Monday, November 30, 1998

THE "RAT BASTARD" INCIDENT plus MORE LIES by Big Bill

[From the ‘Vine 12, 11/30/98]
[Originally entitled:]

THE MATHURIAN CANDIDATE: MY LIFE AMONG THE WEASELS by BIG BILL

You hand in your ticket
And you go watch the geek
Who immediately walks up to you
When he hears you speak
And says, “How does it feel
To be such a freak?”
And you say “Impossible”
As he hands you a bone.
And something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?


—Bob Dylan

Glenn and Glenda

On Tuesday, at about 1:45, I had finished my Intro lecture in A400 and then, after speaking briefly with one or two students, I headed out the west door on my way to a press conference over in the temporaries that I had heard about that morning. But there were no signs of any such event—and then I realized that it would be at Saddleback College, not IVC. I turned around and headed back to my office.

Fifteen minutes later, I was standing in front of the duplicating machine in A200, reading an article that someone had taped to the window. Suddenly, I heard my name.

Who can say why some events seem so utterly strange? I looked to my left, and, to my great surprise, there stood Glenn Roquemore, the acting VP of Instruction, sporting an insincere smile and an envelope marked “Confidential.” Somehow, in my mind, I saw Flipper, offering a sardine. I stepped back, nearly falling into the sea.

Glenn and I have never been friends, but I had spoken with him once or twice over the years and then, in the summer of ’97, together with Howard “Boom Boom” Dachslager, we began our ill-fated tenurette as new school chairs. As was her custom, Dean Pam Deegan provided a series of seminars to get the Newbies up to speed, and so, for a brief period, this cozy little group—Pam, Glenn, Howard, and I—met on a regular basis.

During one session, I challenged Glenn and Howard to explain to me the basis of their evident distrust of the School of Humanities and Languages, an attitude shared by many, it seemed, at their end of campus. I assured them that, in my experience, and contrary to what they seemed to think, I had never encountered nor even heard about plots against them or against anyone else by the School of H&L. As far as I could tell, I said, H & L has always pursued its goals and agendas openly and directly. (I could have added: without the use of anonymous petitions, enemies lists, or secret backroom deals.) I added that, whatever anyone else had allegedly done, I was determined to be completely open about anything I was contemplating doing as chair.

I suggested—naively, I suppose—that the troubled relationship between the faculty of the two “poles” of campus stemmed in large part from the failure of both groups to get to know and trust each other. Unfamiliarity had bred suspicion, said I.

I challenged both Glenn and Howard to spend time with me—perhaps on a Saturday—so that we might come to understand each other and our motives and agendas.

Upon hearing this, Glenn and Howard seemed at a loss for words. As my father, an earthy fellow, might say, “They didn’t know whether to shit or go blind.” As I recall, however, they neither shat nor went blind; instead, they agreed that our getting together informally was a good idea.
Naturally, Glenn and Howard responded to my conciliatory pass with ball droppage. I never again heard from them. After a time, I left messages with Glenn and, I think, Howard to try to set something up, but they failed to respond.

Which is fine. But a few months later (Jan. 1), Glenn had a letter in the OC Metro in which he defended Mr. Frogue and Mr. Goo. He blamed the controversy surrounding them on “political left-wing activists that have lost power as a result of the reorganization.” Here, Glenn revealed his preferred fighting style: slimy, dishonest, sophistical. Never mind his opponents’ position or their arguments; better to attack their alleged motives and pander to the prejudices of the Metro’s entrepreneurial readership.

Then Glenn became a key participant in last summer’s efforts to harass me. Flouting district procedures, he actually shopped around for a dean—ignoring my own dean—to help him to pursue alleged “complaints” against me—such as my failure to take daily attendance!

So it was this duplicitous colleague who now confronted me with a smile and a fishy envelope. Overcoming his tight cetaceous grimace, he used both lips to explain that Richard P., my latest dean, would have been the one to hand me the document, but the fellow simply could not be found. It was up to Glenn, then, to perform the task. He said that he waited for me to exit the east door of A400 after my class, but I had confounded him by exiting the west door.

Yeah, sure. I took the letter and opened it. I realized that it was from Raghu and concerned the Nov. 4 “rat bastard” episode, and so I smiled, thanked Glenn—I had no fish—and then walked to my office.

Here’s what the letter said:

On Tuesday [sic], November 4, 1998, at approximately 9:25 A.M., you were talking with my Executive Assistant…right outside my office. During this conversation, you were overheard making the following comment in a loud and disruptive manner: “I feel like saying something loudly. Rat bastard. Of course, I am not talking about anyone around here.” Your comment was meant to be overheard by me.

Hmmm. How could Mr. Goo possibly know how my remark was meant? Actually, it was meant to be overheard, not by Raghu, but by friends in the vicinity. As for its being “disruptive,” I deny that anything or anyone was thrown into confusion or disorder by my utterance. At most, one or two employees in the building heard it, and they seemed to respond by going about their business as though nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. “Rat bastard? Yeah, sure.”

Sure, you can “screw” a guy; but don’t use the word!

Mr. Goo’s letter continues as follows:

I would like to state that such comment is unbecoming of a professor, and is therefore unacceptable.

It is amusing--and disturbing--to encounter people who conceive “acceptable conduct” entirely in terms of decorum and civility—“small morals.” It is as though they don’t even recognize larger, more significant, morals—the standards of conduct that concerns justice, fairness, weal and woe. As far as these people are concerned, you may screw a guy—falsely accusing him of a hate crime and then running for the protection of an administrative “privilege”—but you may not say “screw a guy.”

Within my field (Ethics), “right conduct” refers generally to larger morals. Here, misconduct refers, not to violations of protocol, but to violations of decency such as: schemes and deceptions born of a need for glory and a willingness to treat others as means, not ends. Or: having people fired out of pure vindictiveness or insecurity. Or: acting to secure personal goals at the expense of the community and its institutions. But not: saying “rat bastard” in the A100 building.

Do I contradict myself?

The next part of Raghu’s letter is particularly interesting:

I would like to remind you of my admonishment placed on your last evaluation on November 26, 1997 that “It is recommended that Professor Bauer assist with the establishment of a positive, healthy, and professional environment which will be most conducive for faculty and staff to serve our students.” [My emphasis.]

About a year ago, Raghu had inserted the above “recommendation,” or something very like it, in the teaching evaluations of several instructors. Curiously, each of the instructors—some of them quite decorous—was a critic of the Mathur administration.

When I met with Raghu last fall to discuss the matter, he denied that the remark was critical. It was only a “recommendation,” he said. I am told that, in the course of a grievance procedure on behalf of one of the other instructors, he again stated, addressing a CTA official, that the remark was not critical.

But, in his letter to me, he describes that same remark as an “admonishment,” that is, he implies that it is critical.

So, Raghu, were you lying then, or are you lying now?

Now you see this one-eyed midget
Shouting the word “Now”
And you say, “For what reason?”
And he says “How”
And you say, “What does this mean?”
And he screams back, “You’re a cow;
Give me some milk or else go home.”
And you know something’s happening
But you don’t know what it is.
Do you, Mr. Jones?


BB

Sunday, November 29, 1998

How to inspire administrators/trustees do go after you

     Starting in May of 1997, I participated in an effort, largely organized by instructor/lawyer Wendy Phillips (later, Wendy Gabriella) to urge the South Orange County Community College District board of trustees to observe California's open meetings law, called the "Brown Act." In May, we provided the board with a "demand of cure and correct," but they ignored it. In July, the board plainly violated the Brown Act again by reorganizing the entire district in closed session. (They had not agendized the matter; further, such a matter is not permitted in closed session.) Again, we issued a "demand." In August, the board violated the Brown Act again. We prevailed throughout the process. The judge opined that the board had engaged in "persistent and defiant misconduct." Naturally, the board was very angry. 
     Meanwhile, I had distributed a newsletter that included satirical graphics and writings. It was harshly critical of the "board majority," the union leadership that got them elected, and the board's toady, Raghu P. Mathur. This, too, angered the board, et al.
     In November of 1998, the Orange County Register printed a brief essay of mine that, again, was very critical of the board and the union leadership. See below.
     Very soon thereafter, I was handed a letter from the Chancellor that accused me of violating two board policies in my newsletters. I hired a lawyer and we met with Chancellor Sampson, who reiterated the accusations and ordered me to anger management counseling. 
     I hired another lawyer (Carol Sobel) and sued the district for violating my 1st Amendment rights. I prevailed.





BAUER on SUNDAY (uh-oh)

The piece below appeared in the OC Register in late November, 1998, a Sunday. I was pretty critical of the "Board Majority."

Within days of its appearance, I was handed a letter from the Chancellor. I was ordered to meet with him. He informed me that I was being ordered to go to "anger management" counseling, owing to elements that had appeared in Dissent and 'Vine. Further, I was told that I had been violating the district's "workplace violence" and "discrimination" policies. A letter was placed in my personnel file.

I fought the letter and these actions and prevailed. That story is told elsewhere in the Archives (early 1999), etc.

I still think the letter accurately portrays the Board Majority.

Click on the image to make it much larger.

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
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….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
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.
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