Saturday, September 5, 2009

Not with a scalpel, but with a meat cleaver

• Spring semester not looking so good at RSCCD

In the OC Reg’s College Life blog this morning, Gary Robbins reports on continuing cuts in classes at the Rancho Santiago Community College District:

2 O.C. colleges cut 400 classes, affecting thousands

Even before the Fall semester started, 400 classes were cut. But “the cutting isn’t over.”

The Rancho district recently learned that it must cut an additional $15 million in the current fiscal year, and a trustee says that will make it necessary to eliminate more class sections and to fire some teachers in a district that serves about 56,000 students.

Phil Yarbrough, a Rancho trustee, said new class cuts could be announced as early as Sept. 14, and made official about a month later the district adopts budget plans.

“I’m going to that meeting not with a scalpel, but with a meat cleaver,” says Yarbrough, who has taught economics at both colleges in the Rancho district.

In the meantime, students at Cal State Fullerton are looking for classes to replace those cut at their college, but, according to an [RSCCD] spokeswoman, these students “should not assume they can find the classes that they are looking for.”

• Worst waste of the year?

Meanwhile, Matt Coker of the OC Weekly reports on the latest chapter of an ongoing story concerning UCI and the impending explosion of Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn’s head:

Coburn Ready to Blow Over UCI Computer Games Center?

Matt reports UCI’s announcement of “the establishment of the Center for Computer Games & Virtual Worlds.” But what’s that got to do with Coburn’s melon?

The Oklahoma Republican puts out annual "Worst Waste of the Year" reports, and among the examples of "outrageous federal spending" in the 2008 edition was the National Science Foundation having granted $100,000 to UCI to study the differences in how gamers from the U.S. and China play the popular online video game World of Warcraft.

…[The goal of the center’s leaders] will be to expand campuswide research activities involving the social and technological aspects of games and virtual worlds. More than 20 faculty members from computer science, arts, humanities, social science and education will collaborate in the center, according to the announcement. 
UC Irvine was among the first major research universities to establish educational and research programs in computer game culture and technology, with its Game Culture & Technology Lab that was launched in 2001 having attracted nearly $5 million in external funding.

See also Sit-In Protests UCI's Closure of Programs for Low-Income Students

• Clothing, hotel stays and other personal items

The Contra Costa Times reports on abuses and irregularities at the Peralta Community College District in Oakland—according to a “news group” that has hired former state chancellor Marshall Drummond:

Peralta must crack down, report says

Drummond's report comes two months after the Bay Area News Group examined a host of ethical questions surrounding [Chancellor Elihu] Harris' business partnerships with Mark Lindquist, whose firm received a $940,000 no-bid contract from the Peralta district. Lindquist also is president of the Peralta Colleges Foundation, an auxiliary arm of the district.

The newspaper group, which includes this publication, also reported that Trustee Marcie Hodge had used a taxpayer-funded credit card to buy thousands of dollars of clothing, hotel stays and other personal items. Hodge has said she repaid all the personal expenses before the district paid her bills.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Video of Monday's board meeting

Video of Monday's meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees is now available at the district website, here.

You might want to use the "jump to" button to jump to the following "highlights."

"Public comments"
Three faculty object to Chancellor Mathur's "Christ saved our souls" video, starting at 00:07:30. (The academic senates have previously passed resolutions against the trustee practice of religious prayer at district and college functions.)

"Written reports"
The Academic Senate Presidents speak, starting at 02:05:15. (One senate president seems to undercut the earlier faculty comments re prayer and expresses regret that the First Amendment protects this blog and its authors.)

See also Tracy Daly's Board meeting highlights.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More on the board meeting

Never did get a chance (until now) to complete my report on Monday’s meeting of the SOCCCD board. Here are a few notes. Gotta run.

As you know, Tom Fuentes, former OC GOP chair, and his pals have worked hard over the years to place their corrupt friends in office. County Sheriff Mike Corona was one of those friends. He’s headed to the pokey.

Chriss W. Street, OC Treasurer-Tax Collector, is another. He showed up on Monday to report the trend in taxes collected. As we’ve reported previously, and as Street’s handout made clear, tax bucks have steadily increased in recent years, but that trend is now over. For 2008-09, $4,782,292,446 was collected. For 2009-10, the number is $4,724,904,937. That’s a 1% decrease. No biggie.

So far, this is old news, but Street did offer a “personal prediction.” In the year following this one, the amount, he predicted, will be down 4-5%.

Since we’re a basic aid district, this matters.

Faculty spoke during “public comments.” Claire Cesareo-Silva read a letter by Carmenmara Hernandez Bravo concerning the trustees’ habit of offering Christian prayers at events. It is not very Christian, she said, to impose your religious beliefs on others. Reference was made to the Chancellor’s August 17 “opening session” and his video that ended with a statement about Jesus Christ dying to save our souls.

Ronnie Lebauer was next. She zeroed in on the message that Jesus Christ died for our souls. It is offensive, she said, for a public institution to make specific religious appeals. We need to be “inclusive,” she said. As it is, the community deserves an “apology.”

Finally, math instructor (and inveterate district public prayer foe) Karla Westphal spoke. She noted that, in the past, trustees have defended their prayers by noting that they are “non-sectarian.” It is “impossible to believe,” she said, that the district abides by this notion in view of the Chancellor’s video, which ended with the statement:
Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you—Jesus Christ and the American G. I. One died for your soul; the other for your freedom.

This sentiment, she said, is “explicitly Christian.” It is rude and it is unconstitutional, she added. Since the board insists on this course, it has been forced to hire legal representation, which is expensive. Such expenses are entirely unnecessary and are thus “fiscally irresponsible.”

Saddleback College Academic Senate Prez Bob Cosgrove also spoke. He distributed a pamphlet that introduced the 15 new faculty at the college. He thanked the board for these hires and for deciding to pay for much-needed maintenance of facilities and whatnot.

It was about now that the Chancellor made his peculiar “statement” that guest speaker Michael Drake was “not offended” by the video. Knowing Mathur, he was reporting the fact that Drake offered no comment at all while implying that Drake said “hey, I’m not offended by that.” Maybe somebody should ask Drake. [UPDATE: see comments. I suspect that one reader is correct that Mathur was referring not to Drake but to himself as the "diverse Chancellor." That, of course, does nothing to vindicate his reasoning.]

Bill Jay was back (he’s been ill), but he didn’t look strong. “I’m back,” he said. He soon collapsed back into his chair, silent.

Fuentes heaped praise on board Prez Don Wagner for his MC duties (at the Chancellor’s opening session). He had heard only “magnificent comments” about Don’s efforts and the “successful” opening session. He yammered a bit about the upcoming 9-11 events at the campuses.

John Williams, who is struggling these days to deal with that nasty Grand Jury report about his efforts as Public Guardian/Administrator, gave no report at all.

Wagner heaped more praise on the Chancellor’s opening session and a “great and informative presentation” he had just witnessed concerning ATEP. He made a joke, alluding to Gary Poertner’s vacation in Hawaii.

Marcia Milchiker said something about her participation in flex week activities. She learned, she said, all about “super-charging your computer.”

Dave Lang said something, but I remember none of it. So did student trustee Bi’Anca J. Bailey, who was mostly pretty chirpy.

In his report, Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur noted that headcount is up by 7% and FTES is up nearly 10%. He sounded terribly staunch. He displayed a large piece of plexiglass given to him by the OC Board of Supervisors upon which was written a resolution.

Tom Fuentes did indeed request yet another report on faculty salaries, only this time one that compares our faculty’s salaries with those elsewhere in the county.

Glenn and Tod and Randy came up to give their presentation on “strategic planning.” The former was brief and efficient. Tod offered a bit more whizzbangery and flash. Nice light grey suit. I want one.

As he spoke, Herr Peebles of ATEP seemed to settle into a deep sleep. Somebody showed a chart with many boxes and numerous arrows promiscuously directed. Everyone lapsed into a coma.

During the presentation of the district’s final budget, Mathur again repeated his new talking point, that “we operate within our means.” Meanwhile, he said once again, the state has tended to adopt “smoke and mirrors” type budgets. That’s been true, he said, for “13 to 20 years.”

Maybe I heard that wrong. 13 to 20?

Mathur was really saying, “see, I’m talking about state finances, and I’m offering nasty and knowledgeable commentary, and so I’m a big man.”

There is, he said, a serious “efficiency review” going on at the three campuses. The state, however, ain’t doing that, he said.

Beth Mueller made the actual presentation, and that seemed good. In the course of the discussion that followed, Marcia opined that “it coulda been worse,” and Bob C fretted about the loss of matriculation dollars. He said something, too, about such “disastrous” cost-cutting ideas as student self-placement in basic ed courses, etc.

Next item: the basic aid priority list (i.e., recommendations concerning how to divvy up the money):

MY NOTES:

WAGNER: Saddleback College gets $8 million and IVC gets less than $1 million? These priorities seem "wildly unbalanced."

Question: Is this item (rec to accept these priorities) time-sensitive?

Answer: only the IT part. The others can wait a month.

LANG: I'm unsure whether all of these expenditures adhere to our guidelines (namely, basic aid should be restricted to "one-time only" expenses). Need time to think about this.

WILLIAMS: didn't this go through DRAC (i.e., the district resources allocation committee, which includes representation from both colleges)?

Answer: no, basic aid money distribution does not go through DRAC.

Action: money for IT approved. Decision re rest of money to be decided after more "historical" data is made available concerning pattern of these expenses.

The two Associated Student Government budgets were presented and approved without a hitch. The board was impressed that a relatively large proportion of student funds would be devoted to scholarships and other things of clear benefit to students. Dave Lang seemed to have some minor issues, but, in the end, these kids got a pat on the head. (In recent years, the board, or at least some trustees, have expressed displeasure at the way these funds are distributed--essentially, they want students, who pay fees, to clearly benefit--and student leaders have essentially yielded to this perspective.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fire, Stars and Dreams

(Albert Einstein, Edwin Hubble, and Walter Adams (l-r) in 1931 at the Mount Wilson Observatory 100" telescope, in the San Gabriel Mountains of southern California. It was here in 1929 that Hubble discovered the cosmic expansion of the universe. photo: California Institute of Technology)

Tim Rutten has a thoughtful piece in today's Los Angeles Times about the Mount Wilson Observatory - it's part local history, often overlooked or diminished, part science lesson, part a larger meditation about what these fires mean.

An excerpt:

"On the other hand, if this "angry" Station fire has done nothing else, it has reminded us that we remain rather small and often helpless before the most basic of terrestrial elements -- fire, water, wind. Those huge pyrocumulus clouds looming over downtown L.A. on Monday were like monuments to a kind of heedlessness and vanity that flourishes with particular force in this city -- where a fantasy of control long ago took hold. How do you accept implacable nature of the sort that's been on display for the last week in a city where so many believe they can reinvent their lives, their looks and even their psyches?

The last time fire burned all the way through what's now the Angeles National Forest was in 1897, eight years before astronomer George Hale began work on the first phase of the Mt. Wilson Observatory. Dave Boucher, the L.A. County Fire Department's historian, and other local scholars of fire ecology believe that the Station blaze already has surpassed that conflagration in size.

Almost all of the largest fires in California history -- including the largest, the 273,246-acre Cedar fire in San Diego County six years ago -- have occurred in this century, products of urban sprawl, the thoughtless propagation of non-native plants, unwise fire suppression policies and, probably, global warming.

The dreams that propelled Hubble toward the world-altering discoveries he made atop Mt. Wilson may very well have had their origins in our ancestors' reveries beside their flickering fires. It's sobering to witness how easily it can become once again an element of dread."

To read the rest, click here.



"On a visit to the Mount Wilson Observatory near Pasadena in 1931, Albert Einstein demonstrated his calculation of the density of the Milky Way. By using Mount Wilson's 100-inch telescope Edwin Hubble had recently shown that the universe is expanding." -from Science@Berkeley Lab:

VETS Center opens at Saddleback College

Bohrstein sent us this pic of Mt. Wilson last night

Recently, in the OC Reg:

New student center focuses on war vets (Niyaz Pirani)

MISSION VIEJO - Saddleback College students who are former members of the armed forces or on active duty and their families will now have a dedicated space to receive counseling, share experiences and receive academic and career help.

The VETS Center opened alongside the beginning of the fall semester last week and is meant to ease veterans into student life. The center will also provide referrals for on-campus and off-campus veterans' services.

"Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country and it is only fitting to provide them with every resource they need to succeed as a Saddleback College student and beyond," said Tod A. Burnett, president of the college, in a release.

The center is located in the Student Services Center, room 207, and is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday. For more information, call 949-582-4252.

The troubling sentiment

I’ve been trying to locate the sappy patriotic video shown by Chancellor Raghu Mathur two weeks ago at his fall opening extravaganza. It presents a series of more-or-less patriotic images—including bald eagles and Americans experiencing hard times—and is accompanied by Lee Greenwood’s execrable “God Bless the USA,” a clumsy, bombastic anthem that seems to be “de Bomb” in Redneckville and environs.

I haven’t located the exact video.

I tried to remember the troublesome sentiment with which the video ends, and it appears that it is the following:

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you—Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

That’s right. Jesus Christ. This inarticulate blather ("defining forces" that make "offers"?) is making the rounds among the usual suspects.

Monday, August 31, 2009

"Wildly unbalanced"

TONIGHT, I attended the August (but not august) meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees.

Some faculty came to object to that seriously in-your-face Christian message stuck at the end of the Chancellor’s silly patriotic video for his Opening Session (nearly two weeks ago).

Jesus Christ, we were informed, died for our souls.

Some faculty said that that nakedly Christian message failed to respect the diversity of the community. (This was a highlight, not a lowlight.)

A few minutes later, Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur made a “brief statement.” “It was, he said, “a diverse chancellor … who was not offended.”

Huh?

I think he was referring to Opening Session guest speaker Michael Drake, Chancellor of UC Irvine. Raghu was saying, I suppose, that Drake did not tell him (Raghu) that he was offended by anything.

Oh.

Fuentes gangster Chriss Street, our county's beclouded Treasurer and Tax Collector, showed up to speak. He had nothing new to say. He gave me a handout.

As you know, in my preview of the board meeting, I noted the odd distribution of “basic aid” bucks among the colleges, according to the Chancellor’s “basic aid priority list.” According to the Chancellor's reckoning, ATEP should get $5 million, Saddleback College should get $8 million, and IVC should get—$650,000.

Evidently, board President Don Wagner had a similar reaction. He found the list to be “wildly unbalanced.”


Essentially, the board decided to put off approval of the list to the next meeting.

Tom Fuentes carped, as usual, about the “high cost” of the study abroad trips, including a trip to Spain. One of ‘em cost $7K, and another cost $6K, I think.

We can send kids to learn Spanish “in our own hemisphere,” he said, harrumphing.

At some point, Fuentes suggested ominously that the college presidents had better come up with some snappy stuff to commemorate 9-11. The sides of his mouth drooped southward hideously, as he leered about the room.

Later, Tom grandly requested a report on the salaries of OC college professors, including a comparison with professor pay in our district. Again, his mouth became hideous. Luckily, there were no children in the room.

Mathur started nodding: “Yes, yes, we’ll have that for you in a month or two.” Heads nodded all around.

Toward the very end of the meeting, a certain faculty leader, apparently referring to this blog, condemned its writing as “inaccurate” and “inflammatory.”

She bemoaned the fact that the “First Amendment protects” such scribblers. “But it does,” she said.

More nodding from the seven elders.

She used to call me, making similar claims. I always assured her that I sought to avoid errors, that I am always glad to correct them. I have done so in the past.

I would ask her, “exactly what is it that we got wrong?”

To date, she has not answered that question.

I am baffled.

Some, it seems, do not see the value of our little publication. They find it neither funny nor enlightening, an ugly thing, unredeemed by any virtue.

What must they think of you, dear reader?

The faculty leader also went out of her way to remark on the three faculty who spoke about the "Jesus Christ" video. These speakers, she said, do not speak for the faculty. Only the academic senate, she said (and, I suppose, the union), speaks for faculty.

As I recall, the three speakers did not claim to speak for all faculty.

On the other hand, not so very long ago, our academic senates passed resolutions to the effect that trustees should cease these public prayers. (See Faculty, students want to ban prayer at college events. See also graphic below.)

Those resolutions expressed essentially the same perspective expressed by these three speakers.

Again, I am baffled.

On Top of Old Smoky


Mount Wilson Observatory boasts the longest recorded history of the sun of any observatory - dating from 1906, two years after its founding in 1904 by George Ellery Hale.

Click here to access the webcam on top of Mount Wilson (elevation: 5,700 feet) and see its unsettling view of the approaching fire.

There hasn't been a fire burn over Mt. Wilson for over a hundred years - today's fire threatens to do just that.

update: Mt. Wilson webcam comes and goes - be patient and try again.

The real problem with distance ed

In this morning’s Inside Higher Ed (Going For Distance), Steve Kolowich debunks some myths about online instruction. For instance, one might think that faculty—especially senior faculty—are really dragging their feet on this kind of “distance ed.” Not so, it seems.

But there is a problem with it, at least according to faculty. It is the lack of support for the extra work involved in using and developing this kind of instruction. That's the clear message of a new study involving over ten thousand faculty.

One of the commissioners involved in the study opined that “The leadership of universities has been trying to understand exactly how [online education] fits into their strategic plans, and what this [study] shows is that faculty are ahead of the institutions in these online goals.”

How so? Well, more than a third of faculty who participated in the study had developed and taught this kind of course, but, they say, they aren't getting adequate support.

I suspect that faculty at our two institutions (Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College) are behind the curve on this. In my experience, senior faculty (including me) have been especially wary of online distance ed. (That's just an impression.)

In truth, research seems to show that, at least for many areas of learning, online instruction works.

Well, whether it is a good thing or not, it is developing all around us. It's a tsunami. Sooner or later, we'll be on board. And it won't be easy:

Almost two-thirds of the faculty said it takes more effort to teach a course online than in a classroom, while 85 percent said more effort is required to develop one. While younger professors seem to have an easier time teaching online than older ones, more than half of respondents from the youngest faculty group agreed it was more time-consuming. Nearly 70 percent of all professors cited the extra effort necessary to develop Web courses as a crucial barrier to teaching online.

Given the extra work, more than 60 percent of faculty see inadequate compensation as a barrier to the further development of online courses. “If these rates of participation among faculty are going to continue to grow, institutions will have do a better job acknowledging the additional time and effort on the part of the faculty member,” said Jeff Seaman, co-director of the Babson Survey Research Group and the survey’s lead researcher….

Yeah, when you teach online, you're pretty much on call all of the time. Sheesh.

I can just see the likes of trustee Tom Fuentes grinning over this.

“Let’s make the lazy bastards work for a living,” he’ll say.

And, who knows? Just maybe that hateful fellow will be our next board president.

Won't that be swell?

See also Challenging Microsoft With a New Technology (New York Times).

Sunday, August 30, 2009

PART TWO: Has student writing ability declined over time? (YES.)

Two things.

First, when, yesterday, I posted about the increase in writing abilities of American students from 1998 to 2007, for some reason, in my haste, I read “1998” but thought, um, “1970.”

Don’t know why I did that. Getting old, I guess. D'oh!

Had I been aware that we were looking at this recent and puny 8-year span (from '98 to '07), I would not have declared, as I did, that the “Teeth Gnashers” were likely in error (in their view that student writing ability has seriously declined in recent decades).

Second, I briefly researched further and I’ve come across what would appear to be much more relevant data: it tracks student verbal performance from 1967 to 2006. Yes! (It might be the closest thing to definitive data that we are going to find.)

More on that in a minute.

That's the good news. The bad news is that those data tend to support the perspective of the Teeth Gnashers (and undermines the perspective of the "oldsters always be carpin' about youngsters, so forgetaboutit" perspective).

I came across a site called the “Humanities Resource Center Online,” which is “a project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences” (AAAS). That brought me to their Humanities indicators (for charting trends). That, in turn, led me to their data for “primary and secondary education in the Humanities.”

I clicked on “Indicator I-2 Writing Proficiency.”

There, the AAAS states that

NAEP findings are mixed….

Twelfth grade performance slipped between 1998 and 2002, with the percentage of students scoring at the basic achievement level or better declining from 79% to the 75% figure mentioned above. In 2002, fewer than one in four soon-to-be high school graduates were assessed as writing at the proficient level or higher. Students scoring at the proficient level demonstrate a grasp of writing skills that are essential for success in most walks of life; these skills include the use of transitional elements and the ability to select language appropriate for the intended audience….

Again, those data concern the brief period between '98 and '02—hardly the basis for conclusions about long-term trends.

But something caught my eye: “Indicator I-5: Performance on SAT Verbal/Critical Reading & Writing Exams.” There, the AAAS states

Although controversy over the SAT [i.e., the "Scholastic Aptitude Test"] persists on a number of fronts, the verbal portion of the SAT (renamed “critical reading” in 2005) is a valuable measure of college-bound seniors’ linguistic skills because the test has been administered for several decades and thus permits comparison over a fairly extended period of time. The SAT data reveal a steep decline between 1967 and the early 1980s in mean verbal scores, followed by a leveling off, with mean scores ranging between approximately 500 and 510 ever since ….

That's right: 2006 "verbal" scores can be compared to 1967 scores. The SAT is an imperfect measure of verbal abilities, but I suspect that it has significant validity. (No doubt some disagree.)

The trend in verbal SAT scores ain't pretty. The AAAS folks present the chart below. Check it out. That's some serious decline, baby.*

Click on image to enlarge

So, I’m back to being a Teeth Gnasher. Bigtime.

*SAT math scores were the same in 2006 as they were in 1967, although these scores dipped precipitously in the 80s and then rebounded.

Tomorrow’s board meeting: rode hard and put up wet


Hey, it’s time for another meeting of the SOCCCD board of trustees, starring Don Wagner and featuring Tom “sourpuss” Fuentes. —Monday night, same time (6:00 p.m.), same place (the “Ronald Reagan” room). (The agenda, a large pdf, is available here.)

As you know, board president Wagner has announced his intention to run for State Assembly, and so it seems unlikely that he’ll remain at the helm of the good ship Agitprop starting December (just 3 or 4 months away).

So, who’s gonna replace him?

Maybe Tom Fuentes?!

We keep hearing, mostly from trustees themselves, that the board is a group of unhappy campers these days, divided by—well, I dunno. For her invocation in July, given only minutes after the board’s closed session, trustee Marcia Milchiker alluded to the need for civility, but since everyone in the audience was genial to the point of comatositude, it seemed clear that she was referring to rank trusteecular kerfufflery.

Don Wagner has made similar allusions.

Kerfufflery? What about? I’ve been studying Chancellor Raghu P. Mathur’s lower lip-language. Judging by that and the perpetually rosy, red glow of his ass, it seems clear that he spends half of his time in the woodshed.

So, just maybe, tomorrow’s board meeting will be interesting. But I wouldn't bet on it.

CLOSED SESSION:

First, the board will hold a brief closed session, starting at 5:00 p.m. As usual, one agenda item refers to possible litigation.

For once, I looked up the section of the code to which the item refers (54956.9). That part of the code concerns legislative bodies (e.g., a board of trustees) and the appropriateness of meeting in closed session concerning “pending litigation.” (“3 cases” are involved, says the agenda.)

The specific parts of the code referred to in the item are:

…[L]itigation shall be considered pending when any of the following circumstances exist: … (b) (1) A point has been reached where, …, based on existing facts and circumstances, there is a significant exposure to litigation against the local agency.

(3) (A) Facts and circumstances that might result in litigation against the local agency but which the local agency believes are not yet known to a potential plaintiff or plaintiffs, which facts and circumstances need not be disclosed. [My emphasis.]

Well, whatever. (Republicans, of course, will recognize a fine business opportunity.)

OPEN SESSION:

The open session “reconvenes” at 6:00 p.m.

Early in the open meeting agenda, mention is made of a trustee request for a “report on Salaries of College Professors in Orange County.”

That’s gotta be our old friend Tom. He hates educators, y’know. He thinks they're lazy and wicked.

The “discussion item” for the evening will be each campus’s “strategic planning process.”

Among “consent calendar” items (that, therefore, likely will not be discussed by trustees) is a study abroad trip to Salamanca, Spain. No word yet whether Tom plans to pull the plug owing to some new Spanish treachery.

Looks like the board will approve an agreement between Saddleback College and “Lake Forest Beauty College.” Have you seen the people of Lake Forest? Most of ‘em look like they've been “rode hard and put up wet”—to use an expression my friend Marion used last night.

She’s from Texas. I asked her, hopefully, whether there’s any chance her state will secede soon.

She was not amused. She gave me the South Texas stink-eye.

As usual, the board will approve payment to a trustee who missed a meeting. They never discuss these freebies. They just approve ‘em. That's 'cause they're "fiscally responsible" Republicans, every one of 'em. Very staunch.

“General” action items include approval of final budgets for the district and the two student governments. That could get wacky, but it's more likely to get snoozy.


Item 6.2 is approval of the “basic aid project priority list” for 2009-10. It’s a significant agenda item.

ATEP (the Tustin campus) will get $5.5 million, including $2 million for “Negotiations,” $1 million for “development,” and $2.5 million for ATEP’s “operating budget.”

District IT projects will get $5 million.

Saddleback College will get $8 million, including $5 million for ventilation system upgrades, $1.5 million for “pool deck replacement,” and $1.5 million for “roof replacement.”

IVC will get a paltry $650,000—that's 8% of what its sister college gets—including 240K for various publications, 150K for “new signage and monuments,” 150K for parking lot repair, 90K “A200 & B200 secondary effects and library copy center,” and 20K for “landscape replanting.”

Including a few more odds and ends, it all adds up to about $22 million.

Gosh, IVC seems to be on somebody's shit list.

There’s the usual slew of new and improved board policies, including BP-4011.3, “Weapons on Campus.”


It is my understanding the Police Chief Harry Parmer is finally gonna get that M2 Browning machine gun that he loves so much. It’ll be installed in a fine nest atop the Ronald Reagan Room. (Well, no. But it is a cool weapon.)

Item 6.10 is the “elimination of one categorically funded position due to the termination of funding.” Ouch. (Reference is made to an “exhibit A,” but it doesn’t seem to be attached. What gives?)

That’s about it. Not too promising, but you never know.

Did you miss the Chancellor's "opening session"? It is now available here.

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