, December 28, 1997
• College Administrator's Firing Protested, LA Times, January 7, 1998
A protest against the impending firing of the highest-ranking African American administrator at embattled Irvine Valley College is being started by leaders of several Orange County organizations.
Supporters of Pauline Merry, the college's vice president of student services, spoke out Tuesday before trustees of the South Orange County Community College District, saying a recommendation against renewing her contract was unjustified and would represent a blow to African Americans in the county.
Trustees would not comment on the criticism, saying only that all of the administrators at the college were told last March that they would not have their existing contracts renewed, but that they might be continuing their jobs under new contracts as part of an administrative reshuffling.
But Merry, 60, said on Tuesday that she has learned she will not be offered any contract after professional differences with new college President Raghu Mathur. Mathur's appointment was opposed by many staff members at the 11,000-student college.
"Raghu told me personally he's going to recommend my contract not be renewed," Merry said.
• Study Fuels Frictions at Community Colleges LA Times, January 10, 1998
…Trustees of the 22,000-student South Orange County Community College District, citing the need for financial streamlining, asked for a department by department examination of Irvine Valley College in Irvine and Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.
The study began over the holidays, and this week, trustees spoke publicly about overhauling departments in the spring. But the reorganization plan contains what many faculty members charge is a fatal deficiency: It fails to consult faculty, students and staff, as district policies require.
"It seems to effectively preclude representation by any of the groups affected the most--faculty, students and classified [staff]," said Kate Clark, an Irvine Valley English professor and president of the college's Academic Senate. "We're left trying to guess what they want."
• Anti-Semitism at College Board Meeting Decried, LA Times, February 07, 1998
Schools: Debate in South County district is growing contentious as controversial Trustee Steven J. Frogue faces recall.
• College District Won’t Allow Offensive Views at Meetings, LA Times, February 13, 1998
Education: New measures, including more security, come after anti-Semitic comments.
Under criticism from Jewish organizations, the South Orange County Community College District is taking steps to curb offensive and derogatory remarks by speakers at public meetings. … “Some people have said some hurtful things, and it’s gotten kind of ugly,” said board President John S. Williams. “If people are going to start making comments like ‘The Holocaust didn’t occur,’ I’m going to stop them. I’m certainly not trying to restrict free speech, but certainly people have to understand that there is decorum.”….
• Knife, Pepper Spray Are Found at Meeting, LA Times, February 20, 1998
Campus police confiscated a 9-inch folding knife and a small canister of pepper spray from a man attending a South Orange County Community College District board meeting this week.
The seizure came amid tighter security measures in response to controversy surrounding a seminar Trustee Steven J. Frogue proposed last year on the assassination of President Kennedy. The seminar, which involved speakers with uncommon viewpoints, ultimately was canceled.
• Recall Efforts Give Voters a Midterm Voice: Whether or not they succeed, the drives themselves are a vital part of the democratic process, “OC Voices,” Lisa Alvarez, LA Times, March 15, 1998
Lately, I've spent a lot of time asking people to sign petitions to recall South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) Trustee Steven J. Frogue. … You've perhaps seen volunteers outside supermarkets, post offices, coffeehouses or on the district's two campuses, Irvine Valley and Saddleback. We're enthusiastic, friendly. We smile but worry. The clock is ticking. Our deadline, March 24, was too close. Last Thursday, recall leaders decided to admit defeat. Unable to collect the 38,500 required by the county registrar of voters, but inspired by a sudden influx of money, leaders declared this effort dead and decided to begin a new one….
• Faculty at Saddleback, Irvine Valley OK Pact, LA Times, April 1, 1998
• The Old Guard’s Tony Garcia “clears his throat.” The Saddleback College Lariat, April 2, 1998
An article in the 4/2 Lariat reports that, according to Saddleback student Antonio Aguilar (the student who, months ago, challenged an explicit Holocaust denier during a board meeting), he was ‘spit at’ by English instructor Tony Garcia on March 30.
Evidently, Garcia responded to the charge by saying that “I cleared my throat as [Aguilar] went by.”
The article ends with a masterpiece of understatement:
Richard McCullough, Saddleback College Interim President, said he would not condone this type of behavior from faculty if it did, indeed, occur.
“That’s not what they should be doing,” he said.
• Sampson Named College District Chancellor, LA Times, August 4, 1998
After a four-month search, the board of the South Orange County Community College District has unanimously voted to appoint Cedric Sampson as chancellor.
Sampson, 56, is leaving his job at the Redwoods Community College District in Eureka, Calif., where he's served as president/superintendent for 10 years.
• The Evil of Froguenstein: the real monsters behind community college trustee Steven J. Frogue, Matt Coker, OC Weekly, April 10, 1998
IF YOU'RE LIKE MOST ORANGE Countians, this is probably how you imagine Steven J. Frogue: He's a big, fat, Nazi goose stepper. He stands in front of his bathroom mirror at night in his swastika jammies, holding a black comb under his nose, and pretends to be Adolf Hitler-foaming at the mouth and swatting imaginary flies before the masses. Frogue thinks the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith is filled with a bunch of Catholic-president-slaying juden who have nothing better to do these days than figure out ways to fuck with the Frogue. "Holocaust, schmolocaust," he'll tell you-without you asking. "So it was strongly suggested the Jews go on a little extended holiday. Is that so wrong? Well, is it?"….
• College District's Self-Evaluation Draft Draws Fire for Its Omissions, LA Times, April 22, 1998
Education: Critics say items critical of South Orange County trustees were omitted from the faculty-administration report being sent to accreditation agency.
…Critics of the majority of the Board of Trustees charge that a draft report of a "self-evaluation" prepared by faculty and administrators was altered to remove lengthy passages critical of trustees.
The editing—while not illegal—shows an attempt to cover up problems at Irvine Valley College, one of the campuses administered by the South Orange district, critics charged.
. . .
In the original draft Irvine Valley College report that dealt with administration and governance, faculty and administrators criticized the Board of Trustees' majority for violating open-meetings laws, micromanaging campus affairs and "losing sight of the district's educational mission."
But long sections of the critical remarks were removed from the self-study presented to trustees Monday night. Even a factual reference to district's financial status-on a state fiscal "watch" list- was cut out, critics said.
The report was edited by Irvine Valley College electronic technology instructor Ray Chandos, who was appointed chairman of the school's accreditation committee by college President Raghu Mathur over objections of many faculty members....
• College District Not at Risk, Trustees Say, LA Times, April 25, 1998
Education: Leaders offer assurances on quality and accreditation after the latest flap, over criticism edited from a report
Leaders of the South Orange County Community College District hastened to offer assurances Friday that educational quality is being maintained and that accreditation is not at risk as students threatened to leave the district to attend other colleges.
"I want to assure the public, students and faculty that we'll maintain the highest standards," John S. Williams, the board president, said at a news conference.
Criticism is intensifying over faculty contentions that a draft college accreditation report on the school system's administration was "sanitized" when criticism of trustees was removed. But administrators said the process has retained its integrity.
Not so, critics said. "Everybody is up in arms about this," said Irvine Valley College ethics professor Roy Bauer. "People are hopping mad."
. . .
But the process has been particularly contentious at Irvine Valley, where faculty members say criticism of the Board of Trustees in early versions of a report was removed by editors appointed by administrators.
. . .
In a series of student and faculty demonstrations on campus against controversial administrative changes, some students have carried picket signs vowing to transfer to other community colleges and have shouted chants that they are going to Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa….
• Controversies Taking a Toll on Colleges' Budgets, LA Times, May 3, 1998
Fund-raising: Foundations at both Irvine Valley and Saddleback are feeling the squeeze after series of disputes.
• "Alternative media allow south-O.C. professors and students to vent,” OC Register, May 6, 1998
When Saddleback College teachers' union leader Ken Woodward saw himself portrayed as a demon-complete with sprouting horns and a forked tail--he was angry and embarrassed.
Other leaders in the South Orange County Community College District are regularly skewered and portrayed as monkeys and clowns by an underground faculty newsletter called Dissent which is quietly being disseminated by smirking professors.
The popularity of the publication—and two online alternatives written by students—is fed by frustrations that have gripped the two-campus district for two years. In that time, a district board member has been called anti-Semitic, top administrators fed up with board politics have quit en masse, and the state has questioned district finances.
Monthly trustees meetings have become shouting matches and fodder for newspaper stories.
"The underground stuff says what people want to say, rather than what's proper," said Irvine Valley College student Sam Stimson, who reads the publications. "It's a way to blow off stress about what's happening in this district."
Dissent's editor and chief writer, Irvine Valley Professor Roy Bauer, dots the 2-month-old weekly publication with obscenities. He has reprinted entire mainstream newspaper articles he is afraid his colleagues may have missed. One issue contained a five-page synopsis of a union meeting he attended, with rewritten dialogue to spice things up.
Board members' photos are distorted by computer. Some issues include rewritten passages from "Alice in Wonderland" that cast board members as Humpty Dumpty, the Queen of Hearts and Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
"The graphics are done in the tradition of political humor in the United States," Bauer said. "I do it to draw people in and get them to read it.
"We try to never cross the line into cruelty."
But board President John Williams-who routinely sees his likeness in Dissent warped, with abnormally sized teeth, eyes and hair-said the publications point to something disturbing.
"I've always been a proponent of free speech," Williams said. "But I think he's creating a hostile work environment, and frankly, when I've read his publications, it reminds me of the Unabomber manifesto.
"I think it's scary stuff."….
• “Abuse of power investigation stopped,” Irvine Valley College Voice, May 7, 1998 (Sanaz Mozafarian)
…On April 23, the Academic Senate Special Inquiry Committee, formed in January to investigate alleged abuses of power by [Raghu Mathur and his] administration, suspended its investigations.
"It's like bailing water out of the Titanic with a tea cup," said the committee's chair Lewis Long. "Every time we put an allegation to bed another one jumps up."
. . .
In a formal statement to the Academic Senate the committee, which consists of six full-time faculty members, stated that it could not prove or disprove the allegations because many have "legal ramifications" and require the authority of a "grand jury" and the "formal power of subpoena."
Furthermore, the committee was overwhelmed by the quantity of allegations and the time left to investigate them this academic year. It received a total of 44 separate reports alleging abuses of power by Mathur as well as the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees; only 18 specific incidents were deemed worthy of further investigation.
The committee accumulated data from faculty, staff and administration regarding the alleged abuses of power in the areas of reprimands and disciplinary actions, violations of hiring policy and intrusion into and violations of process. In the report the committee also included comments about the documentation, the legal ramifications and what further investigations would be necessary.
The allegations included incidents in which Mathur allegedly reprimanded and retaliated against individuals for their negative comments and criticisms of the administration. Others accused Mathur of selectively interfering with individuals' evaluations and their freedom of speech. Still others accused the president of practicing discriminatory hiring patterns, violating the board's hiring policies and lying to the Academic Senate about faculty hiring requests.
. . .
[In a statement rebutting some charges, Mathur stated:] "I will begin by apologizing for any mistakes I have made or any feelings I have hurt, albeit unintentionally. I am asking for you to develop a positive attitude and outlook within our college community," he stated….
• “The march goes on...,” IVC Voice, May 7, 1998 (J. Peralta)
If you happen to glance outside your classroom or pass by the A quad at about noon on Thursdays, you can see students and faculty continue their quest to alleviate the problems that they feel are plaguing Irvine Valley College. Students and teachers remain steadfast in their protest, despite facing what could be interpreted as drawbacks.
One such drawback is the dwindling number of participants and onlookers.
. . .
"I think people are apprehensive of going out to join us, because they don't know all the facts or they think they'll get in trouble," said protest co-coordinator Delilah Snell in an interview after the April 30 protest.
. . .
Debie Burbridge, the second coordinator, added that students will not get in trouble because it is within their rights.
Despite the smaller crowd, students can still visit an information table and at today's, May 7 protest, there was expected to be an open forum in front of Student Services for an hour, in which anyone could speak. In addition, at the April 30 protest, there was a guest speaker.
Wendy Phillips … spoke from approximately 12:15 to 12:30 p.m., after a shorter march.
"It's very difficult to give the complexity of the issues justice in, you know, 15 minutes," Phillips said after her speech.
She discussed the various issues the students have been protesting such as IVC's accreditation process, the newly approved faculty union contract, reassign time, and the appointment of President Raghu Mathur.
In an interview before the protest began, Phillips stated her purpose for speaking.
"To continue to raise the consciousness and awareness of the students and as to the severity of the problems at Irvine Valley College," Phillips said.
Another drawback for the protesters is an April 2 memo addressed to all faculty from the office of Mathur, which advised instructors not to allow student speaking during classroom hours about non-curriculum related issues.
"I issued the memo about students speaking about political matters in the classroom as some professional advice to faculty. While I respect a faculty member's academic freedom in the classroom, there should be some sense of integrity in the instructional program. If teachers stay with the course outline and approved curriculum, they give students what they are paying for—a quality education," said Mathur in a written statement sent to The Voice.
"Students are welcome to express their views about campus issues, but there are other venues to do so," further stated Mathur.
Despite the memo, Burbridge said that instructors haven't changed their minds about letting them speak and she said they continue to speak.
"The memo wasn't addressed to Delilah and I. The memo was addressed to instructors. So as long as we get permission (from the instructor), we will continue to speak to students," said Burbridge.
Burbridge continued, "The memo doesn't explicitly say that instructors cannot allow politics to be discussed in the classroom, it was just a caution."
"Many instructors give students the opportunities to speak before or after class to make a variety of announcements—club recruitments, speech tournament results, student elections, the Blood Drive, announcements about plays and concerts," said Academic Senate President Kate Clark.
"I can't recall another time when such a prohibition has been issued," Clark said in relation to the memo.
According to Interim Vice President of Instruction Glenn Roquemore, he is not aware of any policy on classroom speaking.
"In fairness to all students, political issues are not always interesting to everyone, particularly in a non-political class," Roquemore said in reference to the memo. "Campus politics could find its way to political science classrooms and it would probably be appropriate in that context."
. . .
Related to this issue, Board of Trustees President John Williams said, "It is being reported that faculty members are taking up lecture time to discuss campus politics."
"The students are being shortchanged on their education," Williams said.
In addition to speaking in classrooms, Snell and Burbridge have also been posting fliers around campus. They noticed, though, before the April 23 protest and again after putting up more fliers on April 27, that most of them were gone.
"Personally, I put up fliers all around the school for one hour and a half and today they were all gone," Snell said in an interview after the April 23 protest. "We're doing everything by the book and they're tearing them down."
. . .
In addition to coordinating the protect, Snell and Burbridge spoke at the April 20 board of trustees meeting in regards to accreditation.
"It gave our movement more strength because we were able to present ourselves in a context other than the campus grounds," Snell said.
. . .
"It is unfortunate that a small group of disgruntled faculty members who have had their reassign time cut are misleading students," said Williams about the protest.
. . .
Mathur … commented, "I'm a positive person, and I like to see that all faculty, staff, administration and students stay focused on how we can better serve the students. If anyone has any suggestions on how to better serve the college end students, I will be happy to listen and take their suggestions into consideration. As professionals we can do no less.
• State Republicans Add Backing in the Drive to Oust Trustee Frogue, LA Times, May 14, 1998
Embarrassed by controversy rippling monthly from the South Orange County Community College District's Board of Trustees, state Republicans on Wednesday said they will support the recall of Trustee Steven J. Frogue, himself a Republican and two-term trustee at odds with students, professors and Jewish groups.
Though Frogue has repeatedly denied he is anti-Semitic, Michael Schroeder, state Republican chairman, said the party has thrown its support behind a recall drive to oust Frogue, who has been accused of making ethnic slurs as a teacher and supporting groups considered offensive to Jews.
• “Frogue accuser feels 'set-up' by college trustee, colleagues,” Irvine World News, May 14, 1998
A former student of college district trustee Steven Frogue who has been at the forefront of accusations that Frogue taught that the holocaust did not happen as recorded in history, said he tried to convince her she is wrong during a meeting she described as a "surreal" experience.
Pam Bustamante, 26, said she thought she was meeting with a representative of the Christian Coalition at a restaurant on March 25 to discuss Frogue and was surprised to find Frogue waiting to join the meeting. The surprise grew, she said, when college board president John Williams and public relations consultant Pam Zanelli arrived a short while later.
Bustamante said the meeting had been set up by a co-worker who told her Scott Voight of the Christian Coalition wanted to discuss the allegations she has made about Frogue's teachings when she was his student at Foothill High School. She had been told the Christian Coalition had supported Frogue in the past and was concerned about the allegations.
"I thought I was going to be meeting with a couple of people from the Christian Coalition," Bustamante said. "I get out of my car, we walk over to the restaurant and I see Mr. Frogue sitting there on a bench. I just thought, 'Oh my gosh."'
Voight said that he was under the impression that Bustamante knew Frogue would be there, and that her business associate knew. He said that was the idea of the meeting….
• IVC President Raghu Mathur, responding to a resounding faculty vote of confidence*, accuses some faculty of “crimes” and “mail threats,” at the May, 1998, meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees.
This vote of no confidence was politically motivated. …
I want to share with you something about the people who are at the very core…of this vote of no confidence. They want a weak president that they can control like they have done before a few times...The people of the core have already disliked me whenever I have stood up for fair and equitable distribution of financial resources, be it for supplies or equipment, staffing resources all across the board, for various educational programs and services….
This is an un American way to treat anyone—not to give people a chance. This is an un American way to treat anyone, leave alone the first generation American immigrant like myself, and now a US citizen. And I’m proud to be so.
…[F]irst they stand in the way and then they say “He’s ineffective.” Well, I’d like to ask, respectfully, Where is their sense of responsibility? Where is their sense of integrity before they cast stones at others?
We should not condone anyone who embraces hate and bigotry. People have come here to speak against hate and bigotry at this board meeting many a times. None of these people have spoke against hate and bigotry implied in someone holding a bottle of [Ragu] Spaghetti sauce with my Indian name misspelled. Or hate in crimes explicitly evident in publications of professor Roy Bauer, who claims to be a professor of logic and ethics.
…People in this core in the past have sent me mail threats saying, “Go back to your country.” These threats have come from some of these people, I am confident of it….
I’m a first generation immigrant who came to American shores some 31 years ago with eight dollars in my pocket with a dream with a strong belief in the American dream that you work hard and you will, you can achieve anything. But some people want to take that away. I have dedicated my life to service for the students, and I will continue to do so till the last breath in my body….
[When Mathur was deposed months later, he was asked if he had kept any of the dozen or so “hate threats” he then claimed to have received (voicemail, email, letters, etc.). He answered that he had kept none of it. He had nothing. Plainly, he simply invented these “hate threats.”
[I asked Mathur for evidence of the charges he made against me (and others) in the above statement, but he offered nothing.
In fact, I had nothing whatsoever to do with students having or holding spaghetti sauce jars, and Mathur had no reason to suppose that I did.
[*87% of eligible faculty participated in the vote. 74% of voters voted “no confidence” in Mathur.]
• [Article], Orange County Register, June 13, 1998
South Orange County Community College trustees attempted to intimidate school employees and investigators during a routine look at the district’s shaky finances, according to letters and interviews with district officials. State auditors said they left with a firsthand glimpse of what critics say is an atmosphere of intimidation and harassment that has dominated the two-campus district for the past 18 months. Letters…show that two of the district’s seven trustees [Williams and Fortune] took what the state chancellor’s office calls an “unprecedented” series of actions to impede its investigation…“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Patrick Lenz, the state’s vice chancellor of fiscal services, of the April 6 visit. “We were faced with all sorts of intimidation tactics throughout the day”… Throughout the eight-hour audit, Fortune paced outside the glass door. Sometimes she peered through the glass….
• South County College District Board Put on Notice by Accrediting Agency, LA Times, July 1, 1998
Education: 'Don't mess up,' trustees warned. Panel says it needs to see progress on budget and administrative problems
In the midst of a crucial accreditation review, the South Orange County Community College District has been gently slapped by the accreditation agency, which said it is tightening its oversight until the district resolves financial uncertainty and administrative strife.
Warning that the district may be failing to provide "good stewardship" of its colleges, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges said in a June 19 special progress report that administrative changes have left the district in "some disarray," with officials working in conditions that are "uncertain and politically charged."
…[O]fficials of the agency said they intended the June 19 report as a warning to district trustees, who have been racked by controversy on several fronts for more than a year.
"Because the colleges are being reviewed, in effect, we're really trying to speak to the board to say 'Don't mess up your colleges,' " said Judith Watkins….
David B. Wolf, executive director of the commission, said in a letter to Kathleen O'Connell Hodge, acting chancellor of the 33,000-student district, that financial conditions have begun improving. But he said problems from last July's administrative reorganization haven't been worked out.
Wolf said two key issues of concern were last summer's administrative shake-up and a new administrative hiring policy, which concentrates decision-making in the hands of trustees.
Both issues are at the center of shouting matches between trustees and disgruntled faculty and administrators. Trustees accuse some professors of trying to preserve outdated perks, while students, faculty and administrators have accused trustees of hoarding power….
• College Trustees Reject New Guns for Police, LA Times, August 21, 1998
A request by campus police to purchase new handguns for officers was rejected this week by the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees.
Police urged that the district replace the current .38-caliber revolvers with 9-millimeter semiautomatics, which officials described as safer weapons.
But the board decided that the $19,000 upgrade was unnecessary.
Trustee David B. Lang abstained from the vote but said that the district should consider abolishing guns altogether.
• Fund-Raiser for Frogue Recall Gets Backing of Democrats, GOP, J. Pasco, LA Times, September 9, 1998
Politics: The parties hope to raise $40,000 at event in support of ousting the South County college trustee, who has been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks.
• College Campus Police to Get Upgraded Guns, LA Times, September 16, 1998
• Foes join forces in calling for ouster of allegedly racist college trustee, AP, September 22, 1998
Political foes joined forces to fund the recall of a college trustee accused by former students of being racist.
Some 100 Republicans and Democrats attended a Saturday fund-raiser to back the recall of Steven J. Frogue from the South Orange County Community College District board.
• “Irvine Valley Spokeswoman quits,” OC Register, September 25, 1998 (Kimberly Kindy)
“I was told that there were some things I was not to focus on. From my own research, old files and press clippings I got a picture of an administration that was doing some things that I don’t think I could represent without violating my own ethics…People are walking on eggshells around there. He [Mathur] said he has an open-door policy and that he believes in communication, but I didn’t see it.”
[Bevin Zandvliet, who briefly served as Mathur’s spinmeister]
• “What do students want?”, The Nation, Sanaz Mozafarian, October 5, 1998
…In a rare show of Orange County activism, students Delilah Snell and Diep Burbridge gathered nearly 100 of their colleagues for a series of campus demonstrations, the first in the college’s near-twenty-year history. They denounced the hiring of [Raghu] Mathur, demanded the recall of [Trustee Steven] Frogue and called attention to the possible loss of the college’s accreditation. The rallies attracted major media coverage. In response, the board, Mathur, and their cronies claimed the students were “misled” by a handful of “disgruntled employees” and “leftist” faculty. Even freedom of speech took a nosedive. Snell and Burbridge were initially told to give twenty-four-hour notice before each demonstration and to submit to college officials for review everything they would be passing out. After meetings with the president in which they were accused of “misleading” others and hostile encounters with board supporters, the students were at first permitted one hour a week to hold their demonstrations. Soon it was reduced to thirty minutes.
Now the students, represented by the ACLU, are suing Mathur and the board for violating their First Amendment rights. According to the lawsuit, filed this past summer, the demonstrations were relocated from the center of campus to an isolated area where students were told to keep their noise level down. When the limits were questioned, students were told it was not in the “best interest of the college” to hold a longer protest in a more visible part of campus, given the “political climate.”
• OC Superior Court Judge Tully H. Seymour, indicating which way he was leaning in the 2nd Brown Act lawsuit, in court, October 23, 1998
“It didn’t appear to [me] that a reorganization plan was a personnel item to begin with. It appeared that the board had acted on this in a closed executive session, and then, when challenged on it, came back and, in effect, reaffirmed its prior action without any real opportunity for the public to have any input….”
“There seems to be some substantial merit [to the petitioner’s case] and, to me, this is a very important kind of public policy type of case and, therefore, I am willing to devote whatever time is necessary, maybe even give it more time than I would a run-of-the-mill writ case….”
“I think what you are saying [SOCCCD attorney] Mr. Covert is that the statute contemplates that if you take an action that is illegal that you can then simply agendize it as, ‘We are going to ratify what we did in secret.’ I guess I find that a little bit offensive.”
[Back in July of ’97, the Board Majority deceptively agendized a district-wide reorganization as a “personnel” item. The Brown Act permits closed meetings for personnel items, but not for reorganizations.]
• #5 in OC Weekly’s election “Hall of Shame”: Padberg and Wagner, October, 1998
“Slime-ball campaign tactics. In 1996, the despicable trio of Steven Frogue, Dorothy Fortune and John Williams appealed to anti-gay hysteria to win seats on the SOCCCD Board. This time, Wagner and Padberg—who are backed by the same nasty crowd (a faculty association) that funded Frogue, Fortune, and Williams—are trying to capitalize on another hot-button issue. College trustees have zero say in the fight over a proposed airport at El Toro, but the main theme of Wagner and Padberg’s joint, misleading mailer is that they are the only candidates openly fighting the El Toro International Airport.”
• Remark by OC Superior Court Judge Tully H. Seymour, in court, October 29, 1998.
“It would seem to the court that, at least on the face of it, that any time the board has a person coming in to address the board, that normally that should be on the agenda…I don’t think that then bringing the gentleman out in the public session and saying, ‘Now, tell us what you told us in the private session,’ and then the public can comment on it—I don’t think that is what the Brown Act in its case law contemplates…I would say that [these facts] would indicate that this board apparently doesn’t understand the Brown Act and its responsibilities thereunder. Hopefully, at some point, they are going to learn and get appropriate advice and follow that advice.”
[Among other violations of the state’s anti-secrecy law, the board had invited state official Vishwas More to speak in closed session without agendizing his visit and address.]
Faculty union perversity persists
• College Trustees Take a Preelection Hit, LA Times, October 30, 1998
Accreditation teams issue harshly critical reports on South County district campuses.
In harsh terms, accreditation teams examining the controversy-ridden SOCCCD's two campuses warned Thursday of deep divisions and conflicts they said are eroding service to students.
The criticism, which lends credence to complaints from critics of the district's leaders, came in brief oral reports by separate accreditation teams who spent several days at Irvine Valley College in Irvine and Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.
While in no immediate danger of losing their accreditation, the colleges could receive warnings or be placed under special conditions when final decisions on accreditation are made in January….
. . .
"As outsiders, frankly and candidly, we did not anticipate the deep and painful divisions that we witnessed," said Stephen M. Epler, president and superintendent of Yuba College north of Sacramento, who chaired the 12-member team examining Irvine Valley College.
"These are divisions between faculty and administration, divisions between . . . trustee factions, divisions between factions of faculty and divisions between trustees and staff.
"We were, frankly, stunned."….
• Board’s unlikely secret allies, Orange County Register, October 31, 1998
Conservative trustees who rail against teachers unions get crucial help from union-funded PACs
Donald Wagner is campaigning as a fiscal conservative for a seat on the South Orange County Community College board.
He is supported by the Education Alliance, a group that advocates “back-to-basics” education and frequently battles teachers unions for control over school boards. He fought for Proposition 226, a ballot measure that would have restricted unions’ ability to use members’ dues for political campaigns.
He also has an unusual—and largely unknown—ally: the local chapter of the California Teachers Association.
Political action committees funded by the union secretly paid for campaign fliers for Wagner and fellow candidate Nancy Padberg.
The same thing happened in 1996, when three candidates promoted in a campaign mailer paid for by the union won seats.
. . .
Union leaders have not given a public explanation for their decisions. They have refused to discuss either campaign with their rank and file, even though members’ dues financed the fliers.
. . .
Administrators who had made enemies with the union say they have been removed, or forced out, by the board majority and replaced with union loyalists. Since 1996, eight administrators have left the district and five have returned to the classroom, with several saying they fled a hostile work environment that began after the election.
The union’s political consultant for the 1996 campaign flier that helped elect three members of the board majority [Pam Zanelli] now works as the district’s spokeswoman at roughly $5,000 a month.
. . .
Union President Sherry Miller White has refused comment to reporters and to her own members about either campaign.
. . .
The union chapter’s bylaws give all decision-making authority for campaigning to the current president and any past union presidents who wish to serve on the election committee. That group doesn’t have to tell members what it’s doing….
. . .
[According to CTA leader David Lebow,] “The group they didn’t endorse was interested in reducing their salaries. They really believed it was a threat to their very existence,” said Lebow about the 1996 campaign. “But the (same-sex marriage) flier was bad. ... It was really bad. They did it because they believed they had to win that election.”....
• Orange County’s Scariest People—#22: SOCCCD meetings, OC Weekly, November 5, 1998
Otherwise known as public meetings of the South Orange County Community College District. And we're not even talking about silent-but-deadly trustee Steven J. Frogue. We're talking about the people who come to see him, to defend or attack him. Like the guy who called an opponent in the audience "subhuman" and "a lower life form." Or the guy who singled out someone else as "a self-admitted Hitler-lover." Or these creative epithets we hesitate to publish in a family newspaper but will anyway since we don't work for one: "convicted child-molest offender," "pervert," "garbage-mouthed idiot," "piece of garbage," "nuts case," "sweathog," "toad," "fruitscake," "no, you're the fruitcake," "most unpleasant man" and "creep." MITIGATING FACTOR: When the Green Party finally takes power and destroys all televisions as a source of violence, greed and evil, we'll still have the South Orange County Community College District's board meetings.
• School Elections Show Incumbents' Power [Trustees races], LA Times, November 6, 1998
…The conservative Education Alliance can boast a net gain of two school board members it had supported. So can the group's big rival, the California Teachers Assn. And the winners in the South Orange County Community College District race, Don Wagner and Nancy Padberg, were endorsed by both special-interest groups….
[Education Alliance is strongly anti-teachers union. Against the wishes of members, the SOCCCD faculty union leadership used membership money to secure Wagner and Padberg's victory, using fliers/mailers that exploited anti-airport sentiment.]
• “Judge faults trustees on closed meetings,” OC Register, November, 11, 1998
• [Editorial], Irvine World News November 12, 1998
… The majority bloc of the board of trustees of the South Orange County Community College District ran afoul of the Brown Act more than a year ago by making some decisions in private that one judge already has said they shouldn’t have. ¶ The board, a year or more later, is still extricating itself from such acts of poor judgment. ¶ For example, just two days ago the board had to backtrack and act formally in public to reassign several administrators, including one who has long since left the district. ¶ The college board faces another court hearing Friday in connection with alleged Brown Act violations. ¶ All of this costs taxpayers time and money and erodes trust in the board….
• 'JEEEEEEZUZ CHRIST!': Democrats in '98: the agony, the ecstasy, the scabs, OC Weekly, November 12, 1998
...Other signs of the apocalypse: Donald P. Wagner and Nancy Padberg will join Steven Frogue on the South Orange County Community College District board of trustees. Wagner and Padberg were backed by the anti-union, Christian Right Education Alliance and by the district's anti-union teachers union (sadly, you read that right). No comment from the two on whether they'll make trustees meetings more accessible-ties optional, but anyone not wearing a brown shirt gets 30 days in ze coohlah! Schultz!....
• Teach Your Children Hell, OC Weekly, November 12, 1998
Among the endless accusations fired at Steven J. Frogue has been the notion that the embattled South Orange County Community College District trustee's words and actions have legitimized hatemongers….
So it should not surprise us that hate literature littered two South County public schools on Oct. 28-a week after anti-Semitic e-mails were sent to 400 faculty and staff members at Irvine Valley College (IVC). About 500 index-card-sized leaflets featuring a disparaging cartoon of a Jewish man were found on El Toro High School's tennis and basketball courts. Nearly 100 miniature posters ridiculing African-Americans were scattered across Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School's athletic field and parking lot. A sticker attached to the fliers directed students to the Fallbrook chapter of White Aryan Resistance, which recruits young skinhead activists. Meanwhile, IVC officials are still trying to determine who sent the electronic letters to employees on Oct. 22. Clockwork isn't suggesting Frogue had a role in these incidents, but his continued presence on the board isn't helping matters….
See also: Hate Central, OC Weekly, November 12, 1998
• “It’s time for break from Frogue ‘sideshow,’ college officials say,” OC Register, November(?) 13, 1998(?)
• [Article], Orange County Register, November 21, 1998
“I think what I’m seeing here is a consistent pattern that we are going to push this as far as we can,” said Seymour. “And the only thing that seems to work is for the courts to take action.”
[Seymour was discussing the 2nd Brown Act lawsuit—so called “Bauer II.”]
• College District Needs Reform, LA Times, November 22, 1998
…Recall or no recall, the entire Frogue episode remains an embarrassment for the district … Frogue may have dodged his day of reckoning, but he bears responsibility for his part in fueling the atmosphere of controversy that has prevailed at the district.
…Last summer, the district was warned by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges that it needed to straighten out administrative problems. … It said decisions were being made by trustees on an ad hoc basis, unsupported by a planning process.
Last month, examiners warned that Saddleback and Irvine Valley, the district's two campuses, could lose their accreditation if trustees did not change the way they operated. Meanwhile, the district has been engaged in a legal battle over the reassignments of department heads at Irvine Valley College.
…The Frogue bitterness is not likely to go away easily. The district needs to focus on reform, fence-mending and providing the best education in an environment free of contention and politics.
• Frogue Is Past Recall Effort but Not Controversy: Signature drive failed, but detractors remain leery of trustee as dissension plagues South County district's colleges, LA Times, November 29, 1998
Amid a burgeoning controversy over college Trustee Steven J. Frogue earlier this year, one of his ardent supporters stood during a meeting recess and loudly voiced a prediction even more chilling than the frosty air outside. ¶ “We’re headed for a bloody race war in this country,” said the supporter, a friend of people with ties to white supremacists, “and I can’t wait.” ….
• “Community-college politics makes for strange bedfellows,” Roy Bauer, OC Register Guest Column, November 29, 1998
[I don’t have an electronic copy of this piece, but it was pretty hard-hitting. Just weeks after it was published, I was told by Chancellor Sampson that my publications were violating district policies, etc. A letter was placed in my file: a precursor to termination. These people do not like to be criticized. I was compelled to go to federal court. I prevailed.]
• Letter from David B. Wolff, executive Director of the Accrediting Commission (ACCJC), to Irvine Valley College President Raghu P. Mathur, January 19, 1999
"Commission is compelled to issue a warning and to ask that IVC correct the deficiencies noted...At the time of the visit by the Evaluating Team, IVC was experiencing the effects of disharmony that have existed at the district and college level for an extended period of time. These effects evidenced themselves most significantly in the area of governance...The district and its colleges should immediately and persistently take steps to insure that the governing board limit itself to appropriate policy-setting roles..[and] assess the leadership issues at IVC and take appropriate measures...."
[The Commission asked the college to submit another report in April ‘99.
[Unsurprisingly, the Commission's "Evaluation Report" for IVC noted the inadequacy of the college's self-study. Further, it found that "A high-profile, often controversial group of trustees felt obligated to involve itself actively in the day-to-day operations of the district and of the two colleges far beyond the traditional roles for trustees...A significant portion of the IVC presidential selection controversy results from a revised board policy in executive hiring. This policy, adopted in March 1998 in another 4 to 3 vote, allows the board to involve itself inappropriately in the selection process including the conducting of interviews three levels deep in the organization...This policy brings the board totally out of compliance with Standard 10.A.4...."]
• “Board’s closed meetings bring actions by judge,” OC Register, January 21, 1999
He wants them taped and is referring past Brown Act violations to the DA.
A judge has ordered the South Orange County Community College District to tape-record its closed-door meetings for two years because of its “persistent and defiant misconduct” in violating state open-meeting laws.
. . .
…Wendy Phillips, lead attorney in the suit filed by Irvine Valley College Professor Roy Bauer, said the ruling was a clear victory. ¶ “The judge is saying the conduct is so corrupt that it needs to go the DA’s office,” said Phillips, herself a professor in the district. “I’ve been on cloud nine all day. We are vindicated.”….
Bauer's counter-attack: federal court
• Professor Sues Community College After Being Told to Tone Down Rhetoric, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 5, 1999
A tenured professor has sued the [SOCCCD] in federal court, accusing the California district of violating his First Amendment rights by ordering him to tone down the rhetoric in the newsletters he publishes.
Roy Bauer, a professor of philosophy at Irvine Valley College, one of two campuses in the district, is chief editor of two newsletters….
In December, Cedric A. Sampson, chancellor of the district, ordered Mr. Bauer to stop including what was characterized as violent language in his newsletters. The chancellor also required him to get anger-management counseling.
In his newsletters, Mr. Bauer has lampooned college officials – for example, superimposing the head of Irvine Valley's president, Raghu Mathur, on a picture of Napoleon. Mr. Sampson said such satire was not why he had taken action. The chancellor declined to provide specifics, calling the dispute a personnel matter. But several examples have drawn the attention of district officials. He has written fictional accounts of the violent deaths of trustees, and of his desire to drop a chunk of granite on Mr. Mathur's head….
. . .
The professor said the chancellor was retaliating because Mr. Bauer had filed lawsuits accusing the Board of Trustees of violating California's open-meetings law.
• Unanimously passed resolution, Irvine Valley College Academic Senate, February, 1999
Included in the Senat’s response to the Accrediting Commission's report, it called "upon the Trustees to immediately reassign Raghu Mathur elsewhere within the South Orange County Community College District...."
• Article re the California Citizens Commission on Higher Education report, OC Register, April 6, 1999
The Commission recommended the elimination of locally elected community college boards. According to the Register, "Too often, the commission argues, college boards micromanage their campuses, undermining trained administrators and creating disharmony. Commissioners cited the three years of turmoil at South Orange County Community College District as an example of what could go wrong with locally elected trustees...."
• The Unabauer Manifesto, OC Weekly, April 15, 1999
Roy Bauer has let everyone in the South Orange County Community College District know he wants to drop "a 2-ton slate of polished granite" on the head of his boss, Irvine Valley College's president. He's proclaimed an "urge to go postal" during an election party for conservative Board of Trustees candidates. And his e-mail address is frighteningly similar to the handle of another college professor preoccupied with going postal: "Unabauer."
. . .
One might logically share Sampson's anxieties over Bauer-except that Sampson's evidence was excerpted from Bauer's underground, over-the-top newsletters: The 'Vine, which covers Irvine Valley College, and Dissent, which targets the district. The pesky, smart-ass, stream-of-consciousness-raising newsletters are clearly a cross between Mad Magazine and the OC Weekly-without the intrusive editing for clarity.
. . .
Many district observers don't believe it's Bauer's colorful rhetoric that distresses Sampson, but rather his penchant for finger-pointing-which finger depends on the occasion-at the surreal events on South County's Saddleback and Irvine Valley college campuses. Bauer asks officials loads of loaded questions at public functions and sticks his nose into the affairs of what he believes to be a corrupt college, district and faculty union.
Bauer first came to the public's attention when he sicced the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Frogue in the fall of 1996. The trustee had just proposed a John F. Kennedy assassination seminar at Saddleback that would include speakers some consider crackpots (one wrote a book tying Kennedy's killing to the Israeli government's secret police; he and another invited speaker contribute to The Spotlight, which the ADL has branded the most anti-Semitic paper in the country). The seminar was nixed after strong public reaction.
Sampson's letter was dated three days after the Register ran a guest column from Bauer critical of the board majority and the faculty union that brought that majority to power. Just days before receiving the letter, Bauer says colleagues warned him that top officials had begun building a case against him that would result in his termination. Bauer and others saw Sampson's letter as ammunition to bag Bauer….
• Trustee Wagner bothered by colleges’ fees to AAUW, which pals around with the dastardly JANE FONDA, meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees, July 26, 1999
TRUSTEE FORTUNE: Trustee Wagner?
TRUSTEE WAGNER: A couple of comments. I noticed here that both of our colleges are paying fees for the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce. I'm curious why there is some overlap there-not that I have anything against the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, of course. But it seems there's some overlap…
The one item that gave me the most trouble is the numerous payouts to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), which recently gave an award to Jane Fonda. Now, our chancellor served in Viet Nam-I don't know if he was there the same time Miss Fonda was in North Viet Nam, but I have a very serious problem with that organization and with us spending the tax money of residents of South Orange County to support such an organization. So I would like to make a motion…since apparently there is no time pressure here…that all payments to that organization be stricken from this agenda item and brought back to us with a report on why we belong, what benefit we feel we're getting out of that organization, and [we] can address it in particular. It may very well make some sense ultimately to pay these fees, but, uh, I would like to so amend item 20. [Someone seconds the motion. Perhaps Williams.]
TRUSTEE FORTUNE: Would you repeat your motion?
TRUSTEE WAGNER: The motion is to amend item 20 to strike any payments to the AAUW and to bring that item back at a later date with a report as to that organization, the benefits that we believe we're getting from continued membership in that organization, and any other information regarding that organization that administration believe is appropriate for us to know.
TRUSTEE FORTUNE: I would like to comment on your motion. I'm a lapsed member of the AAUW, and, while you might not like their poster girl of the year, they have a wonderful magazine, they have wonderful activities, they're represented on all university campuses.
They're annual fee seems to be $100. On the other hand, the Orange County Forum is here for $1,000, which--I don't know about that one. I understand your concern, but at the same time I think we need to have a little bit of openness. We don't have to agree with everything that an organization does….
[Trustee Milchiker moved to table the entire item. It was tabled.]….
• Faculty Protests Ban on Door Signs, LA Times, August 6, 1999
On a campus already strained by tensions, professors at Irvine Valley College are in an uproar over a new policy that they say threatens the time-honored practice of decorating office doors and windows with the cartoons, clippings and fliers that reflect their humor and passions.
Faculty representatives are threatening legal action over a memo teachers received last week telling them to remove any posters or signs on their office windows or external doors.
The college president, Raghu P. Mathur, said he is seeking only to protect the school from unsightly clutter and denies the policy was meant to silence his critics.
. . .
Signs on professors' doors and windows range from cartoons, newspaper clippings and announcements about grades and scholarships to sharp blows at Mathur. In one window, which faces the campus and can be seen from a distance, large signs proclaim "Mathur Must Go" and "Raghu Must Resign."
Mathur has been the target of faculty dissent since he took the school's helm in 1997, chosen on a 4-3 vote by the South Orange County Community College District's board of directors.
• Orange County’s 31 Scariest People—#7: Raghu P. Mathur, OC Weekly, November, 4, 1999
"Disloyalty will not be tolerated." "I apologize for doing that, but I don't admit to doing it." "When you point your finger at someone, three fingers point right back at you!" Such are the curious pronouncements of Raghu P. Mathur, ruler of Irvine Valley College, the northern campus of the South Orange County Community College District. Recently, upon surveying his kingdom and detecting unsightly clutter, his Highness ordered his subjects to remove everything from their doors and windows. Although maybe it wasn't the clutter. Maybe it was those "Mathur must go!" posters. It all started in '96, when the board of trustees launched an assault on "shared governance," the state-mandated policy giving faculty and other groups a share in campus decision making. Soon, Mathur, a chemistry instructor, was made president, whereupon he embraced the board's agenda, especially the elimination of "reassigned time," a form of compensation for non-instructional duties such as senate office, upon which shared governance depended. But wait! As a teacher, Mathur enjoyed massive amounts of reassigned time! Oh well, l'Ètat c'est Mathur. Unilateral board rule has continued, and through it all, Mathur, the recipient (in 1998) of a 74 percent vote of no confidence, has remained unswerving in his devotion to governance unshared. MITIGATING FACTOR: When students flee the strife-ridden college, Mathur allegedly tells each one, "Thank you, loyal customer; please come again."
• Professor [Roy Bauer] Wins Lawsuit in Free-Speech Case, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 19, 1999
A federal judge has ruled in favor of a tenured professor who said his First Amendment rights were violated when the South Orange County Community College District ordered him to seek anger-management counseling and to tone down the language in two newsletters he publishes.
Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Allen Feess granted a summary judgment in favor of Roy Bauer, a professor of philosophy at Irvine Valley College, one of two campuses in the California district.
Mr. Bauer is chief editor of two newsletters that often cast a critical eye on college administrators: The Dissent, which is about the community-college district, and The 'Vine, which focuses on Irvine Valley. In them, he has published fictional accounts of the violent deaths of trustees and of his desire to drop a chunk of granite on the head of the college's president. In the November 9, 1998, issue of Dissent, Mr. Bauer described a room full of administrators and trustees and then wrote: "In a room like that, no decent person could resist the urge to go postal."
Mr. Bauer insists that the writings were obvious satire. But after trustees and administrators expressed concerns for their safety, Cedric A. Sampson, the district chancellor, said he had no choice but to try to rein in the professor, who responded by suing the district in January.
In his ruling, the judge found that "the speech in question is core protected speech and there is no applicable First Amendment limitation that would permit the discipline to be imposed on Bauer." The judge added: "No reasonable person could have concluded that the written words of Bauer constituted a serious expression of an intent to harm or assault.
In an interview, Mr. Bauer said he knew he had a strong case, but added: "It's taken 10 months to get to this point. The judge simply recognized what was obvious from the beginning -- that the chancellor was attempting to stifle legitimate criticism and dissent."
Mr. Bauer said the district's actions were retaliation both for his criticism of college officials in the newsletters and for two other lawsuits he had filed, accusing the Board of Trustees of violating California's open-meetings laws. He has prevailed in both of those suits as well….
• “College district off watch list; trustees OK raises for presidents,” Irvine World News, November 24, 1999
Vice Chancellor Gary Poertner gave South Orange County trustees the news on Monday that the community college district is officially off the state financial watch list. The district was removed from the monitoring process by the state chancellor’s office when budget reserves exceeded the requirement of 5 percent.
. . .
The board approved salary increases for the two college presidents, Raghu Mathur of Irvine Valley and Dixie Bullock of Saddleback. The votes were taken separately at trustee David Lang’s suggestion, with five board members voting for a pay raise for Mathur, while Marcia Milchiker and Lang voted no.
The raise for Bullock was supported by all trustees, except Milchiker, who said she didn’t understand how the chancellor arrived at the figure of $111,000, the highest step in the executive salary schedule….
. . .
“The chancellor is very satisfied with the performance of our two presidents,” said Trustee John Williams.
. . .
Also in Mathur’s contract was an increment for mileage and a $200 per month home security stipend.
Even though a stipend for security is not a usual request, contracts are negotiated according to individual’s wishes and needs, and the cost of a security system seemed justified, said Sampson, and was supported by the board.
• Not-So-Secret Service: An open letter to Irvine Valley College president Raghu Mathur, Andrew Tonkovich, OC Weekly, December 30, 1999
Dear President Mathur:
I note that the South Orange County Community College District board of trustees recently awarded you a $200 monthly "security stipend." I am sure that, like me, all Irvine Valley College (IVC) faculty, students and staff will sleep better knowing efforts have been made to address the menace to your personal safety caused by threatening phone calls and e-mail (undocumented); political attacks on you in [the faculty-run] Dissent, the Los Angeles Times, The Orange County Register, OC Metro, OC Weekly, and [the student-run] Voice newspapers (constitutionally protected); and letters mailed to you via the U.S. Post Office (also, oddly, unavailable).
I am writing to offer my services as a security consultant. As your security stipend is equivalent to a full two weeks' pay for my own work as a part-time instructor, you'll understand that I'm eager to start work immediately.
As your presidential security consultant, I am prepared to:
• Escort you to and from your car and the administration building every morning and evening.
• Maintain secret files on high-profile personnel (we'll call it an Enemies List), including—but not limited to—academic-senate president Peter Morrison, philosophy instructor Roy Bauer and anthropology instructor Wendy Phillips.
• Put English instructor Kate Clark under immediate 24-hour surveillance.
• Taste your meals to check for poison.
• Maintain a physical-security cordon in front of your office window.
• Enforce the IVC clap.
• Proofread your memos and letters for punctuation and spelling errors, clichés, factual errors, and ad hominem attacks.
I hope you'll contact me immediately for an interview, or at least file this letter.
• “College district relaxes requirements for deans,” LA Times, January 27, 2000
Trustees decide that new administrators will not need academic experience in the discipline they supervise.
Deans at Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges no longer will need experience in the academic disciplines they oversee, a policy change opposed by nearly every staff, faculty and administrative group in the South Orange County Community College District….
• Battles Grow, but Experts Accredit District's Colleges, LA Times, February 1, 2000
• College Battle Won, but War Continues, LA Times, March 2, 2000
• U.S. Agency: College Review Panel Should Tighten Policies, LA Times, May 09, 2000
Responding to a complaint from the South Orange County Community College District, the federal government said the agency that accredits two-year schools in California must tighten its conflict-of-interest policies and better train its evaluators.
Officials of the embattled district said Monday that the findings vindicated their position that the work of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Assn. of Schools and Colleges, was biased against them.
• Community College District Dispute, letters, LA Times, March 12, 2000
Alvarez, Tonkovich, Bauer, and Rochford respond to comments by SOCCCD Chancellor Cedric Sampson
The "Jeff Kaufmann's tenure" incident
Tyrants know that fear is a powerful motivator. Mathur targets untenured instructor J. Kaufmann, engineering his non-tenure on the grounds that Jeff participated in the unauthorized naming of a greenhouse. (See DtB's MATHUR GOES AFTER JEFF FOR "NAMING A GREENHOUSE")• “College trustees pass on firing biology professor,” Irvine World News (Laura Hayes), March 16, 2000
At least 75 colleagues and students were at the March 9 meeting of the South Orange County Community College District board to speak for Jefferey Kaufmann, an Irvine Valley College biology professor whose job was apparently threatened.
. . .
The board was facing a March 15 deadline to decide whether to fire Kaufmann or allow renewal of his contract, thereby granting him tenure.
. . .
A 30-minute period for public comment on the topic was not enough to allow all who had signed up to speak, but more time was not allotted. For the second time in two weeks, it was apparent that the untenured professor had a wide range of support. Many said he was being unfairly targeted because he criticized the policies of the college president, Raghu Mathur, and the board.
. . .
Kaufmann’s firing would “slay the very soul and purpose of Irvine Valley College,” said Stephen Rochford, head of the instrumental music department, in a letter to the board. English instructor Lewis Long submitted 51 signatures of tenured faculty members who support Kaufmann’s continued status at the college.
Last fall, Mathur disciplined Kaufmann for alleged insubordination. The issue centered on signs posted by members of the life sciences department naming a campus greenhouse and garden in honor of former botany teacher Terry Burgess.
. . .
Other professors took responsibility as Kaufmann’s superiors for the group decision to put up the unauthorized plaque on the green house. The plaque and a sign in the garden were removed when so ordered by the college administration.
. . .
The five-hour closed-door meeting ended with the trustees taking no action, which meant Kaufmann would automatically be granted tenure.
. . .
“Obviously we were very careful and thorough in our deliberations,” trustee Nancy Padberg said.
Kaufmann filed a lawsuit against Mathur in January over the disciplinary actions taken against him.
• LAW AND ODOR, OC Weekly, Coker, March 16, 2000
FULL-COURT PRESS. Irvine Valley College philosophy professor Roy Bauer won his fourth court decision against the South Orange County Community College District on Feb. 29, when a judge tossed out college president Raghu Mathur's invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Bauer. Mathur's suit alleged that Bauer's muckraking Dissent newsletter carried details from the overwhelmingly despised administrator's personnel file, but Judge Michael Brennan swatted the matter aside as if it were a cross-eyed, overweight gnat, citing state law that prohibits suits intended to suffocate free speech. Bauer has already won $126,000 in district funds to cover his attorney fees from a judge's ruling that district chancellor Cedric Sampson ran afoul of the U.S. Constitution when he reprimanded the professor for dinging the administration in his newsletters; he is entitled under state law to attorney fees in the Mathur matter as well. Bauer has also successfully sued the district twice over state open-meeting-law violations—one involving the board of trustees' appointment of Mathur as president. And get this: the Times OC couldn't get a comment from Mathur on his latest legal setback because he was in a different courtroom defending himself against allegations he unfairly denied tenure to another professor who has been critical of his presidency. Perhaps Mathur oughta move his office to the courthouse to save the district funds, so they can better afford to pay their attorneys—and Bauer's. Or he may have to consider paying out of his own pocket. Something called the Trustee Accountability Project of Laguna Beach informed the Weekly on March 7 that it has demanded Mathur, Sampson and certain board members personally reimburse the district for legal costs associated with their "repeated illegal conduct." A letter to Sampson from the project's lawyers estimated that $500,000 of taxpayers' money has been "squandered" in court because of district officials' "personal political agendas that trample the legal rights of employees, students and the public."
• Group Pressures College Officials to Pay Legal Fees, LA Times, March 25, 2000
A new citizens group has demanded that several South Orange County Community College District officials repay the district more than $500,000 in fees resulting from their pursuit of policies that have led to a series of costly lawsuits.
The group, calling itself the Trustee Accountability Project, cites the fact that not only has the district had to pay for its lawyers but the courts have awarded attorney fees to the other side in several suits.
• Not the guy who played Beaver, letter, OC Weekly, March 30, 2000
I appreciate Matt Coker's suggestion that Irvine Valley College president Raghu Mathur consider moving his office to the courthouse (A Clockwork Orange, March 10). It's true Mathur has spent much time there, witnessing one failed case after another, paying off his lawyers and his opponents' attorneys with taxpayer cash. But I like better the Taxpayer Accountability Project's suggestion that Mathur and the board of trustees personally reimburse the district for the thousands of dollars they've spent persecuting faculty and students. That's justice. November promises another opportunity for justice. Four trustees are up for re-election, including Steven Frogue. It's time to reform the board.
Thanks for your continuing, thoughtful coverage of our district's struggles. It heartens those of us who work and study on the district's two campuses.
Professor of English
Irvine Valley College
• Frogue to Resign From College Post, LA Times, June 27, 2000
Steven J. Frogue, who survived two recall attempts amid allegations that he was anti-Semitic, has resigned from the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees. In a four-sentence letter to board President Nancy Padberg dated Sunday, Frogue said his resignation would be effective Friday, five months before the end of his second term. "It is time for me to move on to new challenges and new opportunities to serve in other capacities," he wrote….
• Fuentes, 2 Others Seek O.C. College District Seat, LA Times, July 12, 2000
Head of the county GOP is a surprise candidate for the post also sought by William Wachal and Joe Greco. The winner will be named today.
In a surprise move, Thomas A. Fuentes, the hard-line conservative head of the county Republican Party, is one of three candidates who have applied for the vacancy on board of the beleaguered South Orange County Community College District. The new board member will be announced today. The other candidates are relative unknowns: William P. Wachal of Mission Viejo, regional sales manager for Ciba Specialty Chemicals in Los Angeles, and Joe F….
• GOP Leader Appointed to College District Board, LA Times, July 13, 2000
Thomas A. Fuentes, head of the Orange County Republican Party for the past 15 years, was appointed Wednesday to fill the vacant trustee seat on the South Orange County Community College District. The board voted 4 to 0 to appoint Fuentes, with trustees David Lang and Marcia Milchiker abstaining. Student trustee Jason Wamhoff, who has an advisory vote, also supported the GOP chief….
• Fuentes Appointed to South O.C. Community College Board, LA Times, July 13, 2000
Conservative, controversial GOP chairman succeeds conservative, controversial Steven J. Frogue as trustee.
Thomas A. Fuentes, chairman of the county Republican Party for the past 15 years, was appointed Wednesday to fill the vacant trustee seat on the South Orange County Community College District.
The board voted 4 to 0 to appoint Fuentes, with Trustees David Lang and Marcia Milchiker abstaining. Student Trustee Jason Wamhoff, who has an advisory vote, also supported the GOP chief….
• “GOP leader joins college board,” OC Register, July 13, 2000
A career politician is appointed to the rancorous south Orange County panel, filling out the term of a controversial trustee.
The longtime chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County on Wednesday became the newest member of the tumultuous South Orange County Community College District board, which oversees Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges.
. . .
“We’ve gotten rid of a crude Neanderthal but replaced him with a slick one,” said Irvine Valley College Professor Roy Bauer, who has successfully sued the district over free-speech issues….
• Dear Mr. Fuentes, OC Weekly, August 11, 2000
...There's one more thing I've got to ask: you were a spokesman for the diocese and the chairman of the Republican Party at the same time for four years. Did you ever get confused?
I think you did. Do you remember the time you sent uniformed security guards to Santa Ana polling places on election day in 1988? What was THAT about? You said you wanted to protect the "sanctity of the ballot" by making sure there was no illegal voting, but all you did was piss off a whole demographic of Latinos and give Curt "Poll Guard" Pringle (your candidate and the eventual winner) a nickname. The only place you stationed the guards was in the barrios.
You're a sixth-generation son of Mexican immigrants. What were you thinking? Could it be that you were still distracted by your aborted meeting with the pope?
Don't worry. We all get distracted. And even though the guard incident was one of the lowest points in Orange County Republican Party public-relations history, you handled it like a pro. A few months later, you resigned as director of communications at the diocese in Orange and won your re-election bid to chair the Republican Party. Great recovery. But don't ever let your mind wander like that again. Just remember: NO MORE POLL GUARDS. They tend to emit the vibe of a dictatorship....
• “Dear Mr. Fuentes: Letters to the most powerful Republican in Orange County,” OC Weekly, August 17, 2000 (Nathan Calahan)
• Irvine Valley President Sues College District, LA Times, September 13, 2000
Raghu Mathur says officials breached their duty to keep contents of his personnel file confidential.
[In my publications, I had reported and documented that, as an instructor, Mathur had distributed a student’s transcripts in an effort to discredit an administrator and “enemy,” thereby breaking a federal “right to privacy” law [FERPA]—or such was the judgment of the district’s lawyer at the time, whose written opinion I had located. My reporting, Mathur argued, violated his privacy. He sued both me and former IVC administrator Terry Burgess, who, he alleged, provided documentation. Using the state’s anti-SLAPP statute, we forced Mathur to persuade a judge that he was likely to prevail. He failed to do that, whereupon he was ordered to pay our attorney fees, an amount of $34,000. We settled for $32,000.]
• Cirque du SOCCCD: Goofiness is back at South Orange County Community College District, OC Weekly, October 9, 2000
Let us revisit one of the weirdest marriages in the history of Orange County's political freak show. It's 1996, and the leadership of the liberal union representing South County community college faculty members has locked arms with four conservatives running for the board of trustees….
• South O.C. Seats Have 10 Trading Hostilities, LA Times, October 31, 2000
How much say teachers should have in running the colleges is a key issue in race for four seats.
• Incumbents Ahead at College District, LA Times, November 8, 2000
Early returns in the race for the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees showed incumbents leading in each of the four races.
David B. Lang was leading Don Davis in Area 1; Dorothy J. Fortune was ahead of William Shane and Dave Colville in Area 3; Thomas A. Fuentes was leading Robert D. "Bob" Loeffler in Area 6, which, surprisingly, was the closest race; and John S. Williams was beating Bill Hochmuth and John L. Minnella in Area 7.
The campaign matched two opposing groups, one calling itself the Clean Slate, which was aligned with the teachers union, and the other supporting the board majority and administration.
The Clean Slate was made up of Lang, Shane, Loeffler and Hochmuth. Their opponents, who did not have a label, were Davis, Fortune, Fuentes and Williams.
"It looks like incumbency carried the day," said Eileen Padberg, a campaign consultant to the Clean Slate.
. . .
The district, with 33,000 students at Irvine Valley and Saddleback colleges, has been rife with contentiousness for several years, and this election was no different.
. . .
Inflammatory and anonymous fliers were circulated during the campaign saying that the so-called Clean candidates supported domestic-partner benefits and a gay-and-lesbian-studies program.
. . .
One flier even made the untrue claim that one of the challengers had been endorsed by NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Assn., an obscure group that endorses pedophilia.
Although no one knows who was behind the fliers, they are similar to one the teachers union sent out in 1996 attacking Lang and his slate. With a change in union leadership in 1998, the group's endorsements also flipped, and this election the union supported the challengers.
• “Board to discuss Mathur's term,” OC Register, December 7, 2000
A controversial college president who is suing his own district could find out by today whether he will keep or lose his $111,000-a-year job.
. . .
He is suing his own South Orange County Community College District, which oversees the college, alleging breach of contract and negligence at the same time his own performance is under review.
Today, district trustees are scheduled to discuss whether to renew his contract, which expires in June 2001….
Mathur did not return phone calls asking to discuss his contract or his ongoing lawsuit, which alleges that district officials negligently allowed employees to racially harass him and improperly failed to pay the legal costs associated with an earlier, failed lawsuit.
. . .
Irvine Valley faculty have twice overwhelmingly voted no confidence in Mathur's leadership -- an action that at most colleges typically leads to a president's departure.
However, South Orange County trustees have continually expressed support for Mathur, and renewed his contract in 1999 despite the first no-confidence vote.
They also voted to give him an unusual $200-per-month security allowance, which Mathur said he needed because he feels threatened in his job.
. . .
Mathur filed his Orange County Superior Court lawsuit against the district in September, alleging that district officials did not protect him from racial harassment and had breached their contract with him by failing to pay some $40,000 in legal expenses he owed from a previous lawsuit he filed as an individual against an Irvine Valley professor and a former dean.
That lawsuit, based on allegations that the pair had stolen copies of unflattering letters out of Mathur's personnel file and published them in campus newsletters, was dismissed after a judge ruled that Mathur could not prove his case.
He then filed a claim with the district asking that taxpayers pay some $40,000 in fees he was ordered to pay the defendants, based on a clause in his contract that guarantees the district will pay his legal fees if he is sued. After the district rejected his claim, Mathur sued, asking for $100,000 in damages.
Attorneys for the district filed a response, saying that the district is not liable for legal costs that Mathur incurred by filing a lawsuit himself. The district also claims officials didn't foster a "hostile work environment" for Mathur….
• Trustees Name Substitute for Ailing Acting Chancellor, LA Times, January 4, 2001
Richard A. Jones is unanimously chosen to head up South Orange County Community College District.
• “College's Cuba trip bothers trustees,” OC Register, January 27, 2001
The study-abroad venture has been OKd by Saddleback College's president.
Trustees are balking at the idea of a Saddleback College-sponsored study trip to Cuba, saying it would not be appropriate to allow students to go to a communist country with a record of human-rights violations, according to a student trustee who favors the trip.
Trustees who criticized the Cuba trip in November approved a study visit to the People's Republic of China during the same meeting, student trustee Jason Wamhoff said.
"The students want this trip," Wamhoff said Friday. "It is already full. And China has more human-rights violations than Cuba does."
. . .
Saddleback's program was approved by Saddleback President Dixie Bullock and the district's acting chancellor before it was sent to the trustees.
. . .
Two trustees – Tom Fuentes and Dorothy Fortune – were questioning the appropriateness of the trip, Wamhoff said. Neither returned phone calls Friday….
• “College trustees reject Cuban trip,” OC Register, January 30, 2001
Students at Saddleback College won't be going on a school-sponsored trip to Cuba after trustees voted 5-2 Monday to abort the first-ever study-abroad program to the island nation.
"The liability to the district is enormous to send students to Cuba, whether we have insurance or the perfect tour operator or not," college trustee Dorothy Fortune said. "If there are any problems, they are going to sue us."
. . .
Dozens of colleges, including Duke and Emory universities and other top-rated institutions have study programs in the communist country.
About 15 students attended Monday's meeting of the South Orange County Community College District to ask the trustees to approve the program, which was reportedly so popular it was oversubscribed.
. . .
But trustees rejected the plan, saying the United States has no embassy there, and criticizing the nation's attitudes toward Americans, politics and safety.
. . .
Trustees previously approved trips to other communist countries, including the People's Republic of China.
• College District Opts for New Chancellor, LA Times, January 31, 2001
…[Chancellor] Sampson, who has been on sick leave for almost two months with anemia, said the move Monday night surprised him. "I have to take some time to absorb this and find out from the board what the reasons for the action are," he said….
[Note: 21 months later, Sampson died of complications of leukemia.]
Mathur: valuable cash prizes
• “Irvine College President's Contract Renewed, Lawsuit Settled,” Community College Week, February 5, 2001
Trustees have renewed the contract of the controversial president of Irvine Valley College, while also agreeing to pay him $36,000 in order to settle a breach-of-contract, discrimination and negligence lawsuit he filed against the South Orange County Community College District.
. . .
Mathur, a former chemistry professor who was appointed to head Irvine Valley in 1997, has been at the center of a host of lawsuits and demonstrations, and has received two no-confidence votes from the faculty.
Last month, trustees voted to renew Mathur's contract for one year, until June 2002….
On Jan. 3, the board also voted to settle an Orange County Superior Court lawsuit that Mathur filed against the district in September. That suit alleged that district officials had negligently allowed him to become the victim of racial harassment, and improperly failed to pay the legal costs associated with an earlier failed lawsuit.
The most recent suit was an attempt to require taxpayers to pay some $40,000 that Mathur had incurred from a failed lawsuit he filed as an individual against Irvine Valley professor Roy Bauer and Terry Burgess, a former Irvine Valley administrator who is now president of Chabot College in Northern California. In that earlier case, Mathur's lawyer had argued that Bauer and Burgess had somehow acquired unflattering letters about Mathur from a personnel file and published them in a campus newsletter.
An Orange County Superior Court judge threw the case out of court, ruling that Mathur could not prove his case. He ordered Mathur to pay legal fees of about $40,000. Mathur then sued the college district, arguing that a clause in his contract indemnifying him from legal costs also requires the district to pay the costs he incurred by suing Bauer and Burgess. Mathur sought more than $100,000 in damages for breach of contract, discrimination, invasion of privacy and negligent supervision.
Initially, trustees rejected his claim, saying that Mathur was not the victim of a hostile work environment, as he claimed, and that the district was not responsible to pay for his personal lawsuits. But the trustees ultimately decided to settle for $36,000 in exchange for the based on dismissal of the litigation and an agreement that the settlement was not an admission of liability. Trustees who voted for the settlement did not return phone calls asking for comment.
. . .
Trustee Dave Lang, who abstained from the majority vote, said he could not approve spending tax dollars on the settlement. "I am fundamentally opposed to rewarding someone for suing the district," Lang said. "I didn't feel the district was at fault and shouldn't be liable."
Irvine Valley faculty members have twice voted no-confidence in Mathur's leadership. However, South Orange County trustees have continually expressed support for Mathur and renewed his contract in 1999.
They also voted to give him an unusual $200 per month security allowance, which Mathur said he needs because he feels threatened in his job. Trustee Marcia Milchiker, who voted against renewing Mathur's contract in 1999 but abstained in 2000, wondered aloud how many college presidents are suing their districts.
"It's sad when a president has such low popularity that he feels he needs protection from his own faculty," Milchiker said.
• Trustees Settle Suit by President of Irvine Valley, LA Times, February 8, 2001
The South Orange County Community College District has settled a lawsuit brought by the president of one of its colleges.
District trustees voted 5-0 last month to pay Raghu Mathur, president of Irvine Valley College, $36,000 to reimburse him for his legal fees from another lawsuit.
. . .
Nearly a year ago, a judge threw out Mathur's lawsuit that claimed a professor and a former administrator had violated his privacy by publishing documents from his personnel file. The judge ordered Mathur to pay the legal fees of philosophy professor Roy Bauer and former vice president of instruction Terry Burgess.
Mathur paid the two a total of $32,000. It was not clear why the district paid Mathur $4,000 more….
• College District Ends Suit by Hiring Former Trustee: Teddi J. Lorch is given the South County job she sought before filing an age-discrimination case in 1999, LA Times, March 9, 2001
The district's trustees discussed the matter in closed session Tuesday and agreed to the settlement by a 4-3 vote, with David B. Lang, Marcia Milchiker and Donald P. Wagner voting against it.
The district's news release announcing Lorch's appointment to the $72,171-a-year position, effective Monday, did not mention that it was part of a deal to settle the complaint she filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Lorch, 53, filed the complaint in 1999, saying she was denied the position of human resources director and other district jobs because of her age. Lorch was one of three finalists for the human resources job.
[When Lorch resigned from the board, we reported that, according to many, she had done so in hopes of securing the district’s chief HR job.]
• College District Loses Appeal in Discipline Case, LA Times, August 16, 2001
A federal appeals court Wednesday upheld a lower court decision that the South Orange County Community College District chancellor acted unconstitutionally when he disciplined a professor for criticizing the administration in satirical newsletters.
"It's a victory for free speech and for those willing to report honestly about the incompetence and misbehavior of people in positions of power," said philosophy professor Roy Bauer. "I certainly hope the chancellor and the board learned a lesson, but judging on past behavior . . . they will continue to run the district into the ground."
• Lovett or Leave It: Academic freedom becomes blood sport at Saddleback College, OC Weekly, October 4, 2001
Pundits gleefully warn that Americans will inevitably lose some basic freedoms as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the East Coast. None of them put "academic freedom" on their short lists of soon-to-be-lost liberties, but none of them has been to Saddleback College lately….
• O.C. Chancellor Selection Called Best Choice, Sham, LA Times, February 2, 2002
Education: New Orange County college chief had earlier received two 'no-confidence' votes from faculty and was the fourth or fifth choice of a selection committee
…The appointment of Raghu P. Mathur, president of Irvine Valley College, by the conservative-controlled board of trustees had been widely expected. Many faculty members on Friday called the selection process a sham.
Mathur, 53, was ranked fourth or fifth among the five candidates the selection committee forwarded to trustees, said Lee Haggerty, who, as president of the teachers union, sat on the panel…. ¶ "He was going to be their man from the beginning," Haggerty said.
. . .
The vote was 5-2, with David Lang and Marcia Milchiker voting against Mathur's appointment.
. . .
Mathur will be paid $170,000 to $180,000 a year, with details of his contract still to be negotiated, Wagner said.
Mathur is expected to take over Monday.
. . .
Controversy has followed Mathur since the board voted 4-3 to appoint him interim president of Irvine Valley in April 1997, promoting him from chairman of the school of physical sciences.
Five months later, a judge ruled that the board had violated the state open-meetings law in making the appointment.
Faculty members said he lacked administrative experience and was too closely aligned with trustees.
In 1998, 75% of faculty at Irvine Valley voted "no confidence" in him, and a year later, the faculty senate called for his removal. ¶ In 1999, 90% of the faculty said they had no confidence in Mathur.
• Suit Aims at Rights of Speech, LA Times, February 15, 2002
Education: Students of South O.C. Community College District allege its policies on expression are unconstitutional.
SOCCCD v. students
• District Is Muzzling Free Speech, Judge Rules, LA Times, March 19, 2002
Courts: South County community colleges' student policy exercised prior restraint, she says. School decries decision.
An Orange County community college district's policy prohibiting students from engaging in certain free-speech activities without permission from administrators is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Monday.
The judge found that South Orange County Community College District was exercising prior restraint in requiring approval for distributing leaflets in certain areas, posting information on a bulletin board, putting up a banner and using a loudspeaker at a rally.
It was the second time U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins found the district's free-speech policy wanting. On two other occasions, the college district withdrew versions of the policy before a judge could rule. Collins suggested Monday that district officials consult a constitutional law expert when redrafting the policy.
Allan Wilion, the district's attorney, said the college district's governing board would probably appeal the ruling.
"This case is not over," he said. "We disagree with the court's ruling vociferously."
But Carol Sobel, who represented the three student plaintiffs, said the district's track record on its free-speech policy indicates that it "is either getting bad advice [from its lawyers] or else the advice they want."
Most of those rules requiring permission of a college president or the district's chancellor were put in place after Raghu Mathur was appointed president of Irvine Valley College in 1997. His appointment led to protests from faculty and students.
Earlier this year, Mathur was appointed chancellor of the district, which also includes Saddleback College.
• “Free speech is everyone’s fight,” Irvine World News, editorial, March 21, 2002
It’s about time administrators and trustees for the SOCCCD take the lead in advocating and protecting free speech rights on campus.
Students and faculty members for more than four years have had to fight chancellors, a campus president and members of the board of trustees simply to exercise their basic right to free speech.
Seeking to muffle dissent, policies have been passed down in those years attempting to clamp down on when and where students can gather on campus to protest and even how loud they can be.
Students aren’t the only targets. Irvine Valley College administrators once threatened to remove posters and messages placed on walls expressing teachers’ disagreement with actions of the board and Mathur, and one professor was unlawfully disciplined when he refused to stop publishing newsletters that lampooned district and college officials.
A federal judge…overturned portions of the policy that prohibit students from distributing written material inside buildings, classrooms and in parking lots. The onerous policy attempts to handle every campus speech situation, including when students can gather on the grass and how many inches a table can be away from a wall. The policy was criticized from many quarters, including the academic senates of both of the district’s colleges.
And Monday wasn’t the first time a court has ruled the district acted unconstitutionally. It was the fourth time since 1998.
Attempts to control free speech at Irvine Valley College began in 1997 when Raghu Mathur was appointed president of the college. Mathur recently was named chancellor of the district. A 1999 Superior Court ruling, incidentally, found that the board of trustees demonstrated a “persistent and defiant disregard” for the state’s open meeting law by staying behind closed doors to discuss Mathur’s appointment to president.
Administrators and trustees in the South Orange County Community College District have a history of acting too quickly to chill free speech and conduct the public’s business behind closed doors.
…In October 1999, 90 percent of 84 Irvine Valley faculty members responding to a survey said they could not “express their opinions about issues at the college without fear of retribution or retaliation.”
Those charged with governing institutions of higher education ought to be the first to champion free speech and open government.
• Meet the 1st Amendment, LA Times editorial, March 31, 2002
…The district that operates Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College in effect wants students to raise their hands and ask to be recognized before speaking in settings outside the classroom on campus. A court this month struck down four provisions in the recently modified district policy governing when and where students can gather, the use of public address systems and access to buildings on campus.
The district knows it is heading down the wrong path because it now has lost two court challenges. The most recent rejection came March 18 when U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins sided with students who went to court to challenge district restrictions. Collins in 1999 sank another version of the policy because it wrongly limited the "time, place and manner of speech." The district also withdrew its policy on two other occasions before a judge could rule.
The district also has had its knuckles rapped for trying to rein in free speech by faculty members. Irvine Valley College professor Roy Bauer in August won another round in a long-running court fight sparked by a faculty newsletter that takes district officials to task. The court ruled that district officials acted unconstitutionally by reprimanding Bauer for the content in his newsletters.
. . .
The district should go back to school and practice what it teaches.
The "Howard Hilton" fiasco
• College Proposes Soaring Venture, LA Times, June 15, 2002
Building: Irvine Valley seeks investors in office, theater plan thought to be unprecedented in state.
Irvine Valley College officials are quietly trying to find investors for a private hotel, entertainment and office complex on campus that could cost as much as $800 million, officials confirmed this week.
As described in recent meetings among campus officials, the project would include a hotel, a multistory parking structure, two 2,000-seat theaters, office buildings, a sound stage and a lake, replacing orange groves and an athletic field at the southern end of campus.
. . .
The cost would be enough to build two community colleges, said Kirsten McIntyre, spokeswoman for the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, which was unaware of the proposal.
. . .
The plan is being developed by Howard Gensler, Irvine Valley's dean of humanities and library sciences, who declined to comment. Raghu P. Mather, chancellor of the South Orange County Community College District, said he had discussed the idea with the president of the board of trustees, but would offer no details about the project or how much revenue it would generate for the campus….
[Once we tipped the press to the existence of this absurd project, the entire thing quickly collapsed. It planning had involved the participation of Raghu Mathur and some trustees.]
• Vast Arts Complex at College Ruled Out, LA Times, June 25, 2002
…The proposal … called for construction on 25 to 35 acres of what are now orange groves and athletic fields at Jeffrey Road and Barranca Parkway. It would include a 2,000-seat theater; a 2,000-seat concert hall; a seven-story art gallery/planetarium; a four-story, 2,000-car garage; a seven-story hotel; a seven-story building of offices, shops and restaurants; a 13-acre movie production complex; a 5,000-seat baseball stadium; a 10,000-seat soccer and track stadium; a lake and botanical gardens.
The ambitious project would make the campus "one of the most important cultural centers in Southern California," Howard Gensler, IVC's dean of humanities and library sciences, wrote in a May 23 report to the college district chancellor, Raghu Mathur.
Faculty members said the project didn't appear to benefit instruction in any way. What they really needed was a much smaller theater appropriate for college productions, they said. The college has plans for a 400-seat performing arts center, to be completed in 2006.
The complex was to be built by the Newport Financial Group of Newport Beach. One company figure is Charles Ross, 91, of Laguna Woods, who proposed a similar project at UC Riverside, without success, [trustee Dorothy] Fortune said….
[Gensler was another Mathur hire. A cursory examination of his employment history might suggest to more discerning individuals that Gensler was a flat stupid hire.]
The "Rodney Poindexter" fiasco
• College Dean Is Abusive, Five on Faculty Complain, LA Times, June 29, 2002
Education: On the Irvine Valley campus, a secretary also says she fears the head of physical education, who replies that it's all sabotage over loyalty to a predecessor.
[As became clear years later during a civil trial, in the process that yielded Rodney Poindexter’s hire, Mathur seemed determined to hire this troubled soul, despite the presence of far more qualified applicants and the availability of damning information about the Poindexter’s work history. (Documentation of a “reference check” for Poindexter mysteriously and conveniently went missing after the hire—as emerged in testimony during the trial.) Upon his arrival at IVC, Poindexter was a big problem from the start, yet somehow student government honored him as “Administrator of the Year.” At the time, a Mathur protégé and apologist (who later became active in the Republican Party) presided over student government.]
• November 2002 board meeting highlights:
“Board President Donald P. Wagner announced that former Chancellor Cedric Sampson, Ph.D., died on November 5, 2002, and that the Board of Trustees expressed its respect for his contributions and service to the SOCCCD and its deepest sympathy to his wife, four children, and family.”
• You’re a Creep: remembering Irv Rubin, OC Weekly, November 28, 2002
Jewish Defense League (JDL) chairman Irv Rubin died on Nov. 13 from injuries sustained during an apparent suicide attempt inside the LA County jail holding him. He was 57.
. . .
Though based in Los Angeles, the bombastic Rubin certainly had his share of Orange County run-ins….
He also blew into a June 1998 meeting of the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees, which had been subjected to international ridicule after trustee Steven Frogue tried to get taxpayer funding for a John F. Kennedy assassination seminar that would feature two speakers who had been branded anti-Semites. One of those speakers, Michael Collins Piper, who'd written a book that alleged Israeli intelligence agents killed Kennedy, had flown in from the East Coast to attend the same board meeting.
A partial account from that evening reveals the Irv Rubin we'd all come to love—or loathe, depending on your world view….
• SSSSSSMACK!, Matt Coker, OC Weekly, March 27, 2003
Anyone who has attended meetings of local boards, councils and commissions is used to the superfluous public ass-kissing elected officials give one another. Taking such manufactured passion to new depths is the South Orange County Community College District board of trustees, which governs Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges. At a recent meeting, board president Don Wagner paused at one point to congratulate trustee Tom Fuentes for being re-elected to a 10th term as Orange County Republican Party chairman. Fuentes had earlier toasted fellow trustee John Williams for being sworn in as Orange County's new public administrator—the part-time elected official who oversees conservancies for feeble-minded folks who can't care for themselves and have no next-of-kin. But what Fuentes did next says a lot about Orange County Republicans, county government and that particular school board: he congratulated fellow trustee Nancy Padberg for being appointed to Williams' professional staff. The same board awarded a plum district administrative job to the trustee Padberg replaced—even though her qualifications were questionable. The funny thing—not funny ha-ha, but funny as in ironic—is Williams was first swept into his trustee seat as a reformer who would protect South County taxpayers by ending rampant cronyism on the part of faculty and administrators. Dissident trustee David Lang has long complained of cronyism practiced by Fuentes, Williams, Padberg, Wagner and Dorothy Fortune—Republicans who cast identical votes so often you'd think they trained at the old Soviet Politburo. We would have asked Padberg if she foresees any conflicts, but she was too busy nominating her new boss Williams to a seat on the California Community College Trustees board of directors.
IVC forbids discussion of the Iraq war
• "Classroom war-talk banned" Memo sent to Irvine Valley College deans by Vice President of Instruction Dennis White, March 27, 2003:
It has come to my attention that several faculty members have been discussing the current [Iraq] war within … their classrooms. We need to be sure that faculty do not explore this activity within … their classroom unless it can be demonstrated, to the satisfaction of this office, that such discussions are directly related to the approved instructional requirements … associated with those classes … College personnel are … encouraged to explore their views … outside … the classroom. Again, however, the exploration of those reviews [sic] within … the classroom is professionally inappropriate…
• “Irvine Valley College bans talk of war,” OC Register, March 29, 2003
Only if a course touches directly on the conflict can professors discuss it in class.
Faculty members at Irvine Valley College were banned this week from discussing the Iraqi war in classrooms, unless their course touches directly on the conflict, sparking an angry response from professors.
Vice President of Academic Instruction Dennis W. White said Friday that he was responding to student complaints when he sent a memo telling deans it was "professionally inappropriate" for their instructors to discuss the war in the classroom, unless the course material was linked directly to the war.
"I want to make sure students are protected, and that a faculty member does not espouse personal opinions that are not related to the instructional material," White said in an interview Friday….
The issue came up after a student with a loved one in military service went sobbing to the counseling office, upset over anti-war remarks that a professor had made in class, according to students and faculty….
• College's War-Talk Memo Sparks Anger, LA Times, March 31, 2003
• Campus Free-Speech Tests, LA Times editorial, April 1, 2003
…[A]t Irvine Valley College in Orange County, the administration issued a heavy-handed warning to professors to avoid spouting their views on the war during class and to stick to their approved lesson plans....
Faculty members can be forgiven for overreacting to the memo; the Coast Community College District [sic] has a miserable record on free speech and lost two recent court battles….
Into a campus thus primed for a free-speech battle, Vice President of Instruction Dennis White dropped a poorly worded memo, which said it was "professionally inappropriate" for the faculty to open up classroom discussions on the Iraq war unless the subject was "directly related to the approved course materials." The document, inspired by student complaints about instructors' classroom antiwar diatribes, provoked immediate faculty cries to protect academic freedom.
This time, though, campus administrators are within their rights. A professor of politics or Middle Eastern culture wants to take on the war? Fine. And most great professors could and should snatch up the subject to create a teachable moment on subjects that are tangentially related – say, French history or the philosophy of Henry David Thoreau.
But academic freedom goes hand in hand with academic responsibility. Campuses offer instructors and students plenty of places and opportunities for freewheeling discussion -- even to present views that offend. But college students choose their classes because they want to gain knowledge in those subjects. Professors are hired for their ability to impart that knowledge, not to force their opinions down a captive audience's throat.
• Irvine Valley College Policy Is Preposterous, letter (R. Bauer), LA Times, April 6, 2003
The Times is correct to be offended by professors who "force their opinions down a captive audience's throat,".... It fails to perceive, however, that Vice President Dennis White's recent memo is not directed specifically at such opining; rather, it is directed generally at classroom discussions of the current war.
According to White's memo, an instructor may discuss the war only if he or she first "satisfies" White that the discussion is "directly related to the approved instructional requirements." Accordingly, I cannot continue my discussion, in my ethics class, of just-war theory and its implications for the current war until I get the OK from Dennis White….
. . .
The Times suggests that faculty "overreacted" to White's memo. It should remember recent history. A few years ago, [SOCCCD] Trustee Steven J. Frogue chillingly questioned a course on the Holocaust and the instructor's association with the Anti-Defamation League. More recently, an Irvine Valley administrator ordered faculty to remove all signage from their office doors and windows, some of which was critical of the college president. The district's "speech and advocacy" policy has been repeatedly struck down as unconstitutional. The author of a campus newsletter, critical of district officials, was ordered to seek anger management counseling – a move described as "Orwellian" by one judge and as an attempt to silence a "vigorous critic" by another.
Under such circumstances, says The Times, faculty's objections to the ban are forgivable. No. Under such circumstances, they are eminently reasonable.
• War Talk at School? No Better Location, LA Times, Dana Parsons’ column, April 6, 2003
…[T]he burgeoning Iraqi war talk on local campuses buoys me. What better place than a university to discuss something as vital as war and its inevitable global consequences? If the students are captives to proselytizing profs, it's a good place to be held hostage. And there's always a soda machine not far away.
. . .
Is there anything more important nowadays than the war in the Middle East? Its potential to affect so many aspects of American life – from the economy to the culture to our politics – cuts across all disciplines. With the war on TV 24 hours a day, it's unrealistic to expect students not to have it on their minds.
Does that mean a week's worth of chemistry lectures should be shelved to talk Iraq? Obviously not, but let's trust our college instructors (shoot, I'd even trust our high school instructors) to know how much is too much.
Inevitably, some teachers will prove unworthy. They'll rant and rave instead of teach or lead a discussion. That's unfortunate, but the students will survive it. At day's end, they'll at least have had their minds challenged, if not their patience.
More to the point is that they'll realize down the road that they were part of a great debate of the modern age. Those discussions aren't likely to happen with Mom and Dad, and they're not likely to happen on Friday night dates.
. . .
Yes, [in college] maybe our brains were empty vessels into which anti-war info was poured. But many of us then, for the first time, did some independent reading and, if we had good professors urging us on, sought other opinions.
Our brains were engaged. Assumptions were challenged. Arguments had to be made and defended.
That's the essence of college life.
At a time of war, the classroom is a great place to be.
• SOCCCD Press release regarding Academic Senate lawsuit, filed a day earlier, April 9, 2003
At long last, the senates take the district to court
At long last, the senates take the district to court
Education Code 87360:
... hiring criteria, policies, and procedures for new faculty members shall be developed and agreed upon jointly by representatives of the governing board, and the academic senate, and approved by the governing board.
SOCCCD Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur…commented on a lawsuit filed by the IVC and Saddleback College Academic Senates that disputes a new SOCCCD faculty hiring policy, stating, “The district is following the guidelines established under Title 5 that defines the ‘Delegation of Authority to the Academic Senates.’ There are 11 areas within the scope of academic and professional matters for which the academic senates have primary responsibility.
“The State Chancellor’s office has confirmed our view,” Mathur said, “that our hiring policies do not fall within the primary responsibility of the faculty….”
[Classic Mathur. The State Chancellor’s office does indeed hold that hiring policies are not among the 10 + 1 areas in which faculty are assigned primary responsibility by Title 5, a state regulation. The problem is that the lawsuit does not mention Title 5 and it does not allege that Title 5 has been violated. Rather, it alleges that the new policies, and the manner in which they were developed and approved, violate an Ed Code statute (EC87360) and utterly defeat the intentions of legislators:
Education Code section 87360 requires governing board and academic senate representatives to agree on hiring criteria, policies and procedures to be adopted by the board. (Letter from California Community College Chancellor’s Office, Ralph Black, General Counsel, January 29, 2002).
In fact, the district developed a new faculty hiring policy without consulting with faculty or soliciting faculty approval.]
• Memo to IVC faculty from Academic Senate, April 10, 2003
The Academic Senates of IVC and Saddleback College have filed suit in California Superior Court to block the implementation of a faculty hiring policy, which they believe to violate … the California Education Code. While the trustees and the administration of the SOCCCD maintain that their new policy, and the process used to develop this policy, does not violate the law, the Academic Senates claim that they do. In violation of the law, the Senates maintain, district administration has failed to allow faculty involvement in developing the procedures for hiring new faculty members. As a result, the adopted policy is fraught with violations of law, policy, and accepted practice.
• Professors at Irvine Valley College Protest Warning on War Discussions, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 11, 2003
A vice president at Irvine Valley College has warned professors not to discuss the war in Iraq in their classrooms unless the course is directly related to the issue – a suggestion that several professors say infringes on academic freedom.
. . .
Glenn R. Roquemore, president of the college, said the message was an exchange among the vice president and the deans and not an official policy. "This college certainly approves of discussion about war by faculty and their students," he said. "It's not the policy of the college to stifle freedom of speech."
But Mr. White said that, while he would "rewrite it more sensitively," he stood by his memo. He argued that the war could be an appropriate topic for discussion in certain courses, such as cultural anthropology or political science, but not in mathematics.
. . .
Mr. White said his concerns weren't limited to the war. When asked whether he would frown on a professor in a criminal-justice course expressing an opinion on the death penalty, he said, "Yes, for me, it would be problematic."
. . .
Wendy Gabriella, an anthropology instructor at the college and a lawyer, has represented plaintiffs who sued the college several times in the last five years over such issues as student demonstrations and open-meeting laws. She said she was dismayed by the latest flap.
"The problem is Dennis White is in charge of the First Amendment on this campus," she said. "So faculty members are wondering what we're supposed to say. How do we make sure that Dennis White deems our conversations appropriate?"
• Calif. College restricts war talk in classes, Community College Week, April 14, 2003
• Junior College Trustee in O.C. Quits, LA Times, September 18, 2003
Dorothy Fortune resigns from a south Orange County district board amid allegations that she moved out of the area in March
A trustee of the South Orange County Community College District announced her resignation this week as political foes investigated allegations that she had violated state law by living outside the area she represents.
In a letter to Chancellor Raghu Mathur dated Friday and delivered Monday, Dorothy Fortune, 64, vice president of the district's board of trustees, attributed her resignation, effective immediately, to "my husband's retirement and our decision to relocate outside the district."
. . .
Micael Merrifield, the [faculty] association's president, said there was evidence that Fortune and her husband had purchased a home in Central California in March. "It was somewhat common knowledge on the campus that she had moved," he said. "We've been talking about it – what she had [locally] is a drop box in a post office."
The California Education Code requires community college trustees to live in the area they represent. In Fortune's case, that includes Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Dana Point and portions of Laguna Hills, Newport Beach and unincorporated areas of Orange County.
Fortune, a board member since 1996, could not be reached for comment. Speaking on her behalf, Donald P. Wagner, president of the board and a friend of Fortune's, denied that she had done anything wrong. She had been living in an Aliso Viejo apartment, he said.
"This stuff, frankly, has been kicking around for a while," he said. "We asked her about it, the chancellor visited the apartment and, as far as I know, that is her official residence. I do talk to her, and I know that she's been out of state a lot."
Mathur declined to comment.
This year, Fortune sent district officials a memo saying she intended to sell her Laguna Beach house and rent an Aliso Viejo apartment. Because its mailbox was "very small," however, she asked that her mail be sent to another Aliso Viejo address. She added: "Please advise staff that from Feb. 26 on, they should not send me faxes as we are going on a trip."
The Norby fiasco
• South O.C. Colleges Have New Trustee, LA Times, October 18, 2003
The South Orange County Community College District board has appointed Eric S. Norby, brother of Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby, to fill the seat vacated by the recent resignation of board member Dorothy Fortune.
Eric Norby, who is also his brother's chief of staff, was administered the oath of office late Thursday at a board meeting during which the 10 candidates for the post were interviewed.
. . .
Fortune, a board member since 1996, resigned last month amid allegations that she had moved out of the area she represented.
[Every member of the SOCCCD board of trustees is a Republican.]
• Faculty Forces College Trustee Election, LA Times, December 6, 2003
Teachers resent the south Orange County district's board filling a vacancy without input from them and others. Vote's date is pending.
• Eric Norby Won't Seek South O.C. Community College Post, LA Times, December 31, 2003
His appointment as trustee was voided by a faculty petition in an ongoing dispute with the board. He cites time constraints for decision.
• 2 Trustees' Job Status Is an Issue: One who sits on an Orange County college district board is the elected boss of another. Whether that's a conflict is debated, LA Times, March 9, 2004
[The story concerns trustee John Williams, the OC Public Administrator/Guardian, and trustee Nancy Padberg, his chief of staff. In 2009, Williams was the subject of a scathing and scandalous OC Grand Jury report regarding the quality of his work as a county official.]
• Jay Wins Election in Landslide, LA Times, April 1, 2004
For the third time: "no confidence" in Mathur
• Vote of “no confidence” in Chancellor Mathur, May 2004
• No-Confidence Vote Will Be 3rd for College Chief, LA Times, May 17, 2004
[Mathur had been the SOCCCD Chancellor for only a short time, but already he had impressed faculty as odious.]
• Huge Vote Against College Chief, LA Times, May 18, 2004
Of the full-time professors at Irvine Valley and Saddleback colleges who cast ballots, 93.5% voted in favor of no confidence, and 6% were against the union-sponsored measure. One person abstained.
Out of 318 faculty eligible, 246 – 77% — voted, according to the district faculty association.
. . .
Donald Wagner, president of the board of trustees, characterized the vote as largely political.
"I'm not surprised that it passed," he said, "because the folks who were agitating for no confidence refused to give the chancellor a chance to address the issues they raised."
. . .
Trustees appointed Mathur chancellor even though a hiring committee did not rank him among the top three candidates, according to Lee Haggerty, then union president, who sat on the panel….
[Political or not, by 2009, Wagner had fully joined the Mathur anti-fan club.]
• Diary of a Mad County: Monday, May 17, OC Weekly, May 20, 2004
South Orange County Community College District Chancellor Raghu Mathur is nothing if not a consensus builder, the kind of leader who brings people together. Today, he brings together a whopping 93.5 percent of professors to overwhelmingly cast a vote of no-confidence regarding his leadership. Mathur claims the vote is simply an outgrowth of current contract negotiations with employees from the district's two colleges: Irvine Valley and Saddleback. Of course, that doesn't explain why Mathur, while serving as president at Irvine Valley from 1997 to 2002, received not one, but two votes of no-confidence. Wait, yes, it does.
• Tom Fuentes bashes faculty, October (?) 2004 “Leisure World” TV interview:
• Trustee [Armando Ruiz] in Benefit Dispute Leads, LA Times, November 4, 2004
A community college trustee who reaped a pension bonanza by retiring from the board two days before Tuesday's election was returned to his seat by voters, preliminary results showed Wednesday.
Armando Ruiz, a 21-year member of the Coast Community College District board, easily outdistanced two challengers Tuesday's ballot with about 41% of the total….
The ballot labeled Ruiz "incumbent" because he notified the college Friday – too late for any changes – that he would retire Sunday. Critics have accused Ruiz of portraying himself as an incumbent while, at the same time, quitting before the election in order to take advantage of a quirk in state law that allowed him to significantly increase his pension.
Ruiz retired not only as a trustee but also from his full-time job as a counselor at Irvine Valley College.
Had Ruiz retired from the board on a day other than when he retired from Irvine Valley, he would have received the typical board pension of about $5,000 a year, plus $54,000 annually from his counselor's job, for a total of $59,000 annually.
But state law allows part-time officeholders first elected before 1994 to join the state retirement system and, if they worked at another government agency and retired on the same day from both jobs, to receive a pension based on the highest salary from either agency as the basis for both pensions. Thus, Ruiz will receive a total pension estimated at $108,000 a year.
Now that he's been reelected, Ruiz also will continue to receive his board salary of about $9,800 a year.
• O.C. College District's Controversial Chief Is Put in Contract Limbo, LA Times, November 19, 2004
In a surprise move that could signal the end of their chancellor's controversial tenure, South Orange County Community College District trustees voted this week not to allow Raghu Mathur's contract to automatically renew.
This is the first crack in the board majority's support of Mathur after standing by him despite three faculty votes of no confidence.
Mathur's contract would have been automatically renewed for three years on Dec. 30, effective June 30, with a $4,000 annual boost to his current salary of $183,000. Trustees voted 4 to 3 Tuesday not to renew it.
Don Wagner, the board president, said Mathur still remained a candidate for the job. "There's a very real possibility in my mind that the next chancellor will be Raghu Mathur, but I wouldn't put any odds on it," he said.
The key vote against Mathur was cast by Nancy Pad- berg, who had supported him in the past as a member of the board's politically conservative majority. She said she thought Mathur should not receive the automatic raise or an $8,400-a-year car allowance, but she declined to say whether she wanted a new chancellor or what their differences were.
Wagner said the board had not begun seeking a successor.
Mathur said in an interview that the move took him by surprise and that trustees had not indicated they wanted to negotiate a new contract.
Lewis Long, president of the faculty union, said trustees had told union officials they would be surprised if Mathur kept his job. Long said a new chancellor would help restore trust between the faculty and the board.
Mathur and the faculty have battled for most of his 2 1/2 years on the job. Faculty leaders say he is disrespectful of them and dictatorial and excludes them from the decision-making they are legally entitled to participate in.
Mathur has fought with faculty since he was appointed president of Irvine Valley in 1997 and did away with a system that relied on faculty chairs to handle many administrative duties.
In the last no-confidence vote, in May, 93.5% of the faculty opposed Mathur.
Trustee Frogue's Spanish adventure
• Community-College District Cancels Program in Spain, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 18, 2005
The trustees of California's South Orange County Community College District refused last month to renew a study-abroad program in Spain after one trustee criticized Spain's decision to withdraw troops from the U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq. The board also blamed what it called dangerous conditions in the country.
The decision to cancel the five-week summer trip, which students have taken for the past 15 years, came as a surprise to the program's leaders….
But when the issue came up for a vote, Thomas A. Fuentes, a member of the board, raised objections. He said he was concerned about the terrorist bombings last year and other violence by Basque separatists. He also said that only "the elite" could afford the program. He noted that Spain had withdrawn its troops from Iraq, where they had been assisting the U.S.-led military effort. "Spain has abandoned our fighting men and women, withdrawing their support. I see no reason to send the students of our colleges to Spain at this moment in history," he said.
The board voted 5 to 2 not to renew the program….
"I was shocked," said Carmenmara Hernandez-Bravo, a professor of Spanish at Saddleback College who leads the study-abroad program and goes on the trip each year. She said the students were safer in Spain than in parts of Los Angeles. She also said that the board had approved other trips that were more expensive and that included visits to countries that have not sent troops to Iraq. "I'm confused," said Ms. Hernandez-Bravo. "I don't know the real reason" for the decision.
In an e-mail interview, Mr. Fuentes stressed that the reasons for the board's decision were concerns about safety and the high price of the trip. As to his comment about Spain's foreign policy, he wrote: "I am able to have my personal opinion, and express it in a public forum as an elected official."
Ms. Hernandez-Bravo has sent an e-mail message to the college district's chancellor….
[It said:] "Whatever Trustee Fuentes believes about Spain and its role as our ally, his personal political beliefs should have no part in determining the fate of a longstanding, successful, academic program," she wrote in the message. "It is irresponsible for a public official to make such remarks at a board meeting because by doing so he is politicizing the educational process."
Despite complaints, there has been no sign that the board will change its decision….
• Tom Fuentes, this is your Pyrrhic life, Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly, March 31, 2005
An open letter to the former GOP chairman, current college trustee, forever self-destroyer
It's been a bit more than a year since you stepped down as chairman of Orange County's Republican Party, a position you held for 20 years. Now you sit in the Siberia of politics known as the South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) Board of Trustees. What happened?....
• Addressing renewal of Chancellor Mathur’s contract, meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees, April 21, 2005
• Appellate decision favors faculty: IVC Academic Senate, et al. v. SOCCCD, filed June 8, 2005
The Academic Senates … appeal from the denial of a writ of mandate in favor of the Board of Trustees of the SOCCCD … and chancellor Raghu P. Mathur…. The dispute relates to the interpretation of Education Code section 87360 governing the process by which faculty hiring procedures are developed. We agree with [Academic Senates] that the trial court incorrectly interpreted the relevant statute. We therefore reverse the judgment and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
. . .
…[B]etween the plain language of section 87630 and the legislative history of the statutory scheme, we conclude that the Legislature intended the [Senates] … to have an ongoing role in developing and consenting to faculty hiring policies and procedures. In the event specific changes cannot be agreed upon, the existing policy would remain in effect. In our view, this is the only reading of the statute that harmonizes both its plain language (“agreed upon jointly”) and the legislative statement of intent (the faculty’s “inherent professional responsibility” in developing hiring procedures).
. . .
The bottom line is that the Legislature granted the Senates a role equal to the District’s in developing and adopting faculty hiring policies.
. . .
[The District] may feel this decision was unwise and are free to seek a change in the law, but the law on the books is what this court must follow. We therefore reverse the judgment and remand this matter to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
• Faculty rally against Chancellor Mathur & his contract, meeting of SOCCCD Board of Trustees, June 21, 2005
• Fall 2005 Opening Session, August 16, 2005
Keynote speaker: Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Ramirez, editorial cartoonist of The Los Angeles Times
The website sports a link to a new radio ad for the colleges:
ANNOUNCER: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all the lessons of life can be found in surfing. Let us demonstrate. Let us propose that this surfboard—
SURFER DUDE: Yeah, dude: one God, one fin!
ANNOUNCER: —is the path you carve through life.
SURFER DUDE: Wow, heavy, the path.
ANNOUNCER: And without wax, that path is—…wipe out!...—slippery. What you need is wax—metaphorically speaking—which is to say, college.
SURFER DUDE: Yeah, dude, wax! …um, college.
ANNOUNCER: College is the wax that sticks you to the board that is the path you carve through life and so the waves can be triple overhead, and you will fear no evil.
SURFER DUDE: No fear!
ANNOUNCER: And you can travel through the green room and blast out of the tube with a career and money and hotties and happiness!
SURFER DUDE: college equals a career and happiness! –and some wax, right?
ANNOUNCER: My OC COLLEGE dot com. –Surf on over! Giving away an iPod a week!
[There’s a link to the audio on this page.]
• Brown Act violation? Meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees, in closed session, September 13, 2005
DtB reported at the time: “The agenda for the Sept. 13 Dana Point closed session lists only one item: “Public Employee Evaluation of Performance…Chancellor.” However, we have it on good authority that the board did not discuss that topic but that, instead, it discussed issues highlighted by the accreditation agency (ACCJC) in its recent dismal evaluation of the two colleges.” (See Chancellor Mathur gets Brown Paper.)
Well, that’s a Brown Act violation. A month later, Chancellor Mathur was served with papers regarding that violation.
• Clockwork Orange: Dissent Back in Style, OC Weekly, September 22, 2005
Next to Clockwork's daily goosestepping walkies with since-ousted trustee Steven J. Frogue, the thing we miss most about the SOCCCD are those wascally wabble-wousers and, in particular, their stinging little zine Dissent. Well, faster than you can say "Download THIS, Himmler," Dissent is back, in handy blog form. Contributors Rebel Girl, Chunk Wheeler and Red Emma are back -- and this time they want BLOOD! Or, at least, an academic employer they can be proud to toil for.
Currently up on the site are a hilarious lampoon ... Oops, it's not a lampoon; it's REAL ....
• The SOCCCD Board “cures and corrects” its Sept. 13 Brown Act violation, meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees, October 24, 2005
Resolution 05-41 essentially amounts to (a) the assertion that no violation of the Brown Act occurred, plus (b) an action of curing and correcting any possible violation “to avoid the waste of time and money associated with the potential litigation of this meritless claim.”
DtB reported at the time: “The board acted—unanimously—to cure and correct its Brown Act violations of Sept. 13, a victory for open government. IVC Academic Senate Prez Wendy G noted that she as a private citizen, and not as the Senate Prez, asked for the correction, so the senate was not involved. “It could be, but it is not at this point,” she noted ominously.”
• "Kill it and Grill it”—and other FUENTEIAN titles, Dissent the Blog, October 29, 2005
DtB explores trustee Fuentes extra-curricular activities. Fuentes is a “director” of Eagle Publishing, and Eagle Publishing is the parent company of Regnery Publishing, which publishes some surprising titles, given that Fuentes serves on a college board, including anti-evolution tomes.
• What’s with Trustee PADBERG?, Dissent the Blog, November 6, 2005
DtB reports that trustee Nancy Padberg seems to have lost her job as chief of staff for trustee John Williams, the Orange County Administrator/Guardian
• The Chancellor’s Opening Session, Dissent the Blog, January 4, 2006
DtB’s account of Chancellor Mathur’s impersonation of Carnac.
• Trustee Don Wagner goes after “liberal busybodies” The American Library Association, January 31, 2006
• Saddleback College and IVC receive dismal Accreditation "action letters", Dissent the Blog, February 2, 2006
Yesterday, we reported that IVC was spanked anew by the Accrediting Agency: the college must submit a new report on Oct. 15. This will be followed by yet another site visit. D'oh! In the case of IVC, the college's efforts to respond to the accrediting agency's 8 recommendations (January '05) were judged inadequate or unacceptable with regard to recommendations 6, 7, and 8 (i.e., board micromanagement, unclarity with regard to constituency groups' roles and responsibilities, and the "plague of despair"). That result pointed a finger of blame at the Board and the Chancellor. At today's (IVC) Academic Senate meeting, we learned that Saddleback College, too, has heard from the accrediting agency (ACCJC/WASC). Evidently, in the case of Saddleback College, which initially received 6 recommendations, the college was judged to have offered an inadequate response to all six recommendations. D'OH!
• Padberg: closing in on “junket” abuse?, Dissent the Blog, February 7, 2006
Trustee Padberg commences zeroing in on Trustee John Williams’ junketeering.
• The Lariat "gaucho" , DtB, February 8, 2006
DtB notes some problems with Saddleback College’s mascot and mascot image
See also Gaucho & Laser ridiculosity
• The bomb scare, DtB, February 8, 2006
Well, it turned out to be a perfectly innocent sack o’ sand.
• The Technical Assistance shindig, DtB, February 14, 2006
Tables were configured in a big square (with one end open) and the various constituency groups were seated around it. There was a weird little audience zone facing into the open part of the square. Woodruff of the CCLC and Walton of the state senate used a podium which poked into one corner of the square. From 3:00 to maybe 4:45 Woodruff and Walton held forth with big picture concepts about shared governance--although they pointed out that "shared governance" is not a legal phrase and its somewhat misleading. Well, CCLC's Woodruff made that point, cuz she represents trustees, and she's a subtle enemy of the concept, near as I can figure. (Nice lady though.)….
. . .
I've gotta go, but I'll just mention that Trustee Fuentes was the standout trustee, if standout means "obnoxious." That was mostly because Trustee Wagner had to go, starting about 6:00. He took his new beard with him.
See also Hammering out differences, Hammering out differences, part II, Uh-oh, they still don't get it
• College district chancellor resigns, MSNBC, January 26, 2010
Raghu Mathur, chancellor of the South Orange County Community College District, has sent out a letter to district colleagues announcing his resignation.
District trustees voted him out of the job Monday night -- at Raghu's request.
"The chancellor came to us with a signed agreement setting forth his desire for retirement," said board president Donald Wagner Tuesday afternoon.
In his letter, Raghu said his last day will be June 30. According to his contract, he was to be in the position through June 2011.
The vote was first announced on Dissent the Blog, a blog run by Irvine Valley College philosophy professor Roy Bauer. The district oversees Irvine Valley and Saddleback Valley colleges. Bauer reported that the 5-2 decision was made in closed session.
"We have attempted to get the board to see Mr. Mathur's limitations and his character for many years," Bauer said. "... And we now look forward to a careful and honest search for our new chancellor," he said.
Mathur, who took the job as chancellor in 2002, has been criticized for the district's declining enrollment and poor accreditation reports. He was originally hired as Irvine Valley president in a closed-door decision that a judge later found violated the state's open-meeting law.
Mathur survived a May 2004 vote of no confidence by 93.5 percent of the Irvine Valley and Saddleback College faculties, the third no-confidence vote in his district career. In May 1998, 72 percent of the Irvine Valley faculty cast a vote of no confidence in Mathur. And in November 2000, 90 percent of the Irvine faculty voted no confidence.
In 2001, Mathur settled a negligent supervision and breach of contract lawsuit against the community college district for $36,000. The lawsuit came after Mathur lost an earlier suit against a teacher and a former college administrator. That suit charged that the two illegally obtained information from Mathur's personnel file and published the information in a newsletter….
* * * * *
to be continued...
How corrupt can a faculty union get? (1996-c.2001)
Pretty damned corrupt, evidently. Pandering to South County HOMOPHOBIA!....
A history of a troubled college district (1967-present)
Pretty amazing, I'd say. It starts with Ronald Reagan in the late 60s, hangin' with right-wingers in John Birch territory.... Who we are (Dissenters)
A philosopher and two writers, living in the lovely Santa Ana mountains.... Trustee Fuentes’ Spanish Adventure (2005)
Former OC GOP chief and NEANDERTHAL pulls the plug on a Spain "study abroad" trip 'cause that country has "abandoned our fighting men and women" by pulling troops out of Iraq.... SHITE HITS FAN. Faculty told not to discuss the Iraq war (2003)
Gosh, isn't this a college? Guess not! SHITE HITS FAN.... The Senate sues the district (& wins!) (2002-05)
Hey, the law says you've gotta work with the faculty! They blow us off; we sue; we win; NYA!.... "I was a 1st Amendment poster boy” (1998-2000)
Ruthless people don't like critics, I guess. Gosh, Dissent has quite a pedigree!.... Trustee Frogue a Holocaust denier? (1994-2000)
It would seem so. Doofus Frogue was hand-picked by the faculty union. He lasted until 2000. SHITE HITS FAN.... Time for pie (business as usual for the Old Guard unionists) (1999) A a slice of life and a slice of pie--back in the corrupt old days, late 90s....MORE: • Night of the NAZIs (Trustee Frogue’s friends show up) (1998) (Good grief!) • NAZIs show up to a Board Meeting (1998) Oh, what a night! • The union Old Guard’s favorite charity turns out to be a haven for pedophiles (2001)--UnFreakin'Believable.
WHAT HAPPENED: In a way, it's simple. By the early 1980s, a conservative board had saddled the "Saddleback Community College District" with an autocratic, right-wing Chancellor, Larry Stevens. The Faculty Association (union) was important in the two-year effort to get rid of him, which was accomplished by January of 1986.
Alas, the union leadership had grown full of themselves. Eventually, they operated in secret, with disregard of procedures and standards, answerable to no one. They seemed interested only in salaries and benefits, especially for those getting close to retirement.
By 1996, the union was under the control of some remarkably unprincipled faculty--including an assortment of instructors who had been caught in various kinds of outrageous conduct and who thus needed the protection of a strong union.
Chronically pestiferous and conniving Chemistry teacher Raghu Mathur was a part of this group, representing especially a small group of IVC faculty with grudges against faculty and administrators. In their minds, they battled a cabal, thwarting the ambitions of the truly excellent and virtuous: themselves.
In 1996, the union leadership made a deal with several right-wing trustee candidates, including Holocaust denier Steve Frogue. The union would finance and run their campaigns (they used a flier that pandered to South County Republican homophobia); in exchange, the trustees would be agreeable to the union's demands in contract negotiations, but would also assist in the desired payback, advancement, etc. (In truth, this union leadership pursued the benefit of senior faculty at the expense of junior faculty. This was especially clear in the case of salaries.)
The plan succeeded. Since then, we've been saddled with an anti-faculty, anti-intellectual right-wing board that imposes its benighted will on the colleges: wacky conspiracy theory forums, Holocaust deniers, fiscal mismanagement, violations of the First Amendment, violations of state statutes concerning governance, lunatic construction projects, etc. Eventually, Frogue resigned (2000), only to be replaced with the crafty and unscrupulous Tom Fuentes, long-time chief of the notorious OC Republican "machine." By then, the corrupt union leadership had used union funds to get two explicitly anti-union candidates elected, members of Tustin's "Education Alliance." (1998)