Saturday, May 2, 2009

Trustees are clueless


WORKIN’. Is it just me, or is this an especially busy semester?

Last week, I—and five or six other instructors, among others—finished work on a search for IVC’s first full-time Film Studies instructor. That went very well, I think. With any luck, we’ll hire someone soon and great things will begin to happen in the area of Film (and TV, etc.), starting in the Fall.

Yesterday, I finished work on a search for an Art History/Museum hire. That went well, too, I think. The committee was terrific. (Next come the second-level interviews.)

Most of my colleagues have been on at least one of these search committees in recent months, and some of us have been on two or three or more. The paper screening alone can take twenty or more hours. And it’s tedious, boy. Then come the interviews and deliberations, which can take days. (I recall one committee I served on that did its interviews for two days on the weekend.)

During this last semester, I've chaired two student grievance committees, a task the involves setting up meetings, writing letters, and whatnot. (Like service on search committees, such work is uncompensated.) Many of my colleagues regularly do this kind of work, which can be difficult.

At the last board meeting, on Monday, Trustee Tom Fuentes—who once complained about instructors’ alleged 36-hour work week—was perplexed when he learned that faculty go through something like 1000 curriculum changes per year (at IVC alone). IVC Academic Senate Prez Wendy G, among others, tried to explain this to him.

The fact is that most of our district’s trustees haven’t a clue what instructors do.

Last year, Board President Don Wagner worked with a team of faculty (among others) on our college’s accreditation problems. His exposure to faculty over those many months led him to a new appreciation of IVC personnel. To his credit, since that time, he has gone out of his way to praise and appreciate these people. His “eyes have been opened,” he said.

That’s great. But Don has been on the board since freakin’ 1998. How can it be that our faculty’s virtue, earnestness, and hard work have come to his attention only recently?

Hey trustees! I hereby invite you to a ride-along! Wanna experience my day? Wanna know what people like me really do?


You don’t have to hang with me, of course. I’m sure that many faculty at IVC and Saddleback would be more than pleased to have you tag along.

–And don’t forget to come home with us, too, to watch us process a huge pile of student writing. It'll be like watchin' paint dry.

COLLEGE PAPERS:

Once in a while, I check out the local college papers.

This time, I didn’t find much.

This story from the Lariat is pretty old, but it’s interesting:

Saddleback College Lariat: Author [Anouar Majid of the University of New England] says dissent is good for U.S.
“We need free thinkers in society,” Majid said. “We need heretics.” ¶ According to Majid, we should reject our “culture of obedience”and think for ourselves. For Majid, this means questioning how the Bible became a published book or why God allegedly spoke to only a handful of prophets.

Yes, dissent is good. We’ve always said so here at, um, Dissent.


Here’s proof that virtually nothing ever happens at OCC. One of their paper’s big stories is:

The OCC Coast Report: Faculty upset by campus policy

Orange Coast College faculty members are rallying behind Literature and Languages division secretary Betty Rodriguez, who is being required to pay for keys stolen in a recent theft. ¶ English department faculty members are circulating a petition condemning the OCC policy that requires Rodriguez to pay for keys stolen out of the Literature and Languages buildings.

Yep, a slow news day.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Gosh, Tom, are you sorry?

The OC Reg reports that, according to a federal court, Mission Viejo history teacher James Corbett violated the First Amendment when making comments in his history class disparaging Christians and Christianity.
…Corbett, a 20-year teacher at Capistrano Valley High School, was found guilty of referring to Creationism as “religious, superstitious nonsense” during a 2007 classroom lecture, denigrating his former Advanced Placement European history student, Chad Farnan.

"Corbett states an unequivocal belief that Creationism is 'superstitious nonsense,'" U.S. District Court Judge James Selna said in a 37-page ruling released from his Santa Ana courtroom. "The court cannot discern a legitimate secular purpose in this statement, even when considered in context."

The establishment clause prohibits the government from making any law "respecting an establishment of religion" and has been interpreted by U.S. courts to also prohibit government employees from displaying religious hostility. (See High school teacher guilty of insulting Christians.)

Naturally Farnan’s attorney (of Advocates for Faith & Freedom) was thrilled.

Still to be determined is whether Corbett (or his school district) will be required to pay damages and attorney’s fees.

SEE ALSO: Judge swings both ways (OC Weekly)

According to the Reg, Irvine cops are asking citizens to identify a thief. (See Police ask public’s help in search for Irvine office thief.)

Apparently, the guy (see pic of suspect at left) has taken wallets, cash, and credit cards in office buildings near the 405 and Jamboree.

He looks pretty dapper for a guy who steals wallets for a living.

The OC Weekly’s Matt Coker notes that OC Reg editorialist Steven Greenhut is taking former Sheriff Carona’s big Republican supporters to task for their fair-weather friendship and silence, now that the Mikester is headed for the Big House. (See Greenhut Praises Moxley, Blasts Carona's Disappeared Defenders.)

Writes Greenhut,
It would be nice to read what Carona's staunchest GOP defenders have to say now about the conviction and sentencing. Were they duped? Are they sorry? Is this merely a case of prosecutorial abuse? Do they still think Carona epitomizes GOP values? Did they just not see the other side of Mike? Did they know about how he was running the department? Were they simply doing the bidding of the party?

Among the Mikester’s staunchest supporters has been our own Trustee Tom Fuentes, who made sure that “America’s sheriff” made Irvine Valley College his second home.

Gosh, Tom, were you duped? Are you sorry?

In particular, are you sorry that you have once again tarnished the image of Irvine Valley College and the SOCCCD?


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sidewalk chalk art at Irvine Valley College

I do believe that this work was done under the direction of art instructor Julie Kirk, an internationally recognized street painter and professional artist.
Those in the know: pass on any information you'd care to share about this exhibit.








I overheard someone talking about "chalk art" this afternoon, and so, at about 7:00, after hanging out with friends over at Waters, I dropped by IVC to find it. Someone was still working there. I left them alone.
Naturally, I had the wrong lens, and so I couldn't take any wide shots. I did the best I could. Plus the light was fading fast.
* * * * *
The chalk art can be found at Irvine Valley College, just past the Student Services Building and in front of the PE gym.
Check it out. Don't know how long it will last.
This stuff is ephemeral. Very cool.

LATE NEWS:
Two probable swine flu cases found in Irvine

RANDOM SHOTS FROM MY CAR, ON THE WAY HOME:

Along Live Oak Canyon Road

Approaching Cook's Corner

Live Oak Canyon Road

Try not to run amok

SWINE FLU NEWS. Daffodil J. Altan over at the OC Weekly reports (here)—or maybe just opines—that those surgical masks that everybody’s dying for are useless.

My sister Annie told me that she was at Home Depot yesterday and some lady was literally running through the building crying that she could find no surgical masks! “There’s a pandemic!” she yelped, said sis. Annie claimed to be standing right there where they keep those mask that workers wear when they’re, like, blowin’ leaves around and disturbing the peace. For some reason Annie didn’t clue the lady in about that.

So, anyway, Daffodil reports that
After essentially quarantining a CSULB student who has received a "probable positive test" (um, is it or isn't it?) for piggy flu, health officials on the Long Beach campus handed out surgical face masks to students on campus who have "been paranoid," according to a Press Telegram report.

That’s pretty funny, I guess. But don’t be surprised if, one day soon, you open your door and see a scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. If people can vote for George W. Bush twice, they can run amok looking for useless leaf-blower masks.


FIRE. Did you notice the fire at the IVC library a few days ago? Yeah, right there at the “grand entrance hall,” about twenty-five feet up and to the right, a light bulb in one of those ritzy Art Deco fixtures caught fire. I’m told that the first sign of trouble was a smell of melting or burning plastic. Sensing trouble, students started running out of the building—just like Kevin McCarthy in, well, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Then that light bulb caught fire. Flames, smoke, screaming.

I guess they (whoever “they” were) took care of it tout de suite. (Sorry, I meant “lickety-split.” What was I thinkin’?) All you can see now is some black soot up and around the fixture.

A friend said, “Hey, what if this happened on the weekend?” I said, “Yeah. The contractor must’ve bought some cheap econo-bulbs from China.”

“Yeah,” he said. We grunted unpleasantly.


ZODIAC. Did you hear about that OC woman who, yesterday, held a press conference—up in San Francisco—to declare that her father was the Zodiac Killer? It’s probably BS, but you can read all about it here.

DAVIES. The OC Reg’s Science Dude (Paul Davies) reports that
Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist widely known for helping explain the origins of the universe and for his eloquence in discussing the nature of science and religion to the public, will give the undergraduate commencement address at Chapman University in Orange on May 23.

SWINE 2. Inside Higher Ed reports this morning on cases of swine flu at college campuses, including a suspected case at San Diego State University.

Have a nice day. Try not to run amok.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Notes on last night's board meeting, part 2

Eventually, the trustees got to item 6.1, the faculty contract. The trustees made an effort to thank all parties, including members of the faculty negotiating team.

Tom Fuentes suggested that the board “divide the question.” The problem with the new contract, he said, was specifically the “raises, some of them retroactive.” In “this economy,” he said, he couldn’t in good conscience support the raise, for he has an “obligation to taxpayers.” He harrumphed.

In the end, the contract passed unanimously, except for the raises, which naturally lost Fuentes’ vote.

The fellow sighed and then flicked a piece of raw meat into the camera. Splat!

Item 6.2 was the renewal of printing and mailing class schedules for Fall 2009, and that was approved. This time, the bill was a mere $75K.

Here’s what they approved, evidently:
At the March…meeting the Board instructed the colleges to investigate a more cost effective way to distribute the class schedules, perhaps totally through online. Both Colleges looked at the option to mail out a postcard and found that due to post office requirements…there would be little savings over continuing to mail the class schedules. IVC has determined that it could save approx. $32K by decreasing the number of Fall class schedules…from 314K to 30K (campus copies only) and printing a trifold mailer that will be sent to 284K residents…. The college will use the same approach for Spring 2010….

Saddleback College staff is planning to reduce the number of pages for the Fall schedules from 116 to 110 and will convert to an online schedule of classes in the Spring of 2010. In addition, SC will have some campus copies available for sale in its bookstore for a minimal cost of one or two dollars each.

…Campuses are preparing to move toward totally online schedule of classes by Spring 2010….

This sounds pretty dicey to me. Is anyone paying attention to this? I sure hope so. I try to keep people informed, but sometimes I think I oughta just shut down and go home.

Fuentes nastily intoned that item 6.2, a cost decrease, is “fitting,” given that the faculty contract represents a cost increase.

Item 6.4 was the latest curriculum revisions at IVC. This, too, worried Mr. Fuentes, who asked that he be walked through the process. He seemed stunned to learn that about one thousand curriculum changes occur per year. His eyes grew large. How can this be? It was explained to the fellow.

IVC Senate Prez Gabriella chimed in to clarify matters. Some of the changes are minor and technical, she said. But, yeah, we do lots of work in this department buster.

Item 6.7 concerned board policy revisions, including BP4016, “Drug-free environment and drug prevention program.”

Fuentes got excited. Wait-a-minute, he seemed to say. Don’t we now have a “zero tolerance” policy? For some reason, those in the room who attempted to explain our existing and proposed policies re drugs failed to employ the buzzword “zero tolerance,” and that fact caused in Fuentes palpable and noisy pain.

“Zero tolerance, zero tolerance!” he shouted.

Yeah, sure, zero tolerance, I guess, said everybody else. We don’t use that phrase, but that’s our policy I suppose.

Fuentes suddenly stopped the show, asking if any colleague disagreed with zero tolerance on drugs? He scanned the panel ominously.

Finally, some poor soul in the audience squawked, “um…just say no!

Actually, that just happened in my mind.

What’s with all the red meat? I can only assume that, for some reason, the expected TV audience for this meeting is going to be big. Maybe there’s an AARP convention in town. Who knows.

Item 6.8 was academic personnel actions, including a recommendation for a new administrative position: a Dean of Academic Programs, Student Learning, and Research.

Glenn Roquemore explained that, with changes that have occurred in recent years, the burdens on the VPI have grown, yadda yadda.

What this boils down to is that the Presidents of the colleges are supposed to be allowed to make their own decisions concerning where money should be spent in maintaining an effective administration, and Glenn really wants, and says he can afford, this new position.

But, owing to “this new economy,” some trustees resisted the idea. Somebody failed to get their ducks in a row.

Chancellor Mathur stated that he supported the proposal. Oddly, he even seemed to say that, if the position is approved and Glenn sends up a candidate, he’ll support that recommendation too! (I think I got that right.)

Sounds like Raghu has been in the woodshed. No wonder he looked so glum and his fanny looked so red.

Marcia used the “m” word (micromanagement). We oughta back off and let Glenn do this, she said. But, in the end, 5 of the seven trustees voted to table the item (Marcia and Don dissented).

Fuentes used item 7.3 (“basic aid information”) to talk up his boy Chriss Street, OC’s corrupt Treasurer.

Yadda yadda yadda.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Notes on last night's board meeting, part 1

I arrived at about 6:05, and the meeting had not yet started. Oddly, Trustees Dave Lang and Marcia Milchiker were sitting in their places over on the left, Trustee Bill Jay was in his chair way over to the right, and Chancellor Raghu Mathur was sitting alone and forlorn, somewhere in the middle. Somehow, the scene was grim, a partial and perverse Last Supper.

Usually, the seven trustees emerge from their super secret buffet/lounge all at once, but not last night. After about ten minutes, Trustees Don Wagner, Tom Fuentes, and John Williams emerged very much in lockstep--like Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn in that restaurant scene in Bringing Up Baby--and took their seats. (I lost track of Trustee Nancy Padberg.)


The real fun starts about 4 minutes in.

More grimness. I really don’t know what it meant. Maybe these people were at each other’s throats during the closed session. Maybe nothin’. Dunno.

Our trustees love to do “resolutions,” and there were lots of ‘em last night. A middle-aged lady got a Rez for picking up a bag with $3,000 in it (at Saddleback) and turning it in. It was money raised in some charity. I guess these trustees are the kind who'd take the money and run, so they were stunned that anybody'd return it. They didn't seem to know what to make of her.

Well, the woman got all teary-eyed and introduced her kids. Looking at them, she wimpered something like, “This is how I feel about you kids when you do the right thing.” More tears. Wailing.

During “public comments,” Karla Westphal offered her usual objections to trustee prayers. She then held up prepared statements from two faculty who could not attend the meeting, and Board Prez Don Wagner said something like, “If they wanna speak, they can show up.” Karla explained that at least one of these instructors teaches on Monday nights. Wagner sniffed and then let her read for a bit, but when she got to the second letter, he just shut her down and sent her packing. Karla stalked off. I think she was steamed.

When will Don learn that his petty and hot-headed ways are counter-productive? Never, it seems.

Well, let's face it. That he acts like such a punk kid is his charm.

Trustee reports were unremarkable. I don’t recall a thing that Bill Jay said. Padberg literally said nothing. Fuentes yammered like he does about his boy Mathur’s leadership on some task force. There was a “breakfast” at IVC on April 17, and lots of Republican pols showed up for that. A food fight broke out, evidently.

Williams announced that he has discovered that textbooks are expensive. Milchiker reported that she has seen yet another version of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”—this one at IVC. Didn’t she see this very play at Saddleback last month? Yup. Marcia seems to live in Wacky World.

It was student Trustee Hannah Lee’s last night, and the board gave her some prizes for being pretty and causing no trouble, I think. Her replacement was in the audience, and she seemed to be the equal of Hannah in perkiness and cuddliness. Maybe she can think and speak, too, but that would appear to be unlikely.

During his report, a subdued Chancellor Mathur said some obvious things about our “basic aid” gravy train being under threat. He seemed to be in a state of shock. Dunno why. Evidently, some education bills are likely to fail in the upcoming election, and that will make the budget situation even worse for education.

Mathur quoted someone who said that “now is the time to clean up the barn.” Most just stared at him, uncomprehending.

John Williams commenced yammering about textbook costs. I do believe he said that “we are moving to a virtual society.”

I looked around. Nobody was laughing. Not even me.


John has some ideas, he said. Instructors could scrape up stuff from the “public domain” and post that somewhere. Instant textbook. Free.

Or, he said, we could get instructors together to write a textbook, which the district would own. Use that.

Again, I looked around the room. Nothing. I saw a guy studying lint that he had found in his pocket.

Next came a report about “Early College Program/K-12 Outreach.” There were three speakers, and they were brief. That's the way Don Wagner likes it.

Marcia heard one of ‘em talking about Tiger Woods, and she was all over that. Somebody used the word “viral,” and Marcia didn’t understand that. She said she thought that “viral” things were “bad,” not “good.” She sported a quizzical expression.

Suddenly, Tom Fuentes roared forth, “How about Home Schoolers!?” “From what I've seen,” he said, they are “excellent.”

How odd to have a man who hates public education on the board of a community college district.

IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore had spoken about some early college classes at local high schools, and that got Fuentes worried. How come these kids aren’t just taking online courses? he asked. Some are, said Glenn, but they’ve gotta get the principal’s permission. Yadda yadda.

I stopped listening. Then:

“Boundaries!” roared Fuentes. “We’ve got to keep boundaries!” He was referring to poaching done by some districts in other districts’ territories.


Kumquats!

There was a report concerning “opportunity for growth.” If we wanted to, said Gary P, we could grow 15%, but that would mean offering more courses, and it would be costly and deplete our Basic Aid bucks. We don’t receive any money from the state for growth, since, unlike everybody else, we’re on Basic Aid. Gary noted that the board, in its infinite wisdom, has decided not to pursue public bonds. That’s good, he seemed to say, ‘cause, owing to Basic Aid, we actually spend more per student than other districts do.

I studied Fuentes’ face for tics or twitches. I studied the horizon for storm clouds.

Gary said that the colleges want direction from the board concerning how to deal with this tension between building and maintaining good facilities (on the one hand) and offering more courses (on the other).

The trustees started discussing the ongoing threats to our Basic Aid funding, which, up to now, has made us filthy freakin' rich. “Maybe we should circle the wagons,” said Fuentes, chewing on a hayseed.

I’m not real sharp on fiscal issues, but I gather that the state might get out its six-shooters and plug our Basic Aid with led. Then they might pull a switcheroo on us and throw our local property tax money on a stagecoach for Sacramento. So our little SOCCCD posse was figuring out ways to thwart these varmints and head 'em off at the pass.

I fell into a coma. Then Fuentes started yammering about how, maybe, we could have a summit of OC community college districts, and they could divvy-up online instruction. That is, Coast could do math, NOCCCD could do, say, underwater basket-weaving, and SOCCCD could do, like, writing and chemistry. “There’s no need for duplication,” declared Mr. Fuentes.


He was staunch.

Lang chimed in largely in agreement with Fuentes’ points about varmints and such. He noted that we’re about to spend shitloads of money on ATEP, and we gotta worry about that. And if we expand courses, what if we hit hard times? Can we sustain the level we’ve expanded to?

It was right about then that Bill Jay woke up and started reminiscing about the old days, when, if a student in our area bolted for OCC, we’d have to send money up there for ‘im! I do believe that Nancy Padberg then rolled her eyes as though she were hearing the infernal bleatings of a dying mule.

…to be continued.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bye, you guys

Nothing of great importance occurred at tonight's meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees. The faculty contract was formally approved—as expected—but not without a bit of the ol' ultra-conservatism from trustee Tom Fuentes, who divided the question so that he could vote down the faculty raise. But the contract—and the raise—passed anyway.

The President of IVC, Glenn Roquemore, has pursued adding another administrator—much needed, it turns out. The matter came up for approval tonight, and Glenn advocated strongly and clearly for the position. He even got the support of the Chancellor. Imagine that!

But some trustees were wary of this move. —It's this economy, doncha know? So, despite powerful arguments from anybody who knows anything and the support even of Mr Goo, the best these clowns could do was to table the matter. (Milchicker and Wagner voted against that, hoping to pass the recommendation.) The item will come up again next month.

Board Prez Don Wagner got all peevish and unpleasant when Karla W, inveterate foe of trustee prayers, sought to read comments from two people who could not attend.

Plus Don won an "ugly face" contest. See pic.

Student Trustee Hannah Lee said her goodbyes. The board gave her a plaque or something.

I'll really miss her routine references to the board as "you guys." I really will.

I'll have lots more tomorrow, I guess.

Carona sunset?

IT COULD BE 5 TO 6 YEARS IN PRISON, $125,000 FINE FOR CARONA

Over at the OC Weekly website, Matt Coker reports that
R. Scott Moxley, reporting from the Santa Ana courthouse during an afternoon break, says the judge and lawyers for the defense and prosecution in Mike Carona's sentencing hearing on a felony corruption count, are talking about 63 to 78 months behind bars and a $125,000 fine for the man once dubbed "America's Sheriff."….

UPDATE:

MAYBE THIS WILL WIPE SMUG LOOK OFF CARONA'S FACE: 5.5 YEARS, $125,000 FINE, THE SHAME OF AN ENTIRE COUNTY
Carona gets 66 months in prison, $125,000 fine

Tonight's board meeting


The closed session commences at 5:00 p.m. and the open session is set to start at 6:00. (At Saddleback College: the Ronald Reagan room.)

The discussion items for tonight are (1) “Saddleback College and IVC and ATEP: Early College Program/K-12 Outreach” and (2) “Effect of Enrollment Growth on Basic Aid Funds.”

Mr. Sprite, Saturday night

The first general action item is “Faculty Association Academic Employee Master Agreement,” aka the faculty contract.

Oddly, given the discussion at last month’s meeting, another item offered for approval is “Award Printing of Class Schedules.”

It seems likely that, in the end, we will cease mailing out class schedules to all residents, opting to send small, cheap postcard reminders instead. (I’m just guessing, based on the buzz since the last board meeting.)

Pictured: the Tige, last night.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

This grotesque past, this troubled present


Sometimes I wonder whether common sense is worth a damn. My (alleged) common sense tells me to worry some about recent earthquake swarms to the north. See "Perilous fault might be causing quake swarm near O.C."

All this concentrated shakin’ tells me to hunker down. The OC Reg’s Science Dude says there’s no use worrying about earthquakes, though he also says that we'd better prepare for the Big One.

In an odd spasm of, um, common sense, the leadership of some local churches has been preparing for the Big One: "O.C. churches team up."

Yeah, on Friday, the OC Reg reported that “more than 30 people” gathered to learn about preparedness.

30 people. (Closet agnostics, all of ‘em, I bet.)

The Dude ("UCI finds racial bias in Internet dating") also reports on a UCI study about, well racial bias in Internet dating.

The two sociologists that conducted the study are quoted as saying,
“We argue that exclusion related to racialized images of masculinity and femininity, and shapes dating and marriage outcomes, and thus minority groups’ possibilities for full social incorporation.”

Please tell me that that sentence makes no sense. (A missing “is”?)

The missing verb is likely the Dude’s fault. But what about the hideous jargon? “Dating and marriage outcomes”? These outcomes are “shaped” by “exclusion,” I guess.

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit (as Harry Truman used to say).

On the other hand, the female sociologist is photogenic.

These sociologists’ shitty way of speaking reminds me that I’m still pissed off about Friday’s de facto slam of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style in the New York Times ("Happy Birthday, Strunk and White!").

Happy birthday? More like, “FU.”

The OC Reg’s Rachanee Srisavasdi reports ("Carona") that former OC Sheriff Mike Carona “will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. Monday by U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford.”

Evidently, Judge Guilford can give "America's Sheriff" anything from probation to twenty years.

As you know, Carona believes in the Lord bigtime. When not making out with Russian bimbos or passing out deputy badges to morons, he does a lot of public praying and flag-pledging. He’s a typical right-wing OC politician: he’s pious and patriotic and corrupt, like his good pal and supporter SOCCCD trustee (and former OC GOP chair) Tom Fuentes, who, no doubt, will be at tomorrow night’s meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees, praying and pledging and scheming and cheating. I can’t wait.

Did you read Frank Rich’s column yesterday? (See "The Banality of Bush White House Evil.") Naturally, it's about torture, and it responds to new info about the Bushies' motives for their disastrous and dismal embrace of it.

It ends with:
Five years after the Abu Ghraib revelations, we must acknowledge that our government methodically authorized torture and lied about it. But we also must contemplate the possibility that it did so not just out of a sincere, if criminally misguided, desire to “protect” us but also to promote an unnecessary and catastrophic war. Instead of saving us from “another 9/11,” torture was a tool in the campaign to falsify and exploit 9/11 so that fearful Americans would be bamboozled into a mission that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. The lying about Iraq remains the original sin from which flows much of the Bush White House’s illegality.

[Senate Armed Services Committee report chairman Carl] Levin suggests … that as additional fact-finding plays out, it’s time for the Justice Department to enlist a panel of two or three apolitical outsiders, perhaps retired federal judges, “to review the mass of material” we already have. The fundamental truth is there, as it long has been. The panel can recommend a legal path that will insure accountability for this wholesale betrayal of American values.

President Obama can talk all he wants about not looking back, but this grotesque past is bigger than even he is. It won’t vanish into a memory hole any more than Andersonville, World War II internment camps or My Lai. The White House, Congress and politicians of both parties should get out of the way. We don’t need another commission. We don’t need any Capitol Hill witch hunts. What we must have are fair trials that at long last uphold and reclaim our nation’s commitment to the rule of law.

Meanwhile, Nick Kristof, a fellow well to Rich’s right, urges the institution of “an independent commission to investigate harsh treatment and tally its costs and benefits.” ("Time to Come Clean") He offers three reasons:

First, it could help forge a consensus against torture, for almost everyone in the national security world believes that the result would be a ringing affirmation that we should not torture….

Second, a commission could help restore America’s standing by distancing ourselves from past abuses. Alberto Mora, a former general counsel for the Navy, has said that some flag-rank officers believe that Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo constitute “the first and second identifiable causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq,” because they galvanized jihadis. An Air Force major and interrogator of prisoners who goes by the pseudonym Matthew Alexander told Harper’s Magazine that “hundreds but more likely thousands of American lives” were lost because of “the policy decision to introduce the torture and abuse of prisoners.”

Third, a commission could help counterterrorism efforts. Foreign governments have been wary of cooperating with us for fear of being tarnished by scandal. At home, Arab-American and Somali-American communities have been leery of reporting tips because they see the authorities as unjust and hostile to Muslims.

I do hope our new President gets out of the way of our doing the right thing!



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