Looking back, it’s clear that that was Raghu’s popularity high point, for, about two years later, he received a 90% vote of “no confidence.”
Raghu responded with the following [edited for length] address at the May 21, 1998, Board Meeting. In it, he makes some remarkable charges against his perceived faculty foes:
President Williams, I’d like to respond to the vote of no confidence. …
For the past one year that I have served as President of the college, including interim and since I was appointed permanent, a lot of things have been said about me…and I have pretty much by and large kept my mouth shut, because I really want to be the kind of leader to try to bring everybody together. …
This vote of no confidence was politically motivated. …
I want to share with you something about the people who are at the very core…of this vote of no confidence. They want a weak president that they can control like they have done before a few times...The people of the core have already disliked me whenever I have stood up for fair and equitable distribution of financial resources, be it for supplies or equipment, staffing resources all across the board, for various educational programs and services….
[S]ome of the people here in the core have had many sweet deals in the form of reassigned (time) and other areas, which this board has cut out, and they are angry. The fact of the matter is that these faculty members were hired to teach. Instead, some of them, they just don’t want to teach and want to either perform administrative functions or have a lot of free time or both….
…Within days of my appointment as interim president, academic Senate president Kate Clark told me personally that she was going to work toward shutting down Irvine Valley College (Clark interrupts: “I never said that”). …I stand by my statement in front of God.…
This is an un American way to treat anyone not to give people a chance. This is an un American way to treat anyone, leave alone the first generation American immigrant like myself, and now a US citizen. And I’m proud to be so.
… [F]irst they stand in the way and then they say “He’s ineffective.” Well, I’d like to ask, respectfully, Where is their sense of responsibility? Where is their sense of integrity before they cast stones at others?
[HERE IT COMES:] We should not condone anyone who embraces hate and bigotry. People have come here to speak against hate and bigotry at this board meeting many a times. None of these people have spoke against hate and bigotry implied in someone holding a bottle of [Ragu] Spaghetti sauce with my Indian name misspelled. Or hate in crimes explicitly evident in publications of professor Roy Bauer, who claims to be a professor of logic and ethics.
… People in this core in the past have sent me mail threats saying, “Go back to your country.” These threats have come from some of these people, I am confident of it….
[T]hey use shared governance as a smoke screen. They really don’t want shared governance. They want total control and power period, pure and simple.…
They’re bullies, and they want to have their way at any cost. They do not understand something that my parents taught me a long time ago that no amount of newspaper coverage, lawsuits, running to state agencies will ever solve our problems. It is us who have to solve our problems ourselves, through open, honest, and respectful communication, and [the] sooner we learn this and engage in this [the] sooner we can accelerate the healing process.
…With 31 years in education, I have shed blood, sweat, and tears for the students, and I’m honored to do so. I have taught at high school, community college, and the university levels…I have served as president of the board of trustees in the Saddleback Valley Unified School District for five out of nine years of my service. I have served as chair for the school of physical sciences and technology at IVC for about ten years, and now serving as President of Irvine Valley College.
I’m a first generation immigrant who came to American shores some 31 years ago with eight dollars in my pocket with a dream with a strong belief in the American dream that you work hard and you will, you can achieve anything. But some people want to take that away. I have dedicated my life to service for the students, and I will continue to do so till the last breath in my body.
Let’s focus on serving the best interests of the students rather than our egos or our pocket books. Let’s get back to the business at hand and stop playing politics.
JUST THE FACTS:
Pocket books? Before Raghu became IVC’s interim president in 1997, he was, according to district records, the second highest paid faculty member in the entire district, making about $124,000 a year.
Sweet deals? For many years, Raghu received 80% reassigned time. I do believe that, at IVC, he was the all-time “reassigned time” champ.
He also received money as the “Tech Prep” coordinator, a program that, during his involvement, failed miserably. At the same time, he invariably did overload to the max.
Contrary to Raghu’s accusations, the record will show that I (one of the “core group” identified above) have never received more than 20% reassigned time and have never sought an administrative position.
None of my “publications” has ever included “hate crimes,” implicit or otherwise. Surely, comparing Raghu to Mr. Magoo is not a hate crime.
During campus protests in 1998, some participants held up jars of Ragu spaghetti sauce. I was not among them. But surely this act was not a hate crime either.
Most of Raghu’s prominent critics (including me) have never sought administrative positions. Meanwhile, from the very beginning of his career at IVC in ‘79, Raghu repeatedly sought administrative positions.
And when he did not secure them, he immediately played the race card. For instance, when, in 1989, he failed to secure a deanship, which went to Clella Wood, he wrote a letter to Chancellor Sneed. He said: “I am the best qualified to do the job 100 times better than Clella Wood or any other dean in this position at IVC on any day of any week, month, or year…I, as a past candidate for the dean position, cannot help but honestly feel that [Clella Wood] was hired for the position not because she is knowledgeable and competent but because she is white.”
As always, Raghu offered no support for his accusation.
On Sept. 28, 1999, Raghu was deposed in connection with my ultimately successful 1st Amendment lawsuit against the district. In the course of the deposition, Raghu acknowledged that, despite repeatedly claiming to have received threatening e-mail, voice mail, and letters, he had not kept or printed the alleged e-mails, he had not recorded the alleged voice mail, and he had not kept the alleged letters. He had ZIP.
Despite his inability to document the threats he alleged, in 1999, the board voted to give Raghu a $200/month “security stipend.” He is still getting that money.
Later, Raghu sued the district for failing to protect him—after he lost a lawsuit he brought against me. In the end, the district gave him another $40,000.
In the above speech, Mathur seems to accuse Bob Deegan, among others, of sending him “threats.” During the 1999 deposition, my lawyer, Carol Sobel, pressed Raghu to explain the grounds of that charge:
CAROL: What about Bob Deegan? Did you make the allegation that he could be the source of these communications?
RAGHU: I may have mentioned his name.
C: Do you know Bob Deegan?
R: Yes. He worked at the college….
C: What were the anti-Mathur comments you believe he made that led you to conclude he might be the source of these communications?
R: Mr. Deegan has been pretty hostile to me in college meetings.
C: What were the comments that he made that caused you to believe that he was hostile to you in college meetings and [that he] might therefore be the source of these communications?
R: Well, on one occasion, in a meeting, he was [asking]…about if I were going to be a candidate for the permanent [president] job. This is when I was acting president. [He asked me] whether I was going to be a candidate for the permanent job. I said, “I don’t know.” I mean this was a college-wide meeting held within two or three weeks of my appointment as acting president. And that if I were offered the position, would I accept it….
C: What is it about that exchange that caused you to form the belief that Bob Deegan might be the source of these communications that you have identified as anti-Asian…?
R: It was just the manner in which he was asking the question in an extremely hostile manner.
C: Describe for me what you mean by that. What was it about him that caused you to form the conclusion that he was extremely hostile?
R: He was trying to humiliate me.
C: What was it about asking whether you intended to be a candidate for the permanent position that was intended to humiliate you?
R: He was trying to create an environment where I would be pressured to say, “No, I would not accept the position. I’m just here for the acting job.”
C: Why was that intended to humiliate you, in your perception?
R: Because I’m not aware of any such questions being asked by any—by someone like him or anyone else.
C: And that’s it? That’s the sole basis on which you reach that conclusion?
[District lawyer] DAVE LARSEN: I think that misstates his testimony.
C: Do you have any other facts to give?
In the course of the deposition, Carol repeatedly pressed Raghu for grounds for supposing that I or Kate or Bob were the source of the alleged “threats,” as he suggested, publicly, in May of ’98. Raghu offered no grounds except to say that we were “unfriendly” to him:
C: …I will ask a different question. Is it your contention that the individuals you have identified—Roy Bauer, Kate Clark, and Bob Deegan—may be the source of the letters you received in 1990 that you took to the sheriff’s department?
C: And on what do you form the belief that they may be the source of the 1990 letters?
R: There has been a group of faculty members who have not been friendly to me, and these individuals have maintained [a] certain distance or hostility toward me.
THE MORAL: if you are “unfriendly” to Raghu, or if you maintain a “distance” from him or exhibit what he views as “hostility” to him, you will soon be accused of a racist hate crime.