Tuesday, May 22, 2018

There's a pattern: similar and disturbing

It's difficult to miss the new scandal that has hit USC. This time it involves a USC student health doctor who, despite serious allegations of sexual abuse, was allowed to continue to practice for decades - until he was allowed to quietly resign with a nice severance package last year, rewarded, as it were for his incompetence, unprofessionalism and criminal behavior. This incident comes a year after the previous high profile USC scandal which involved another doctor, the dean of the medical school, who also served as a fundraiser, but who nourished a meth habit and desire to party with other drug addicts (often in Orange County!).

The official silence is all a part of protecting the USC brand at the expense of students, faculty and staff, part of a culture of lies and cover-up that contradicts the very mission and values of an educational institution. And, of course, that culture of lying cover-up mentality allows the culture to flourish: few, if any, have to be held publicly accountable and so it goes until the next scandal.

USC is, of course, not alone.  This knee-jerk protect the brand at all costs attitude can be seen across the country: Penn State and Michigan state come most immediately to mind.

But of course, denizens of SOCCCD and the little college in the orange groves can also recognize this pattern: poor judgement and bad behavior; the cozy ambition of nepotism; a stubborn failure to correct; an even more stubborn resistance to critique; the casual acceptance (even official enforcement) of sexism, racism and homophobia; etc. - and then, when inevitably (weeks, months, sometimes years later) the behavior cannot be ignored, the person at the scandal's center is allowed to quietly resign (sometimes financially rewarded, like USC's Tyndall) or is given another position (Often in the classroom! Thus putting others, most often students, at risk. Imagine rewarding a dean who could not behave professionally with teaching faculty by putting him in a classroom setting with students!).

Just as when district and college projects and initiatives fail or are poorly managed, rarely are the full, true circumstances acknowledged publicly - the official silence prevails, and the culture that created the problem continues to grow, perhaps even becoming more petulantly defiant. Those offending people are either removed from the official narrative or given historical revision makeovers - and thus the institution does not learn. It doesn't have to. Then it repeats its mistakes. It becomes a bad student.

Rebel Girl recommends the LA Times coverage of the Tyndall affair which inspired this morning rant, especially Robin Abcarian's column. Rebel Girl has been a fan of Abcarian for years and once she is done writing this post, plan to write yet another appreciative fan letter to the longtime Times columnist, this time also urging her to take a look at the SOCCCD and its history of shuffles and disappearances. Rebel Girl understands that we are pretty small potatoes compared to USC, but you know, the pattern is similar and disturbing.

Momentum builds against president of USC, where scandals were hidden by Robin Abcarianexcerpt:

The chorus of condemnation against USC is getting louder by the day. Students, recent graduates and faculty members have all launched crusades against an administration they see as indifferent to the well-being of its charges, unworthy of their trust and incapable of transparency when it is needed most. I have watched with dismay as USC brass have again and again either covered for highly placed men engaged in despicable behavior, tried to whitewash their own inaction, or have stonewalled legitimate journalistic inquiries. This pattern, finally, is taking its toll...

Why are so many misconduct complaints falling on deaf ears at USC? by the Times Editorial Board
....Despite the seriousness of the misconduct, the university didn't report any of these findings to law enforcement or to the Medical Board of California, the agency responsible for protecting the public from problem doctors, until Times reporters began asking questions.
The university insists that it was not legally obligated to report Tyndall, but concedes that it should have done so. Of course it should have — reporting Tyndall to the appropriate authorities could have triggered an investigation into the allegations and helped alert future employers and patients to the doctor's record...
Faculty members call for USC president to step down: 'He has lost the moral authority to lead'
Two hundred USC professors on Tuesday demanded the resignation of university President C. L. Max Nikias, saying he had "lost the moral authority to lead" in the wake of revelations that a campus gynecologist was kept on staff for decades despite repeated complaints of misconduct.

In a letter to USC's Board of Trustees, the faculty members wrote that they had come together to "express our outrage and disappointment over the mounting evidence of President Nikias' failure to protect our students, our staff, and our colleagues from repeated and pervasive sexual harassment and misconduct."
USC's Dr. Carmen Puliafito (via LA Times)

Time's up for this kind of stuff, or so Rebel Girl likes to think, but who knows?

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Trumpian @ IVC

"If I am doing a business lunch, I like Javier’s. The food is fantastic
and service is business schedule sensitive. It can be loud, but I like the energy."

—I wonder if he knows he works at a college?

"I hadn't ever lived in Orange County before, and it is a really different culture."
The Saddleback College Prez was recently fired. How come?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Ear Launch!

This year's cover: "Back Bay" a photograph by Peter Gerrard. 
Last night, people gathered to celebrate this year's issue of The Ear, IVC's literary journal.  It is the party of the year at the little campus of the orange groves, or so we like to think.  Rebel Girl forgot her own fine camera so many of the photos which follow are courtesy of the paparazzi.

The Writing Center was transformed. It was standing room only for much of the evening. 

Faculty editor, Professor Virginia Shank. 

Students welcome Trustee Milchiker. 
Trustee Marcia Milchiker, who also serves as VP of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees, attended. Marcia has been a longtime supporter of the literary arts at IVC.  She stayed until the last cream puff was eaten.
The three most recent issues were offered for sale - and sold!
Trustee Milchiker read Lori Levi's poem, "In Israel, tasting Kumquats."
Mary Camarillo reads "Promises," an excerpt from her novel-in-progress. 

IVC student Jia Mei Li reads her poem "Cartersville." 

IVC student Alaina Kaplan reads her poems.
IVC student Lauren Yeoman reads her poem "Circle."
Prof. Kurt Meyer shares Mariella Lemus' poem, "Language Gap."

Wendy Esteras read her poem "OC Can U C?"
Longtime IVC student Carl Steen shares two poems from the issue. 

IVC student Kelly Halasz reads her poem, "Don't Mind the Mess."
The IVC Foundation raised funds throughout the evening.
A $500.00 challenge match was met, netting $1,000 for The Ear.
Elephants were everywhere.
Here is Melon-phant, carved by Rebel Girl and gracing the buffet table. 
The dessert table featured Prof. Shank's legendary cream puffs and a chocolate fountain. 

It's not a party unless there's food. There was food. Good food. 

Photo booth fun.

This year's staff.
You should have seen the students, their pride in their work, in themselves, in each other. It's a good thing we do. Kudos for the tireless Professor Shank for bringing The Ear back to life. Gratitude to all who helped sustain and defend.

Onward to the end of the semester!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

This is America: "Not the first time."

This morning at U.C. Irvine. 
Meanwhile across town at Rebel Girl's alma mater U.C. Irvine, students and staff were greeted this morning by these messages graffitied around the Ring Mall and the flag poles.

Chalked in sky blue and pale yellow, the words were soon washed away by intrepid students.

Rebel Girl was alerted to this activity via a UCI drama major who is active in the Brown Bag Theatre Company.

It was, the UCI student says, "not the first time."

By the way, the Brown Bag Theatre Company Brown Bag Theatre Company is "an ensemble of artists and scholars who aim to produce critically engaging work that reflects, impacts and empowers the Latino community." Their upcoming show, "Ni de Aquí, Ni de Allá" is "inspired by the stories from various 1st generation, 1st generation college, undocumented, and DACA Latinx college students on the campus of UC Irvine. The play follows two students who have grown up under the stress of having undocumented family members and even being undocumented themselves."

The hatred found around Ring Mall this morning is, according to the UCI student, exactly "why a show like NI DE AQUÍ, NI DE ALLÁ needs to be heard."

She's right.

Tickets to their upcoming shows (May 25 and 26) are free but reservations required.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Aim for the body rare, you'll see it on TV
The worst thing in 1954 was the bikini
See the girl on the TV dressed in a bikini
She doesn't think so but she's dressed for the H-bomb

I got a
Baby's brain and an old man's heart
Took eighteen years to get this far
Don't always know what I'm talkin' about
Feels like I'm livin' in the middle of doubt
'Cause I'm
I get confused every day
I just don't know what to say
I gotta get away

They're piling in the back seat
They're generating steam heat
Pulsating to the back beat
The blitzkrieg bop

Monday, May 7, 2018

More than twenty years ago: Ollie North at Saddleback College

“Like, they literally don’t believe a story that crazy could be true.
In real life. Under Reagan.”
The NRA’s new president, Oliver North, is notorious for his role in an illicit arms deal
(Today, The Washington Post)
     …It was 1987.
     Ronald Reagan was president and Oliver North, a staffer on the National Security Council, was taking the stand in a congressional inquiry into the Iran-contra affair, a multifaceted covert scheme in which profits from weapons sales to Iran were funnel under the table to right-wing rebels in Nicaragua who were fighting the country’s socialist government. One of the biggest political scandals of its day — and one that cast a negative pall over the Reagan administration — the scheme represented sharp violations of American law and policy.
. . .
     North, a staunch conservative who has found a rebirth as a commentator on Fox News, is perhaps best known for his central role in the illicit arms deals. North was fired from his post as an aide on the National Security Council by Reagan shortly after the scandal spilled into public view in the news media in 1986 and began to widen. An amendment passed in Congress earlier in the decade had prohibited most government funds or military support from being given to the contra rebels.
     North, who had helped carry out the schemes, was the most anticipated witness called to the Hill for a hearing hosted by a congressional inquiry into the affair.
. . .
     He admitted that he had shredded key documents about the initiatives, but said he was doing what his superiors wanted, and disclosed that CIA Director William Casey had been aware of some of his activities. And he “openly admitted that he had lied to ‘unwitting’ Reagan administration officials, misled Congress and the public, falsified and destroyed official documents as part of a preconceived coverup plan designed to protect his superiors, and specifically the president. But he also implicated higher-ups with his repeated assertions that all of his actions had been approved by higher authority,” the Post reported.
. . .
     “When I teach the Iran Contra Affair and Oliver North to intro IR students, they stare at me in total disbelief,” Colby College political scientist Laura Seay wrote on Twitter. “Like, they literally don’t believe a story that crazy could be true. In real life. Under Reagan.”

North's Saddleback Appearance Draws Warm Reception
(LA Times, September 21, 1996 - MICHAEL GRANBERRY)
     After two standing ovations, numerous autographs, dozens of flashbulbs popping in his face and countless displays of spontaneous applause Friday, former Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North was ready to field his first question.
     The young man approached the microphone in the brightly lit Saddleback College gym and wanted to know about a recent newspaper series. Was what he had read in the San Jose Mercury News really true, the man asked:
     Did a connection exist between the Nicaraguan Contras whom North once supported and drug dealers in South-Central Los Angeles, who allegedly helped fund the Contras with proceeds from the sale of crack cocaine?
     For the first time all day, North appeared momentarily flustered. Coy and cool from the moment he set foot on campus and embraced by virtually every adoring fan who extended a hand or hug, he suddenly sounded irked.
     Calling it "a frivolous, crazy question," North, 52, told the man: "I want to be very specific. I do not know, nor have I ever known, anyone who would tolerate drugs coming into this country. . . .
     "Where were these accusers in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 . . . when Congress conducted one of its longest inquisitions in history" into allegations that North masterminded a plan to finance the Contra rebels in Nicaragua by selling weapons to the Iranian government.
     "Where were they then?" he demanded. "Can you tell me that?"
     North's response was punctuated with more thunderous applause from the highly partisan crowd that packed one entire side of the Saddleback Gauchos basketball arena and included a who's who of Orange County's Republicans.
. . .
     North was convicted of aiding in the obstruction of Congress, accepting illegal gratuities and destroying documents. The courts overturned his convictions on appeal in 1990.
. . .
     Before his speech, North met briefly with the press, which wanted to know his reaction to the newspaper series that only last month dredged up the Iran-Contra scandal, although this time with a radically different twist.
     North said he had welcomed onto his radio show—"The fastest-growing talk show in the United States!"—Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), only to tell her she owed him an apology for "making ridiculous allegations" on the floor of the U.S. House.
     "I think the whole story is absolute garbage," North said of the allegations. "It's an effort to distract the American people from the Clinton administration's appalling record of dealing with drugs. It is typical of the most liberal elements of our political spectrum to find somebody else to blame for everything."
     An ex-Marine who rose to fame as a key player in the Iran-Contra arms deal, North was invited to Saddleback College by Assemblyman Bill Morrow (R-Oceanside), who introduced North and the subject of his speech, "Is the U.S. Constitution Still Relevant?"
. . .
     After being serenaded by a drill team that wore glittery American flags as tight-fitting vests, and getting to meet the great-great-grandson of Francis Scott Key, North took aim at the street curfews imposed on teenagers by some cities. Hitler, he said, was a big fan of such curfews….

There's a pattern: similar and disturbing

It's difficult to miss the new scandal that has hit USC. This time it involves a USC student health doctor who, despite serious all...