Thursday, September 1, 2011

Let's hold their feet to the fire

"I've got a question"
     The Irvine Valley College Academic Senate meets today.
     Our senate has a proud history, as you know. For instance, just a few years ago, IVC’s Senate, along with Saddleback’s, took the district to court regarding Mathur & the Board’s obnoxious unilateral changes to the faculty hiring policy, contrary to the plain language of the law.
     That we, an Academic Senate, litigated was unprecedented. The process entailed many stages, many ups and downs, and took years. We stuck with it. And we prevailed. Big time. Our rights and the rights of senates throughout the state were restored.
     OPENNESS. One of the things I always loved about the old battlin' IVC senate was the open nature of the communication between Senators and the Senate leadership. At Senate meetings, a senator would never get the sense that he or she wasn't being told what was really happening. Everything was laid out in the open for all to see—albeit some of this openness required, um, body language. (Wendy G. deserves much of the credit for this level of openness—and, of course, for leadership re the aforementioned litigation.)
     In the last couple of years, however, things have changed at the IVC Academic Senate.
      I want to focus on one of those changes.
     Nowadays, during our biweekly Rep Council meetings, there are two groups in the room: the senators and the cabinet, a manifestly tight-lipped bunch. It seems pretty clear that the “new” Senate Prez sometimes* tells her cabinet that, once the decision is made (in cabinet), everybody’s got to be behind it 100% and to not undermine it.
     At times, this stricture obviously makes some cabinet members uncomfortable. Their eyes communicate loudly: “I’d love to say something now but I just can’t!”
     Really? You can’t be open about the pros and cons of whatever-it-is? Frankly, I don’t know why cabinet members put up with this rule, whatever it is. Most of them were around during the glory days, when things were very open, and the senate nevertheless managed to keep administrators’ feet to the fire.
      The “new” Academic Senate’s less-than-transparent ways have bred distrust. “It” does things—the recent opening of the CAFÉ (only full-time faculty invited!) is a good example—that seem wrong and foolhardy. One awaits an explanation. There is silence.
     We’ve got enough of that coming from college administration, which, nowadays, does as it pleases with impunity and without justification or explanation.
     Let's hold their feet to the fire.

     (I should mention that I have been a senator—and at times a senate officerfor many years. This semester, however, I am on sabbatical. —RB aka BvT)

Agenda items of note (Meeting in BSTIC 101; 2:00 p.m.):
Item 4 - Senate Approval of Curriculum for 2012-2013 Catalog
Item 5 - Program Reviews 2011-2012
Item 7 - Board Policies and Administrative Regulations
Item 9 - ACCJC Recommendation Response Report
Item 10 - Full Time Tenure-Track Faculty Hiring Priority List Process
Item 12 - IVC and ATEP
Item 13 - SLO Coordinator and Liaison
Item 14 - Faculty Contract

MEANWHILE...

College professor allegedly led motorcycle gang, drug ring (LA Times)
A Cal State San Bernardino professor who allegedly led a chapter of the Devils Diciples motorcycle gang was charged Thursday with heading up a methamphetamine drug ring that involved several other dealers. [Updated at 1 p.m.: The motorcycle gang intentionally misspells "disciples" in its name, as can be seen in the jackets above.] ¶ Stephen Kinzey, a 43-year-old professor of kinesiology, is considered a fugitive and is being aggressively sought by authorities, Sheriff Rod Hoops said at a morning news conference at sheriff’s headquarters in San Bernardino. Nine others involved in the drug ring have been arrested since Friday, he said….


*A comment by a member (or former member) of the cabinet suggested that I needed to be more precise about my meaning here. (So I added this word.) I do not suppose that LDA in general demands cabinet member tight-lippedness. My point is that, evidently, at times, she has asked for that. If so, it is enough to make my point about openness and transparency. That is, in my view, this should never (or nearly never) be asked or demanded of cabinet members.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't believe faculty put up with this

Anonymous said...

Were there any fireworks today? Do tell!

Anonymous said...

Great description of the "new" IVC Academic Senate. I'd say there are three separate groups in the room, LDA, the LDA tow the line cabinet, and the rest of us. Sad though, considering the history. LDA seems to run the Senate like a former chanc ran the district? Disloyalty will not be tolerated. You may need a new senate pres IVC.

Anonymous said...

I agree, new leadership all around. Most of this bs is over the next building on the books. Too much chem space = no new building.

Anonymous said...

I don't support EC. I don't support ATEP. I don't support the VPI running the college amuck. I believe the senate is being manipulated by glossing things over and discouraging differing opinions. Am I alone?

Anonymous said...

Look, it's nice that ya'll coem to the blog and voixe your complaints but you really need to step up - or make your senators step up - or shut up. I guess the blog gives you a sense of secure anonymity - but if you really care you need to do more, much more. I share you beliefs about the self-serving nature of the recent senate presidents - each used or are using the senate to pursue their own personal goals. Wendy wanted to be a dean or a VP. Lisa wants to be the fine arts dean. Everybody knows this. Deals are being made, like always. But if you KNOW this and it bothers you, you need to do more than be bothered.

Anonymous said...

Terrible typo on the front page of the college website:


"IVC News Inaugural Veteran's
Symposium

Proudly inviting veterans of the armed fources to start-off college right! "

Anonymous said...

It's been up there all day....

Anonymous said...

Ray Chandos showed up ... I guess you could say there were a tee fireworks.

Anonymous said...

The real tragedy is that many people care but the leaders don't really want to share - so you have this farce. Can you imagine what it could be like if the leadership trusted faculty and staff and shared a bit of the power? but they won't.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 11:16. And I believe it is unfair to characterize the AS President as someone who does not tolerate dissent. That is simply NOT true. This Blog has done a great service to faculty and staff over the years by keeping everyone informed and pointing out injustices from the previous district administration. Now that "the barbarians" are gone, we run the danger of self-destruction, "imploding," and eventually starting to look like those we were successful in getting rid of. Mistakes have been made regarding EC and ATEP. I believe honest steps are being taken to correct them. If they don't work then we have no one else to blame but ourselves. EC should have been faculty driven. It wasn't. Same thing, to a large extent, with ATEP. But we do have a chance now to make them work. What doesn't work is to demonize others. No one is perfect around here, not even the writer of these words. Let's pull together, find out what's not working, make it work if possible. If not, let's get rid of it. But let's not self destruct in the process. I hope we are better than those we got rid of. Let's prove it to them and to ourselves.

Anonymous said...

BvT, this is the time for faculty to be united and on the same front. I understand you're on sabbatical and probably getting bored, but please be mindful of your colleagues' feelings. Don't forget that LDA was responsible for the hiring of two new librarians. She has done many many good things for the College. Let's be civil to each other.

Anonymous said...

I think it is also possible to be a reasonably good leader who does good things (librarians, etc) - and one that still promotes a problematic process and policies that benefit a few. I actually think this is usually what happens when people step up to lead. It's hard not to get trapped between pleasing your constituency, yourself - and the powers that be who may promise you pretty things. After awhile a condescending attitude may or may not develop. That kind of attitude is unfortunate - and yes, uncivil too. A sense that because one is "in the know," one knows better. Someone needs to take a poli sci class. This is classic.

I just want to say, I DO appreciate people who sacrifice themselves in the senate and the union to lead. But just because I appreacite them doesn't mean I can't also criticize them.

Anonymous said...

Hey! the typo is fixed! you guys are great! Now if you could only arrange to have phones and computers in the the new part-time A-200 office so that faculty who teach in the evening can actualy print out materials for class...or make phone calls...

Anonymous said...

I do appreciate what Lisa has done. She has improved the relationship between the senate and admin. But at what cost? Roger is a goner, not that I care.

Anonymous said...

The part time faculty have computers, a printer, a copier, and a great faculty lounge upstairs in the BST building. Come on over! You are welcome here. They set aside one office that does have a phone available for part timers and is available for private meetings with your students. Problem is, it remains locked. You can call campus safety to open it, BST201G.

Anonymous said...

What do our part-time colleagues know, and when do they know it?

I encounter so many students wandering, looking for their part-time teachers. One way they can communciate with them - and full-time faculty - is by dropping materials in their mailboxes in A-200 BUT students are not supposed to enter that room (so says the sign).

(There is no sign for the part-time office in A-200, by the way. who knows what that empty room is? Students do not.)

That's great about the space in BSTIC but do they know? It's a real problem.

Anonymous said...

Lisa has done some great things for Fine Arts, and we are 100% behind her. Yes, I endorse Lisa for Dean of Fine Arts.

Good riddance, Eyeore.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. Lisa has done great things for fine arts. A senate president should do great things for all faculty - that's what Wendy did. You couldn't say she did great things for Social Sciences. She didn't. She represented in the best sense of the word. Lisa used her position as president to benefit Fine Arts and to become their next dean.

Anonymous said...

Characterizing LDA as dictator is absurd. I was on the cabinet under many different Senate presidents and LDA relies on her cabinet for advice, encourages vigorous debate and opposition,and listens to the advice given. While no leader is perfect, LDA works hard on behalf of faculty and puts in enormous time, energy, good will and heart into her service to the college. Only in a place like IVC, where we've had such a toxic history with admins, would the desire to move up the career ladder be considered such a source of suspicion and derision. It is both uncivil, irresponsible and, in my opinion, skirting slanderous, to characterize the senate's modus operandi in print and on the web in the way you have done so. Who will want to step up to the plate and follow LDA as Senate president if there is a risk of being pilloried in this blog? It is hurtful and demoralizing to treat well-intentioned leaders they way they're treated here. It's appallingly damaging to our college.
Signed, openly, Traci Fahimi (former Senate Recorder, Vice President and President).

Anonymous said...

Also, Roy, I suggest you consider your own advice, printed under "post a comment": "Please do stay north of the merest of rumors, especially sordid ones." The situation with this blog and it's role (past and present) is rife with sad irony. Who shall hold your feet to the fire and insist that journalistic integrity and standards are followed in the printed word? Bloggers are not exempt from standards...or lawsuits...and under some circumstances may be even more vulnerable to them than "regular journalists". Be careful to preserve the collegiality of our college and be careful about crossing the line into damaging a person's reputation publicly through unfounded innuendos, speculations and assertions. What you print then opens the door up to the even more wild, speculative, accusatory and damaging comments. It's like unleashing a train wreck.
Also from Traci Fahimi--again openly--because I'm not saying anything here I wouldn't say to any colleague on campus face to face.

Anonymous said...

I agree that trying to work up the ladder is commendable. But, it does put one in a tough position at times. WG did it and was open and forthcoming.

This is a place for opinion. Sometimes we don't agree, but we are free to voice our opinions. Thank you, bvt.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to the motorcycle gang professor. I heard there is a classified employee is a pimp daddy and has a stable of hotties.

Gustavo Arellano: Longtime editor of the OC Weekly resigns

Gustavo earlier this year at the UCI launch party for Orange County: A Literary Field Guide , edited by Rebel Girl and Red Emma, with a ...