Thursday, February 28, 2013

East LA College Chooses their Commencement Speaker: It's Gustavo!



This just in:

Gustavo to Give Commencement Speech at East 

Los Angeles College Graduation!

Gustavo writes all about it this morning (click title above for the whole enchilada, including a link to Arellano's LBCC commencement speech last year, and see below for an excerpt).

Regular readers of Dissent will know Rebel Girl has forwarded Gustavo Arellano and many other worthy candidates (local, smart, articulate, connected to education and O.C.) as nominees for the IVC Commencement Speaker gig for many years now.  

After last year's rather hurried, muffled consideration of candidates, Rebel Girl wishes she had recorded some of the rather dismissive and condescending comments made about certain candidates like Arellano—inappropriate, too, uh, political, not a good fit, etc. Coded language, of course. You know what they mean. You know who is appropriate, whose politics are acceptable, whose fit is just fine (Yes, and Rebel Girl knows what those wags will say about his East LA College invitation—and perhpas you do too: Well, of course they (e.g. East L.A.!  Mexicans!) want him and he is just fine for them. But not us. No.)

This morning's news comes after yesterday's dissemination of IVC Commencement Speaker Committee's list of new nominees—a hot discussion topic in the hallways. It's a very, very, very, very, very, very long list (over 30) and committee members have been directed to rank each candidate.  

Among the names: Tom Hanks, Condoleezza Rice, Bill Gates, Morgan Freeman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scott Lay, Hilary Rodham Clinton—and yes, Gustavo Arellano. 

Not so long ago, this committee used to meet and sort out the list of nominations that came in from across campus. Call it a feasibility sort. The committee knew, say, that it was unlikely that Steven Spielberg would come to speak at the little college in the orange groves even if we said pretty please, so to "rank" him and others like him (Pope John Paul, Dick Cheney, Beyonce, Seth McFarlane, etc.) was a waste of time and skewed the process. Better to focus energies on a list of more, uh, realistic candidates, people who were likely to say yes. As Rebel Girl recalls, that committee did its work well with a collegial spirit,  meeting a few times under able leadership and generating a list of finalists to forward to the president.  

No, Rebel Girl has declined to serve on that committee this year. She can take a hint. Like her nominees, she is perhaps inappropriate, too, uh, political, not a good fit. She wishes the committee good luck. 

And yeah, ask Tom Hanks. Go for it. Hanks is poised to make his Broadway debut in Nora Ephron's final play, "Lucky Guy." One of Rebel Girl's high school pals is in the cast (behind Hanks in the photo below, black tie).  She knows that they're in rehearsals right now (previews begin March 1!) and that the play is scheduled to run through June. So Rebel Girl advises that perhaps Hanks is just a little too busy to say yes. But you can ask. Why not. The play could be a big flop and close early. It's happened before. 


excerpt:
This will be the second year in a row I've [Gustavo Arellano] been invited to speak at a community college graduation (I did the deed last year at Long Beach City College), and it's a wonderful honor given I'm a product of the juco system, having graduated from Orange Coast College way back when.
*

Past commencement speaker wrangles:
Plagiarism is a form of theft, Glenn (but all is well, really) - May 30 12
"Too Political" - May 24 12
That's some leadership, that leadership à la Roquemore – May 21 12
News about Gustavo Arellano, who, again, won't be commencement speaker - May 1 12
Evidently, the IVC Academic Senate cabinet won't agendize whether IVC should support Saddleback faculty's "shared governance" resolution - Apr 15 12
Commencement speaker choices: the controversial and the unimaginative - Jun 12 10
What about Gustavo Arellano? - Jan 18 08

31 comments:

  1. I like Tom Hanks.

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  2. I like Tom Hanks to (who doesn't?) but he isn't likely to attend our commencement even if he wasn't in a Broadway play. Sending out a list like that is the laziest way to do something under the flimsy cover of an open, democratic process. Get real.

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  3. I do not know who is more delusional with their nominees - the students or the admin types. Then, of course, there is the endless parades of business guys in suits and/or plagiarizers or the rose kind of cliched public speeches...I think some people just wants some of if rich guy they can shake hands with...

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  4. Who was used to chair the committee?

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  5. Point taken, Rebel Girl but are they not choosing NEXT year's speaker? Perhaps Mr. Hanks will be avaialble then. Don't be such a downer.

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  6. So we can have Tom Hanks? Or George Lukas?

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  7. No, you can't have Tom Hanks. He's not coming.

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  8. You can't have George Lukas either.

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  9. I want the Mexican! He'd be great. I've heard him speak before. The students would like him.

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  10. But if Rebel Girl's friend knows Hanks, couldn't he ask him?

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  11. The list of speakers is quite odd. It is plain that some suggestions reflect delusions of some sort. This whole exercise is insultingly stupid, yet another embarrassment.

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  12. Being asked to "rank" candidates who would never take the gig distorts the process - even if you rank them last. I mean, who to rank dead last: Hilary Clinton, Bill Gates, George Lukas or Tom Hanks?

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  13. I think we could get Arnold Schwarzenegger (he's on the list!) - because no other college would want him to speak in front of graduates and their families.

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  14. Oh please, not Arnold. They are already too busy trying to scrub all the pics with Mike Carona from the archives.

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  15. No w're not. Someone also wants the President of Taco Bell - which means commencement might attract the striking tomato pickers he refuses to give a raise to. But hey, the guy looks nice in a suit and he's a success.

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  16. I bet Sandra Fluke is on the list. A successful law student whose mission in life is to legally force the rest of society to pay for all her birth control. Now that's academic!

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  17. Good idea - I'll add her name. thanks!

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  18. Assuming you're not being ironic, 1:32, if you had a brain you'd argue for birth control to be readily available and free. There's no better means of reducing health costs than reducing the number of unwanted births.

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  19. Why not Bela Lugosi? Don't the kids love all that vampire shite?
    --Sure, he's dead, but that makes him only slightly less available than some of the others that appear on this list.

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  20. Sonia Sotomayor would be great but come ON. Again, sending out a list like this without consulting with the committee is so lazy. Clearly half the nominees are not "real" candidates.

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  21. ...and now Taco Bell has admitted there is horse meat in their tacos! But only in Europe - now worries stateside. So let's get him and those striking tomato pickers.

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  22. George Lukas?!? Does any other school have a process like this? My god.

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  23. Speaking of dumb things at commencement.
    We are a community college who was the mental midget that said it was ok to give out summa cum laude and all that good stuff for an ASSOCIATES DEGREE??? those honors are for Bachelor's Degrees. So lame. If you want to really accomplish something take away the wanna-be BS at commencement.
    We are giving out certificates and associates degrees. It is an unsult to those who have earned a bachelors degree.

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  24. Everyone has an opinion and quite frankly i find it disturbing that "Rebel Girl" is making this a race issue, a few years ago we had a Mexican (currently an out of business Santa Ana book store owner as guest speaker.) Commencement is for the STUDENTS not for faculty. Quite frankly I want ASIVC and Student Services to choose a speaker and keep the whiney faculty OUT.

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  25. Ouch - yeah, loud and clear - we've already had one lazy Mexican. Uppity faculty - shut the F-Up. Got your message. And yes, everyone does "have an opinion."

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  26. Whiny Faculty Member6:03 PM, March 13, 2013

    I thought faculty were asked to participate in the process! Gosh, thanks for reminding us how valuable teachers are. (BTW, the process ran much better when Student Services did it. There WAS a process. It WAS collaborative and much more respectful.)

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  27. Degrees are conferred by faculty and only faculty. Commencement may be "for" the students, but they don't define the values or standards of academia. Based on past experience, it is clear that, when students are allowed to select speakers, they tend to choose very badly--relative to the standards of academics. It was an embarrassment when a businessman showed up, explaining that he didn't go to college and that worked out just fine for him. It was embarrassing when a sports guru showed up, with, predictably, nothing to say.

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  28. It was embarrassing when last year's speaker showed up and read from a plagiarized speech.

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  29. He was Roquemore's choice, of course.

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  30. You have to work awfully hard to have only one female commencement speaker in 20 years. I'll leave the dig about MacArthur fellow and Chapman University Presidential fellow Rueben Martinez (whose bookstore is now partnered with the university) alone though Glen and Craig might want to talk to people about their nor-so-subtle racism - or at least, pay attention to playing nice with Chapman's people. I mean, don't we want to do that? Isn't Jim Doti a friend of Glen's? I doubt Doti shares that assessment of Martinez. But I'll ask him when I see him.

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