Saturday, September 29, 2007

Les Folies SOCCCD (Will Good triumph over Goo?)

What’s up this week at the South Orange County Community College District?

THE RISING NON-INSTRUCTIONAL EXPENDITURES FOLLIES. Both colleges (i.e., Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College) are forwarding their faculty hiring priority lists to the board of trustees for approval. As you know, attempts to address our “50%” problem (by law, at least 50% of our district’s spending must be on instruction, and we are dangerously close to the 50% line) might include hiring many more faculty, but there’s no use talking about that just yet.

Owing to recent and frantic scrutiny of our financial records, the district has found that it is not out of compliance with the “50% law” for 2006-07 after all. I’m told that we’re at something like 50.03%. Since we’ve been descending from 53% down to 50% in the last five or so years, and since the district and its colleges are essentially spending money now pretty much as they did during 06-07, we’ve got a big problem re the 50% law STILL.

The law (Ed Code §84362) gives to faculty the right to data regarding college/district spending, and so a formal request for those data has been made. District officials have responded and have expressed the intention to comply. The district crowd is pretty peevish about this.

It's hard to say when faculty will get the data.

DRACULA:

At one point, the district decided that our efforts to address the 50% problem would be led by DRAC—the District Resources Allocation Committee. But, now, the Chancellor has created a new committee for this purpose.

It has been dubbed DRACULA—informally, I assume. It’s nice to see that people still have a sense of humor in the good ol' SOCCCD.

I’m told that, very recently, DRACULA met for the first time. I’m hoping to be able to report DRACULA’s progress to you, but the group’s members are pretty tight-lipped.

Many faculty suspect that the 50% problem does not derive from spending patterns at the colleges. Rather, it derives from spending patterns at the DISTRICT. If that’s true, the Chancellor is exactly the kind of guy who can be expected to take steps to prevent anyone from knowing about it.

So, in a way, this is a game, and it’s fun. The faculty and the public want to know the facts, and the district (or the Chancellor) don’t want us to know the facts. Who will prevail? Will good triumph over goo?

We need to know why we spiraled downward from 53% to 50% in a brief period. If we don’t understand this event, we’re gonna be up Shit Creek, cuz the 50% thing is a serious law, not the usual state BS.

THE ACCREDITATION FOLLIES:

Monday night, the SOCCCD board voted 4/3 to include its nasty and inflammatory “response” verbiage in the already existing drafts of the Accreditation Midterm Reports.

You know about Accreditation, right? The ACCJC (of WASC) comes around every six years to determine how well each college is doing relative to established standards. Our two colleges are “accredited” (2004), but the Accreds keep saying that we need to work on some problems, such as administrative instability, trustee micromanagement, and a “plague” of despair—largely inspired by the Board Majority’s ruthless and abusive lackey, Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur.

But the trustees who dominate our board contemn the Accreditation process and the Accreds. Plus they’ve figured out that the ACCJC is essentially spineless. Naturally, therefore, they’ve been less than cooperative in the colleges’ efforts to satisfy the ACCJC that we’re working to overcome our problems.

At the August board meeting, the writers of the most recent Accreditation reports suddenly discovered that the district (Mathur and Co.) had written a “response”—to the Accreds and to faculty. At that eleventh hour, the Board decided to have the “response” verbiage incorporated into the reports. But the faculty who had labored on the Accred reports for four or five months had been careful to write honestly and carefully. The response verbiage, however, was neither honest nor careful. It was shit.

SLO-MO TRAIN WRECK:

At the August meeting, IVC’s Academic Senate President warned that she might not be able to sign off on the report if she were forced to include the district’s nasty and substandard verbiage. (See August meeting video [jump to 7.1].)

No matter. The Board Majority (Lang/Wagner/Fuentes/Williams) approved incorporation of the “response” into each college’s report.

In subsequent weeks, college Accred writers sought a form of “incorporation” that they could live with. Simply appending the “district response” or submitting it separately might be palatable. But Mathur acted to prevent that approach. He pushed for a form of “incorporation” that made signing off on the report an endorsement of the district’s unfortunate language.

At Monday’s meeting, the Mathurian editions were revealed. Again, faculty stated their objections. But on a vote of 4/3, the board approved these stinkoid versions. (See Sept meeting video [jump to 7.2].)

AND SO, starting late Monday night, it appeared that the two colleges would be forced to send Accreditation reports that are not signed by their chief authors or the faculty senate presidents.

Amazing.

"What does it mean? Will the heavens fall?" Such questions bounced all over the goddam walls.

BUT THEN: by midweek, the word had spread that, on the day after the board meeting, board president Dandy Dave "the quisling" Lang had a change of heart! Or perhaps he awoke to the terrible realization that signature-less reports would make him look like an *sshole.

So he set about to undo the mess that he and his nasty friends had created.

Meanwhile, the Saddleback College and the Irvine Valley College faculty senates met. Senators voted to direct their presidents not to sign the reports. The die was cast. Or not?

(At Thursday's IVC senate meeting, when the vote was cast, Mathur's inside man immediately got up and left to make his usual phone call. I don't know why we don't just come right out and say, "OK, Bowdler Boy. You can go call Raghu now. Give the fellow our love.")

Stay tuned. Things could get pretty. Or they could get ugly.

My money's on ugly. —CW

†P.S.:
Speaking of accreditation and Raghu's cronies, remember this?
“[The] Accreditation Self-Study Chair [Ray Chandos] 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 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.)

Updates on Jamal

For regular updates on Jamal Malone's condition, go to Updates. The site also indicates ways to assist the Malone family.

Jamal is a Saddleback College student who sustained serious injuries last week and is in a coma. (See earlier posts.) He appears to be receiving excellent care at Mission Hospital.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Rebel Girl's Poetry Corner: Because a fire was in my head

It's been a week where Rebel Girl has woken time and time again with a fire in her head. She's writing - not on the blog - but in that other place that still exists, that hazel wood. So - listen to Christy Moore sing, watch the dancer, read the Yeats:


"The Song of Wandering Aengus"

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.


When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.


Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.






More on Jamal Malone

.
FROM the OC Register: People asking why athlete was beaten: Saddleback College football coach says bad blood didn't seem to exist among players in the assault of Jamal Malone
The game was well on its way to a rout when Jamal Malone and Chad Duran walked onto the field, two first-year college football players trying to stand out amid the Saddleback Gauchos packed roster.

With the team leading Mt. San Jacinto by 38 points—on its way to a 52 to 0 victory—head coach Mark McElroy wanted to give all his players a chance to compete, no small feat on a roster than began the season with more than 140 people.

The Sept. 1 game was the last time Malone, 20, and Duran, 18, competed on the same field. Less than a month later an early morning melee has left Malone in critical condition, and Duran—along with three other individuals—facing assault charges.

Malone remained in critical condition Thursday as family, friends and community members try unravel the events surrounding the attack.

Police said the fight took place during an early Sunday morning party at the Promenade Apartments on Marguerite Parkway. Malone was fighting four other people, police said, when he was punched, fell and hit his head on the concrete. Malone lives at the apartments, but family members say the party was not at his home.

Police arrested Duran, Wallace Rodrigues, and Nigel Kawai, all 18, and an unidentified minor who are facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit great bodily harm. Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said that despite rumors to the contrary no baseball bats were used during the fight, pointing out that fists can be considered deadly weapons.

Much of the attention surrounding the incident has centered on the victim and the alleged attackers’ involvement in the football program. Rodrigues, was also briefly involved in the program, McElroy said, although he left before any games were played.

Saddleback officials today attempted to dispel rumors that the fight had anything to do with football, pointing out that Duran had left the team more than two weeks ago.

“I never saw any problems between those two ever,” McElroy said.

With an estimated attrition rate of 25 percent, Duran and Rodrigues’ departures were not unexpected, Athletic Director Tony Lipold said.

“It’s real competitive and they show up expecting to be the star they were in high school,” Lipold said. “It doesn’t always pan out.”….

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Saddleback student fights for life

In this morning’s OC Register: Saddleback student fights for life: Four arrested on suspicion of assault on football player:
Three days after receiving the early-morning phone call that every parent fears, Brett Malone is still in a state of disbelief over the beating that left his son Jamal fighting for his life, allegedly at the hands of two fellow Saddleback College students and two others.


Malone, 20, was in a coma and in critical condition at Mission Hospital on Wednesday night, his father said.



...Four people, including a minor, were arrested in connection with a Sunday fight at the Promenade Apartments on Marguerite Parkway, authorities said.


Police say the altercation took place after the four crashed an early-morning party in the area. Jamal Malone's apartment is at the Promenade, but family members don't believe the party was there. 


A fight broke out, possibly stemming from a previous dispute. During the melee Jamal Malone was punched, and he fell and hit his head on the pavement, said Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino.


Police arrested Nigel Kawai, Wallace Rodrigues and Chad Duran, all 18, and an unidentified minor. All posted bond and were released Monday, according to the Sheriff’s Department's online blotter. They could not be reached for comment. 


The suspects face charges of assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit great bodily harm, authorities said. If convicted, they face up to five years each in prison, Amormino said.


Jamal Malone, a sophomore at Saddleback, is a defensive back for the Gauchos. He had played at home Sept. 1 against Mt. San Jacinto College in a game his team won, 52-0. Malone had two tackles and broke up one pass. 


Duran played in that game as well, school sports officials said, but he has since left the team.


“It’s a very unfortunate situation,” said college athletic director Tony Lipold. “It’s really not a football issue; it’s a student issue.


“We’re worried about this kid coming out of it. We’re just praying for him,” he said. “This is a life-changing situation for all these kids. We’re just trying to give (Malone’s family) the support that we can in the most positive way we can.”


Mark McElroy, Saddleback head football coach, has spent a lot of time at the hospital with the family and said Jamal Malone is “a really fine young man.” 


He’s “a really solid team player willing to help the team in any way that he can,” McElroy said. “And he has a smile that will light up the room. He’s a strong young man with a strong spirit.”


The 2005 Tesoro High School graduate is in his first year of playing college football. He will be recognized during a moment of silence at Friday’s game....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The September meeting of the board of trustees—blow by blow

Trustee Nancy Padberg gave the invocation. It seemed to refer to the board, what with its references to “pettiness” and its hope that people would aim for “kindness” for once.

The only member of the public who chose to address the board was Steve Knoblock of San Clemente, who had come to urge the board to prepare the campuses for Virginia Tech-style violence.

How so? —By training students to throw books and chairs at “perpetrators.”

I’m not making this up. Honestly. (Go to Video. Jump to public comments.)

After Knoblock spoke, I expected laughter or snickering, but no. Instead, Trustee Tom Fuentes recognized the fellow and explained that he is a San Clemente city council member and a “community leader of considerable esteem.”

GOP's Knoblock: have "projectiles" at the ready
San Clemente must be one fucked up town.

During board reports, Trustee Bill Jay reminisced about the “Four Freshmen,” the latest incarnation of which recently warbled at Saddleback, I guess.

That’s a vocal group, right?

Don Wagner reported that he had gone to some event featuring that horse’s ass Dennis Prager. Prager’s address, said Don, was “rousing.”

ASKING FOR FORGIVENESS:

Board President Dave Lang noted that it is Yom Kippur. Accordingly, he asked for forgiveness, but, for my money, he wasn’t nearly sorry enough. He then explained that he had attended the recent 9-11 ceremony and had been “moved” by Sheriff “Gates’” speech.

Trustee Tom Fuentes wasted no time in correcting Lang: genuinely annoyed, he asserted that the sheriff’s name is Carona, not Gates.

Trustee Bill Jay stirred from slumber long enough to request that staff prepare a report that compares the amounts of reassigned time granted to instructors in community colleges across the state. Good idea. Didn't we already do all this last spring? I must be losing my mind.

ATEP:

David Hunt (of gkkworks) presented the “short-range plan” for ATEP, the district’s high-tech campus in Tustin. Our continued use of those 68 acres depends on the city’s confidence that we are making progress in its development. The “long-range plan” is the as-yet-undefined partnership now being negotiated with such entities as Camelot. The “short-range plan” is what we’ll be doing with the property in the interim, which, I gather, will be a period of years.

The short plan’s chief element appears to be demolition of buildings, the projected cost of which is about $7 million. The projected cost of the entire plan, not including some as-yet-to-be-determined elements (e.g., maintenance), is $9,231,610.

Hunt opined that this plan should be enough to satisfy the City of Tustin.

STUDY ABROAD:

You’ll recall that, in the past, Trustee Wagner has expressed dissatisfaction with efforts by Dean O’Connor, et al., to find cheaper “study abroad” programs to Spain than those that have been offered in recent years. Evidently, O’Connor has finally come through, though, I’m told, on the cheapy plan, students will have to bring their own liquor and contraceptives.


The board discussed Saddleback College’s $3,951,965 grant from the National Science Foundation for the center for “rapid prototyping” and whatnot. Wagner pursued questions the assumption of which seemed to be that the colleges—or Saddleback College in particular—are not doing enough to support ATEP, which has its own rapid prototyping program (actually, IVC's).

Wagner seemed annoyed by the answers he was getting. With an edge in his voice—come to think of it, there's always an edge in his voice—he said, “You’re not getting me.” He didn't want to hear about how Saddleback would move its program to ATEP when it ran out of room down south. He wanted more. President McCullough then said something like “we’ll look into that.” Wagner’s reaction (he had no time to respond verbally) was an expression that seemed to say, “Fuck you, college boy.”

Next, the board was treated to a presentation on “enrollment management," which described the colleges' successes in increasing enrollment/FTES. Vice Chancellor Andreea Serban explained that the district seemed to hit its enrollment peak during 2002-03 but then went into decline, only to trend upward again, though not up to the levels of five years ago. Evidently, this is a “common pattern.”

Serban (and later Mathur) noted that our gains in enrollment/FTES in recent years rest upon gains in Distance Ed (online courses). Without DE, we’d actually be trending downward.

Luddites beware.

Lang, briefly lapsing into intelligence, asked Andreea how our colleges compare with others in the county with regard to enrollments.

There was a terrible silence.

Turns out that, while we’ve experienced a modest 3% increase, some districts are reporting a 23% increase. Such figures, said Andreea, are dubious. No doubt they are inflated by college marketers, she opined. On the other hand, she added, when the dust settles, it will remain true that other districts are doing better than we are.

Andreea tried hard to put lipstick on that pig—she said something about how steady our progress has been compared to these other districts—but, in the end, all that could be heard in the hall was a lonely “oink.”

Lang then asked the inevitable follow-up question: why are other districts growing faster than ours?

Andreea offered two points: something about “programmatic offerings” at these other districts (I’ve got to get her to explain that to me) and the relative “aggressiveness” with which other districts pursue marketing. It is well known, of course, that some local districts poach in areas outside their own. We, however, seem to eschew such tactics.

I seem to recall that Trustee Fuentes has expressed strong reservations about joining in poachery.

Student Trustee Reynard then piped up. He suggested that students choose a college and course “because of the instructor.” He seemed to be saying that our district’s instructors could be better than they are. “There’s room for improvement in every profession,” he added. Some sort of mechanism of “constructive criticism” of instructors would help “the enrollment rate,” he said.

Reynard has been spending time with Tom Fuentes. He's very photogenic.

Trustee Marcia Milchiker suggested that the district should pursue a more “student friendly” calendar. As you know, a year or so ago, IVC pressed for exactly such a change, but (as I recall) Saddleback College was cool to the idea.

In the course of her remarks, Marcia, who is known for her way with words, noted that students “walk with their feet,” whereupon Mr. Wagner looked into space, donned a quizzical expression, and mouthed those same words. I nearly burst out with laughter.

Trustee Tom Fuentes asked Serban whether our efforts to gather data attend to the “realities” of different parts of the county. He seemed to be alluding to sensitive demographic factoids concerning ethnicity, income, and the like. Serban said, no, we haven’t attended to such facts.

Chancellor Mathur jumped in to assert the need to pursue 2-3 new programs per year (per college, I think). In general, we need to be “more pro-active,” he said. We need to consider sending more counselors to the high schools. That’s what other districts do.

THE ACCREDITATION MIDTERM REPORTS:

After a brief break, the board finally got to item 7.2: the Accreditation Focused Midterm Reports. Chancellor Mathur explained that the versions of the reports then before the trustees included the district’s “response,” which, you'll recall, had been discussed at the last board meeting. He was careful to note that the action before them concerned specifically inclusion of that response, not approval of the reports.

At the last board meeting, the Board Majority seemed to say that they wanted the Response verbiage to be “incorporated” into the already-existing drafts (that had been written by the colleges), but that direction is open to interpretation. In subsequent weeks, the college writers were pressured specifically to weave the Response verbiage (to which they objected, owing to its inflammatory character and lack of documentation) into their own reports—in contrast to simply adding the Response verbiage, making clear that it was the district’s, not the colleges’.

Essentially, the Chancellor was pressuring the college writers to add this unwelcome and incompetent verbiage with the idea that they would sign off on the resulting report as their own product. This, naturally, they were strongly disinclined to do.


Last night, IVC Academic Senate President Wendy Gabriella spoke. She did not repeat her points of August. She did say, however, that the “lack of process” involved in this latest incorporation episode has created much disagreement on the board and that it illustrates the very lack of process and collegial consultation that the Accreditors had noted in their criticisms of the district/colleges.

The reports are supposed to explain the “substantial progress” being made by the colleges. But, clearly, this episode is evidence of a lack of progress in the above regard. (I do believe she was hinting that she could not in good conscience sign the report.)

Wendy noted that, last week, the Chancellor had given IVC 24 hours to make the demanded changes to the report, thus preventing key persons from participating in an important event in which IVC was hosting other colleges.

Williams bloviated. He said that the board doesn’t respond to faculty issues, so why should the faculty respond to board issues.

Wagner said he echoed Williams’ sentiments. He explained that the board made a point of not interfering with the colleges’ efforts in writing the reports (until the recent “response” episode) exactly because it feared being accused of micromanagement.

He explained that the “response” document had been sent to all of the trustees two months ago, and so trustees could not now claim to have been left out of the process whereby that document was produced (as expressing the view of the board). If trustees fail to avail themselves of opportunities to participate in the process, then too bad. “This document was fully vetted,” he said.

(He was referring, among other things, to the complaint, expressed by Board Minority members (Padberg, Jay, Milchiker) at the August meeting, that some trustees were kept out of the loop in this regard and in other regards (by the Chancellor and by the Board Majority).)

Trustee Nancy Padberg asserted that “obviously, there is a severe divide on this board.” This episode, she said, is ironic and “symptomatic” of the problems that this board has. She bemoaned Mr. Wagner’s “personal attacks” and “swipes” against members of the board minority.

Marcia Milchiker defended herself against Wagner’s claim that she (and others) had simply dropped the ball. She said that it had never been made clear to her that the “response” document was to be included in the Accreditation report as the trustees’ view. She spoke of the appropriateness of seeking consensus within groups and between groups over time. But no such effort at attaining agreement had occurred among the trustees and between the board and other constituency groups re the “response.”

She noted that the board never scheduled a meeting or workshop devoted to arriving at a “response.” No effort was ever made to clarify how the trustees’ response was being produced. She explained that, when she was board president, she wrote Accreditation language on behalf of the board but she always made sure to get each trustee's consent before going forward.

But that never happened here.

Marcia explained that she would not object if the Board Majority simply appended the response document as theirs (not the minority’s). Nothing is preventing them from doing that.

The response verbiage, she said, attacks faculty and even attacks the accreditors. We are, she said, “shooting ourselves in the foot.”

MATHUR'S CURIOUS ACTION:

Marcia insisted on making one further point. Starting at the end of February, she said, Chancellor Mathur evidently took action to discontinue the automatic forwarding of college emails to the trustees. This, she said, left trustees in the dark concerning important college meetings. The Chancellor actually took this step without informing the college presidents.

Good grief.

When, very recently, she discovered this, she became “furious.” The Chancellor, she said, was “trying to keep trustees in the dark.”

Trustee Lang responded by noting that the subject of the accreditation report had been agendized for several meetings and that trustees had “ample opportunities” for input. He defended the “response” verbiage as “appropriate.” He asserted that trustees had both the opportunity and the “responsibility” to suggest ideas regarding the “response” draft that had been circulated.

At this point, Lang made an interesting admission. Evidently, he was unaware that the college accreditation report writers continued to object strongly to the “incorporation” process. As far as he knew, everything was fine.

I looked at Mathur. He sat there, silent.

Wagner then got hot the way he does. He ridiculed the notion that the Board Majority was attempting to sneak things past the other trustees. He produced a memo establishing when and how trustees were informed of the alleged process whereby the trustees were developing their response. The memo referred to “incorporation” of the response into the midterm reports.

At one point, Wagner asked Mathur if Trustee Milchiker had ever offered any input to him concerning the response draft.

“None,” barked Mathur.

Wagner got pretty wound up, eventually declaring that “you [Marcia] chose to stay in the dark yourself!”

Williams called for the question. That failed owing to trustee confusion.

Padberg responded to the memo to which Wagner had referred. She noted that she and the other trustees had no way of knowing that “incorporate” meant weaving the response verbiage into the colleges’ reports as had now been done.

At one point, Mathur asserted that they were “making too much of a deal out of all of this.” That evoked open laughter from Padberg and Jay.

Mathur then got very serious. “Some trustees,” he said, “—and it breaks my heart to say this—some trustees are not reading the board agenda and materials!”

Mathur then used one of his favorite phrases. Marcia, he said, is “inviting micromanagement” by getting those college emails.

Gosh.

Saddleback College Academic Senate President Carmen Dominguez clarified that the faculty do not object to inclusion of the district “response” into the report. Rather, they objected to “the way it was done.” Carmen explained the continual and routine efforts made by the faculty authors of the reports to gain input and run things by all groups in the college. These authors' writings really do have the support of the entire college. They really do represent consensus.

If, she added, the board votes 4 to 3 in support of the new drafts, then the board is the one constituency group that is fractured.

She then explained that she agreed with Wagner that the district response should be included as an attached element. The faculty had no objection to that.

Well, that was about it. You’ll get a chance to see the discussion of Item 7.2 yourself when Tracy Daly makes it available online. I do recommend that you view it. (Go to Video.)

One more thing: I got the sense that Wagner and Lang conceived the nature of “incorporation” of the district’s response differently. If the Board Majority had embraced Wagner's "and here's the district's response" conception of incorporation, then, I think, everyone would have been on board. But no. Ruthlessness and bullying prevailed, and now we've got a big frigging mess.

These people oughta get organized.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pyrotechnically speaking


"Hey, where are those fireworks you promised!" shouted someone to me during the break, two-thirds into tonight's meeting of the South Orange County Community College District board of trustees.

By that point, the trustees had seemed tired and maybe sick-and-tired, too. They'd provided some peevitude, but no real fireworks—though, reportedly, three or four faculty had provided plenty of fire and brimstone during the earlier 3:30 "board forum," also held at Saddleback College.

"The night's not over yet," I responded. I knew that, after the break, the board would turn to the most promising item of the night, pyrotechnically speaking.

"I think maybe that forum fracas must've taken the fight out of 'em," said a friend.


Well, apparently not. I'll give a blow-by-blow tomorrow. For now, let's just say that, when the board got to the Accreditation Midterm Reports, it revealed itself to be seriously fractured and fractious. In the end, the body voted 4 to 3 (Lang, Williams, Wagner, Fuentes vs. Milchiker, Padberg, Jay) in favor of the misshapen drafts that were the products of weaving the district's rude verbiage into the already-existing college Midterm reports.

Will the faculty who actually wrote those reports sign off on them? Don't think so.

It's quite a mess. But of course!

Accreditation as seen from within a chamber—of commerce

An article in this morning’s Inside Higher Ed"Altering Accreditation — But How?"—casts some light on the rhetoric that the SOCCCD Board Majority has spouted against our own accrediting agency (the ACCJC):
…Although the topic was far from front and center in the commission’s report, the Education Department has put changes in accreditation at the fulcrum of its campaign to force higher education institutions to be more accountable to the public. The department has turned up the heat on accrediting agencies in the department’s process for recognizing and approving accreditors, and unsuccessfully sought new federal rules aimed at forcing the agencies to collect and report significantly expanded information on how well colleges they oversee educate students, the latter effort largely stymied by Congress to date.

Anyone who has been perplexed about the Bush administration’s reasons for using accreditation as a tool to achieve its larger goals in higher education may have found some answers Friday at a session sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington. The half-day event, “Higher Education Accreditation: Evaluating the System and Possible Alternatives,” was not exactly an even-handed review of the accreditation system: The nine participants were heavily tilted toward critics who have spoken or written of accreditation’s flaws, with a lone speaker, Judith S. Eaton of the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, who could be seen as representing the views of accreditors, though she herself is not one.

Four of the speakers were closely tied to the [Ed. Secretary] Spellings Commission, including its chairman, Charles Miller, who, freed from whatever constraints he felt while leading the federal panel, made clear a disdain for accreditation that had been muted in the panel’s final report. Miller…gave a keynote address in which he described accrediting agencies as self-regulatory bodies that are “fundamentally and inherently biased” toward the colleges they supposedly judge, operate in secret, and “lack true oversight or public accountability.” The accreditation system holds colleges to outmoded definitions of quality that discourage experimentation by traditional institutions and make it difficult for colleges with new instructional or business models to develop.

“Accredition is the primary barrier to innovation in American higher education,” Miller said. “Accreditation is the biggest barrier to real competition. Accreditation is the biggest barrier to real change.”

Arthur J. Rothkopf, another Spellings Commission alumnus who was president of Lafayette College and is now a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was one of several panelists who characterized the system of regional accreditation as a way for traditional colleges and universities to shield themselves from making necessary changes….
…..
But while she was thrust into the role as the lone defender of higher education and accreditation at the AEI’s stacked session, [Judith S.] Eaton conceded nonetheless that significant change was necessary from within.

“Higher education itself needs to be realistic,” Eaton said. “There is a low level of trust in social institutions ... and there are continuing demands for greatly enhanced accountability and transparency. Higher education is going to remain essential and it’s likely to remain expensive, and that’s going to continue to drive consumer-like behavior and scrutiny about our enterprise. Accreditors need to continue to work on accountability ... and we need it sooner rather than later.”
…..
Jeff Sandefer, an investor who has helped to found an independent M.B.A. program in entrepreneurship, predicted that the “monopoly of regional accreditation is sure to crumble like the Berlin Wall” as college spending and prices continue to rise and students realize that they can get a higher quality and more cost-effective education at institutions that operate outside the traditional higher education structure….
ALSO in this morning’s Inside Higher Ed:
● The American Association of University Professors has issued an open letter to university leaders urging them not to cancel controversial speakers scheduled on their campus. The letter, based on AAUP policy defending such speakers, is designed to strengthen the resolve of administrators as the 2008 election season approaches and political campaigns will likely be looking at who is and isn’t speaking on campus.

● Competing bills to deal with student complaints about textbook prices have arrived on the governor’s desk in California, the Los Angeles Times reported. Both bills would require more disclosure about changes made from one edition to another, but one bill (backed by student groups) would require more than the other (backed by publishers).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Heads up! Monday’s board meeting

IT'S ANYONE'S GUESS what will happen at tomorrow’s meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees. It could be a slugfest—or just a slug.

DEALING WITH A TREND:

As you know, in recent weeks, the district has scrambled to deal with its apparent failure to comply with the “50% law” (requiring that at least 50% of expenditures be on instruction).

Possibly, the scramblage has paid off, and, owing to newly uncovered minor accounting errors and the like, we may be at 50% for instructional expenditures (06-07). Whew!

But if such is the case, the district has been steadily moving downward toward the 50% line for about five years, and so the emergency is by no means over. That is, over the last five or so years, the proportion of spending on the non-instructional has steadily risen. What's up with that?

The word in the trenches is that unusually much has been spent in recent years at the district level. Many faculty seem convinced that expenditures on ATEP in particular—the new facility has 8 full-time employees—go a long way in explaining our shift toward non-instructional expenditures.

Some of that expenditure, of course, traces back to decisions made by Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur.

Expect Mathur to do what he always does when he’s in the hot seat: point a finger of blame away from himself and, if possible, toward his “enemies.” No doubt, therefore, he’ll wield that nasty finger of his against “reassigned time,” the (universal) practice of releasing some instructors from some proportion of their teaching duties so that they may perform other crucial tasks—tasks best performed by academics—such as chairing committees (think “courses,” “academic affairs”), chairing departments, leading the Faculty Senate (which, as you know, is by law a key player in college governance), and the like.

Essentially, opposing Reasigned Time (RT) is tantamount to opposing faculty participation in college and district governance. Why would anyone oppose such participation? —Why, because faculty are liberals and secularists and unionists! Plus, things oughta be run "top down."

Thus saith the Neanderthal.


If Mathur points a finger of blame at faculty and RT, that will be some seriously red herring. It is true, of course, that reassigned time is a non-instructional expense. But there's no way that the RT of a handful of instructors can account for our 50% troubles. And, again, RT is essential to faculty participation in governance, as it is understood by the state legislature.

BUT NOW GET THIS. The district has for years inflated the expense of RT (a casualty of late-90s Board Majority spin) by calculating the cost of a (full-time) instructor’s reassigned time as a percentage of their pay. That is, if Smith gets 20% RT, then the cost of his RT is calculated by the district as 20% of his regular salary.

Ka-ching!

But, in truth, the cost of Smith’s RT is “backfill,” i.e., the cost of hiring a part-timer to cover that 20%.

That cost is much lower. It's not rocket science.

MEANWHILE, as you know, for over a month, Chancellor Raghu Mathur and the Board Majority have pressured the colleges to incorporate obnoxious, substandard elements into the (nearly due) Accreditation Midterm Reports, and that struggle continues. Expect fireworks when the board gets to item 7.2.

ANOTHER PERFUNCTORY BOARD FORUM:

The board has decided to hold another half-assed “board forum,” which they’ve added to their Monday schedule. The thinking seems to be: “hell, since we’ve gotta be here anyway, let’s get one of these forums out of the way, too.”

Surely that was the thinking behind the board forum recently held at IVC. It was scheduled immediately before IVC’s 9-11 commemoration event, which trustees seem to feel obliged to attend. At that forum, except for the board president, trustees barely said a word. They occasionally looked at their watches. They mailed it in.

THE CLOSED SESSION:

Monday’s CLOSED SESSION will include the evaluation of numerous administrators:

A. Public Employee Appointment, Employment, Evaluation of Performance, Discipline, Dismissal, Release (GC 54957)

1. Public Employee Appointment/Employment
2. Public Employee Evaluation of Performance
a. Deputy Chancellor [POERTNER]
b. Vice Chancellor, Technology and Learning Services
c. Vice Chancellor, Human Resources [KING]
d. President, Saddleback College [MCCULLOUGH]
e. President, Irvine Valley College [ROQUEMORE]
f. Provost, Advanced Technology and Education Park [KOPECKY]
g. Vice President, Student Services, Saddleback College
h. Director, Information Technology, Program Analysis
i. Director, Research & Planning
j. Dean, Counseling Services & Special Programs, Saddleback College
k. Dean, Fine Arts, Saddleback College
l. Dean, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Saddleback College
m. Dean, Liberal Arts, and Leaning Resources, Saddleback College
n. Dean, Bus. Sci., Workforce & Economic Dev., Saddleback College
o. Dean, Advanced Tech. & Applied Sciences, Saddleback College
p. Dean, Health & Human Svcs. & Emeritus Inst., Saddleback College
q. Dean, Math, Science & Engineering, Saddleback College
r. Dean, Career Tech. Educ. & Workforce Dev., Irvine Valley College
s. Dean of Business & Social Sciences, Irvine Valley College
t. Director, CACT
u. Director, Advanced Technology Center
v. Assistant Dean, Health Sciences, Human Services & Emeritus
Institute, Saddleback College
It is entirely possible that the board will feel that they can discuss our looming “50% law” difficulty in closed session—on the grounds that the matter falls under the agenda heading, “potential litigation.” If so, they’d better be careful. As you know, the SOCCCD board, and trustee John Williams in particular, have a history of violating the Brown Act, which severely limits the range of discussions that may be relegated to "closed" session and which requires that all matters discussed in closed session be properly agendized/described.

THE OPEN SESSION:

The OPEN SESSION is supposed to convene at 6:30 p.m., but it seems likely that the closed session will run late, delaying start of the open session.

It is important for people to attend these board meetings! (Faculty, are you listening?)

The fact is, trustees are not potted plants. With one or two exceptions, trustees respond to the audience in the way that sentient beings do. Those of us who regularly attend board meetings suspect that, were, for instance, faculty to routinely maintain a strong presence at meetings, board decision-making that affects faculty would be, well, more informed.

5.0 GENERAL ACTION ITEMS

Among these will be:

5.1 Saddleback College: Study Abroad Program to Salamanca, Spain [Spring ’08]
5.2 Saddleback College: Study Abroad Program to Brazil [Fall ‘07]


I’ve heard that Trustee Fuentes detests Brazil nuts, so this could get interesting.


5.4 SOCCCD: Board Policy Revision: BP 4000.2 – Electronic Communication


— The revision was compelled by a recent successful student lawsuit against the district, which yielded a court decision that the existing policy was unconstitutional. (For review and study.)

6.0 DISCUSSION ITEMS

6.2 SOCCCD: Enrollment Management
Discussion regarding enrollment management strategies and successes at Saddleback College, Irvine Valley College, and the Advanced Technology and Education Park.



7.0 INFORMATION ITEMS

7.1 ATEP: Submittal of Short Range Plan to the City of Tustin
7.2 Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College: Accreditation Focused Midterm Reports
7.3 Saddleback College, Irvine Valley College: 2006-07 Release Time and/or Stipends: Actual expenditures for release time and stipends as identified in the 2006-07 budget.
[“Actual”? maybe not.]
…..

Cause and Effect

WHAT HAPPENS when the vital and wonderful duplicating center closes at 4:30 due to staffing shortages?

The walk-up copier machines are generally filled with paper by staff before they leave.

When the duplicating staff leaves early, consider what happens to that supply of paper, say by about 6:00 p.m.?

Remember that the copier machines are locked. So additional paper cannot be supplied by faculty, only by the duplicating center staff.

Know how desperate instructors become when faced with a locked copier machine empty of paper and their impending classes are dependent on what they imagined they would copy and distribute!

Know how some of them run over to A-100 only to find the copier machine there in a similar state—empty and locked.

Know how some of them become inventive and begin to copy their class handouts (if possible) via their office computers—only to discover that the amount of paper and toner in the two faculty copiers is also limited.

Know that this happens on Thursday, about 6:15 p.m., a time during the week when, except for the evening staff, the campus resembles that cliche—a ghost town.

—Albeit a ghost town with two empty, locked copiers.

Not so fast! Rethinking fall opening

Today's report  — up again USC reverses robust fall reopening plans, asks students to stay home for online classes LA Times  ...

Invited to IVC—this time a notorious admitted HOMOPHOBE

—Conservative radio host, Michael Reagan


Here at IVC, natch, we have an Accounting Department. It happens to support something called the Guaranteed Accounting Program: GAP4+1.

According to the department website,

This unique pathway program — a partnership between Irvine Valley College (IVC) and Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) — will enable you to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in four years and a master’s degree with one more additional year (thus GAP4+1).

Among the Master's degrees available through the program, we're told, are "Accountancy and Finance; Taxation; or Accountancy."


We're also told that "The number of students accepted into this program in any one year is limited so be sure to apply early."


Great. The early bird gets the worm.


Evidently, the good people of the GAP4+1 program have recently seen fit to invite someone to speak at Irvine Valley College (in late April): Michael Reagan.




The Republican Party of OC just loves IVC (from their website)

That's right. They've invited Reagan family embarrassment Michael, a man of, let's face it, little or no distinction.


He was expelled from his High School and he washed-out of college. Eventually, he went into clothing sales.


In those early years, he made some curious friends:

In 1965, the FBI warned Ronald Reagan that in the course of an organized crime investigation it had discovered his son Michael was associating with the son of crime boss Joseph Bonanno, which would have become a campaign issue had it been publicly known. Reagan thanked the FBI and said he would phone his son to discreetly discontinue the association. (From Wikipedia's Michael Reagan.)

[“F.B.I. agents in Phoenix made an unexpected discovery: According to records, ‘the son of Ronald Reagan was associating with the son of Joe Bonnano [sic].’ That is, Michael Reagan, the adopted son of Reagan and Ms. Wyman, was consorting with Bonanno’s son, Joseph Jr. The teenagers had bonded over their shared love of fast cars and acting tough.” ... "Joseph Jr. was not involved in organized crime, but he was spending time at his father’s home... [I]n October 1964, he had been arrested in connection with the beating of a Scottsdale, Ariz., coffee shop manager. ... Following routine procedure, F.B.I. agents in Phoenix asked agents in Los Angeles to interview Ronald Reagan for any information he might have gleaned from his son. The investigation, after all, was a top priority. But Hoover blocked them from questioning Reagan, thus sparing him potentially unfavorable publicity. Declaring it 'unlikely that Ronald Reagan would have any information of significance,' Hoover instead ordered agents to warn him about his son’s worrisome friendship." - New York Times]

Later, there were legal problems:

In 1981 Reagan was accused, but later cleared of felony violations of California securities laws in court documents. The Los Angeles County District Attorney alleged that Reagan had baited investors into unlawful stock arrangements, and selling stocks despite the fact that he was not legally permitted to do so. The D.A.'s office investigated allegations that Reagan improperly spent money invested by others in a company, Agricultural Energy Resources, he operated out of his house in a venture to develop the potential of gasohol, a combination of alcohol and gasoline. Investigators said they were also checking whether he had spent up to $17,500 of investors' money for his living expenses. The district attorney's office cleared Reagan of both charges later that year. [“The investigators said they became interested in Michael Reagan after being informed that he had steered customers to Mr. Carey {Richard Francis Carey, who "was selling worthless stock,"} had accepted a $4,000 check from one investor, and that, in at least one meeting of potential investors, his relationship to Ronald Reagan had apparently been exploited as a promotional tool for the stock.” - New York Times]
On September 20, 2012, Reagan and two associates were sued by Elias Chavando, a fellow partner, for allegedly withholding Chavando's interest in an e-mail business built around the Reagan.com domain name. In 2015, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Reagan liable for conversion and breach of fiduciary duty. Reagan and his business partners were ordered to pay $662,500 in damages.
(From Wikipedia's Michael Reagan.)

Michael tended to smash things (cars, etc.) in his youth. Well into his 40s, he tells us, he was full of "rage" (owing, he explains, to having been molested) and he treated his family badly.


Then, natch, he found the Lord.


Plus, owing to his relationship to his pop, President Ronald Reagan, Michael grabbed the brass ring and became a talk-show host on one or two right-wing radio networks. Blah, blah, blah, he said.


In his latter-day career as mediocre right-wing bloviater and Pious Christian, Michael Reagan has said some unfortunate things:

In April 2013, in a syndicated column, Reagan accused American churches of not fighting hard enough to block same-sex marriage. He wrote that, in regards to arguments supporting gay marriage, similar arguments could be used to support polygamy, bestiality, and murder.

. . . In June 2008, conspiracy theorist Mark Dice launched a campaign urging people to send letters and DVDs to troops stationed in Iraq which support the theory that the September 11 attacks were an "inside job". "Operation Inform the Soldiers", as Dice has called it, prompted Reagan to comment that Dice should be executed for treason. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, a liberal/progressive media criticism organization, asked Radio America at the time to explain whether it permits "its hosts to call for murder on the air".

. . . He spoke out in support of profiling in October 2014. In a piece called Profile or Die, he wrote that it would be left to citizens to defend themselves if there were an attack against them by terrorists such as the Islamic State. (Wikipedia)

Golly. It's pretty clear that Michael Reagan is just another "former total fuck-up, now reborn and pious."


Intellectually, he's a low-rent Limbaugh, and that's pretty low.


I mean, when he gets here, just what is he gonna say? That liberals are evil? That his dad was a saint? That freedom and democracy are good? That you oughta put your life in the hands of the Lord? That you don't need to go to college? That homosexuality is a sin?


Only in Bizarro World would Michael Reagan be judged a good speaker to invite to a college.


* * *

Meanwhile, IVC's Guaranteed Accounting Program folks have only wonderful things to say about the fellow:


Michael Reagan

The eldest son of former President Ronald Reagan and one of the most dynamic and sought-after public speakers, Michael Reagan’s commitments to public service and the conservative vision his father championed are second to none, making him the natural heir to the Reagan conservative legacy. Michael serves as chairman and president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation, which seeks to advance the causes President Reagan held dear and to memorialize the accomplishments of his presidency. Michael’s career includes hosting a national conservative radio talk show syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks, championing his father’s values and principles in the public policy forum, commentating and appearing on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Good Day LA, CNN, and Fox News, and contributing to Newsmax Television. Also an accomplished author, Michael has many successful books including On the Outside Looking In, Twice Adopted, and his latest book, Lessons My Father Taught Me.

Well, sure. But he's also the worst kind of insubstantial, opportunistic "celebrity." And he's not an intellectual; he's a propagandist. He's a minor player in our sad era of noisy and loutish conservative anti-intellectualism and demagoguery.


—And he's a homophobe, among other things. Or so he says.


WAY TO GO, GLENN


IVC Prez Roquemore shares Reagan's enthusiasm for the Pussy-grabber-in-chief.

Recent columns by Michael Reagan


ALL IS FAIR IN THE WAR ON TRUMP (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, December 13, 2018

…Hillary continues to skate free, unbothered by the FBI or any federal agency for the dirty things she and the Obama administration’s injustice department did during the 2016 election to try to defeat Donald Trump.

But not General Flynn.

His life was ruined by the FBI bosses who set out to nail him – and did….

TRUMP VS THE CRAZIES (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, January 11, 2019

…Some of the country’s most desperate liberals in the media actually argued that the president’s televised pitch to the country for congressional funding for a stronger border fence should not be carried live by the networks.

Why? Because they said the president lies too much and they wanted to be able to fact-check his speech beforehand….

TRUMP SAYS ‘ADIOS’ TO BIRTHRIGHT CITIZENSHIP (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, November 1, 2018

…Ending birthright citizenship, better known as dropping the anchor baby, is the most significant illegal immigration reform the President Trump has announced. With a single executive order, he unplugs a beacon that attracts scammers from the world over. He also attacks a visible manifestation of the “foreigners first” mindset that has infected the State Department, and the rest of the federal bureaucracy, since the 1960s….

THE PARTY OF EVIL (Cagle.com) - by Michael Reagan, October 11, 2018

…Now, thanks to the Democrats’ ugly smear campaign against Judge Kavanaugh, Republican senators like Susan Collins and Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders need security guards 24/7.

It’s not the new Supreme Court Justice who’s evil.

It’s the Democrat Party and the nasty “progressives” who’ve taken it over and are willing to say or do anything or destroy anyone to bring down President Trump.

Maybe this is not something new. Maybe the Democrats have always been this evil….

About Michael Reagan:


A separate peace* (LA Times, August 31, 2004) – by Anne-Marie O'Connor

For years, Michael Reagan, the older son of Ronald Reagan, felt unloved and unwanted. His parents divorced when he was 3. Two years later he was packed off to a boarding school where, he says, he was so lonely he cried himself to sleep. Sexually abused at age 7, he felt shame and self-loathing, compounded by Bible passages that convinced him he would never go to heaven.

He grew up so angry he smashed a childhood bicycle and later took a sledgehammer to his new car. Well into his 40s, his "rage came to a full boil," and he often yelled at his wife and young son.

Then, he says, he found salvation through the love of his family and his "adoption" by God. He embraced conservative values and became a syndicated talk-radio host who today tells listeners: "I am homophobic."….

Roquemore and U of Phoenix

From Clueless IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore smiles as he makes nice with the enemy DtB, 8-26-14

Vice President, Western Region, Workforce Solutions/University of Phoenix, Chuck Parker, President, Irvine Valley College, Dr. Glenn R. Roquemore

Members of the Irvine Valley College community just received this gushing email from the President:

Irvine Valley College Signs Memorandum of Understanding with University of Phoenix

Irvine – Irvine Valley College (IVC) administration, faculty and staff held a formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Phoenix, Inc. (University) on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.

Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore said, “This partnership will expand the many transfer opportunities available to the IVC students and staff. One of the major benefits of the MOU is the tuition discount."

Irvine Valley College students transferring to University of Phoenix into an undergraduate baccalaureate degree program … will be considered as having satisfied the general education requirements for the breadth of the liberal arts degree program….

IVC students get 10% off Phoenix tuition, which is way pricey.

Evidently, President Roquemore is not aware that entities such as the U of Phoenix exist to make huge profits by taking advantage of students who typically receive federally insured loans, putting them in serious debt. Those students, upon graduating, typically fail to find the work they were expecting and often default on their loans, forcing the taxpayer to pay. (It's a massive bubble that, one day, will pop.)

You’re fine with all that, are you Glenn? You're a Republican, aren't you? Yeah. I see you smiling with those vets you claim to love!

Alas, the "predatory for-profits" problem is especially egregious in the case of Vets, who pay their way via the new GI Bill:


GI Bill funds failing for-profit California colleges

(Desert Sun)

The ever-clueless Glenn R

Over the last five years, more than $600 million in college assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has been spent on California schools so substandard that they have failed to qualify for state financial aid.

As a result, the GI Bill — designed to help veterans live the American dream — is supporting for-profit companies that spend lavishly on marketing but can leave veterans with worthless degrees and few job prospects, The Center for Investigative Reporting found.

. . .

Financial records analyzed by CIR show that California is the national epicenter of this problem, with nearly 2 out of every 3 GI Bill dollars going to for-profit colleges.

The University of Phoenix in San Diego outdistances its peers. Since 2009, the campus has received $95 million in GI Bill funds. That's more than any brick-and-mortar campus in America, more than the entire 10-campus University of California system and all UC extension programs combined.

. . .

The school's large share of GI Bill funding reflects more than just the number of veterans enrolling. The programs are expensive. An associate degree costs $395 a credit, for instance — nearly 10 times the cost at a public community college.

The University of Phoenix won't say how many of its veterans graduate or find jobs, but the overall graduation rate at its San Diego campus is less than 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and more than a quarter of students default on their loans within three years of leaving school.

Those figures fall short of the minimum standards set by the California Student Aid Commission, which dispenses state financial aid. The commission considers either a graduation rate lower than 30 percent or a loan default rate of more than 15.5 percent clear indicators of a substandard education.

No such restrictions govern GI Bill funds. And nearly 300 California schools that received GI Bill money either were barred from receiving state financial aid at least once in the past four years or operated without accreditation, CIR has found.

. . .

Of the $1.5 billion in GI Bill funds spent on tuition and fees in California since 2009, CIR found that more than 40 percent — $638 million —went to schools that have failed the state financial aid standard at least once in the past four years.

Four of those schools were University of Phoenix campuses, which together took in $225 million….

An Enemy In Common? The Case Against For-Profit Colleges

(Cognoscenti [NPR Boston])

… As Americans, we should all be concerned that veterans are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous profiteers. As taxpayers, we should be aware that we are paying for this disservice. Approximately 85-95 percent of the for-profits’ revenue comes from taxpayer-supported benefits….

For-Profit College Investigation--Is the New GI Bill Working?: Questionable For-Profit Colleges Increasingly Dominate the Program

([Senator] Harkin newsletter)


…Senator Harkin's HELP Committee investigation found:

. . .

  • Most for-profit colleges charge much higher tuition than comparable programs at community colleges and flagship State public universities. The investigation found Associate degree and certificate programs averaged four times the cost of degree programs at comparable community colleges. Bachelor's degree programs averaged 20 percent more than the cost of analogous programs at flagship public universities despite the credits being largely non-transferrable.
  • Because 96 percent of students starting a for-profit college take federal student loans to attend a for-profit college (compared to 13 percent at community colleges), nearly all students who leave have student loan debt, even when they don't have a degree or diploma or increased earning power.
  • Students who attended a for-profit college accounted for 47 percent of all Federal student loan defaults in 2008 and 2009. More than 1 in 5 students enrolling in a for-profit college-22 percent-default within 3 years of entering repayment on their student loans....

Hey-Diddly-Ho, Neighbor!

Oldie but Goodie [2012]: See Senator Harkin’s For-Profit College Investigation: U of Phoenix

Glenn Roquemore, the Pacifica Institute & women's "primordial nature"

Glenn Roquemore, the Pacifica Institute & women's "primordial nature" May 21, 2013

Delivering factoids for

Turkish anti-feminists

Here’s a curious factoid. I came across the following press release, evidently dating back to April of 2008. It was posted by the “Pacifica Institute,” which has a dozen or so offices, including one in Orange County (Irvine):


Glenn R. Roquemore-Irvine Valley College President Speaks at PI - Orange County

Today Pacifica Institute hosted Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore. Before this luncheon forum in Irvine , New Zealand Consul General Rob Taylor and Irvine Mayor Beth Krom were the keynote speakers. Consul General Rob Taylor spoke about Welcoming Diversity as a Path to Peace and Mayor Beth Krom’s topic was How to Create a Balanced Community. Dr Glenn Roquemore’s topic is the Role of Community Colleges in Higher Education.

Dr. Glenn Roquemore is President of Irvine Valley College….

Dr Roquemore gave very important statistics of the Community Colleges in California….

You’ll recall that, in the past, we’ve kidded Roquemore over his tendency to approach speaking always as an occasion to dispense the merest of statistics as though they were astonishing jewels. "Two percent of our students," he'll say, "sport a vestigial tail." Huh?

What’s the matter with ‘im? Dunno.

But just who are these “Pacifica Institute” people?

According to PI’s website,

Pacifica Institute was established in 2003 as a non-profit organization by a group of Turkish-Americans. Pacifica Institute designs and executes projects covering social welfare, education, poverty, and conflict resolution issues in collaboration with scholars, activists, artists, politicians, and religious leaders-communities….

. . .

The Institute seeks to …[engage] in a variety of civic activities and [seeks to invite] others to generate and share insights, thereby removing barriers to confidence-building and trust….

Gosh, it sounds as though that illiterate pseudo-educator, Raghu Mathur, may have had a hand in writing this stuff.

Elsewhere, PI presents “Frequently Asked Questions about Pacifica Institute and Fethullah Gülen.”

One naturally assumes, then, that Mr. Fethullah Gülen and his ideas are important to PI. Sure enough, in the Q&A, Gülen and his movement are central:

Fethullah Gülen

Q: How is the Pacifica Institute involved with the Gülen movement?

A: Some of the founders and donors of Pacifica Institute are participants of the so-called Gülen, or Hizmet movement. Pacifica Institute was inspired by the movement’s philosophy and goals….

. . .

The Gülen/Hizmet movement is a values-driven social movement and following a philosophy that advances interfaith dialog, education and community service as tools to build a better and more harmonious society. The movement was inspired by the philosophy and teachings of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish scholar, author and advocate….

. . .

Q: Who is Fethullah Gülen?

A: Fethullah Gülen is a Turkish scholar, preacher, thinker, author, opinion leader, education activist, and peace advocate who is considered by many to be one of the world’s most influential religious thinkers. He is regarded as the initiator and inspirer of the worldwide civil society movement, the Gülen Movement, which is committed to education, dialogue, peace, social justice, and social harmony….

Well, I’ve done a little looking, and this Gülen fella is mighty controversial, in some circles at least.

I skimmed a couple of sites, which suggested that Gulen is, among other things, a conservative and a vocal opponent of feminism (although I ask that readers judge for themselves based on his writings--and the writings of his mouthpieces).

So I went to the Fethullah Gülen website. There, I searched the term “feminism” and that brought me to a page with links to various relevant essays, evidently by Mr. Gülen, including The Gülen Movement: Gender and Practice.

I clicked on that. That essay includes this passage:

Although he promotes equality between the sexes, Fethullah Gülen's views on gender can indeed be described as complementary. He sees women and men as having equal value but inheriting different roles and characteristics due to physical and psychological differences. He classifies men as "physically stronger and apt to bear hardship" and women as "more compassionate, more delicate, more self sacrificing" (Gülen 2006: 1). Although he does state that women can be involved in any field of work he idealizes the mother as the pure educator (Gülen 2006: 2) implicitly implying that the man should be the family provider. This may open up for critique on behalf of Western feminists or scholars of religion and gender. According to this relatively new academic discipline[,] gender is a social construction. Human beings are born with different sexes, but social roles and expectations of fulfillment of these are constructed and emphasized by the norms that prevail in society.

Another link takes one to an essay entitled Women Confined and Mistreated. Here are some excerpts:

As a reaction to all the injustice done to women … a movement to claim women's rights emerged, particularly in the West. Even though this movement is considered an awakening of women, it occurred as a reaction and was doomed to imbalance like all other reactionary movements and ended up in extremism. Although the starting point was to defend women, in time it deviated from the original aim to the degree of being full of hatred towards men and to feeling a grudge against them. The movement named feminism, which was born from the idea of protecting women and providing them with rights equal to those of men, has only left behind longing, sorrow, and wreckage as a movement of discontentment….

. . .

According to Islam, women's role in this world is not only restricted to doing the housework and raising children. In fact, as long as it does not conflict with her primordial nature or with observing religious requirements, she is responsible for carrying out the duties that befall her in every area of society and making up for shortcomings where men fall short in social life. However, this reality was ignored in time, even among Muslims; rough understandings and crude thinking upset this system based on women and men's mutual assistance. After this upset, both family life and the social order were also upset. Different peoples' perception of their own historical heritage as a part of Islam, their seeing and reflecting their folklore and traditions as essentials of religion, and making judgments pertaining to this issue at certain periods all resulted in the usurpation of women's rights; they were pushed into a more restricted area day by day, and in some places they were totally isolated from life without consideration of where this issue leads. However, the source of mistaken thoughts and deviations in this matter is not Islam whatsoever. The mistakes belong to those who misinterpret and misapply the religion. Such mistakes in practice must definitely be corrected.

On the other hand, while correcting these mistakes, approaching the issue from a feminist standpoint will upset the balance again and an opposite extremism will replace the former. For instance, just as it is very ugly to see women as merely child-bearing objects and is insolence towards them, it is equally unbecoming and unnatural to build a society where women are unable to bear and bring up the children they wish for, or for a woman to feel a need to rebel against marrying and to avoid bearing children in order to show that she is not a machine. As a woman is not a dirty dish, her place at home is not confined to the kitchen with the dirty dishes. However, a woman who claims to have no household responsibilities and thereby turns her home to a quarters for eating and sleeping is far from being a good mother, a good teacher, and a good spiritual guide to her children.

Besides all this, it is another form of oppression to make women work under difficult conditions, such as mining and road-building. It contradicts human nature to push women into heavy tasks like agricultural manual labor, or military field operations, and other harsh pursuits, just for the sake of proving their equality with men; it is nothing but cruel torture. It shows ignorance of women's qualities and conflicts with their primordial nature. Therefore, just as an understanding which imprisons women at home and takes them completely away from social life is absolutely incorrect according to Islam, likewise, depriving women of financial support, preventing them from bearing and raising children in security, and forcing women into the labor force to do uncongenial work is also oppressive. A woman, like a man, can have a certain job as far as her (and his) physiology and psychology are taken into consideration; but both women and men should know that a good life consists of sharing and division of labor. Each should assist the other by doing tasks in compliance with their nature.

Yikes.

I’m in no position to judge this “take” on feminism relative to the various Muslim communities (e.g., in Turkey) and the possibility of discourse within them. But it’s pretty plain that Gülen’s philosophy, as expressed here, is antithetical to some of the core tenets of Western feminism, broadly understood. It seems clear that Gülen is not likely to gain many adherents or followers among contemporary Westerners, with their commitment to the ideal of equality, as they understand it at least, between the sexes.

The Wikipedia article on Gülen is alarming—if, that is, it can be trusted. It asserts that

...Gülen's views are vulnerable to the charge of misogyny. As noted by Berna Turam, Gülen has argued:

"the man is used to more demanding jobs . . . but a woman must be excluded during certain days during the month. After giving birth, she sometimes cannot be active for two months. She cannot take part in different segments of the society all the time. She cannot travel without her husband, father, or brother . . . the superiority of men compared to women cannot be denied." [35]

Berna Turam, Northeastern

Wikipedia is quoting Berna Turam, a serious academic at Northeastern U. She herself seems to cite a work from 1996 entitled Fethullah Gulen Hocaefendi ile ufuk turu (Aktuel kitaplar dizisi). It is written in Turkish.

One should be careful to note that the superiority that Gülen is discussing is physical, not moral, or at least that's how I read it. Even so, his remarks are mighty offensive, at least to these Western ears.


Gosh Glenn, you really oughta be more careful who you hang out with. Philosophically, these Gülenites are a problem, at least relative to most of our community on these shores.

I'll see if I can shed more light on the Pacifica Institute and what it means for the likes of Glenn Roquemore and Beth Krom (a Democrat) to be hanging out with 'em.

Votes of "no confidence" - 1999

from the Dissenter's Dictionary, Dec. 3, 1999


MATHUR, RAGHU P.



In April of 1997, in an action later judged a violation of the Open Meetings law, the Board Majority appointed chemistry teacher and campus joke Raghu P. Mathur as Interim President of Irvine Valley College. At the time, Mathur had no experience as a full-time administrator. Five months later, through a process that violated board policy, and amid strong faculty opposition, the BM appointed Mathur permanent president. That action, too, was later voided owing to violations of the Brown Act. Two years later, despite his miserable record, which included a vote of no confidence and the palpable contempt of nearly all IVC faculty and staff, the board majority renewed Mathur's contract, giving him a raise and a $200 a month "security stipend."

Mathur was hired as an instructor in 1979, and he quickly established a reputation as a schemer and liar who would stoop to anything in order to secure an administrative position. Owing to his manifest unsavoriness, however, that ambition was consistently thwarted both inside and outside the district.

His intrigues soon gained him the hatred of Ed Hart, IVC's first president. In 1986, Hart retired, and the college adopted a "faculty chair" model, partly for fiscal reasons. Soon, Mathur "ruled" the tiny school of Physical Sciences as its chair. During the "chair" era, he was, without doubt, the chief abuser of that office, engaging in endless machinations while arranging a lucrative schedule that netted him a salary far in excess of the college president's ($124,000 in 1996-7).

During this period, Mathur continued to seek administrative positions. When he was passed over, he played the race card, charging everyone in sight with "discrimination," apparently on the sole grounds that he had not been selected.

Mathur's habit, as chair, of circumventing the governance process eventually yielded an official censure of him by IVC's "Instructional Council' in April of 1994. Earlier, the IC membership had all agreed not to go outside the process--particularly with regard to the selection of the IVC presidential search committee chair. During an IC meeting in March (of 94), Mathur was asked whether, despite the agreement, he had presented a petition, urging the selection of a particular faculty member, to the chancellor. He answered that he had "not forwarded" a petition to the chancellor or anyone. In fact, he had and, apparently on that basis, the chancellor did appoint the faculty member as (co)chair.

When this came to light in April, Mathur was censured. According to the minutes of the April 5 meeting, "Instructional Council had agreed that no one will work outside of the IVC governance structure and agreed-upon processes. They felt that Raghu had lied to the Council...[One member] made a motion to censur Raghu Mathur for lying to the Instructional Council regarding the petition and the presidential search process and for misrepresenting not only Instructional Council, but also the faculty...Raghu Mathur stated that he did not lie to the Instructional Council. He said that he was asked if he had forwarded the petition to the Chancellor and he said he had not. He did admit, however, that he had shown the petition to Chancellor Lombardi...Raghu felt that the members of Instructional Council were making too big of a deal out of the situation...The question was called and the motion passed with 8 ayes, 3 noes, and 4 abstentions."

Classified employees, too, have at times found it necessary to complain about of Mathur's conduct. For instance, in August of 1995, IVC administration received a letter from Leann Cribb, Executive Secretary (and formerly secretary for the School of Physical Sciences), in which she wrote: "Mr. Mathur routinely revises facts and manufactures innuendo to suit his objectives." During the January '98 Board meeting, classified employee Julie Ben-Yeoshua explained that Mathur was the reason she was seeking employment elsewhere: "Since you first appointed Raghu Mathur as the interim president, the atmosphere at IVC has changed drastically; morale is in the gutter...[Mathur's] inability to tell the truth is so natural that I have come to gauge everything he says and writes by believing the complete opposite...."

By the mid-90s, Mathur had come to regard Terry Burgess, then-VP of Instruction, as his nemesis, and, in 1996, he tried to discredit Burgess with the board. In the spring of '96, a student sought to enroll in a chemistry course without enrolling in the concurrent lab, and the matter came before the chair--Mathur. Though the student provided documentation proving that she had done the equivalent work at UCI, Mathur denied the request, whereupon the student asked for a review of the decision by the Office of Instruction. Mathur agreed to go along with the Office's decision.

Later, however, he accused Burgess of signing the student's admittance card despite non-approval by the instructor. Mathur convinced his school to send a resolution of complaint to the board (and also to the senate and the union), appending the student's transcripts, without her permission, an action that violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and district policies. When then-IVC president Dan Larios learned of this, he requested an opinion from the district's attorneys regarding the legality of Mathur's action. The opinion, dated March 18, 1996, indicates that Mathur acted improperly, violating FERPA and board policy 5619. Larios was fed up.

Realizing that Larios now planned to deny approval of him as chair of his school, Mathur, as per usual, scrambled to lobby board members for support. On March 29, Larios met with Mathur; he explained that he had lost confidence in Mathur and that Mathur had better "change." In the end, Larios wrote a memo (May 14) expressing his serious reservations about Mathur's leadership, owing to his repeated circumventing of established processes and his violations of board policy, and placed him on probation. If there were any further violations of process, wrote Larios, Mathur would be removed as chair.

In the meantime, Mathur asked the senate to censure Burgess. It declined to do so, citing Mathur's misdescription of crucial facts. Larios, troubled by Mathur's misrepresentations, sent out a memo explaining that Burgess had in no sense acted improperly.

In December of '96, the Board Majority era began, and Larios sensed that it was time to move on. Normally, the VP of Instruction—Terry Burgess--would serve as interim president, but the BM blocked his selection, and, in March, Lombardi was chosen as a sort of compromise. But in April, Frogue presented another one of Mathur's petitions--this time, an “anonymous” petition urging Mathur's selection as president. On that basis, Mathur became IVC president.

Mathur's outrages while president are too numerous to recount here. Suffice it to say that in the early months of 1998, the IVC academic senate instituted a Special Inquiry into “abuses of power.” By April, it became necessary to abandon the investigation, owing to the number and the complexity of the charges against Mathur. Said the committee’s chair: “It’s like bailing water out of the Titanic with a tea cup…Every time we put an allegation to bed, another one jumps up” (Voice, 5/7/98). Soon thereafter, Mathur received a 74% vote of no confidence by his faculty.

Mathur has sought to rule through intimidation, punishing his critics in every way available to him. In early November of 1999, the IVC academic senate released the results of a survey of full-time faculty (78% participated). 90% disagreed with the statement, "I can express my opinion about issues at the college without fear of retribution or retaliation." The 90% figure will likely go up soon, for Mathur intends to fire an untenured instructor--a critic--for his involvement in the act of naming the plot of dirt next to the Life Sciences greenhouse. It was named the "Terry Burgess garden."


Huge Vote Against College Chief (LA Times, May 18, 2004 | Jeff Gottlieb)

Faculty in the South Orange County Community College District overwhelmingly voted no confidence Monday in Chancellor Raghu Mathur.
Of the full-time professors at Irvine Valley and Saddleback colleges who cast ballots, 93.5% voted in favor of no confidence, and 6% were against the union-sponsored measure. One person abstained.
Out of 318 faculty eligible, 246 -- 77% -- voted, according to the district faculty association….

Clueless IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore smiles as he makes nice with the enemy - August 26, 2014

Vice President, Western Region, Workforce Solutions/University of Phoenix, Chuck Parker, President, Irvine Valley College, Dr. Glenn R. Roquemore

○ Members of the Irvine Valley College community just received this gushing email from the President:

Irvine Valley College Signs Memorandum of Understanding with University of Phoenix

Irvine – Irvine Valley College (IVC) administration, faculty and staff held a formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Phoenix, Inc. (University) on Wednesday, August 20, 2014.
Irvine Valley College President Glenn Roquemore said, “This partnership will expand the many transfer opportunities available to the IVC students and staff. One of the major benefits of the MOU is the tuition discount."
Irvine Valley College students transferring to University of Phoenix into an undergraduate baccalaureate degree program … will be considered as having satisfied the general education requirements for the breadth of the liberal arts degree program….

○ IVC students get 10% off Phoenix tuition, which is way pricey.

○ Evidently, President Roquemore is not aware that entities such as the U of Phoenix exist to make huge profits by taking advantage of students who typically receive federally insured loans, putting them in serious debt. Those students, upon graduating, typically fail to find the work they were expecting and often default on their loans, forcing the taxpayer to pay. (It's a massive bubble that, one day, will pop.)

○ You’re fine with all that, are you Glenn? You're a Republican, aren't you? Yeah. I see you smiling with those vets you claim to love!

○ Alas, the "predatory for-profits" problem is especially egregious in the case of Vets, who pay their way via the new GI Bill:


GI Bill funds failing for-profit California colleges

(Desert Sun)

The ever-clueless Glenn R

Over the last five years, more than $600 million in college assistance for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has been spent on California schools so substandard that they have failed to qualify for state financial aid.
As a result, the GI Bill — designed to help veterans live the American dream — is supporting for-profit companies that spend lavishly on marketing but can leave veterans with worthless degrees and few job prospects, The Center for Investigative Reporting found.

. . .

Financial records analyzed by CIR show that California is the national epicenter of this problem, with nearly 2 out of every 3 GI Bill dollars going to for-profit colleges.
The University of Phoenix in San Diego outdistances its peers. Since 2009, the campus has received $95 million in GI Bill funds. That's more than any brick-and-mortar campus in America, more than the entire 10-campus University of California system and all UC extension programs combined.

. . .

The school's large share of GI Bill funding reflects more than just the number of veterans enrolling. The programs are expensive. An associate degree costs $395 a credit, for instance — nearly 10 times the cost at a public community college.
The University of Phoenix won't say how many of its veterans graduate or find jobs, but the overall graduation rate at its San Diego campus is less than 15 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and more than a quarter of students default on their loans within three years of leaving school.
Those figures fall short of the minimum standards set by the California Student Aid Commission, which dispenses state financial aid. The commission considers either a graduation rate lower than 30 percent or a loan default rate of more than 15.5 percent clear indicators of a substandard education.
No such restrictions govern GI Bill funds. And nearly 300 California schools that received GI Bill money either were barred from receiving state financial aid at least once in the past four years or operated without accreditation, CIR has found.

. . .

Of the $1.5 billion in GI Bill funds spent on tuition and fees in California since 2009, CIR found that more than 40 percent — $638 million —went to schools that have failed the state financial aid standard at least once in the past four years.
Four of those schools were University of Phoenix campuses, which together took in $225 million….

An Enemy In Common? The Case Against For-Profit Colleges

(Cognoscenti [NPR Boston])

… As Americans, we should all be concerned that veterans are being taken advantage of by unscrupulous profiteers. As taxpayers, we should be aware that we are paying for this disservice. Approximately 85-95 percent of the for-profits’ revenue comes from taxpayer-supported benefits….

For-Profit College Investigation--Is the New GI Bill Working?: Questionable For-Profit Colleges Increasingly Dominate the Program

([Senator] Harkin newsletter)


…Senator Harkin's HELP Committee investigation found:

. . .

  • Most for-profit colleges charge much higher tuition than comparable programs at community colleges and flagship State public universities. The investigation found Associate degree and certificate programs averaged four times the cost of degree programs at comparable community colleges. Bachelor's degree programs averaged 20 percent more than the cost of analogous programs at flagship public universities despite the credits being largely non-transferrable.
  • Because 96 percent of students starting a for-profit college take federal student loans to attend a for-profit college (compared to 13 percent at community colleges), nearly all students who leave have student loan debt, even when they don't have a degree or diploma or increased earning power.
  • Students who attended a for-profit college accounted for 47 percent of all Federal student loan defaults in 2008 and 2009. More than 1 in 5 students enrolling in a for-profit college-22 percent-default within 3 years of entering repayment on their student loans....

Hey-Diddly-Ho, Neighbor!

Oldie but Goodie [2012]: See Senator Harkin’s For-Profit College Investigation: U of Phoenix