Monday, August 16, 1999

A QUOTATIONAL TOUR OF RECENT DISTRICT HISTORY (‘98-’99, in chronological order, mostly)

By Chunk [Dissent 27, 8/16/99]

“Only by returning choice…to parents and taking it from the e3duational bureaucrats can we reverse [the decline in public education]…I trust parents much more than I do the government to make the right education decisions for children.”
—Future board trustee and self-described “conservative Republican” Don Wagner. (Letter to OC Register, 2/19/98) In an article in June (6/16/98), Wagner, a member of the conservative/Libertarian Federalist Society and the anti-teachers union Education Alliance, warns of the dangers of “the federal government…overreaching its powers” with regard to schools.

During the election campaign of ‘98, in a letter defending the union’s support of Wagner, Old Guard crony Curt McLendon will describe Wagner as a “moderate.”

“Your letter inaccurately attributes your actions…as based on my advice. As you very well know, my advice to you was to meet the legal requirement for effective academic senate participation…The Academic Senate Vice President…was a party to our telephone conversation and will confirm that this was my advice to you.”
—State Academic Senate President Bill Scroggins, in a letter written 3/3/98, catching Raghu P. Mathur in an attempt to execute his familiar “false paper trail” scam
“I have God on my side.”
-–Reportedly uttered by IVC President Raghu P Mathur during a meeting with Academic Senate officers. (May 1998)

In April, officials with the state chancellor’s office visited the district because its financial reserves had dipped dangerously. They expressed a deep concern about the turmoil they saw as faculty, trustees and staff members lined up, asking them to intervene.

Outside these private meetings, trustees John Williams and Dorothy Fortune paced, first trying to force their way in, then calling in the district lawyer to break up the conferences, according to a letter written by California Community Colleges Chancellor Thomas Nussbaum. State officials said the behavior was clearly meant to “intimidate and control.”
—OC Register, 10/30/98
“I’ve never seen anything like this before…We were faced with all sorts of intimidation tactics throughout the day.”
–-Patrick Lenz, state auditor, commenting on the conduct of Board Majority trustees during its audit in April. (From OC Register, 6/13/98)
“This is our first experience in terms of a district that insisted they wanted trustees to be involved and present in every meeting…We provide time for anyone who would like to come talk to us, and we certainly don’t want them to think they can’t be open. But a court reporter and a lawyer, I think, tends to intimidate.”
—Gary Cook, of the state Chancellor’s Office, commenting on the board’s oddly antagonistic behavior during the audit. (OC Register, 6/13/98)

“If anyone was intimidating, it was (the auditors).”
–-Ken Woodward, Old Guard unionist (OC Register, 6/13/98)
“Sometimes they [the trustees] do get frustrated.”
–-Ken Woodward (OC Register, 6/13/98)

“My hunch was it was meant to discredit Mr. Burgess. It didn’t work.”
–-Isobel Dvorsky, Chabot College trustee, remarking on JOHN WILLIAMS’ attempt to discredit new Chabot president (and former IVC VP) Terry Burgess by sending Chabot trustees newspaper articles in which Burgess is quoted criticizing SOCCCD management. (OC Register, 6/13/98)

“I haven’t found them [the trustees] to be controlling or intimidating in any way.”
–-Glenn Roquemore, Mathurian toady (OC Register, 6/13/98)

Newmyer: [The state chancellor’s office] will be reviewing [our category two warning status] after June 30. I would guess that the best we could hope for is to be moved from category two to category three at this point because we won’t be at 5% reserve…

Trustee Lang: [Is anything being done to] make sure that the colleges don’t overspend their budgets?

Newmyer: I told them not to. [Laughter] Actually, the Chancellor told them not to—acting Chancellor Hodge…and I told them about it as well…We do review their budgets actually on a monthly basis…If I could, I think there was a kind of practice in this district and no one ever told them they shouldn’t do that [namely, overspend budgets]. We [have] very responsible people at the colleges. If they see one college doing it [and] they don’t do it, then they think that’s gonna work to their disadvantage, so they both did it….

Trustee Fortune: One thing else I wanted to note…The colleges overspent. Each college overspent. Each college overspent $400,000 over what their budget was….
—An exchange during then-VC of fiscal services Joseph Newmyer’s report to the board, June 15, 1998. In effect, Newmyer was saying that the overspending problem at the colleges needed to be dealt with at a higher level, since the colleges compete with each other for funds, causing an inevitable escalation of spending. Fortune didn’t get it.

“[Terry Burgess] was a long-term employee who had a glowing reputation as one of the most intelligent and talent[ed] vice presidents. He was respected statewide and had president written all over him. What you do as a good board member is, you keep these people…[Members of the board have instead] appointed and hired people who have had little experience…Put their little names on the refrigerator and don’t vote for these people.”
–-Everett Brewer, former VP of Instruction, Saddleback College, and a 25-year district employee (Times, 6/20/98)
“In a very short time, the existing Board of Trustees has nearly destroyed everything we labored so long to create.”
–-Everett Brewer (Times, 6/21/98)

“If any law has been broken, it was broken by accident or by lack of clarity in the law.”
—Glenn Roquemore, quoted in the Irvine World News, 6/25/98, defending law-breaking district officials

“Every time I get up in the morning and see a story about this district in The Orange County Register, it’s like seeing your mother on The Jerry Springer Show.”
—Marie Hill, student trustee, speaking during the June 15, 1998, board meeting (OC Weekly, 6/26/98)
Krugel to Frogue: “Do you trade pictures of little girls with Joe Fields?”

Williams: “Sir, I don’t want to hear any more comments about little girls.”
—From an exchange among Barry Krugel (of the JDL), trustees, and visitors during the June 15, 1998, board meeting. (Joe Fields, a Frogue supporter who attended the meeting, is a neo-Nazi and, according to Krugel, a convicted “sexual molester.”) (OC Weekly, 6/26/98)
“I feel like I’m in a really bad John Waters movie.”
–-Tanning booth enthusiast and conspiracy theorist Michael Collins Piper, at the start of his three minutes at the raucous 6/15/98 board meeting (OC Weekly, 6/26/98)
“So what do you expect me to do with this thing?…Please send me a new certificate without your signatures.”
-–Honor student Julie Abel, at the 6/15/98 board meeting, questioning the worth of the honor certificate awarded her by her college—in view of its signatories, namely, the Board Majority.

“I was hired by IVC to start a digital…art program in the fine-arts department last fall…I have seen models of effective shared governance…[The] management style, implemented by the Board of Trustees appeared more like a dictatorship. I quietly began to look for another job…[I]f the board was truly concerned about the future of the colleges in South Orange County, they would all resign, and allow the healing process to begin.”
—Peggy Jones (Times, 6/28/98)

“…[I]n effect, we’re really trying to speak to the board to say ‘Don’t mess up your colleges’….”
-–Judith Watkins, Associate Director of ACCJC (the Accrediting Commission) (Times, 7/1/98)
“Someone [on the SOCCCD board] gets a bright idea in the middle of a meeting, and the next thing you know some decision has been made that changes the world…[T]here is a lot of ad hoc decision-making without rationale, or I should say, there is a lot of rationale developed after the fact.”
—Judith Watkins (OC Register, 7/2/98)

“It’s mind-boggling, discouraging and disheartening. Here we are on a college campus, where freedom of speech should be promoted.”
-–Deb Burbridge, one of two plaintiffs in an ACLU civil rights law suit brought against IVC President Raghu Mathur. In the spring of ’98, Mathur placed unusual and arbitrary restrictions on a proposed student demonstration. (OC Register, 7/1/98)

“During the past year, I have found that I can no longer effectively or happily work in the unsettled political and administrative environment in both the district and at IVC.”
—Robert Loeffler, IVC VP of Business Services, in a statement concerning his departure from the district. (Irvine World News, 7/9/98)

“[Mathur] said it is a ‘feather in the cap of the district’ that people who have gained experience here have gone on to find excellent positions when they have chosen to go elsewhere.”
—From the Irvine World News, 7/9/98

“[Trustee John] Williams’ blatant disrespect of the shared governance process and his fellow trustees is yet another example of his poor leadership. This micromanagement of the chancellor hiring process reminds one of the administrative reorganization and IVC presidential hiring process a year ago, the effects of which continue to haunt this district and our community.”
—Trustee Dave Lang in a letter appearing in the Irvine World News, 7/9/98.

Q. Why is the commission recommending substituting appointed community college trustees for locally elected board members?

A. Commission members believe the 71-district system could be better managed centrally…The commission also believes that members of locally elected boards get into office based upon which group provided campaign support, which can make them beholden to special-interest groups on campus.
—From an OC Register article concerning the report of the California Citizens Commission on Higher Education on the state of community colleges (7/21/98)

Gloria Romero characterized running for the Board of Trustees as “political Siberia,” with few of the 5 million voters in the district having any clue to what she does or represents.

“Community colleges are in serious disarray,” Romero said. “It’s long overdue to put these kinds of ideas [e.g., eliminating locally elected boards] on the table.”

The South Orange County district is a case in point. The district and its two colleges…have lost the chancellor, vice chancellor, two college presidents, three vice presidents and several deans in the last 18 months.
—From the Times article on the California Citizens Commission report (7/21/98)

“It is an embarrassment that this $72 million district…could attract only nine applicants for the position of chancellor in a nationwide search. The public must pay closer attention to the candidates for election in November to make certain that the public interest and not special interests are represented by the board.”
—Retiring board “minority” trustee Joan Hueter, from a statement quoted in the Irvine World News, 7/23/98.

“[The] Accreditation Self-Study Chair made substantive changes to [the report] or saw that a distinctly different report was submitted to you, external to the work of the committees as a whole and without opportunity for our review. The Self-Study Chair [Ray Chandos] permitted non-committee members to alter the contents of our report without going through the committees for their responses or revision…[W]e have no way of determining what changes were made to the [report], when they were made, who made them, or what evidence base was used to support any such changes.”
—From the preface of the Supplemental Report for standards five and ten of the IVC accreditation self-study. July 31, 1998. (Signed by committee chairs and members.)

“Under the current president, decisions are made unilaterally by the president, and at his direction are kept at the administrative level only, or reflect Board directive[s] irrespective of the college-wide governance organizations…When the president establishes priorities for the college and makes decisions, he usually does so irrespective of the advice of others and without their support.”

“[A]lthough the current president had previously been a school chair for a school of eight full-time faculty, he had never served in a senior administrative position. His chosen Acting Vice-President of Instruction [Glenn Roquemore] has had no administrative experience at the college other than one month as a school chair….”

“Outside observers note that the Board continues to make sweeping changes with ‘very little depth and understanding of consequences’ of those actions…, without ‘linking changes to evidence’…, and without consulting the administrators most affected…These matters confirm the conclusion of the Sorenson report that there ‘is little evidence of trust anywhere in the organization.’”
—Excerpted from the supplemental report for standard 10. (7/31/98)

“There’s a lot of on-campus friction. District trustees are morons, the college president is their monkey boy, and the faculty union (which is controlled by Saddleback’s more senior professors) is dirty, vocal IVC teachers say.”
—From a “consumer” assessment of IVC, appearing in the OC Weekly, 9/4/98.

“Stop living in an ivory castle.”
-–Trustee Williams, expressing frustration over Trustee Lang’s expressed doubts about the district’s practice of arming its cops. Ours is the only district in the county that arms its cops. (During the 9/14/98 board meeting.)


The following is a complete list of cliches and platitudes that President Raghu P. Mathur used as his responses to the five, count ‘em five, questions he was asked during the 9/24 Mathur/faculty meeting (provided by a student reporter):
“Let’s bring this to the table.” (3 times)
“We have to find the common ground.” (2 times)
“Communication is a two-way street.” (1 time)
“Let’s not re-invent the wheel here.” (4 times)
“We need to focus on solutions.” (8 times)
“If there’s a will, there’s a way.” (2 times)
“We need to develop plans.” (6 times)
“We need to develop plans and procedures.” (4 times)
“It’s a tough road to hoe.” (1 time)
“United we stand, divided we fall.“ (1 time)

“I was told that there were some things I was not to focus on. From my own research, old files and press clippings I got a picture of an administration that was doing some things that I don’t think I could represent without violating my own ethics…People are walking on eggshells around there. He [Mathur] said he has an open-door policy and that he believes in communication, but I didn’t see it.”
—Bevin Zandvliet, who briefly served as Mathur’s spinmeister (OC Register, 9/25/98)

“Over the years, we have refrained from endorsing candidates in local elections…We’re making an exception on endorsements for the first time in our 27-year history in the case of Tuesday’s election in the SOCCCD…We are endorsing Charles W. “Pete” Maddox and Leo E. Galcher for election to the South County college board…All discerning voters need do is ask themselves who has political action committee…funds and who stands to benefit from using these funds to elect certain candidates to the college board.”
—From an editorial appearing in the Irvine World News, late October, 1998.

“No Airport at El Toro.”
—The salient message (highlighted, repeated) on the flier that helped elect Don Wagner and Nancy Padberg. According to the flier, “Don and Nancy’s opponents are Pete Maddox and Leo Galcher…Both failed to work against an airport.” (Incidentally, the latter assertion is false.) Reportedly, the flier was paid for by the faculty union.
“[#5] Slime-ball campaign tactics. In 1996, the despicable trio of Steven Frogue, Dorothy Fortune and John Williams appealed to anti-gay hysteria to win seats on the SOCCCD Board. This time, Wagner and Padberg—who are backed by the same nasty crowd (a faculty association) that funded Frogue, Fortune, and Williams—are trying to capitalize on another hot-button issue. College trustees have zero say in the fight over a proposed airport at El Toro, but the main theme of Wagner and Padberg’s joint, misleading mailer is that they are the only candidates openly fighting the El Toro International Airport.”
—From OC Weekly’s election “Hall of Shame.” Padberg and Wagner, who are (according to the OC Weekly) affiliated with the Christian Coalition, were ranked #5. (Late October, ’98)

Education Alliance founder[:] Two years ago, [Frank] Ury got his butt whipped in a race for a seat on the Saddleback Valley Unified School Board. He did what any self-respecting upholder of traditional values would do: he found a scapegoat. Couldn’t be that Ury lost because he’s a truly scary guy whose bizarre public-policy positions might legitimately terrify voters. Must be that unions—teachers unions—had kept him out of office. Working with two other OC conservatives—the equally scary Mark Bucher and Jim Righeimer—Ury helped draft and qualify for the June 1998 ballot the so-called Campaign-Finance Reform Initiative. That sweet-sounding effort became Proposition 226, which, if passed, would have effectively blocked unions from participating in elections. The result: corporate control of the electoral playing field….
—From OC Weekly, 10/30/98, in an article about OC’s “scariest” people. Reportedly, the Faculty Association’s Wagner and Padberg (elected to the Board in November) are members of Ury’s Education Alliance.

“If officials do not invite all of the candidates to an event, the action is considered a contribution to the campaign. The penalty for illegal contributions is $2,000 for each instance.”
—Fair Political Practice Commission spokesperson Gary Huckaby quoted in Dissent, 10/26/98.

“Kool Kats” Performer Del Curry asked board president JOHN WILLIAMS to invite all of the trustee candidates to a Saddleback College Emeritus concert featuring the Kats (Oct. 16). Williams accompanied Padberg and Wagner at the concert. Evidently, none of the other candidates was invited. (Padberg and Wagner, like Williams, were union-supported candidates. Maddox, Galcher, Hill and Chapman were not.)
“I was never approached about the event.”
—Trustee candidate Charles “Pete” Maddox (Dissent, 10/26/98)
“I sure wasn’t contacted.”
—Trustee candidate David Hill (Dissent, 10/26/98)
“No one ever talked to me. What was it? Did I miss something?”
—Trustee candidate Douglas Chapman (Dissent, 10/26/98)

“The teachers union?…The California Teachers Association is overwhelmingly liberal. I would seriously doubt they would support a conservative Republican like me. I was generally pleased to get the support…but I think it’s strange that it’s the union.”
—Don Wagner, remarking on the support he received from the Faculty Association. In the end, Wagner and Padberg owed their victories to the Association, which spent tens of thousands on their behalf, despite howls of protest from the rank and file. (OC Register, 10/31/98)
“Why is the faculty union giving money to endorse candidates [Padberg and Wagner] who are appealing to a segment of the voter population who is opposed to unions? It’s simple. It’s the buying and selling of board members. They [the union leadership] will do anythin to keep control of the board majority.”

—An IVC professor, quoted in the OC Register, 10/31/98

Among the endless accusations heaped on Steven J. Frogue was the notion that the embattled South Orange County Community College District trustee’s words and actions had legitimized hatemongers. In the fall of 1997, Frogue tried to book a seminar at Saddleback College that would have featured the author of a controversial tome that alleged the Israeli government offed President John Kennedy. Some of the longtime OC high school teacher’s former students then came forward to allege that Frogue made racist or anti-Semitic remarks in class. Past newspaper articles surfaced in which Frogue advocated a public airing of Holocaust-denying views. And a Frogue fan club populated with individuals tied to anti-Semitic organizations started appearing at—and oddly, videotaping—the same events the trustee attended. So it should not have surprised anyone that hate literature littered two South County public schools on Oct. 28—a week after anti-Semitic e-mails were sent to 400 faculty and staff members at Irvine Valley College. About 500 index-card-sized leaflets featuring a disparaging cartoon of a Jewish man were found on El Toro High School’s tennis and basketball courts. Nearly 100 miniature posters ridiculing African-Americans were scattered across Rancho Santa Margarita Intermediate School’s athletic field and parking lot. A sticker attached to the fliers directed students to the Fallbrook chapter of White Aryan Resistance, which reportedly recruits young skinhead activists. . . .
—From the OC Weekly, 1/1/99

“It would seem to the court that, at least on the face of it, that any time the board has a person coming in to address the board, that normally that should be on the agenda…I don’t think that then bringing the gentleman out in the public session and saying, ‘Now, tell us what you told us in the private session,’ and then the public can comment on it—I don’t think that is what the Brown Act in its case law contemplates…I would say that [these facts] would indicate that this board apparently doesn’t understand the Brown Act and its responsibilities thereunder. Hopefully, at some point, they are going to learn and get appropriate advice and follow that advice.”
—OC Superior Court Judge Tully H. Seymour, in court, Oct. 29, 1998. Among other violations of the state’s anti-secrecy laws, the board had invited state official Vishwas More to speak in closed session without agendizing his visit and address.

…Accreditation teams wrapping up three-day visits to Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges on Oct. 29 were reportedly “stunned” by the deep divisions they found between employees and elected officials and warned that the disharmony was eroding service to students. Irvine Valley College, where students organized weekly protests since president Raghu Mathur’s 1997 appointment, received the harshest criticism, with the team finding that the district-board-directed obliteration of “shared governance”—in which faculty, staff and community members help administrators and the board shape district policy—was a major cause for concern. Saddleback got off easier, but its accreditation team expressed fear that academic programs and student services could suffer unless people just got along. The teams’ not-so-subtle message to the board: stabilize a district that lost administrators like Burt Reynolds shed hair, and keep your collective nose out of the colleges’ day-to-day operations. If the colleges want to continue receiving federal aid and having their credits transfer to universities, they must be reaccredited in January 1999.
—From the OC Weekly, 1/1/99

“We were, frankly, stunned.”
—Steven Epler, chair of the IVC Accrediting Commission Team, commenting on the degree of division on the campus. (Times, 10/30/98)
“We have deep concerns about the divisiveness and the disharmony on this campus.”
—Pamila Fisher, chair of the Saddleback College Accrediting Commission Team. (Times, 10/30/98)

“It didn’t appear to [me] that a reorganization plan was a personnel item to begin with. It appeared that the board had acted on this in a closed executive session, and then, when challenged on it, came back and, in effect, reaffirmed its prior action without any real opportunity for the public to have any input….”

“There seems to be some substantial merit [to the petitioner’s case] and, to me, this is a very important kind of public policy type of case and, therefore, I am willing to devote whatever time is necessary, maybe even give it more time than I would a run-of-the-mill writ case….”

“I think what you are saying [Mr. Covert, the district’s lawyer] is that the statute contemplates that if you take an action that is illegal that you can then simply agendize it as, ‘We are going to ratify what we did in secret.’ I guess I find that a little bit offensive.”
—Judge Seymour, indicating which way he was leaning in the 2nd Brown Act lawsuit (in court, 10/23/98). Back in July of ’97, the Board Majority deceptively agendized a district-wide reorganization as a “personnel” item. The Brown Act permits closed meetings for personnel items, but not for reorganizations.

Donald P. Wagner and Nancy Padberg will join the South Orange County Community College District board of trustees. Wagner and Padberg were backed by the anti-union, Christian Right Education Alliance and by the district’s anti-union teachers union (sadly, you read that right). No comment from the two on whether they’ll make trustees meetings more accessible—ties optional, but anyone not wearing a brown shirt gets 30 days in ze coohlah! Schultz!
—From the OC Weekly, 11/6/98.

“I’d like to see a list of class sizes for every teacher in the district!”
—Trustee Frogue at the 11/16/98 board meeting. Earlier, Frogue stated that “he had heard” that there are PE courses with “2, 3, 5 students!” (Evidently, Frogue was unaware that some of his most ardent supporters among the faculty attract notoriously low enrollments.)
“The biggest chum.”
—Trustee Fortune, identifying who, in her view, seems always to be selected in hiring processes in the district. She offered no grounds or explanation for this remark. (11/16/98) The Board Majority has, of course, filled several administrative positions with their own “chums” among the faculty union Old Guard (Mathur, Runyan, Woodward, et al.).
“I would think some administrators would stand up to defend me!…I expect you to support me!”
—Embattled Saddleback College newspaper advisor and Old Guard unionist Lee Walker, 11/16/98. In previous months, an endless parade of present and former students and staff associated with the Lariat had spoken out against Walker. Pre-Walker, the Lariat routinely criticized the faculty union and the Board Majority. With Walker, that stopped. Generally, the paper has offered fluff, pro-administration pablum, and worse (v. coverage of Bullock’s “Respect” campaign and Frogue’s anti-Recall charges).
“I beat ‘em with one hand tied behind my back!”
—Trustee Frogue, during the 11/16/98 board meeting, commenting on the failure of the effort to recall him. 32,322 registered South Countians had signed petitions, validly, but that was about five thousand short. According to Suzanne Slupsky of the county registrar’s office, since 1991, only the Frogue recall group, of 36 groups, managed to turn in signatures for validation. Hence, in reality, the Frogue Recall, though a failure, did unusually well. (See OC Register, 11/13/98 and Times, 11/29/98)
“When you point your finger at someone, three fingers point right back.”
—Raghu P. Mathur, offering his favorite cliche, at the board meeting, 11/16/98.

“I don’t want to be the only board member to speak today. I came here with a specific question…I came here today, and if there is one thing that I would ask the group and throw something out, it has to do with [the question] “Where is this District going as far as growth, money, and with this growth where are we going to put the students?” We need to grow!”
—Trustee Williams, speaking during the notoriously raucous July 8 (1997) board “forum,” one week prior to the district reorganization (July 16).

In the course of defending themselves against the 2nd Brown Act lawsuit, Board Majoritarians began to assert, absurdly, that the July 1997 “reorganization” did not occur without warning, that it was preceded by much public discussion about the matter. Members of the district community, however, cannot recall any such discussion.

The Board Majority’s “revisionist” campaign included the lie that the board “forum,” which occurred one week prior to the reorganization meeting (July 8), was scheduled for the purpose of “receiving input” regarding a reorganization. For instance, in a sworn legal declaration that surfaces at about this time (November ’98), Williams asserts:
On July 8, 1997, the Board held a public forum for the purpose of hearing statements regarding the subject of organization or reorganization.

In their sworn declarations, Trustees Fortune, Frogue, and Lorch make statements nearly identical to Williams’.

In fact, however, the subject of a possible reorganization was barely mentioned during the July 8 forum, as those who attended can attest. None of the newspaper accounts of the forum refers to a discussion of reorganization (see for instance Irvine World News, 7/10/97), and the official announcement for the forum does not refer to the topic. Finally, as the above transcript makes clear, Trustee WILLIAMS clearly had come to the forum to discuss another topic entirely!

“I think what I’m seeing here is a consistent pattern that we are going to push this as far as we can,” said Seymour. “And the only thing that seems to work is for the courts to take action.”
—Judge Tully H. Seymour, discussing the 2nd Brown Act lawsuit in court, quoted in the OC Register, 11/21/98.

“You think you’re all aware and enlightened. I don’t think you are.”
—Chancellor Sampson, speaking to a group of about 50 or 60 faculty and staff, who had assembled outside Raghu Mathur’s office, protesting Mathur’s rumored intention to transfer his executive secretary, on a day in early December. (The “clocktower incident.”) The group had complained bitterly to the Chancellor about the conduct and policies of Mathur and the Board Majority, to which Sampson responded, dismissively, “The board is the board.” (In the end, the secretary was not transferred.)

“On behalf of the faculty, the senate urges the trustees to reject this recommendation, which can do nothing to improve conditions at the college and will in fact inflame a situation that can only be described as deplorable.”
—An IVC Academic Senate statement in support of popular VP of Student Services Pauline Merry made at the Dec. 7 board meeting. Raghu Mathur recommended to the board non-renewal of Merry’s contract—based on specious grounds. (More than once, she had refused to do his unethical bidding.) Merry’s contract was not renewed. (She quickly found a better job with Long Beach City College.)

“Would you explain what WSCH is?”
—Board President Dorothy “Dot” Fortune, at the Dec. 7 board meeting, revealing her unfamiliarity with a fundamental concept of district finance

“We need to abandon the euphoria of the past and ‘move on’ to build a better system for all of us.”

“I…invite each one of you to…be thankful for [what] we have and what we don’t have….”
—Raghu P. Mathur, in a typically illiterate memo to faculty, 12/13/98

“’Goo’ refers to ‘gook.’”
—Chancellor Sampson explaining to Philosophy instructor Roy Bauer that his use of the phrase “Mr. Goo” to refer to Raghu Mathur violates the district’s discrimination and harassment policies, since it is an obvious allusion to “gook.” (Huh?) (December 18, 1998) The Chancellor ordered Bauer to seek anger management counseling, owing to the content of his newsletters, an act later judged unconstitutional by Federal Court.

When being deposed in July (’99), the Chancellor noted that Bauer occasionally uses the phrase “the Dark Side” to refer to the Board Majority/Mathur/Union Axis. This, he said, is evidence of Bauer’s “unconscious racism.” Apparently, the Chancellor has not seen any of the Star Wars movies.

“In our humble opinion, firing everybody in sight is not the sign of a strong CEO, but an unmistakable showing of weakness. IVC President Raghu Mathur went too far last month in his nonsupport of one of our 10 Women Who Make a Difference in Orange County. The President has cut a swath through the college’s administrative ranks, adding Pauline Merry to the list…Merry joins several IVC administrators who have been axed despite their wide-ranging abilities. These include Dean of Economic Development Nick Kremer, Dean of Instructional Programs Pam Deegan…, and Vice President of Instruction Terry Burgess, who presumably is running a more humane program as president of Chabot College in Hayward.”
—The OC Metro Staff, OC Metro, 1/1/99

Finding someone at Chabot Community College who dislikes Terry Burgess or disapproves of how the new president has tackled his job is a difficult task. Indeed, a case could be made that the 50-year old silver-haired president is one of the most popular people on campus. That is significant for Chabot because the college has undergone tremendous changes during Burgess’s short tenure…What is more telling is that those who have been critical of [the Chancellor] and the board also rave about the new president. “I think he’s very good news for us,” said Cindy Hicks, a Chabot instructor who has disagreed in the past with the trustees’ decisions on how to deal with Chabot’s $2 million debt. “He (Burgess) likes to share the credit, but the credit goes to him for beginning to take the burden of the deficit off the shoulders of the faculty and staff.”
—From an article in the Daily Review, a Bay Area newspaper. In appointing an interim President for IVC (in 1997), the Board Majority passed over the respected Burgess in favor of the utterly inexperienced and disliked Mathur.

“He’s been writing it for 18 months and only now they’re reprimanding him. I’ve been reading it for six or seven months and it’s always been that way. For me, it was really informative, because I couldn’t go to all the board meetings and I relied on “The Dissent” for what was going on. I find his sense of humor satirical. I didn’t take it very seriously at all. If anyone knows Roy he’s the most soft-spoken and non-violent person you can imagine.”
—Debbie Burbridge, former IVC student (Irvine World News, 1/7/99)
“People say [Roy’s] creating a hostile working environment, it’s not true. It’s a response to a hostile environment. It’s a refusal to accept a hostile environment.”
—Jody Hoy, Professor of French, IVC (Irvine World News, 1/7/99)

“I’m not going anywhere.”
—Raghu Mathur, in his “President’s Welcome Address,” January 6, 1999. Raghu also compared himself with Abraham Lincoln. There are, he said, “three qualities of greatness”: being focused on self-mastery, fixity of purpose, and malice toward none. These, he said, are “my goals.”
“A wonderful, gracious man”!
—Michele Bonds, President of the California Student Association of Community Colleges, describing Raghu Mathur as she gave one of two keynote speeches during the “President’s Welcome Address” on January 6. Four days later, CalSACC Vice President David Wilkinson sent out an email that asserted
“The statewide Policy Board of the California Student Association of Community Colleges voted today to temporarily suspend President Michele Bonds and Treasurer Pedro Chavez from office.”
—Evidently, Raghu’s student pal was being investigated for “alleged misappropriation of funds and abuses of power.”


Dear President Mathur:
…The Accrediting Commission is compelled to issue a warning and to ask that IVC correct the deficiencies noted…

At the time of the visit by the Evaluation Team, IVC was experiencing the effects of disharmony that have existed at the district and college level for an extended period of time. These effects evidenced themselves most significantly in the area of governance…

The district and its colleges should immediately and persistently take steps to insure that the governing board limit itself to appropriate policy-setting roles…[and] assess the leadership issues at IVC and take appropriate measures….

The Commission asks that the college submit a report by April 15, 1999….
—David B. Wolff (of the Accrediting Commission), in a letter dated January 19, 1999. Saddleback College received a similar letter, though one that emphasized the urgency of filling vacant administrative positions.

A judge has ordered the South Orange County Community College District to tape-record its closed-door meetings for two years because of its “persistent and defiant misconduct” in violating state open-meeting laws. Orange County Superior Court Judge Tully H. Seymour also referred the case to the District Attorney’s Office for possible criminal prosecution, court records show. A prior finding of Brown Act violations against the district in 1997 also will be forwarded…”The (district) board engaged in a continuing course of conduct that appears to the court to reflect a total disregard for the requirements of the open-meeting law,” Seymour ruled. Terry Franke, director of the California First Amendment Coalition, said Seymour’s order might set a precedent. “This is extraordinary,” said Franke, who helped write the Brown Act. “This would be the first effective order for taping, and I have absolutely never heard of a judge in a civil (Brown Act) matter taking the initiative to alert the DA’s office.”
—From the OC Register, 1/21/99

“I apologize for those two mistakes.”
—Raghu Mathur, evidently acknowledging having meddled in faculty evaluations and having asked administrators to go on witch hunts against faculty. During the “All College Meeting,” 1/28/99.
“I apologized for doing that, but I don’t admit to doing it.”
—Raghu Mathur, upon being reminded, a few minutes later, of his acknowledgement that he had gone on witch hunts, etc. (1/28/99)


Dear Chancellor Sampson:
Perhaps you’ll recognize my name. I am the author of the book, Final Judgment, and the source of the Defamation League’s complaints over the scuttled JFK assassination seminar in the fall of 1997….

I have learned now, however, that one of the Defamation League’s allies, Professor Roy Bauer, has filed a suit against the district saying that his First Amendment rights are being violated….

…Roy Bauer is following in a tried-and-true American tradition. I’m sorry that you apparently don’t see it that way. There are some real First Amendment concerns here, and I’m determined to do everything in my power to protect Roy Bauer’s First Amendment rights.

Let’s work out a compromise, Chancellor Sampson. May I suggest that you and the SOCCCD board of trustees convene a “First Amendment Forum” in the college district…I’ll be glad to come and make the presentation that I wasn’t able to make after the Defamation League kicked up a fuss. And I’m certain Professor Bauer will be able to say a few words, too….
—Michael Collins Piper, 1/28/99. Piper sent this letter to newspapers in the area, hoping for some free publicity. He didn’t get any. In early February, the Spotlight ran an article that said that “former foes are now joining forces” to defend Bauer. Nonsense.

The IVC Academic Senate requests that the portion of Item 45 related to the proposed administrative structure of IVC be removed from this evening’s agenda and that the trustees not consider the issue until the board is presented with a plan that has been developed within the regular and careful deliberative processes at the college and enjoys wide support from within the institution. Neither condition is met by the proposal contained in Item 45, which has emerged from an undisclosed context in an apparent effort to solve perceived problems that are nowhere defined…The senate is deeply disturbed that an issue of such scope and consequence has been treated in a manner so apparently haphazard that no comparative cost analysis has been undertaken nor any justification offered for organizational changes that will profoundly disrupt the orderly management of the college….
—An IVC Academic Senate statement, read during the 1/25/99 board meeting. The statement was not heeded.

“Who will evaluate the evaluators?” [Or maybe it was: “Who will regulate the regulators?”]
—Trustee Frogue, during the 1/25/99 board meeting, responding to recently released Accrediting Reports, which were harshly critical.
“Too extreme.”
—Trustee Fortune’s characterization of the July ’97 reorganization (insofar as it created huge divisions), at the 1/25/99 board meeting. Fortune, of course, was one of four trustees who imposed the reorganization without having consulted with district constituencies, who were horrified.

Whereas the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, in its letter of January 19th, has issued a warning noting “serious dysfunctions…most significantly in the area of governance” at IVC, and…whereas the Evaluation Report notes that under the administration of Raghu Mathur a “mass exodus of administrative leadership and talent” has occurred “over the past two years”…and whereas Raghu Mathur has proven unable to provide effective leadership…and whereas 74.2% of the faculty expressed “no confidence” in the leadership of Raghu Mathur during a closed ballot conducted in Spring 1998…and whereas 77% of the faculty again expressed dissatisfaction with the college’s current leadership in a confidential survey conducted by the Academic Senate Cabinet during fall 1998, and whereas there can be no satisfactory resolution of these conflicts as long as Raghu Mathur remains president…, therefore, the Senate calls upon the Trustees to immediately reassign Raghu Mathur elsewhere within the South Orange County Community College District….
—An IVC Academic Senate resolution included in that body’s response to the Accrediting Commission’s Report. The resolution passed nearly unanimously. (2/11/99)

…[T]he team noted that the recurring sentence “No changes are recommended at this time” appeared seventy-three times throughout the [self-study] report, even when an analysis might have cried out for a planning action to be identified. In contrast, a specific plan of action-self-study recommendation appeared just fifty-five times. Thus, the college missed the opportunity a self-study provides to secure broad involvement, understanding, and acceptance by faculty and staff in the college’s planning agenda for the future….

A high-profile, often controversial group of trustees felt obligated to involve itself actively in the day-to-day operations of the district and of the two colleges far beyond the traditional roles for trustees. This resulted in the creation of two trustee “bloc” factions, regularly voting 4-3 on issue after issue. During the same time a chancellor retired, two college presidents resigned, and numerous vice presidents, vice chancellors and college deans moved on. Simultaneously, in mid-summer 1997 the board majority precipitously reorganized the management structure at both colleges, downsizing the Saddleback dean structure and transferring five of ten dean positions to Irvine Valley, while it abolished Irvine Valley’s “school chair” model. Finally, the board appointed an acting president—later made permanent—at Irvine Valley in a manner viewed by many as intrusive and by all as controversial. The aftershocks and consequences of that action continue to this day….

A significant portion of the IVC presidential selection controversy results from a revised board policy in executive hiring. This policy, adopted in March 1998 in another 4 to 3 vote, allows the board to involve itself inappropriately in the selection process including the conducting of interviews three levels deep in the organization. The board itself interviewed all nineteen presidential applicants! This policy brings the board totally out of compliance with Standard 10.A.4….
—From the Accrediting Commission’s “Evaluation Report” for Irvine Valley College, February, 1999.

Having tried to work with Raghu for 10 years, first as his dean then as a fellow faculty member, I think his ethics are on a par with Brutus. His word is as good as the now infamous statement “I’ve never had sexual relations with that woman…”
—Gary Resnick, retired IVC instructor, in an email sent to faculty in February, 1999. (Days later, having been threatened with a libel suit, Resnick recanted.)

“Although the senate is gratified to know that the candidate offered the position [IVC VP of Instruction] was the candidate most highly recommended by the screening committee, the senate has been left with no option but to view the actions taken by the administration as an indictment of both the judgment and integrity of those members of the faculty, staff, and administration who sat on the screening and interview committee for this position. Having been advised by the college affirmative action officer and the senate representatives on the committee that the process was scrupulously fair and the judgments unanimous, and that the screening committee functioned in all respects in an exemplary and wholly responsible manner, the senate must protest this action in the strongest of terms…We implore the trustees to suspend all use of this ill-conceived hiring policy and to work in collaboration with the senates to effect a replacement.”
—A statement made by the IVC Academic Senate at the Feb. 25 board meeting, protesting the administration’s action of intervening in the search process for VP of Instruction. All applicants were interviewed at the second level, not just those recommended by the search committee. (Raghu’s boy, Glenn Roquemore, didn’t make the search committee’s cut.) Later, they will use a similar ruse in the selection of the VP of Student Services. (Armando Ruiz).

Although Roe [v. Wade] is justifiably the best known Blackmun decision, many other examples exist of his thoroughly muddleheaded jurisprudence…Express and unambiguous constitutional language meant nothing to Blackmun solely because he thought decent people should reject that language. This is judicial activism at its worst. This was Harry Blackmun’s contribution to American law.
—Don Wagner, in an essay appearing in the OC Register on the occasion of Harry Blackmun’s death. (March 11, 1999)


—U.S. District Judge Nora M. Manella’s characterization of the Chancellor’s order that Roy Bauer seek counseling, owing to the newsletters he edited. March 15, 1999.
[In Johnson,] the court held that an employer “does not have a legitimate interest in covering up mismanagement or corruption and cannot justify retaliation against whistleblowers as a legitimate means of avoiding the disruption that necessarily accompanies such exposure….

A review of the record…suggests that the disharmony at IVC is ongoing and is not solely the product of plaintiff’s “disruptive” speech…Plaintiff’s speech did not create the “disharmony” on the IVC campus, and silencing him will not eliminate it….

Defendant…alleges that “faculty and other employees are reticent to discourse with [Plaintiff] or speak out at meetings for fear of reprisals, threats or even bodily harm from Plaintiff.”…This court finds this argument unpersuasive….

Plaintiff has been highly critical of the SOCCCD and IVC administrators, but as the Supreme Court noted in Waters…, “[g]overnment employees are often in the best position to know what ails the agencies for which they work; public debate may gain much from their informal opinions.” This court finds defendant has no legitimate interest in silencing plaintiff’s speech…..

For the reasons set forth above, plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction is granted. The court finds the six statements/illustrations at issue in this case constitute protected speech and enjoins defendant from enforcing section 4000.3 and section 4000.5 on the basis of plaintiff’s past speech or any similarly protected future speech. The court also enjoins defendant from ordering plaintiff to undergo psychological counseling of any sort…It is so ordered.
—US District Judge Nora M. Manella’s opinion, issued March 19, 1999

“You can take all of Raghu Mathur’s critics and stand them up end to end and they wouldn’t see his belt buckle.”
—Steven Frogue, quoted in the Irvine World News. Frogue was discussing and promoting his upcoming “Reconciliation and Concord” breakfast. Not one instructor showed, excepting Ray “Whitewash Willy” Chandos, Old Guard union crony. (Note to short people: you oughta be pissed off.)

“I still think we have the best community college system in the nation!”
—Trustee John Williams, at the March 29 board meeting.

Locally elected community college boards would be eliminated and replaced with appointed advisory boards with limited powers under a new proposal released today by the California Citizens Commission on Higher Education….

Too often, the commission argues, college boards micromanage their campuses, undermining trained administrators and creating disharmony. Commissioners cite the three years of turmoil at South Orange County Community College District as an example of what could go wrong with locally elected trustees….

While commissioners had South Orange County held up as an example of how the current system is failing, Chancellor Cedric Sampson said it should instead have been cited as an example of what’s working….
—From the OC Register, 4/6/99 (front page)
The Saddleback site [Accrediting] team also concluded that some South Orange trustees do not grasp the scope or extent of the crisis and have not accepted responsibility for their role in contributing to it.

“Some trustees are in a state of denial in that they said they would not do anything differently if they had it to do all over again,” the team wrote, recommending trustees seek “qualified outside assistance to guide it through regular, honest self-evaluation.”….

“If they go back and look at what they’re about, the mission of the institution and the board’s role, they should be able to agree on some common issues,” says Dr. George Vaughan, a professor of higher education at North Carolina State University. “But they’ve got to leave special interests behind.”

Vaughan contends that elected trustees, such as those of South Orange, tend to clump into divided camps due to special interests more often than trustees who are appointed to college governing boards.

“I say that because, quite often, there is a tendency for a board member who has the backing of a special interest group to act on behalf of the special interest group, rather than on the college as a whole,” he says….
—From an article in Community College Week, April 5, 1999.

“That needs to be dealt with. If you don’t deal with it, CTA will come in with a trusteeship.”
—Local CCA (CTA) rep, Margaret Hoyos, warning the Faculty Association that it must address some of the Old Guard’s illegal actions or else face a CTA take-over. (April 26 union meeting)
“I was offended for you, Sherry.”
—A union member expressing her disapproval of the union’s newsletter, which is typically filled with attacks on its own members by unnamed writers, on April 26. (Sherry was then the President of the union and presumably presided over the writing and publishing of the newsletter.)

“Every IVC President has received a vote of no confidence!”
—Walter Floser, apparently trying to defend Raghu P. Mathur, during the faculty forum held on May 6 (part of the 2nd Accrediting team visit). Floser’s remark is, of course, absurd.

According to district officials, some faculty members taught a full load of classes while chairing a department, and earning over $100,000 a year.

“In 60 percent of the cases, they had reassigned time and then were teaching classes as overload,” said Irvine Valley President Raghu Mathur.
—From an article in the Irvine World News, 5/27/99, in which IVC’s “school chair” model, abolished during the reorganization, is criticized. Ironically, the “abuses” here described by “district officials” describe only Raghu P. Mathur, who, owing to massive amounts of overload and reassigned time, made over $120,00 a year before becoming president. (He was a school chair.)


Dear President Bullock:
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges…at its meeting on June 6-8, 1999, reviewed the Interim Report submitted by the college and the report of the evaluation team which visited Saddleback College on April 22, 1999. I am pleased to inform you that the report was accepted, though the Commission has determined to maintain the college on warning status….

…The team…found that trustees were largely unaware of the hostility and conflict that still exists on the Saddleback campus…When told of the administrative staff’s belief that many of the trustees did not value them and thought they were over paid, the trustees did not deny that allegation. They also did not deny that some of them call staff directly when they want information or want something done. Most trustees were not aware of the extent to which the issue of reassigned time for senate officers was still a major divisive issue….

Most staff do not yet trust the Board of Trustees or the district leadership. While they appreciate the way the Vice President of Instruction was selected and the reorganization plan approved, there is little confidence that appropriate trustee behavior will be the rule. Personal calls from trustees to faculty and administrators expressing their individual preferences has contributed to this perception. The fact that the trustees sent an attorney to a senate meeting to monitor and assess its actions also contributed to the chasm between the Board the faculty….

The team found that there has been minimal contact between the entire Board of Trustees or Chancellor and the college faculty, staff, and mid-managers…[A] formal plan with strategies and activities designed to increase trust had not been developed. It was surprising to the team that no such plan existed….
—From the Accrediting Commission’s report on Saddleback College, June 21, 1999

The South Orange County Community College District must pay $98,000 in attorney fees for a faculty member who successfully sued the district’s board for violating California open-meeting laws, according to a Superior Court judge’s order released Thursday.

Roy Bauer prevailed in a lawsuit accusing the board of failing to lawfully notify the public about a series of important decisions it made in private.

Those decisions involved a reorganization of the two colleges’ administrations, which removed professors from some key decision-making posts, and the appointment of Irvine Valley College President Raghu Mathur.

A judge found that the board had a persistent pattern of violating open-meeting laws, and ordered trustees to tape-record all closed-door meetings.

This is Bauer’s second Brown Act lawsuit victory….
—From the OC Register, June 18, 1999

On a campus already strained by deep tensions, professors at Irvine Valley College are in an uproar over a new policy that they say threatens the time-honored practice of decorating office doors and windows with the cartoons, clippings and fliers that reflect their humor and passions.

Faculty representatives are threatening legal action over a memo teachers received last week telling them to remove any posters or signs they have displayed on their office windows or external doors.

The college president, Raghu P. Mathur, says he is seeking only to protect the school from unsightly clutter.

But professors allege the policy is a ploy to stifle their ongoing criticism of the school’s leadership….

Signs on professors’ doors and windows range from cartoons, newspaper clippings and announcements about grades and scholarships to sharp blows at Mathur. In one window, which faces the campus and can be seen from a distance, large signs proclaim “Mathur Must Go” and “Raghu Must Resign”….

According to the written policy, which was adopted by the board in April, students must have approval from the office of student services before they can display any sign or poster on campus…Although the policy does not specifically mention faculty, Mathur says instructors are covered by the policy’s reference to members of the district community.

Irvine Valley College officials say the policy is modeled after rules at UC Irvine.

Indeed, fliers, signs and banners are limited to certain places on campus at UCI. But according to Randy Lewis, associate dean of students there, professors are free to post papers on their doors. And at UCI, neither faculty nor students are required to seek university approval before posting signs.

“I don’t think any of the academic departments or schools have regulations against putting an announcement or flier on the door,” Lewis said….

“We’re just trying to balance out the needs for freedom of expression along with maintaining a campus which is appealing and attractive to students, faculty and staff alike,” Mathur says….

According to the Irvine Valley College memo, professors have until Sunday to remove their displays or the college will remove them….
—LA Times, 8/2/99. A truncated version of the story appeared in the LA version of the Times four days later. An OCN report on this issue began airing 8/2/99. A follow-up aired a few days later.

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IVC Commencement 2018: Cloudy skies, smiling faces

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