Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Babs Beno’s Theater of the Absurd

The two colleges of our district—Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College—have been dinged repeatedly by the Accreds (the ACCJC), mostly owing to the misadventures and misconduct of our benighted and demagogic board of trustees and their toady, the ruthless and incompetent Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur, G.O.P., Ed.D.

So when the feds got on the accreds’ case for issuing repeated warnings to colleges instead of meting out “consequences” (as they say, staunchly), the pressure was on Babs Beno, the clueless ACCJC Prez, and her crew to start meaning business—or else.

Yeah, but the problem is that Babs and her crew are way south of sharp or competent, and so they’ve been layin’ questionable requirements on colleges that many districts can’t even afford to satisfy (expensive researchers must be hired, etc.). Plus, if you’re really gonna mean business with these sometimes-daffy requirements, you’ve gotta pull the ticket on a shitload of colleges, and that just won’t do, now will it?


Anyway, our two institutions gave it the old college try, and, in the end, they did a pretty good and sincere job (belatedly, in the case of sleepy Saddleback College) trying to satisfy the Accreds and their concerns: trustee micromanagement, the plague of despair, inexplicably vast holes dug into the ground, etc. Reports were written and sent north, and we waited.

The commissioners, Babs Beno presiding, finally met in January and deliberated (whatever that means—maybe they spun a big wheel). They made their decisions. The “action letters” (i.e., the letters explaining the commission's actions per college) were supposed to be mailed on the 31st of January, but, as it happens, the 31st fell on a Saturday. In the past, in such situations, upon request, the ACCJC would go ahead and fax the damn thing on Friday (a day early) so that institutions wouldn’t have to wait until Monday to discover their horrifying fate.

So, naturally, our college requested the fax, and, last Friday, the college waited for said fax. But no fax materialized, which led to the Big Nervous Phone Call. The (unofficial) word was that the Accreds then declared (on the phone) that the Action Letter would be put in the mail that morning (gosh thanks), but the college would have to wait until Monday for the fax. Sheesh!

So the college Big Kids put out an email to everybody that explained that

The College has been informed by the Accreditation Commission that the hard copy of the Accreditation Action Letter … was placed in the mail earlier today, January 30, 2009. The College has requested to be placed on the ACCJC fax list and was informed that the Action Letter will be faxed on Monday…. As soon as the fax is received, the Irvine Valley College community will be informed immediately ….

No biggy. So we’ll wait.

So Monday came around and, again, no fax. Dang! The Senate Prez, clearly peeved, put out an email early Monday afternoon explaining that

The College was supposed to receive the ACCJC Action Letter …, today, February 2, 2009 via facsimile. However, we were informed [today], that the fax from the ACCJC would be delayed until February 3. 2009.

What?! I’m startin’ to get steamed! We're gettin' the run-around!

Hours later, the Big Kids (aka Prez Roquemore and crew) sent out a more official email, which said that

The College has now been informed by the Accreditation Commission that the hard copy of the Accreditation Action Letter … was NOT placed in the mail last Friday, January 30, 2009, after all. The ACCJC now tells us that the faxes will be sent Tuesday, February 3rd. [Emphasis in the original. Note the tone of peevitude.]

Is the ACCJC a crew of clowns? Rat bastard? Maroons?! Well, that's what everybody was saying.

The letter continued:

As soon as the fax is received, President Roquemore will inform the Irvine Valley College community …. If the fax has not been received by noon tomorrow, we will try to provide hourly updates until the fax does arrive.

Hourly freakin’ updates?! Such displays of anxiousness are seriously uncool, dude. Well, whatever.

So, naturally, this morning (Tuesday), the Big Kids waited by the fax machine, but no fax materialized. So they gnashed their teeth and then sent out another email:

The college has not received a fax from the Commission this morning. As soon as the fax is received, President Roquemore will inform the Irvine Valley College community about the outcome. If the fax does not arrive by 1 p.m., President Roquemore will call the Commission and ask for an explanation.

Our next update will be at 5 p.m. today unless the letter is received earlier. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Smart move. That hourly update thing was way desperate.

Ah, but that wasn’t the end of it. Just after 1:00 p.m., we got another email from Glenn and crew. It was understated:

President Roquemore called the Commission’s office and was informed that the letters will be mailed today and the fax would be sent tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4th. [My emphasis.]

At this point, only a total dope would expect the ACCJC to come through tomorrow. As far as I'm concerned, Babs and her crew have declared war. We need to send Raghu up there immediately to leave a burning sack o’ sh*t on Babs Beno’s doorstep!

April, 2006: Babs Beno visits the SOCCCD (she appears at 6:27)


A perfect illustration of Babs Beno's abject twitulosity. On this night, for no apparent reason, she spoke positively about the two colleges' efforts responding the ACCJC's concerns, despite the manifest recalcitrance of some trustees, who openly rejected the Accreds' worries about trustee micromanagement. "What does this mean?" we asked. "What the hell is going on?" Later, we got dinged pretty badly by the ACCJC, which required yet another progress report.

14 comments:

  1. Roy, it's amazing how accurately what you described is the EXACT way Army units deploy to war. Only, we wait for the phone to ring to say we have a plane scheduled. It gets pushed out, then another is rescheduled, etc. and so on. Also, during this time, our bags are packed and in the trunks of our cars, and families are yo-yo'd around emotionally. Weird.

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  2. google maps says that the accjc office is approx 7 hours from IVC. somebody should just drive up there and grab the stupid letter.

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  3. I like the comparison of the ACCJC to the Army, except the Army is way smarter, know what I mean?

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  4. The hourly updates were a little scary if you ask me.

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  5. I like the hourly reports, lets me know someone may actually be in A100.

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  6. At 10:10, Prez Roquemore sent out an email about good news re IVC's accreditation. The email stated: "Congratulations to all IVC members of the 2008 Progress Report Task Force, Board President Donald P. Wagner, and Deputy Chancellor Gary Poertner. The Commission has reaffirmed Irvine Valley College’s accreditation." The letter mentions no qualifications or conditions. --RB

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  7. Saddleback's accreditation has been renewed as well, though, in their case, strings were attached. Essentially, however, our accred worries are over for now.

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  8. It is apparent from reading the numerous hand-wringing accreditation posts as to why faculty make poor leaders. Reminds one of a bunch of old women - oh, that is what faculty are - my bust!

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  9. 11:38, there have been no "hand-wringing" posts on this blog. Since at least summer we have expressed the likelihood that IVC's accreditation would be renewed. After Saddleback got its act together early in the fall, we have expressed the likelihood of a positive outcome in their case as well. If you were more informed, you'd realize that Accred decisions are not always a simple yes/no, but often a conditional YES, and this is a legitimate source of concern, if not worry. IVC got a simple YES, but, it seems, Saddleback got a conditional YES. I recommend that you take a reading and comprehension course. We have many fine courses here at IVC.

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  10. Thanks for plug for the reading classes :) lol

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  11. Question for the blog...

    I made a visit to Glen's office to discuss the reason why IVC has no transfer agreement with UC Berkeley; as my fellow transfer students from IVC are getting pounded with having to take classes over because UCB does not accept a large amount of classes from IVC (juxtaposed UCLA or UC Irvine that does accept the classes). When I went to the President's office, they said that "right now is a bad time to bring it up because we are just trying to just keep our accreditation...which is really a big issue that is superceding the offices priorities).

    Can somebody explain (or provide a link) why IVC should be even close to losing their accreditation? It makes no sense. IVC has a great transfer rate and they seem to do a hell of a lot better than the majority of other community colleges (from a transfer rate at least). I went to college at IVC before going to UC Berkeley and I thought the professors were first rate people that were passionate about their jobs. I thought that this kind of "pulling accreditation" for a college only happened in Compton and other really, really, bad schools. How can this be? Can poor management really make this happen? If so, how could changes be made? I love this college that provided me with numerous opportunities to create a better life...I would hate to see it go.

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  12. 12:07 - all of the college reports, visit reports, and action letters for the IVC accreditation since 2001 are posted on the IVC website at www.ivc.edu/accreditation .

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  13. 12:07, if you peruse our archives (see at right) you'll find numerous posts that explain our long-standing accreditation issues. They have never had anything to do with the quality of instruction or services, which have been praised by the Accreds. The problem stems almost entirely from the micromanagement of trustees, the ruthless conduct of our chancellor, and the "plague" of "despair" these people have created. During our last "round" with the Accreds, trustees and the chancellor rammed obnoxious verbiage into the report, and that likely set the stage for this "or else" episode. Despite all of this turmoil, the two colleges of the district remain excellent.

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  14. Ola, what's up amigos? :)
    I will be glad to receive any help at the beginning.
    Thanks and good luck everyone! ;)

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