Los Angeles Times "Letters to the Times" 9/21/97
College's District Discord Heats Up
When is an anti-Semite not an anti-Semite?
When he is an innocent history teacher and school board member who has the audacity to open a public seminar concerning the assassination of one of our presidents. The hate campaign underway against South Orange County Community College District Board President Steven J. Frogue has nothing to do with JFK conspiracies.* The hate-mongers are intent on negating the choice of the voters and working to discredit Frogue and his reform projects at Irvine Valley and Saddleback colleges.
Frogue planned to present a course called "The Warren Report on the JFK Assassination" at Saddleback College and included four potential speakers with diverse theories on the subject, beside the Warren Report documents.
Never mind that the speakers are published, acknowledged experts in the field**—one of the four has been labeled anti-Semitic because of his theories tying an Israeli intelligence group to the assassination.
So Frogue's opponents scream his experts should not be permitted to speak at Saddleback College. They label Frogue and anyone calling for discussion of this subject on grounds of academic freedom or freedom of speech a bigot or anti-Semite.
Do freedom of speech and academic freedom exist only for those opinions we agree with?***
Did Oliver North get censored last year when he spoke at Saddleback or could he express his views of history? Did the Black Muslim representatives present all sides of the race issue or their point of view at Saddleback?
Now a recall movement has begun against Frogue over a course that was canceled and never once met. Are we in America or the old USSR. Or Nazi Germany?
Shame on the leaders of this campaign, who want to destroy an elected official and accomplish by defamation of character what could not be done in an election of 200,000 voters.
Electronic Technology Instructor
Irvine Valley College
[Note: Chandos is a faculty union officer. He was the chief scribbler for the old corrupt union's Old Guard.]
*At least two (I do believe more) of Frogue's invited speakers were affiliated with Willis Carto's Liberty Lobby, then widely acknowledged as the country's foremost anti-Semitic organization. One of Frogue's invitees was evidently a friend (Michael Collins Piper), who was then the chief "reporter" for Liberty Lobby. When Piper came to address the SOCCCD board, he was accompanied by dozens of racists and anti-semites, some of whom shouted, "There never was a Holocaust!" Frogue never dissociated himself with those people.
**As became clear in the media storm, none of the invited speakers could be thus described. They were in fact classic crackpots who promoted incompetent conspiracy theories.
***In the course of Frogue's defense of his "seminar," he defended Orange County "Institute for Historical Review," the country's foremost Holocaust denial organization. (At one of his press conferences, he held a copy of the IHR's journal high in the air.) Back in '95 and '96, Frogue praised the IHR and its journal. About a dozen former Frogue students wrote signed legal declarations attesting to Frogue's remarks and actions, including Holocaust denial. (Frogue was a high school teacher.)
Piper on John McCain's supposed "organized crime link"
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Goals and Values and Twaddle
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.—The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?
• Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013
• THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013
• IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013
• THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013
*From my Apple laptop's dictionary