1998: Ken Woodward defends Frogue and our corrupt union on KPFK
From the ‘Vine, 2/22/98
THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1998
by Chunk Wheeler [aka B von Traven, aka Roy Bauer]
A few weeks ago, L & A asked me if I would be willing to appear on a radio program on KPFK called “The Lawyers’ Guild” to discuss the Frogue recall and related issues. “Yup,” I said, though I added that I would rather not go it alone, for I am unaccustomed to speaking on the radio. Eventually (I learned), Jan Horn, a friend with a sterling reputation for integrity, signed on, and we were set. The show would air on a Thursday, the 19th of February, from 7 to 8 p.m.
A few days before the program, the host--Jim Lafferty--called me and asked if I would mind if he invited a spokesperson for the faculty union to join us on the show. I answered that I wouldn’t mind at all. A day or two later, he called to informed me that Ken Woodward, a Saddleback economics instructor, would speak for the union; he’d be given an opportunity to defend the organization against criticisms. “Great,” I said.
Lafferty asked me what I knew about Woodward. I said that he was bright, that he is on the union’s negotiating team, and that he seemed to me to be sniffing around for an administrative position. I added that he struck me as someone who had no great love of Frogue but who supported and defended the man for pragmatic reasons. I said that he appears to adopt a kind or realpolitik approach to union issues. Somewhat jokingly, I added that Mr. Woodward has an unseemly habit of referring to his “Ph.D. in economics,” and that Lafferty should expect several such references. Lafferty laughed.
Actually, I knew a bit more about Ken Woodward. I knew that, months ago, he eagerly distributed a tome in which he argued for an elimination of the district’s two-college structure in favor of a single college structure; that, as a member of the union’s negotiating team, he argued for a rule according to which anyone who joins the union and then resigns from it (during the contract period) would be fired; that, during a spring in-service address, he said that, in his view, faculty should be required to take a course on the contract (or some such thing); that, at one time, he seemed to covet the Saddleback Academic Senate presidency; and so on.
THE TENTATIVE CONTRACT:
On the day of the radio program, I learned one more thing, for a copy of the “Tentative Mutual Agreement” (the recent result of lengthy district/union negotiations) was floating around, and I read it. It seemed to me that it comprises some admirable elements--e.g., the “part-time medical benefits” (in which the district pays half the cost of medical benefits)--but also some very odd and unfortunate elements. For instance, it appears that Mr. Woodward and the three other union negotiators managed to secure a “doctoral stipend increase”; further, steps 26-30 for employees with doctoral degrees have been restored. Odd, isn’t it?
As you know, despite the relatively high average salary of our full-time faculty, starting salary in our district is low, which puts us at a disadvantage in attracting the best faculty. Our district does, however, have one advantage in attracting the best people, for, as things stand, a new instructor with, say, 11 years of full-time experience is given a starting salary at step 12 (i.e., she is paid as though she has been teaching in the district for 11 years). But the new contract eliminates this advantage:
8. NEW MAXIMUM YEARS OF SERVICE CREDITI may be mistaken, but the above paragraph appears to say that reassigned time stipends will now become available to faculty only as overload (unless the faculty are union officers). But some faculty (e.g., me) find that a full teaching load keeps them more than busy, and thus they are generally unwilling to do overload. Hence, if the above language is ratified, reassigned time--and thus some important shared governance roles--will be unavailable to those faculty. Ratification of this contract would mean an assault on the ideal according to which faculty can, as part of their jobs, participate in significant shared governance activities such as Academic Senate officer, Courses chair, Honors Program director, and so on.
The District and the SOCCCDFA mutually agree to changing the maximum years of service credit given to newly hired faculty from element to five.
Further, the new contract, if ratified, would eliminate “reassigned time” as it currently exists. That is, it does so for everyone except union officials:
The district agrees that all reassigned time (except for negotiated reassigned time for the dues-paying collective bargaining group...) can only be accepted by or given to academic employees as stipends. These stipends will be based on OSH pay rates and hourly wages calculated form [sic] OSH on top of faculty basic workload of 15 LHEs per semester of teaching, counseling, librarian, or non-teaching work. These stipend OSH rates will be in effect for both district funded and “soft” (grant) money funded stipends. To meet this load, all teachers will teach 15 LHEs per semester, all counselors will counsel 15 LHEs per semester (i.e., counsel 30 hours per week), and librarians do librarian work 15 LHEs per semester (i.e., do librarian work 30 hours per week). Librarians and counselors sometimes will have teaching combination responsibilities as well but all of these will be measured as 15 LHEs. Stipends will be taken to the Board at only two monthly meetings which are July and December except for stipends for pending grants. [My emphases.]
MR. WOODWARD’S REMARKABLE PERFORMANCE:
During the first half-hour, Lafferty asked more or less the right questions and Jan and I provided good answers, I think. We laid out our objections to Mr. Frogue, to the board majority, and to the undemocratic and unprincipled union leadership who back these people. We were civilized, professional.
Then Ken came on. He did little to defend the union; he did offer a sneering, bleating series of attacks on the union’s critics (especially me), while ignoring the host’s efforts to direct the discussion. Ken was wrong about much that he said, and he attacked us personally.
Here are his comments in their entirety:
Woodward: Oh, thanks a lot for inviting me.
Lafferty: Um...your faculty both backed Mr. Frogue and the other slate that make up the present majority of the board originally, and I guess still do and are opposed to the recall effort, uh...
Woodward: Well, the faculty union actually itself, as Roy Bauer well knows, has not taken a position on Mr. Frogue. The Faculty Association did back him in his original election. When I speak about, um, Mr. Frogue it will represent my own views; there’s no official position, um, on the recall. Uh, I think if you listen to what Mr. Bauer said, he contradicts himself; I mean Mr. Frogue, in consultation with the African-American president of Saddleback College, set up a seminar in an area that he’s interested in. I can’t say that I share it [his interest]...The seminar was supposed to be self-supporting; he invited three speakers--one who did say that the Mossad was responsible, as Mr. Bauer said, the other who said the Nazis were responsible, and the other who said they were both crazy. So, uh, you know, if you think about it, I don’t know how that, you know, represents anti-Semitism of any kind.
Lafferty: Well, here’s what the LA Times said about it; I want to invite you to comment. They said, “What could SOCCCD trustees have been thinking of? They voted to allow a seminar that injects anti-Semitic overtones into a conspiracy theory...[Woodward interrupts]
Woodward: Well, also anti-Nazi overtones...[Lafferty struggles to finish his question]
Lafferty: All right. They say Frogue is a high school...[Woodward interrupts]
Woodward: And also, it’s, you know, I would say that the Mossad is, you know, I don’t know, the Economist magazine [Again, Lafferty struggles to finish his question. Jan or I also attempt to enter the fray.]
Lafferty: Let me ask my other guests to hold off; Mr....Woodward [Woodward: “Yeah, they’ve had a long time...”] That’s right; we’re gonna talk for a bit. That same LA Times article still says students and parents have objected to some of his classroom statements over the years , they [Woodward interrupts; he talks over Lafferty, who seems somewhat exasperated] say no educator should be spewing such vile nonsense...
Lafferty: All right, the LA Times says, “voters should remember Frogue’s opinions at election time.” So I gather, because you don’t believe these charges, you’re prepared to still support him?
Woodward: I’m certainly prepared to say that it doesn’t justify a $700,000 expenditure of public money to recall him in the middle of a term. They have not proved, you know, anything. Uh, Mr...at first...you know, I don’t know where to start with their distortions, the, the, the--if the faculty union controls Frogue, why do we have a 0% raise? What they said about reassigned time being eliminated is completely false; you know, almost everything they say is just a complete distortion. [Lafferty tries to comment, but is unsuccessful.] The main thing is, the board of trustees now is very committed to insuring that the students of our district have more classes; and to do it, they did cut some administrative overhead; they’ve not fired anyone; they’ve not demoted anyone; they’ve reassigned some people back to the classroom teaching; that’s what we were hired to do; you know. Professors Horn and Bauer apparently don’t like teaching, but, you know, there are lots of us who do, who are proud to do it, and, you know, they claim we’re in a fiscal crisis and they’re upset that, basically, the trustees are trying to save some money and get professors back teaching, which is what they’re supposed to do. [Lafferty again tries to break in.] And second of all, look, I have a Ph.D. in economics; Mr. Bauer has an MA in philosophy; I do feel competent to speak on the district’s financial position. Let me say the district is financially healthy, largely due to...some of the efficiencies that the board of trustees have put in in terms of really keeping their eye on the ball and focusing resources on the classroom rather than administration. [Bauer tries to break in, unsuccessfully.] I will, uh, Mr. Bauer, I will bet right now that this district finishes in much better shape than the average community college district at the end of this fiscal year, with a reserve of well over 4%. You know, I’m willing to put my money on the line, you know, and, and, and say these things with proof; Mr. Bauer just makes allegations about things that he knows nothing about. [I again try to enter the discussion.]
Lafferty: All right, well, Professor Bauer, hold on; you’re gonna get your chance...[Bauer: “I sure hope so.”] Oh, sure. Professor Woodward...the other day I had a chance to speak with Sharon MacMillan, vice president of the union, and she made the claim that there’s only a small handful of disgruntled faculty members and members of the community who are pushing for this recall. [Woodward interrupts: “I agree with that; could I demonstrate...”] I wonder what your response might be to...the 70% plus vote of the faculty...[Woodward interrupts]
Woodward: First of all, that’s a complete fabrication; the so-called 70% plus vote was in the Irvine Valley Academic Senate; there are over a thousand faculty members in the district; you know, one hundred have signed petitions; that’s less than 10%; you know, it’s a complete fabri--it’s a distortion of statistics. [Lafferty: “There are a thousand....?”] This is only at Irvine Valley College. [Lafferty: “There are a thousand faculty at both...between Irvine and Saddleback alone?”] [Bauer: “What he’s doing is he’s counting...”] [Lafferty: No No, hold on.] I’m counting part-timers and full-timers, just like you, Roy. [Lafferty: All right. That’s fair enough....”] Just like you, Roy. Those 100 are part-timers and full-timers. You count them all, you’ve got 100.
Lafferty: You’ve got about a hundred. And uh, but you say there’s about a thousand if you count them all [Woodward: “Yes”] between the two colleges. [Woodward: “That’s right.”] Yeah, and these surveys that have been taken that show a great majority not supporting the board anymore? That’s...
Woodward: I don’t know what surveys you’re talking about!
Lafferty: All right. One of the other charges that you probably heard if you were able to listen a little earlier was the charge that the union is acting in an undemocratic way with respect to at least Professor Bauer. [Woodward: “that is complete nonsense.”] Your comment to that?
Woodward: Yes, I wanted to comment on that. Uh, Mr. Bauer, after the election, suddenly decided that he was interested in the union. He joined the union; the first meeting he came to the union, he said he hated unions. [Bauer: “I never said that.”] Yes you did say that, and I have witnesses...You didn’t believe in unions philosophically. Uh, his, you know, he said over and over again he thinks we’re overpaid [Bauer: “I have never said that.”] You know, and he thinks--he said we should follow the bylaws. He’s been able to come to every meeting; we haven’t had any votes; no one’s tried to keep him from attending any meetings. [Bauer: “That’s false.”] He’s the one who wants to follow the bylaws; according to the bylaws, you know, someone who joins has to wait six months before they can participate. He well knows in April, there will be across-the-board elections, and if he wins he will be seated; but you can’t just join the union and expect to, you know, uh, immediately take over.
Lafferty: Has that been the bylaws right from the beginning?
Woodward: Yes it has.
Jan Horn: Then how is it that people....
Lafferty: Hold on, hold on, hold on....
Woodward: We have published over and over--I can fax you this; that we have made...have been willing to make the bylaws available to anyone who wants them. My name--I’ve volunteered to give them to anyone who personally wants them. We’re revising the bylaws now; they’ll be up for a vote next week, you know; uh, but the old bylaws were available; you know, in the union newsletter, I personally guaranteed delivery of them. This is another complete fabrication.
Lafferty: Let me go back to the financial piece of [the controversy] just for a moment. Is it not true that the oversight body from the state has put this community college district in the number 2 status, which is to say that they’re in danger of slipping into insolvency? I’m not saying if they’re right, but isn’t it true that they [Woodward: “yes, that is true.”] That is true.
Woodward: But they are not right; they’re gonna--it’ll be off by the end of the year.
Lafferty: I understand, I understand; you don’t agree with them, but that is the...
Woodward: “Oh, absolutely. I have a Ph.D. in economics.” [L: “Well--”] I have looked over this very very carefully.
Lafferty: Right, but they think you’re wrong.
Woodward: No, they don’t. Actually, the, uh...the...from my indications, the state realizes that they made this determination before several large--you know, Saddleback was the victim of the Orange County bankruptcy; uh, both money we lost in the pool and falling property tax, uh, revenue. [Uh-huh.] And, uh, this year, we, uh, you know, at the end of last year, when all that money was being lost, uh, we had a little bit lower reserve than normally is required. Since then, we’ve restored that reserve. We’re much higher than the state average. I have in front of me the Vice Chancellor, Fiscal Affairs’ report to the state, February 11th, which is just, uh, glowing, you know--I mean, tremendous. He calls it a very positive report, you know. A lot of the revenues that we lost are now being restored. And, you know, Bauer wants to have it both ways. You know, we had some bad luck because of the Orange County bankruptcy and falling property values, the trustees try to get people teaching again, and then he criti--you know--he criticizes them for being fiscally responsible. It’s absolutely incredible!
Lafferty: I want to give you a chance...to comment on this so-called Sorenson report that was mentioned before. Apparently the board spent a lot of money on consultants who told the trustees what they thought; and then there’s the claim that, because they suggested that the trustees were part of the problem, that the report was suppressed. Your comment on that?
Woodward: You know, I’m not really too familiar with the Sorenson report. But can I make one comment about shared governance in general? [Sure.] The Chronical of Higher Education, probably you know, is the leading publication on colleges and universities; their front-page story, uh, last week was on the collapse of shared governance throughout the country, so...you know, it’s something I’m very interested in. Boy, I could go into the details. Let me... [Lafferty: “You favor shared governance, do you?”] You had professors Horn and Bauer talk for half an hour; they never once mentioned any students, did they? You know, they never mentioned once classrooms, getting more classes taught, etc., etc. You know I think they [students] should be part of the shared governance equation too. [L: “Yes, you, you...”] And one thing that I do think is very positive about the trustees is shared governance, you know, is countervailing power between a lot of groups--including the senates, including the unions, including the community at large, which would like to see, you know, classes taught.
Lafferty: Is it fair to say that you support shared governance, but you...
Woodward: Oh, absolutely.
Lafferty: But you think these trustees also share it?
Woodward: Yes, I believe they do.
Lafferty: You just differ with...
Woodward: I believe, see, Bauer’s concept of shared governance is to have the Irvine Valley Academic Senate make shared governance-- you know, where everyone is married to each oth--I mean, Irvine Valley is a little closed community. Saddleback is a much bigger college, much more diverse college in many ways. Shared governance is shared governance between the senates, between students, between classified staff, between the community at large. Shared governance is not just what the Irvine Valley College Academic senate decides. [L: “Uh-hmm. Let’s...”] It’s, you know, countervailing power. I wish Ray Bauer, Roy Bauer--who loves to quote George Will, by the way; he’s quoted that in the latest issue of the ‘Vine. Another--In fact, George Will makes a mistake; he says that, why you should support proposition 126 and take unions out of politics; George Will says, well, uh, you know, there’s a big difference between unions and shareholders; you know, “shareholders don’t have to own stock in a corporation. You have to belong to a union.” It’s not true. Roy Bauer has never belonged to the union until, you know, suddenly, he became interested when he lost, you know, some of his administrative duties. Although he has not been demoted and he’s not been reduced in salary. No one has. This board is very very compassionate.
Lafferty: Last comment...
Woodward: --In fact, another thing, you know, he says--how these administrators resigned? The president of his college went back to his home town to be president of Fresno City College. The president of our--everyone’s moving to better jobs; that’s how great this district is! The president of our college went back to his home town to start a new community college. You know [Lafferty struggles to gain control again.] The few people who are leaving are taking better jobs--nothing wrong with that. [L: “Uh-huh. All right.”] It’s a complete distortion--”everyone’s resigning.” They’re resigning to take better jobs! My God!
Lafferty: All right. But, so, why do you think there’s so much adverse publicity with respect to these trustees and the district college, everywhere from the LA Times editorials to the George Wills in the world?
Woodward: OK, could I ask you and your listening audience to do a little experiment? Go to the LA Times webpage. Type in “Saddleback College, South Orange County Community College District.” You can pull them all [all the articles] up. Read all the articles, and you will find Mr. Roy Bauer quoted over and over and over again. There are about four or five faculty members --I could name them all--that are quoted over and over and over again. There are a thousand faculty members in the district; you have Bauer in every article. He’s not representative of the faculty at all. He’s got some pipeline to the LA Times. I wish I knew what it was, and I commend Pacifica and KPFK for, you know, inviting the other side to speak. But, you know, it’s a very small group of people who are disgruntled about having, you know, to teach again. [L: “All right.”] All that your listeners have to do is look at the articles; it’s the same old people over and over again, four or five of them.
Lafferty: All right, well, Mr. Woodward, I want to thank you, Ken Woodward, for joining us on the Lawyers’ Guild show...
Woodward: Well, thank you, any time.
Lafferty: Mr. Woodward is a professor of economics at Saddleback College and is a [tape runs out.]
JAN AND ROY RESPOND:
After a short break, Jan and I had an opportunity to respond to Mr. Woodward’s comments. [My tape lacks only the first few seconds.]
Bauer: ...Yes, I do have some responses. With respect to the failure of shared governance: well, we’ve had shared governance in our district for many, many years, and it operated beautifully. The reason why shared governance doesn’t work in many districts, and certainly the reason why it doesn’t work in our district, is because the board of trustees does not share it. Right now, the faculty is cut out of almost every important decision [L: “Uh-hmmm”], and I can go through a list, and Jan could, too...
Horn: Roy, the administrators have been cut out, also.
Bauer: Every element...
Horn: [Just] several people making all the decisions. The administrators have no say-so, and that’s why they’re leaving themselves.
Bauer: Recently, uh, the, uh, president of IVC was selected, and the board of trustees, led by Frogue, threw away policies--shared governance policies--that we used to select and hire a new president, and arranged a new policy which took away all the power--from the faculty, from staff, from classified--from all other elements--and essentially gave the entire decision of selecting the president to the board. [L: “Uh-hmmm.”] This is the sort of thing that they’ve been doing in every respect for months, which is why there are surveys--I mean, I’ve never encountered this particular form of argumentation that Mr. Woodward seems to have perfected: argumentum ad sneerum. All he basically did was sneer and assert that what we said is false. But the facts are what they are. Let’s go back to what he said about this “fabrication”--that 70-plus percent of the faculty voted “no confidence.” It’s not a fabrication; it was a vote of no confidence of the full-time faculty, which the senate represents, of IVC. It wasn’t the senators; it was the entire faculty. Now, that’s a very very substantial, um, result, when you have over 70% of the faculty voting no confidence in the board. And I don’t know what he means by fabrication. This is a kind of--we’re dealing with a person who argues by simply saying a fact is not a fact [and] I don’t know quite what to say. Concerning the fact that we had 109 signatures when in fact there are a thousand employees--we on purpose did not ask for signatures from any part-timers for a very simple reason: part-timers are much more vulnerable than full-timers. We did not ask for their signatures. We asked full-time, tenured faculty for signatures, and there are only 300 of those.
Lafferty: There are about 300 altogether?
Bauer: Yes, and we asked for these signatures at the last week of the semester before Christmas; and we had only about a week to get the signatures; then everyone went off to holiday. So we did it very quickly, and we would have received many more signatures if we had had more time.
Lafferty: Let’s try if we can to elaborate or clear up a little bit this business of--I don’t know if we’ll get to the...
Horn: I would like the opportunity to say something. [L: “Oh, sure, go ahead.”] I love to teach. I like nothing better; there is nothing more satisfying than going into my classroom and working with the students, and I feel confident that my students would tell you that I project my love of teaching to them. However, it is my responsibility under AB1725 to take on other duties that have been given us by the state. And I expect that my college is going to provide the opportunity for me to do those. [L: “Well let’s...”] Also, I agree with Roy: all Ken did--all Mr. Woodward did--was deny things that are absolute facts. He says that there’s not enough evidence to say that Frogue is a racist or a Holocaust denier; I have attended three board meetings that were also attended by very vocal white supremacist groups who came up to the podium screaming obscenities at Jews in the audience. Mr. Frogue never once said “these people do not represent me” or “these people are not my supporters or my friends.” He was silent at every single meeting--silent and grinning, I might add.
Bauer: Back in 1995, um, in an interview with the college newspaper, he praised the Institute for Historical Review. That’s the foremost Holocaust denial organization in the world. He praised that organization, all right? I don’t know what Woodward has in mind when he thinks there’s no evidence. Furthermore, he [Frogue] visited Michael Collins Piper [one of Frogue’s proposed guest speakers] about a year ago. Michael Collins Piper is most famous for working for the Spotlight, which is the newspaper of an anti-Semitic, bigoted, racist organization [i.e., Liberty Lobby]. That’s what he [Frogue] did; that’s the kind of person he is. He is quoted as saying that the Holocaust--I can give you the exact quote: “There are too many questions about the Holocaust for it to be judged a certainty in all aspects.” He said that to a reporter in 1996. Uh, it isn’t five students; he gets this number 5 because, back in ‘95, when the Orange County Register wrote an article, they quoted five students, but the fact is there are many more than five students, and there are ten from which we have affidavits....
Lafferty: All right, let me interrupt you, because we don’t have a lot of time left, and I think it is important to spend a few minutes talking about the recall effort itself, and maybe that will enlighten us as to how the forces break down here. Who’s backing the recall effort?
Horn: Um, the community at large, the Jewish community, the gay and lesbian community; our chairperson is a retired Church of Christ minister. Um, we have on the steering committee--we have community members, we have former students of Steven Frogue, we have faculty members, we have classified members, and we have members from the Jewish community, and so it’s very widespread. We are in the process of collecting the 38,500 signatures that we need; it’s an extremely difficult, time-consuming effort. We were told from the get-go that a recall is the most difficult of political campaigns to win, and we’re making a valiant effort; we need volunteers to help us carry those petitions; we need volunteers to staff our office, and we need funds.
Lafferty: By the way, in that regard, what is the phone number for the recall effort...?
Horn: The recall office number is 582-2923....
SOME OF WOODY’S BONERS:
--In fact, since the election, union officials have defended Frogue--e.g., in numerous FA newsletters and at meetings.
* “Supposedly...Mr. Bauer has found five students who allege that somehow [Frogue] denied the Holocaust...you find five disgruntled students from over ten years ago who weren’t happy with their grades.”
--In fact, (1) many more than five former students of Frogue’s have stated that he has made racially insensitive and other objectionable remarks (including Holocaust denial) in his classroom. (2) I believe that we now possess about ten signed affidavits to that effect, from students over a period of many years. (3) No one “found” the students; these students came to us after the JFK Forum controversy. (4) Some of the students received A’s in Frogue’s course. * “...the ‘Vine [is] one of the most vitriolic, hateful publications, you know; [it’s] racist; [it] shows the African-American, uh, president of our union, you know, the, uh, president of his college--that’s a person of color--with their heads decapitated and put on animal bodies. It’s just absolutely outrageous that he makes these charges of racism.”
--In fact, (1) the ‘Vine is an equal-opportunity decapitator; its first “decapitation” involved Mr. Frogue (see above), who is not a person of color, near as I can tell. Since then, other Caucasian persons have been similarly caricatured in the ‘Vine (e.g., Ms. Fortune and Ms. Lorch).
(2) Would you call my nasty little graphics “decapitations”? It seems to me that I positioned Mr. Frogue’s head upon the ape’s body with sufficient skill that talk of “decapitation” is entirely unwarranted! (3) Incidentally, I have always placed Ms. Miller-White’s head on an attractive body, sans polyester. I think she should send me a thank-you note!
* “What they said about reassigned time being eliminated is completely false.”
--Well, take a look at the contract language (see page 2) and judge for yourself. At any rate, what we said was not “completely” false.
* “[The board] did cut some administrative overhead; [but] they’ve not fired anyone.”
--In fact, just last week, the board acted not to renew the contracts of two administrators (Burgess and Kremer). Mr. Kremer, I’m told, does not have “retreat rights.” In what sense, then, was he “not fired”?
* “...the trustees are trying to save some money and get professors back teaching, which is what they’re supposed to do.”
--In fact, the law mandates that faculty be involved in shared governance (e.g., in developing and approving curricula); in some cases, obviously, this entails providing reassigned time. The union refuses to accept that, among the things we’re “supposed to do” are tasks for which reassigned time is often necessary.
* “...the so-called 70% plus vote[of no confidence] was in the Irvine Valley Academic Senate.”
--In fact, (1) the vote was for full-time IVC faculty, not just senators, and the vote turn-out was very high. (2) No one has claimed that the IVC vote of no confidence involved both campuses. Why would they?
* “I’m counting part-timers and full-timers, just like you, Roy...Those 100 [who signed the December, 1996 letter of concern to CTA] are part-timers and full-timers. You count them all, you’ve got 100.”
--In fact, each of the 109 (not 100) faculty who signed the December ‘96 letter was a full-timer. We felt that it would be inappropriate to ask part-timers to sign, given their relative vulnerability. Further, for the same reason, we discouraged non-tenured full-timers from signing, though a handful of them insisted on signing anyway. Finally, because of the approaching holidays, we had only a week or two to collect signatures from among the 300 or so tenured faculty in the district. The suggestion, then, that we only got 100 signatories out of a possible 1000 is a wild distortion of the facts.
* “I don’t know what surveys you’re talking about!”
--Perhaps Ken really doesn’t know, for the surveys to which I referred were conducted at IVC. One was a “staff development” survey; the other was the “accreditation” survey. One who reads the survey results will not doubt that many faculty, administrators, and staff at IVC are very unhappy with the board and with its yes-man, Raghu Mathur. I’d be happy to provide copies to anyone who wants them.
* Lafferty: “One of the other charges that you probably heard if you were able to listen a little earlier was the charge that the union is acting in an undemocratic way with respect to at least Professor Bauer.” Woodward: “that is complete nonsense”...We have published over and over...that we have...been willing to make the bylaws available to anyone who wants them...This is another complete fabrication.”
--In fact, (1) for a period of several months starting in October of ‘96, many union members unsuccessfully demanded a copy of the bylaws from the president. During meetings, Sherry would tell them that the bylaws were being “cleaned up.” Eventually, a special meeting was set up in which the bylaws would be unveiled, but Sherry Miller-White did not show, for, she said, the “clean up” process was not yet completed. An embarrassed Diane Fernandes-Lisi (of CTA/CCA) promised the outraged crowd that she would herself attempt to secure and distribute copies of the bylaws. After a while, the bylaws finally surfaced, though, by then, Lisi was persona non grata. (2) When new members took the “cleaned up” bylaws to union meetings and asked concerning the ratification of its most peculiar and disturbing elements, they were told that “our union is an informal group.” Translation: there are no minutes and so the pedigree of bylaws cannot be verified. (Months later, after an investigation, the CTA advised union leadership to start taking regular minutes and start recording the ratification of bylaws!) (3) Many union members, having repeatedly requested information and documents (e.g., a copy of the bylaws, minutes, financial reports) from the president, have received no response whatsoever. This claim can be documented, for there are paper trails. (4) Early in 1997, Steve R and I were unanimously elected as division reps at IVC (though we weren’t sure the elections counted, since we had no bylaws to determine how elections should be conducted). When we informed Ms. Miller-White of our elections, she at first seemed to accept our status as division reps and, therefore, as members of the Rep. Council. But during a union meeting in April of 1997, Miller-White suddenly declared that, owing to her new-found fidelity to the bylaws, Steve and I would not be recognized as division reps, for union elections, she said, “are in August.” (In fact, the “cleaned up” bylaws say that elections are to occur, not in August, but in April.) Later, in August, I raised the issue again and was told that the elections would be in April. (5) As many can testify, on several occasions, I (and some other relatively new members) have arrived at union meetings only to be told after a few minutes to leave the room for the “closed session” that then occupies the rest of the union meeting. (Note: union meetings are never held at IVC.) (6) During December of 1996, Ron A. discovered that the Faculty Association had never actually submitted chartering documents! Ron hurriedly submitted his own application, as did anxious union officers who had somehow been alerted to the situation. Later, the CTA declared that Ron’s application, though received first, was rejected; the application sent by our union’s incompetent officers, however, was accepted. (7) During at least two recent union meetings, I raised the issue of whether the Rep Council had a quorum, which, clearly, owing to the meager turn-out, it did not. On the first occasion, my query was simply ignored (and Sherry Miller-White actually called security!). On the second occasion, to Sherry’s horror, members determined that no quorum had been attained--but, somehow, the meeting proceeded and actions were taken anyway. (I was sent out of the room, once again. Without pie.) In the course of deliberations concerning the quorum, it became clear that no one in the room knew quite what constituted the full complement of Rep Council members! As members began to read the bylaws, they realized, for instance, that one division had too many reps!
* “Mr. Bauer, after the election, suddenly decided that he was interested in the union. He joined the union...He said we should follow the bylaws...He’s the one who wants to follow the bylaws; according to the bylaws, you know, someone who joins has to wait six months before they can participate. He well knows in April, there will be across-the-board elections, and if he wins he will be seated; but you can’t just join the union and expect to, you know, uh, immediately take over.”
--In fact, when, after the ‘96 election, I and other faculty complained about the union’s conduct, union officials encouraged us to join the union. “You have no right to complain,” they said, “unless you’re a member.” They implied that, if we were to join, our concerns would then be heard. But as soon as we became members, we were accused of trying to “take over” the union. As things stand, there is only one person in the union’s all-important Rep Council who represents any IVC faculty (viz., Ray Chandos). At one point, we were promised that some accommodation would be made, but that promise has evidently been forgotten. All of our efforts in the past year to gain some representation for IVC faculty have been thwarted by Sherry Miller-White and other union officers.
* “...you know, Saddleback was the victim of the Orange County bankruptcy.”
--In fact, each community college district in Orange County was a victim of the OC bankruptcy; and yet only our district has been placed on Priority 2 alert!
* “Bauer’s concept of shared governance is to have the Irvine Valley Academic Senate make shared governance.”
--In fact, critics of the board have consistently maintained that they seek only to be consulted as part of the governance process, as mandated by law. There exists a middle ground between Academic Senate-only governance and Board of Trustees-only governance; it’s called “shared governance.” That’s what we want.
* “Roy Bauer has never belonged to the union until, you know, suddenly, he became interested when he lost, you know, some of his administrative duties.”
--In fact, I joined the union early in the spring semester, 1997--a year ago. I lost my reassigned time (as chair of Humanities and Languages) during the subsequent July 16 “reorganization” meeting.
* “...everyone’s moving [out of the district] to better jobs; that’s how great this district is!”
--This remark is, of course, incoherent. That people are leaving for better jobs elsewhere suggests, not that our district is “great,” but, rather, that other districts are more attractive than ours. What’s Ken been smokin’?
* “Go to the LA Times webpage. Type in “Saddleback College, South Orange County Community College District”...Read all the articles, and you will find Mr. Roy Bauer quoted over and over and over again...There are a thousand faculty members in the district; you have Bauer in every article.”
--Just do as Ken asks. You will find that he is quite mistaken.
This appeared in Dissent 1, 3/2/98 under the title
THE LAWYERS’ GUILD RADIO PROGRAM, PART II
by Chunk Wheeler [aka B von Traven, Roy Bauer]
Some union members have expressed an interest in reading transcripts of the portion of last week’s “Lawyers’ Guild” show on KPFK that didn’t make it into the February 22 issue of the ‘Vine. What follows is from the first half of the program.
[Jan Horn and Roy Bauer appeared to represent the critics of the group who then controlled the Faculty Association (union). Ken Woodward appeared to defend the Old Guard, including its “candidate,” Steve Frogue:]
JIM LAFFERTY: Well, professors Horn and Bauer, welcome to the Lawyers’ Guild show!
JAN HORN: Thank you.
LAFFERTY: Janice Horn, let me start with you, and let me ask you, if you will, to briefly outline for us all of the main or key issues involved in this battle royal--that is, give an overview of what this fight’s really all about.
HORN: From the standpoint of the community, the biggest issue is the bigotry of Steven Frogue. The community has mobilized, and not just the Jewish community, but very very widespread support in the community, has mobilized because of the seminar that Frogue intended to hold at the college; also because Frogue in his...job is a teacher at a local high school in Tustin, and students for years have been complaining about anti-Semitic, anti-minority remarks that he has made in class--his Holocaust denial, his refusal to teach the Holocaust in classes. Those students have been coming out of the woodwork and have read sworn affidavits at board meetings alleging that Frogue made anti-Semitic remarks and has alleged that the Holocaust is at least highly exaggerated. So the community has mobilized for that reason, and they want to get rid of the bigotry, get rid of the embarrassment, that this has caused the college even nation-wide. We have had columnist George Will talk about Frogue and the seminar in his column in Newsweek; we’ve had Mark Shields call us the “political outrage of the week.” So it’s the embarrassment that the community is responding to. The members of the community, and especially the college faculty, staff, and administration, [are] concerned about the abuse of power that Steven Frogue and this board majority [have] perpetrated. The college is part of a system of shared governance--or should be--and that is a state-mandated dictate that says that community colleges should be governed like universities, not like K-12.
LAFFERTY: Professor Horn, let me stop you right there, because that [i.e., shared governance] is an issue that I want to make sure we get into in some depth a little later. But before you go any further, I think we may want to bring Professor Roy Bauer into it to see if we can’t clear up some of the confusion, and the controversy, surrounding Frogue’s efforts to create this class or seminar at the college to be taught by a fellow who believes Lee Harvey Oswald, as I say, was hired by the Jewish ADL and that the Holocaust never happened.
Professor Bauer, before we do go on, what can you tell us about that controversy, and what role does it play in this entire story? Is it, as Professor Horn has suggested, kind of the main point?
BAUER: Well, I think it’s related to the main point. I think it points to the fundamental intellectual and moral incompetence of people like Mr. Frogue and other members of the board majority on the board of trustees who are supported by the union. Let me clarify some things with respect to the forum. The forum was, of course, associated with our community education program at Saddleback College...It was a course about the JFK assassination and perceived inadequacies in the Warren Report--that’s what it was about--and the issue became an important one in August or September--I forget when--at a board meeting when Mr. Frogue, or someone on behalf of Mr. Frogue, requested some funds to fly in some guest speakers. And among these guest speakers were four people: Michael Collins Piper, Sherman Skolnik, Dave Emory, and there was one other person whose name escapes me right now. The big problem with these people is that they are crackpots...They are not well-regarded in the academic community with respect to research and interest in what happened with the JFK assassination; they are way out on the fringe. Their standing in discussion over the JFK assassination is very similar to the standing of the Flat Earth Society among geologists. And so this, I think, is the fundamental problem with them. Michael Collins Piper works for the Spotlight, which is the newspaper of Liberty Lobby...a notoriously anti-Semitic and racist organization. Spotlight is in fact the foremost anti-Semitic newspaper in the country...Piper seems to think that the Israeli Mossad killed Kennedy, which is, frankly, a lunatic notion. And Sherman Skolnik is another of the speakers. Skolnik has had articles printed in the Spotlight, and his views are not well regarded in the academic community. Dave Emory is another of the speakers. Emory actually thinks that some renegade Nazis left over after world War II survived and apparently had an interest in killing our president in 1963. Again, a lunatic view. And the fundamental problem, it seems to me,...is that these are views that are...incompetent and do not reflect any kind of high standards that one might associate with a college or a college district.
LAFFERTY: You’re saying it’s own thing for someone to have, and to express, what you characterize as “lunatic”...views; it’s another thing for a college district to pay good money to have somebody fly across country to espouse them on their campus.
BAUER: Yes, exactly. I mean, obviously, these people have every right to express their view and Mr. Frogue himself has a right to express his incompetent views, and that’s fine with me, and I would never get in the way of his doing that. But the problem is that, when you are in charge of a college district, you have to maintain the fundamental values of higher education, and that means methodological values of historical research and that sort of thing. And when we have people who have such a powerful role in the district who apparently don’t know the difference between real historical research and crackpot research, this is a very worrisome situation.
LAFFERTY: I should mention, by the way, in the interests of fairness, that Steven Frogue himself has subsequently denied that he is anti-Semitic and he has denied even ever saying that the Holocaust did not happen. In fact, he claims that he believes that the Holocaust did indeed happen and that it was one of the great tragedies of history....
LAFFERTY: Professor Horn, back to you. You’d started to tell us about the issue of shared governance. Explain again what that is, and why you think these trustees governing Irvine Valley and Saddleback are threatening to undermine it.
HORN: Shared governance involves the representation of all the college constituents in the administration and decision-making of the college. Among those groups are the Faculty Senate, which...represents the faculty; the classified employees also have a senate which expresses their voice;...our union...is our negotiating body; the student body represents another voice; the administration represents yet another voice. And the state has given a list of chores, if you will, that community colleges need to complete, whether its hiring practices, development of curriculum, [or] staff development, and to each of those they assigned one of the bodies as having the main role in taking care of that particular responsibility.
LAFFERTY: So this is really a matter of law, if you will?
HORN: Yes, it’s a matter of law...It was Senate Bill AB1725.
LAFFERTY: Now, in what way do you claim that either Trustee Frogue or the others that make up the majority on the district...board are violating this law?
HORN: A couple of areas. The first one deals with the contentious issue called “reassigned time.” That is, faculty are paid to teach a certain “load,” usually equivalent to 15 teaching hours plus their office hours. When the state mandated that faculty be responsible for many other duties, we began to get reassigned time. That is, rather than teaching a typical 15 units, a faculty member may have taught 12 units and then done one of the jobs that was assigned to them. I for example spent four years as the chair of the curriculum committee; my job was to oversee the development and review of all the curriculum at the college; that’s one of the responsibilities given directly to the faculty senate by the state.
LAFFERTY: But that’s been changed now...
HORN: That’s been changed because this board has decided that faculty reassigned time was for people who didn’t want to teach, who wanted to do nothing, who were an embarrassment to the district; they have become vicious in their attacks and so they have taken away that reassigned time in almost all of the areas. Interestingly, the faculty association leaders have not had their reassigned time reduced in any way at all, while the rest of the members of the college constituency have lost [their reassigned time] or have had dramatic reductions. So we can’t do our jobs.
BAUER: In fact, Jan, I don’t know if you know this, but the contract that was finally settled on in negotiations between the faculty union and the district--...among the things they got in this new contract is that all reassigned time is now gone. [According to the contract, “reassigned time” can now only take the form of a stipend--granted only beyond a full 15-hour teaching load. The stipend is unavailable to faculty who choose not to do overload.]
HORN: Yes, I heard that last night.
BAUER: --With the exception of the union.
HORN: [Yes,] with the exception of union leaders.
LAFFERTY: Union officers themselves, under the contract they negotiated, still get reassigned time, but the rest of you don’t.
LAFFERTY: Professor Horn, let’s talk a bit about the claim of those leading this effort to recall Frogue in particular, and I guess oppose the other three trustees who make up that four-person majority as well, that they are somehow responsible for the college district now being, which it apparently is, on the brink of insolvency, and of being taken over by the state. I know there is some controversy about this, but just how bad is the district’s financial situation? And is it in danger of being taken over by the state? And why do you and the others hold Frogue and his colleagues responsible?
HORN: I’m going to let Roy answer that, except to say that the district currently is spending an excess of $50,000 a month in legal fees because of all of the suits that have been filed against them as the result of the kinds of things that they have done in their tenure--[for instance,] they violated the Brown Act [and] they had to defend themselves. So that’s one issue that needs to be considered, but I’m gonna let Roy answer...
BAUER: I’m not sure I have the expertise to do a much better job, but I think that, when you consider the...relatively high pay that we have in the district--we’re ranked number one...
LAFFERTY: --Well, in fact, if I understand it--correct me if I’m wrong--...in these two community colleges, on average, faculty are paid $11,000 more than the second highest ranking community college district in the state? Is that right? [Lafferty was quoting from information that appeared in a CTA (CCA) newsletter.]
BAUER: Yeah, we’re way out of line with all the other community colleges. Now, none of us is against getting good salaries, and frankly I think everyone should be making this kind of salary, but--so that’s not really the problem. But we have to face fiscal realities, and we’ve had some problems largely because of the incompetence of people like Frogue and Williams and other board majority members, and...
LAFFERTY: --These big legal fees would be one of them, for example?
BAUER: Yeah, I mean, someone figured out--one of the board members the other night figured out--that we’re spending money on legal fees, defending against the mistakes and the stupid errors of the board, at a rate of $600,000 a year, and that will continue, it looks like. Now, again, I’m sure that Jan has nothing against high salaries, and I know I don’t, but the fact of the matter is that the union pushes for salaries single-mindedly and cares about nothing else. And so they’ve established this quid pro quo relationship with Frogue, Williams, and other members of the board majority. And there is no ideological relationship, nothing tying these people ideologically together. The union, of course, tends to be leftist and interested in things that the board majority is not interested [in]. They [the board majority] sound like moderate to conservative Republicans--endlessly yammering about efficiency and downsizing and waste and cutting costs, and so on, and having obvious continual suspicion of academics, as if they’re up to something behind closed doors.
LAFFERTY: So are you suggesting that the reason that the union backs Frogue and the others who make up the majority of the trustees is because they’ve agreed to these high salaries?
BAUER: Yes. That’s it.
HORN: And, in fact, our budget directors have indicated that, currently, the college district spends in excess of 90% of its budget on salaries, and that is a dangerous situation in itself. Any finance manager would indicate that that’s way, way too high.
LAFFERTY: You know, Professor Horn, in preparing for the show, I talked with some defenders of the trustees who argue--in fact I saw a letter to the editor to this effect in the LA Times at one point--who argue that, well, you know, enrollments at the colleges are up, we’ve made a lot of capital improvements, the colleges are doing well in national forensic contests and so forth; in short, everything is fine at the college. It’s just a few disgruntled faculty like you who are making a lot of noise. What’s your response to those claims, and in this regard maybe you want to tell us about the “Sorenson report.”
HORN: Jim, I have been at the college for 18 years...I have loved it, I have considered it a privilege to teach in what I thought was the jewel of the community college system, as did many other community colleges and universities. Every year, the UC system sends out a report which indicates that our students who transfer in as juniors do better in terms of attrition rate and grade point average than their home-grown students; so we are the jewel of the community college system. However, winning forensic awards, high enrollments--all of those things are the result of 18 years of dedicated faculty, extraordinary administrators, and cooperation between those two groups. So, right now, this board is reaping the benefits of all the years we’ve put into this institution. In another two years, when our accreditation ratings drop, when we have no new curriculum, when our courses no longer articulate with other institutions because they’ve not gone through proper review--because no faculty are being paid to do this--then we’re going to lose what we have. So are things going well? Yes, but what about a few years from now?
LAFFERTY: You think they’re headed down at this point?
HORN: They have deteriorated so rapidly, it’s shocking. We’re losing administrators. In the past several months, the chancellor has retired; the vice chancellor has resigned; the presidents of both colleges have resigned; and, last week, the vice presidents of instruction of both colleges have resigned. If this is a few disgruntled faculty members, how do you explain that all of this extraordinary talent is fleeing?
BAUER: I wanted to add to that...
LAFFERTY: If you would, and also briefly though, because before we have Mr. Woodward join us, Professor Bauer, we want to make sure you get a chance to briefly tell us about the Brown Act problem there, and the lawsuit that you’ve brought.
BAUER: Well, I just wanted to say first, though, that the idea that its just a few disgruntled faculty is absurd. I mean, you had 109 full-time faculty back in Dec. of 1996 complaining bitterly in a letter to the CTA about these things that we’ve been talking about. There was a vote of no confidence [among IVC full-time faculty]; I think it was in June.
HORN: 72.5 percent.
LAFFERTY: Of the faculty senate?
HORN: --Of the faculty voted no confidence in this board.
BAUER: Not the senate, the faculty.
LAFFERTY: The faculty. Oh, I see.
BAUER: And then there’ve been recent surveys: the accreditation survey, faculty development survey--and these surveys clearly indicate that...the faculty, the staff, and other members of the community here are very very upset...and are very...worried about the future of the college. And finally there is the Sorenson report, which is a completely independent entity, which was basically arguing that there was no trust in the board of trustees--[that was] the fundamental problem. And as soon as it became clear that was [the Sorenson group’s] view, that’s when [the board] closed it down and suppressed it. And so this notion that it’s just a minority, a small group of disgruntled people, is an absurdity in its face.
LAFFERTY: So, I know there have been a number of meetings that you and others contend have been in violation of the state’s Brown Act, which basically says that, if you’re going to have a meeting and discuss some important matter that isn’t privileged like a personnel matter for example,...that you’ve got to do it in public. You claim that they’re not doing that. In fact you’ve brought a lawsuit about that. Briefly tell us about it.
BAUER: Yeah, well there’ve been two lawsuits. One, we’re in the middle of it, and doing depositions, and the other one concerned a particular board meeting back in April, 1997. And at that board meeting [the board] mysteriously reversed itself...what had happened is that, just earlier, or about that time, President Larios, who was a wonderful president for Irvine Valley College, resigned, and he resigned clearly under pressure knowing that he would not be able to survive long with this particular board. He was too independent. Anyway, he left, and we needed some sort of interim replacement for him. And, at first, the board decided that it would be the chancellor of the district to do that job. And then, suddenly, without explanation or warning, a chemistry instructor at IVC was...placed as the interim president. His name is Raghu Mathur. This action was not properly agendized, and was done in closed session, so that, if someone had gone to that meeting and asked, “Well, what are you going to do?”, they wouldn’t be able to find out by looking at the agenda. Furthermore, [the board] didn’t allow public comments. So, essentially, the public was left completely out of the loop.
LAFFERTY: So the court ruled that illegal.
BAUER: It was illegal, and there were, I think, 5 or 6 violations altogether. And the upshot of all this is, that action that night was illegal, and therefore null and void, and therefore interim president Mathur was retroactively not the president, and all the decisions that he had made were null and void.
LAFFERTY: All right...
BAUER: Of course, what the board [then] did is they just turned around and ratified the stuff [that Mathur had done]...
LAFFERTY: --They did it again. (Laughs.) All right. Professor Bauer, as I say, in a few minutes we want to give Mr. Woodward a chance. I know that one of your claims also is that the union has not always been open and democratic in these regards either. You had that complaint about it. Can you tell us why you make this charge?
BAUER: Well, when we found out back in ‘96 that the union was supporting people like Frogue, and we realized also that they were engaging in all sort of unscrupulous homophobic--they were making homophobic fliers, and exaggerating and lying and saying all sorts of absurd things about people. That’s when some of us became interested for the first time in what was going on there. Immediately, we were asking, “What’s going on with this union?”, and we asked for copies of the bylaws...I think we started asking--at least I started asking--in about Oct. of ‘96. [But] they just wouldn’t give them to us! [Laughs.] They simply would not give them to us, and we asked and we asked and we asked, and then some of us joined the union. And we asked [again], and we just didn’t get the bylaws. And many months passed, and the president of the union would give these lame excuses...“Well, we’re correcting typos and correcting the grammar, and it takes a while, you know.” And so, eventually, after many many months, the bylaws appeared, but they were mysterious; they had elements which served to disenfranchise any new members, for example. So [these are] the kind of people we’re dealing with; they engage in horrendous political activities...to get Frogue and Williams and others elected, and we wanted to find out how they did that, and how they paid for it, and how decisions were made, and how this could come about. And we were stymied at every turn. I tried to become a representative--a member of the “Representative Council” in the union, which is the inner circle which makes most of the decisions. And the way to do that, of course, is to be elected as the representative of my school or my division. So I was elected; now, we didn’t know at the time how I was supposed to be elected because we didn’t have a copy of the bylaws, and they [i.e., union officials] weren’t going to give us a copy, apparently. So I was elected unanimously, and others were elected in other areas at Irvine Valley College, unanimously; we would go to union meetings, and for a while they seemed to recognize us as members of the representative council. And then suddenly one day the president said to me during a union meeting, “You made us follow the bylaws, and according to the bylaws you’re not a representative.” And I said, well, I had an election; what else am I supposed to do? “The election is in August,” I was told. And then a waited until August, and I asked about it, and then I was told it [the election] was back in April...This is the kind of shell game they engage in.
HORN: And our representative still has never been seated.