Saturday, December 6, 2008

Meanwhile, Fuentes continues to grease his tiny sprocket

Yesterday, I ran into a friend, and we got to talking about the politics of the district. He said he was struck by how parochial it all is.

Yeah, it’s parochial. And corrupt, too.

It's corruptarochial.

The ugly board-and-chancellor leadership of the SOCCCD is representative of the county’s creepy combo of parochialism and Karl Rovian ruthlessness and old-time machine politics. At district or college events, officials—the DA, the County Sheriff, county supervisors, mayors, police chiefs, congressmen—come and go. Every single one of ‘em is a Republican, and, usually, they’re a card-carrying member of Team Fuentes.
Lots of ‘em—DA Tony Rackauckas, Congressman Gary Miller, (former) Sheriff Mike Carona, et al.—are manifestly corrupt.

Trustee Tom Fuentes, of course, was the chair of the local party—and kingpin of the OC machine—for twenty years. He’s no longer chair or kingpin—he seems to have handed his scepter to Mike Schroeder—but he’s still very connected and he continues to nurture his Republican farm system (attractive young men in ties; they relax at the spa down at the Balboa Bay Club). The fellow is notoriously conniving, mean-spirited, and ruthless. Some say he stole that liver that he got transplanted into him a few months ago. Stole it from a Democrat.

Well, no, but Fuentes has turned our district and colleges into a revolving door of Republican officials and patrons--we’ve got cronyism, patronage, and all the rest. Fuenteanism has infected our foundations, our hiring, our honors, and so on. These assholes even renamed their conference hall the "Ronald Reagan room" for chrissake.

Back in March of 2003, the OC Weekly’s Matt Coker chronicled some of our local color as follows:

Anyone who has attended meetings of local boards, councils and commissions is used to the superfluous public ass-kissing elected officials give one another. Taking such manufactured passion to new depths is the South Orange County Community College District board of trustees, which governs Saddleback and Irvine Valley colleges. At a recent meeting, board president Don Wagner paused at one point to congratulate trustee Tom Fuentes for being re-elected to a 10th term as Orange County Republican Party chairman. Fuentes had earlier toasted fellow trustee John Williams for being sworn in as Orange County's new public administrator—the part-time elected official who oversees conservancies for feeble-minded folks who can't care for themselves and have no next-of-kin. But what Fuentes did next says a lot about Orange County Republicans, county government and that particular school board: he congratulated fellow trustee Nancy Padberg for being appointed to Williams' professional staff. The same board awarded a plum district administrative job to the trustee Padberg replaced—even though her qualifications were questionable. The funny thing—not funny ha-ha, but funny as in ironic—is Williams was first swept into his trustee seat as a reformer who would protect South County taxpayers by ending rampant cronyism on the part of faculty and administrators. Dissident trustee David Lang has long complained of cronyism practiced by Fuentes, Williams, Padberg, Wagner and Dorothy Fortune—Republicans who cast identical votes so often you'd think they trained at the old Soviet Politburo. We would have asked Padberg if she foresees any conflicts, but she was too busy nominating her new boss Williams to a seat on the California Community College Trustees board of directors.

Lately, here on Dissent, we’ve been following a minor aspect of the machine—namely, the availability of valuable cash prizes and other perks for local GOP Bozos. Trustee (and OC Public Administrator) John Williams’ curious lodging expenses (over $500 a night) at conferences that he attends as trustee in such places as Tampa, Orlando, and Palm Springs—well, something doesn’t add up here, and I’m determined to get to the bottom of it. But it isn’t easy, ‘cause these Republicans stick together and protect each other.

For instance, when this matter came up during the November meeting of the SOCCCD board, board president Don Wagner—you guessed it, another Republican—went out of his way to defend Williams and the value of the information that he brings back from his Florida conferences.

That was absurd on its face. Even Wagner knows that Williams is too stupid to understand anything he hears at one of these community college trustee cluster-f*cks.

My favorite fragment of the Mean Machine is the way that Fuentes inserted former Sheriff Mike Carona into the life of the colleges/district. When, a few years ago, Larry “Dolt” King anointed Carona as “America’s Sheriff,” Fuentes wasted no time getting Mikey named Irvine Valley College’s “Hometown Hero.” Ever after, one could find Carona showing up for Veterans’ and 9-11 ceremonies at the college, looking very pious and righteous and upright.

Naturally, at every opportunity, I pointed out that Carona is manifestly corrupt and so are the rat bastards he continue to sing his praises. To the bitter end, Fuentes presented Mikey as God's gift to law enforcement. Literally.

Well, nowadays, the Mikester is being tried for corruption. It's the gift that keeps on giving. According to this morning’s Times (Witness tells how donors to former Sheriff Michael Carona got reserve badges),

An Orange County businessman testified Friday that five people received sheriff's reserve badges in exchange for contributing $5,000 each to the campaign of former Sheriff Michael S. Carona.

The testimony came in the sixth week of a federal corruption case that centers on accusations that the former sheriff sold off the powers of his office for thousands of dollars in cash and gifts and conspired to hide political donations that exceeded county contribution limits.

On Friday, government witness Gabriel Nassar said he made a $100 bet with Carona and former Assistant Sheriff George Jaramillo during Carona's first term that he could raise $25,000 by selling sheriff's reserve badges for $5,000.

After being informed of the $1,000 local contribution limit by Carona and Jaramillo, Nassar said, he told all five people that each of them had to come up with separate checks totaling $5,000.

"It was a simple bet," he said.

Nassar said Carona and Jaramillo came to his Lake Forest business afterward to thank him. He said he asked them to pay up the bet, and that one of them -- he said he didn't recall who -- pulled a $100 bill out of his pocket. He said Carona and Jaramillo signed it: "We will never doubt you again."

The jury was shown two pictures taken that day, one with all three men holding up the $100 bill....

(See also the OC Reg’s Carona trial: Businessman tells of money-for-badge wager.)

It's all part of Tom Fuentes' Orange County.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The December board meeting: wall-to-wall Republicans


It’s been a busy day. After my morning class and lunch with a friend, I headed down to the district for the December meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees—scheduled bizarrely for Friday afternoon.

As usual, the meeting was held in the "Ronald Reagan board of trustees room."

The open session finally got started at about 1:45, with clerk Tom Fuentes reporting the non-renewal of a dean’s contract, effective June of 2009. (Rearranging of the deck chairs on the SS ATEP?)

Trustee Dave Lang gave the invocation, which included a reference to our nation, which, he said is “the greatest country in the world.”

The “Honorable” Bill Campbell, one of the county supes, was on hand to swear in the recently reelected Tom Fuentes, Dave Lang, Bill Jay, and John Williams. As soon as he finished with that, Campbell booked.

He's a Republican, you know.


IVC’s Frank Pangborn, accompanied by tinny recorded music, sang Neil Diamond’s “America.” The less said about that, the better.

Next, the board launched into its yearly “organizational meeting,” and, luckily, that produced no changes. Whew!

The vote for Wagner and Williams to continue as Prez/Vice Prez was 6 to 1, with Nancy Padberg casting the sole dissenting vote. “Thank you all, or most all,” said Don Wagner.

Mathur gave Wagner some dumb paperweight in honor of his leadership over the last year. Wagner didn’t seem to want the damned thing.

When they got to setting the calendar for the year, Fuentes noted that “three of us” on the board are on the OC Republican Central Committee, and that could cause some conflicts. I looked around the room and wondered what it would be like coming to board meetings and not having to endure wall-to-wall Republicans.

During public comments, three speakers objected to the rejection of Saddleback College’s student government budget at the last board meeting. Trustees wanted students to spend more on scholarships, etc.


Bob Cosgrove, Prez of the Saddleback College Academic Senate, declared that, by tabling approval of the “study abroad” trip to Peru at the last board meeting—Fuentes carped that the trip was too expensive and demanded more information—the board had in effect “stopped the trip.” He said that the deadline for something or other concerning the trip was “today,” and so there you are.

Bob objected to the trustees' grilling of student government leaders and hoped that trustees would at some point offer an apology to them. Plus Bob also went on record as approving the recommendation to increase trustee stipends (per meeting) to from $400 to $750, although I think he was being crafty. The recommendation was triggered by a rise in FTES. Well, yeah, so there's more work for faculty, too.

During board reports, trustee John Williams described his stay at yet another conference—this one in Anaheim two weeks ago. Milchiker expressed her discomfort with the “excoriation” of student government leaders at the last meeting. Surely this kind of grilling, she said, should occur away from TV cameras.

Lang seemed to refer to some poor recent fiscal decisions, but I don’t know what he was referring to. (I’ll have to look into this.)

For his report, Chancellor Raghu Mathur lost his composure, fuming over Bob Cosgrove's remarks about trustee questioning of student leadership. Mathur defended the trustees, noting that the latter have consistently asked the questions they asked. “We need to take the trustee comments seriously!” he exclaimed.

At one point, he looked directly at Bob and fumed that the board does not need to be “lectured” by—well, Bob, I guess. “It’s insane,” he said.

Well, no, it's not.

“You never talk to me,” said Goo, looking accusingly at Bob. He then turned to the Peru trip, and, once again, looking at Bob, he declared that the trustees don’t need to be lectured to about the importance of these issues to taxpayers!

Then, abruptly, Raghu added, “Happy Holidays.” That got a smile out of Wagner, who sensed that, for once, he wasn’t the rudest asshole in the room. "Thanks, Raghu," he seemed to say.

The Institutional Effectiveness report went well. Upon its completion, Trustee Fuentes noted that the number of managers and administrators hasn’t increased in recent years, which, he said, is a testament to the fine leadership of the district.

Well, no, it isn't. I guess Tom forgot that, for years, Mathur ignored the 50% Law (which requires that instructional spending exceed non-instructional [including administrative] spending], placing the district in legal jeopardy and precipitating a rush to hire 38 instructors all at once. And yet, at IVC, deans are spread much too thin. That's some leadership.

As per usual, the board voted unanimously to grant pay to trustees who had missed recent board meetings.

Item 6.1—the study abroad trip to Peru—was pulled from the agenda. It was unclear what this meant for the fate of the program. Bob had said that, now, the trip is off; but others were singing a different tune. Dunno.

Item 6.6—the recommendation to up trustee compensation per board meeting from $400 to $750—was pulled by the Chancellor so that the matter could be “researched” further.

Being a trustee is supposed to be a public service, right? Well, these meetings last about 5 hours, including the closed session. So, at $750, that's $150 per hour. Plus they get paid even when they don't show up. Then there's their $16K benefits package.

Gee willikers! That's some public service!

Item 7.3 was the “monthly financial status report,” which Mathur took as an opportunity to wag his finger at—well, not sure who—about how, fiscally, things really suck and will get way worse. He sure hoped, he said, that everyone was on top of this and not living in “la-la land.”

Whoever Raghu’s intended audience was, he sure does hate‘em. He was oozing contempt.

That's leadership.

Mathur made a point of mentioning the appearance of the head of the United Auto Workers at the recent hearings concerning the auto industry. He noted that union’s willingness to make “concessions.”


Fuentes purred. He licked his chest hairs.

“Even Barney Frank, a liberal,” was talking about the need for restructuring, said a particularly ugly Mr. Goo.

The audience winced.

Eventually, we got to item 7.4, the notorious “trustee expenditure report.” Padberg, who had requested the report, said that she had not had enough time to go over this information with the staff who had assembled it, and so she advised bringing the matter back in January.

That was about it. Send all cards and letters to Raghu P. Mathur.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The latest on "salarygate"

Picking up on our recent reporting, today, Marla Jo Fisher of the OC Register covered the board’s potential action (at tomorrow’s board meeting) of increasing their stipend from $400 to $750. See College trustees consider raising their own pay 67%.

Marla reports that “Chancellor Raghu Mathur, who put the item on the agenda, wouldn’t discuss it and referred calls to the district’s public information office.”

That person (Tracy Daly), says Marla, issued a statement:
“The district’s FTES … is now over 25,000. As mentioned in the agenda item, “Education Code Section 72024 provides that in any community college district in which the …FTES for the prior college year exceeds 25,000, each member of the Governing Board, who actually attends all meetings held by the Board, may receive a compensation for his/her services a sum not to exceed $750.00 in any month.”
Marla says that she emailed the trustees asking how they planned to vote on this item tomorrow, but only Tom Fuentes responded, explaining that he had not read the item and so he “couldn’t say” how he would vote on it.

As it turns out, the stipend that SOCCCD trustees receive (for attending meetings) is relatively low by the standards of contiguous districts:
At the North Orange County district… trustees are paid $787.50 per month and also are eligible for health care benefits. ¶ Coast district trustees, who run Coastline, Orange Coast and Golden West colleges, get paid $1,008 per month, PIO Martha Parham said.
Hmmm. Aren’t they violating Ed Code 72024 at these districts? I mean, aren't they exceeding the limit of $750 a month? Or do I read it wrong?

My guess is that, tomorrow, our trustees will argue that this “raise” will merely bring their pay up to the standard among districts in the area, which appears to be true.

Ah, yes, but one of the arguments made by the union for significant pay increases for faculty is that, as things now stand, faculty pay has fallen below the standard set by local districts.

So I hope union reps will be ready to make that point tomorrow, if it becomes appropriate.

I was hoping to interest Marla in covering the peculiar case of trustee John Williams, who, if we can believe the agenda report, evidently routinely spends $500 or more a day (of taxpayer money) just for lodging while at conferences in such places as Tampa and Palm Springs.

Marla did hint to me that she’s interested in that story. We’ll see.

The Morning Matinee: Prop 8 - the Musical

Proposition 8, the musical (click here)

H/T to MJF over at the OC Register's College Blog.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The district ponies up more than $3,000 for John Williams' six nights at hotels in Palm Springs & Tampa

Yesterday, I noted two or three interesting items agendized for Friday afternoon’s meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees (See agenda--a large pdf file). Item 6.6 is the Chancellor’s recommendation that the trustees’ monthly stipend be nearly doubled, from $400 to $750 a month.

Tsk, tsk.

Item 7.4 is a report of trustee expenses. As I explained yesterday, trustee John Williams stands out among trustees with regard to expenses. Whereas trustees Fuentes, Padberg, Wagner, Lang, and Jay spent nothing on conferences (transportation, lodging, etc.) and trustee Milchiker spent $4,523.00, trustee Williams spent $15,555.00.


The details of Williams’ conference expenses are occasionally interesting. Williams attended 9 “conferences." The interesting stuff is in red.

1. CCL CONVENTION. In November of 2007, Williams attended the Community College League’s annual convention in San Jose. His lodging (at the Fairmont) cost $540.20. It was a three-day convention.

2. CCFA CONFERENCE. Williams next attended January’s 4-day Community Colleges Futures Assembly conference in Orlando, FL. His stay there cost the district $956.20, which makes sense, I suppose, if he stayed for the entire conference. I have no idea. (I'm told that Williams has a brother in Florida.)

His car rental cost the district $327.87.

3. DINNER MEETING. In February, Williams attended some sort of dinner meeting in Irvine, which cost the district nothing beyond registration.

4. CHRONICLE TECHO FORUM. Late in February, Williams attended the Chronicle Technology Forum, a three day conference (Feb. 24-26, 2008) at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay (in Tampa, FL).

This cost the district $1,540.00 for lodging.

How do you spend $1,540.00 on three nights at the Grand Hyatt, where rooms (per the event) go for $215/night?

His car rental cost the district $573.01.

5. EDUCAUSE. Williams next attended Educause’s Fifth Annual Western Regional Conference, March 31–April 2, 2008 (InterContinental Mark Hopkins, San Francisco). It is hard to read, but the chart seems to say that Williams’ stay cost the district $885.32. As far as I can tell, the rooms cost $225/day. That’s $675 for three days. Add $94 for tax, and you’ve got $769.50. Hmmm.

6. CCLC CAPITOL DAY #1. In April, Williams attended CCLC’s Capitol Day in Sacramento, which is described as a “one-day” event. Somehow, “lodging” cost the district $782.75.

How do you spend $782.75 on one night at a hotel in freakin' Sacramento?

7. CCLC TRUSTEES CONFERENCE. Next, in May, Williams headed for Palm Springs for the CCLC’s Annual Trustees Conference, a three-day event. Lodging was at the Hotel Zoso, where rates seem to run from $165-249/night.

Nevertheless, Williams cost the district $1,531.70 for “lodging.” How is that possible?

8. DINNER MEETING. Next (May 7), Williams went to another low-cost local event.

9. CCL CAPITAL DAY #2. Then it was back to another “one-day” CCL “Capitol Day” event. This time, lodging was $605.56.

Seems mighty steep for one night.

District data:
See board agenda; large pdf file

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Trustees set to nearly double their monthly stipend

I was perusing the agenda for Friday's meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees, and I noticed agenda item 6.6.

Essentially, the board will consider increasing trustee pay from $4,800 (per year) to $9,000. (That is the proposed change. It is presented as an increase in monthly pay from $400 to $750, but do the math.)

You can see for yourself: p. 223 of the agenda (a mammoth pdf file).

Predictably enough, trustees have made a point of noisily empathizing with the plight of the poor student and taxpayer during these difficult financial times. For instance, both student government entities were recently told to go back to the drawing board after they presented their budgets—trustees complained that at times like these student government should be giving back more to students, keeping less, etc. They did a lot of "tsk, tsk, tsking."


So what’s with this nearly doubling of their own pay? At the very least, it's bad timing.

THEY'RE PAID FOR NON-ATTENDANCE:

If you pay attention to board agendas, then you will know that the SOCCCD board routinely votes to grant pay to trustees who miss meetings, as per board policy 164 (they've got to take a special vote for this). Nobody's ever made a stink about that. Not sure why. (See item 5.10 of Friday's agenda.)

JOHN WILLIAMS COST THE DISTRICT $38,000



While we’re on the subject of money and trustees, I should mention agenda item 7.4 of Friday's meeting. It is a report, requested by trustee Nancy Padberg, on trustee expenses.

Trustee John Williams, of course, isn't only a trustee: by day, he is our county’s Public Administrator, and, for a while, Padberg was one of his underlings. You'll recall that he fired her two or three years ago.

Especially since her firing, Padberg has attempted to lay bare Williams' bold junketeering ways—and his habit of getting the district to pay for trips to Orlando, where his brother lives, I’m told. (Conveniently, Orlando is the site of some trustee "conferences," although, as Nancy has noted, similar conferences occur close to home. Williams doesn’t seem interested in those.)

If you go to page 303 of the agenda (See that enormous pdf file), you'll find a breakdown of trustee expenses over the last year. Five of the trustees hover around $23,000, although Milchiker is at $27,000.

John Williams is the real standout: $38,000.

The district spends $7k a year just for lodging for the fellow.

If you look at p. 304 of the agenda, you'll find that two of the conferences that Williams has attended (within the last year) have been in Florida. One was in Palm Springs.

His lodging bill there was about $1500. Seems kinda high to me.

You gotta love these fiscal conservatives.

SEE ALSO:

Padberg: closing in on “junket” abuse? (Feb. 7, 2006)
WHAT'S WITH TRUSTEE PADBERG? (Nov. 6, 2005)

Rebel Girl's Poetry Corner: haiku!


Inspired by your recent responses, Rebel Girl has crafted some seasonal haiku to mark the end of the semester.

She suggests you do the same.

It's so easy and satisfying: 5 syllables,7 syllables, 5 syllables - plus some kind of kigo or reference to the season or nature.

She is still working on several featuring book orders, requests for syllabi, extra credit and the xerox machine.

Help her out!

* * *

Winter has come near
Another project was due
And so I missed class

* * *

Where is your office?
Students wander halls
Late papers in hand

* * *

Monday, December 1, 2008

Rebel Girl's Poetry Corner: "Contained in this classroom/is a microcosm of human existence"

~
Today's poem is by Tom Wayman, from his book, The Astonishing Weight of the Dead.

Did I Miss Anything

Question frequently asked by
students after missing a class

Nothing. When we realized you weren't here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 per cent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I'm about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 per cent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
the hereafter
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring this good news to all people
on earth

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human existence
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been
gathered

but it was one place

And you weren't here

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dropping the F-bomb on students

The OC Reg recently reported that gun sales are way up in Orange County. How come? The reporter asked the gun-mongers at The Grant Boys in Costa Mesa and Army-Navy in Orange, and those guys claimed that their customers are afraid. They fear that President Obama will take away their right to bear arms. They fear “civil unrest” when the recession shifts to a depression.

So, naturally, they’re arming themselves.

As you know, there are lots of stupid people in the world, and we’ve got more than our share of ‘em right here in Orange County, which explains a lot. OC is, of course, a seriously red county, and so, during the recent presidential race, lots of OC’s gente estúpida embraced the notion that Mr. Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.A. (There’s an OC preacher who’s suing somebody over that.) Then there’s the notion that Obama is a Muslim, and a socialist, and a terrorist.

I seem to recall that Huey Long once got people riled up against a political opponent when he accused the guy of living in “open celibacy” with his sister. Hell, I’m living that way right now. And I’m sick and tired of it, too.

Most stupid people aren’t literally stupid, of course. Mostly, they’re ignorant and willing to allow demagogues to fill the empty spaces in their heads with a simplistic and attractive worldview, no questions asked. So they’re sheep, not dodo birds, basically.

Stupid People may be simpletons, but they're also complex, ‘cause they’re simultaneously trusting and cynical. They have a child-like faith in their noisy demagogues—who instill in them paranoia and skepticism regarding everything excepting the Official Demagoguery. So they sound as hard-bitten and cynical as Dr. House, even though they’re actually as naïve and trusting as Dr. Cameron.

You can’t reason with these people. They may as well be literally stupid, for all that you can achieve arguing with them. That’s routinely revealed in the comments to this blog. Have you noticed?

Winston Churchill famously opined that "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." The Stupid People demographic is always pretty large, and so it’s easy to see where Winnie was coming from. Some days, I think that democracy is the worst form of government period.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, now does it? People can avoid sheep-like behavior and think competently on their own (this entails a rejection of skepticism)—if you educate ‘em properly. Still, I don’t see how we’re ever gonna make much progress when society is so big and messy. Modifying the thinking and habits of a huge, heterogeneous population is difficult, maybe impossible.

If you’re like me, you are continually stunned by how hard it is to get even the simplest ideas across to our large population. “You can’t get AIDS from a doorknob.” —Remember that one? It took forever getting the doorknob idea across.

Every once in a while, I discuss the state of education in the U.S. with my students. That state is dismal, of course, and the signs and proof of abject dismaltude are everywhere. But when I clue my students in on this (I start by reading from the opening of "A Nation at Risk"), many of them look surprised. Or they think I’m just telling liberal lies.

How can that be? Don’t they read the paper or watch the Daily Show?

I don’t know what’s the matter with me. If anybody should be accustomed to Stupid People behavior, it should be me, ‘cause I’m a teacher, and a teacher is someone who makes a BIG FREAKIN’ POINT of explaining to students what they are required to do, who repeats that info endlessly, and who, at the end of the semester, is invariably overwhelmed by students who explain that they had no idea that they were required to do the writing assignments.


I’m in the thick of that right now. “You had to get 6 points out of 16 in the writing assignments. That's all. Just 6. You got 2. So you’re getting an F. That’s all there is to it.”

I hate having to say that.

At the start of each semester, I explain that, in a few months, I’m gonna be saying those very words to several of the students in the room. They all smile. “Not me, boy,” they think. So I say, “Yeah, some of you are thinking, ‘not me, boy.’ But it’s gonna be you, unless you listen to me now!”

They don’t listen. I say, “No really. I don’t want to give anybody an F, believe me. But look at things from my perspective. I’ve gotta do things to motivate you guys to do the work for the course, and this is one of those things. And if I tell you now that you’ll get an F if you don’t do the assignments, and I don’t actually give those Fs, then nobody will believe me in the future!”

Some students stare back at me like fish.

So I show ‘em a clip from Dr. Strangelove, when the good doctor explains the concept of deterrence and the idea behind the Doomsday Device: it’s “simple to understand... credible and convincing," says Herr Doktor Merkwürdigliebe.

I then explain that, when students fail to do the absolute minimum amount of work, they’ve gotta face consequences. “I can’t not mete out the promised consequences,” I plead.

Near as I can tell, none of this makes much of a difference. At the end of the semester, I’ve gotta drop the big one all over the place.

I’m thinking about escalating. Maybe I should pin notes to students’ shirts, explaining the requirements, the consequences of blowing those requirements off, in that stupid note, which, no doubt, will be read by no one.

Or maybe I should write warning tattoos, in reverse, on their foreheads. "Do the goddam assignments!"

It’s depressing. And, at the end of the semester, the predictable catastrophe surprises and amazes me anew, even though I’ve been here, in this bombardier’s station, dropping these bombs, a hundred times.

Yeah, I’m stupid too.

See Study Cites Toll of AIDS Policy in South Africa (aka 365,000 unnecessary deaths caused by a stupid idea)

P.S.: Gosh, I was driving earlier today and, on the radio, I heard a song from my youth. Somehow, it was devastating. I nearly had a panic attack. I'm not so hard-bitten myself, you know.

THE SEEKERS ~ "I know I'll never find another you"


Dr. Strangelove explains:

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