Monday, January 23, 2012

January's meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees: despite some friction, ATEP moves forward

     (See Tere's Board Highlights. Also: streaming video.)
     It’s time once again for the monthly meeting of the SOCCCD Board of Trustees—that clueless crew that gets together exactly once a month to make decisions that they seem perennially incompetent to make. Well, at least the board is much less political than it used to be. How come? Fortuity, mostly.
     Luckily, these days, we have a Chancellor who is very familiar with the colleges and who generally steers the board clear of folly.
     Presently, the colleges await their fate at the hands of the accreditors, a crew that manages to be as clueless, in their own way, as trustees. Thou shalt devote many hours per faculty to SLOs, saith the accreditors. Would any intelligent being approach college accountability via SLOs? Absolutely not. Will that factoid slow the SLO speedwagon? Absolutely not. Can one find otherwise intelligent people defending this SLO cluster****? Yessireebob.
     Plus there is our district’s (i.e., our board’s) continued embrace of the ATEP "dream," aka tossing big chunks of taxpayer money at the dirt 'n' derelicts of the old Tustin helicopter station in hopes of yielding—well, we-know-not-what. Reminding one of Sayre’s Law, in recent years, the ATEP “dream” has inspired a turf war between the district’s two colleges. It appears that, tonight, Chancellor Poertner will make like Solomon and cut that baby clean in two.
     Long-term, the district faces serious money issues, like everyone else (see We need a $billion), but, short-term, we’re in high cotton—though said cotton (the basic aid gravy train) is projected to shrink with each year. Further, there are those in this state who, with increasing passion and focus, seek to toss us into the weeds along with everyone else.
     About that, nervousness prevails.
* * *
     It's 6:27, and the meeting is supposed to start at 6:30. A jacket hangs over Board President Nancy Padberg's chair, but no Nancy. Hmmmm.
     6:40 — looks like the trustees are emerging. Roquemore and Poertner are huddling together. Looks pretty serious, i.e., Glenn doesn't have his usual plastic grimace.
     6:44 — Nancy arrives.  Aha! Bill Jay has returned (he's been absent for months). Now, if Tom Fuentes shows up, I'm just gonna freak! (He doesn't.)
     6:46 — Nancy looks like she's ready for business. TJ Prendergast is talking with her. Everybody's here but Tom Fuentes, who I half expected to show up tonight just to piss me off. He's like that.
     6:48 — Silence! The meeting begins!

     Actions taken in closed session: nothing of consequence.
     Lang does non-religious invocation. Pledge of Allegiance.

     (1) IVC comes up to receive a "resolution" for being selected as a "military-friendly school." So, as usual, somebody's getting a prize for getting a prize. Later, no doubt, IVC will get a prize for getting this resolution, ad infinitum. We get to use a "military-friendly" logo. I wonder if the logo will get a prize?
     8 or so people stand up there near Glenn Roquemore basking in their resolutionariness. Marcia reads the resolution. "Very exciting," says Marcia, with little excitement. (She makes up for that a moment later by saying "aye" with such staccato violence that I have gone deaf.) There's applause. Speechifying occurs.
     Glenn shows the plaque; he says he won't read it cuz it repeats what's already been said seven times. A photo op.
     (2) Saddleback College President's Award for "leadership and innovation." Marcia produces much confusion over who should mention recipients—to the amusement of all. One of the honor recipients "passed away recently," says Burnett, which kind of takes the starch out of the thing. Some of the usual suspects up there: Claire, et al. No doubt they are deserving. Burnett explains that they're "all nominated by their colleagues."

     Anna Maria Cobos — librarian, chair. Speaks in support of Academic Senate resolution (see later) re name of Library. She hopes that everyone will return in the fall to what is "really a new building." Let's embrace this by renaming it. (She joins the SC academic senate in asking that it no longer be named after James B. Utt, right-wing lunatic.)
     Joseph Hassine and Shireen Ebrahim — two student leaders. An issue has been brought to us. UCLA has John Wooden. Boston U has MLK. Saddleback C has Ronald Reagan. Here we have "James B. Utt." He explains Utt's record. He quotes Utt's notorious remark about "barefooted Africans," etc., and mentions his opposition to Civil Rights legislation, etc. As a student, says Joseph, I believe that the college promotes diversity. James B. Utt doesn't stand for those things. Encourages the board to rename the library.

     Bill Jay — Glad to be vertical for a while. Thanks for the get-well cards, letters, etc.
     Frank Meldau — wants to take a personal moment to introduce daughter, Anna, in the audience (she's very embarrassed, but she stand up; very attractive young lady). Looks forward to meeting with Chancellor. Will attend games, etc. Looking forward to "Astounding Inventions" this weekend at IVC.
     Marcia Milchiker — we're delighted to have you back, Bill. Attended budget workshop at Saddleback College. Fitzsimons ran it, did a great job. We're doing great compared to many other colleges. We hire the best, and they're doing a great job. You can watch a video of the presentation.
     TJ Prendergast — Got to attend staff holiday event at IVC. There's a photo out there of me wearing antlers. Attended intersession BBQ at IVC. Will be at Astounding Inventions.
     Nancy Padberg — Missed the Presidents' cup games (IVC vs. SC basketball). The Academic Senate gave to SOCCCD services a plaque. She holds this up. Went to some event where our new trustee area boundaries were approved. Astounding Inventions this Saturday.
     Dave Lang — Happy New Year. Wasn't aware of Trustee Jay's health travails — I'm glad that's he's back. Lang says there are some commentaries out there about areas and constituencies—driven by "student success" mandate that we now have. We'll need to spend more time on these areas as a board. Core (?) constituences—Emeritus, Community Education—I would hate to see reductions there. Those areas are important to us, especially to Saddleback College. Looking forward to those discussions.
     Student trustee: (Nancy briefly skips this kid's turn and he either feigns or actually has a look, unmistakebly communicating offense. Sheesh.) Goes on about how he has managed to avoid buying textbooks, and yet has a 3.3 GPA. (Golly.) Goes to the Library and rents textbooks. Asks the board, please enable books to be rented. That would help lots of students.
     Chancellor Poertner: two areas, already mentioned. One, redistricting approval from OC committee on school district organization. Student success task force? We'll wait to see what this means to us. We do not know yet.
     Board requests for reports? None.

     Discussion item: none tonight.
     Consent calendar. Only one item pulled.

Solomon's wisdom
   6.1 Service areas. IVC, Saddleback, and ATEP
     Gary Poertner: board actions requested to help define development of ATEP. We're trying to answer the question: is ATEP within any particular service area? What about on ATEP campus?
     Last spring, there was much discussion about whether there is a boundary line that defines the service areas. The notion of El Toro Rd. as boundary line came up. (We see crude map.) Research was done. The board defined this boundary in 1985, when IVC was first approved as an independent college. Foresaw possible difficulties.
     This issue did come up to some degree. Well, if this is the line, does it follow that ATEP belongs to IVC? This agenda item reaffirms the line, but says that ATEP is not included in this definition. Back in 1985, there was no ATEP. Probably want to act on this first.
Lisa Davis Allen
     IVC Senate President Lisa Davis Allen: some concerns expressed by IVC faculty. I'm requesting that we delay this item for one month for opportunity to get clarification for concerned faculty.
     Padberg: this isn't about programs. I don't see the problem.
     LDA: faculty have concerns about the service areas. The notion that IVC has area to north, etc.
     Prendergast: can we wait a month, Gary?
     Poertner: one month will likely not matter, unless it concerns the "new market tax credits." We need a program design for that. So we need to settle who has programs at ATEP. I don't know if this makes a difference.
     Fitzsimons (Vice Chancellor of Business Services): yes, a month would make a difference. We need to show progress, and we're behind. Waiting could jeopardize our funding.
     Poertner: Is it one college or two colleges at ATEP? 6.1 settles only that. (I'm not sure I understood his point.)
     Padberg: I don't think we ever intended that the whole thing (ATEP) would go to one college! It would be very unfair to have all of that acreage controlled by one college.
     Prendergast: we've been given clear presentations from both campuses—a month ago—so I don't understand what IVC faculty are concerned about.
     LDA: I have received concerns from IVC faculty. They seek clarification on the service area inside ATEP—how it will create problems for the larger service area of IVC.
     Padberg: I don't hear you saying the type of concerns.
     Lang: I'm a bit confused about why IVC faculty need more time. This has been a long-standing issue in the district. I realize that there are lots of internal politics about this issue. But the Chancellor is only asking for clarification: are both colleges participating here, programatically? How would feedback in a month change anything?
     LDA: Saddleback College senate was not made aware of programs until December. This hasn't been "shared out" to our senate either. Faculty have not been informed of programatic decisions(?). (I think that's what she's saying. Not sure.)
     Padberg: this has been on agenda repeatedly. If faculty haven't paid attention, they bear some responsibility. We need to move forward. Nothing here will impact either college.
     Meldau: the board wants to allow both campuses to make use of the facility, have programs.  All we're asking here is to agree that there is an interest in having both colleges have access to land at ATEP. (Meldau has definitely been speaking up more in recent months. A good thing, I think.)
     Matter carries unanimously.
Exhibit B: ATEP à la Solomon. Saddleback pink, IVC blue
     6.2. Next question. How will each college participate in the ATEP property? Shows a map (exhibit B; see above). We don't actually own the property below the pink line on the map. We've been told for years that this would be settled. In the short run, we'll try to avoid land we can't build on. So we asked planners to plan so that both colleges share the land that we can build on. There's so much square footage here, there's lots of room for both colleges. Two sections: one for IVC, the other for SC. They are equivalent. Pink and blue on the map. We designate the "pink" building as SC; and the blue as IVC's building. For as long as there's disagreement, we can't go forward. We can always go back and repair our decision if it proves problematic. So 6.2 concerns these two 5 acre sections only (above the pink line).
     Lang: I do have a problem here. Why can't we share the space of two buildings between the two colleges. Why are we locking into each college getting its own building?
     Poertner: Saddleback's proposed use will be harder to share. Joint use of the facility would not be possible.
     Lang: let's leave our options open here. Those with the best plans and programs should get set up first. Why lock into this two building idea? I have a problem with this concept plan.
     Padberg: seems angry: Why don't you make an amendment to the motion? she shouts. Or so it seems to me, but I'm sensitive, as you know.
     Lang: tries to speak, Nancy says no, others get to talk, dude.
     Milchiker: we've been discussing ATEP for "way too long." (Understatement of the century.) We learned that ATEP cannot be run by the district. So each college has to have their own programs on ATEP, if there is to be accreditation. So we should give a portion to IVC, a portion to SC. Let's get moving. We can change things later. This will force the two colleges to start planning. So let's approve this. (I'm weirded out by how sensible Marcia sounds tonight.)
     Poertner: another thought: when we begin building this out, there's nothing stopping us from sharing the first building and working out an agreement until the other building is built, etc. It is not absolutely necessary to have two buildings, but we've got to say there are two colleges, and here's each one's space. We need to make this decision. Let's go forward.
     Prendergast: there's plenty of space out there. We don't have to worry about equity between the colleges. This is just getting the ball rolling.
     Meldau: I like the idea of splitting the land. We have to get started. The process is taking way too long — it seems to drag out. Nothing we're doing here will inhibit process going forward. We want to get moving.
     Lang: I don't want to delay the project any further either. I want to ask the Chancellor: how important is exhibit B (the map with two buildings) to the item?
     Poertner: if we don't make a decision, we'll get in dutch with the tax credit thing.
     Fitzsimons: we need parameters here. She goes into the tax credit stuff and my eyes are glazing over. We need to provide specific detail to give confidence to investors. We don't have that now.
     Jay: this gives maximum flexibility, so will support it.
     They vote: unanimous.
     6.3 Nomination of blah, blah, blah.
     6.4 review and study of policy revisions. Accepted, unanimously
     6.5 Sabbaticals....
     Milchiker: read all of the 19 sabbatical proposals. Fascinating. Can we have a presentation to the board of these sabbaticals?
     LDA: it's a requirement to report results. Some of these can be presented to board. Sure.

     6.6 Academic Personnel actions. Carries unanimously.
     6.7 Classified Personnel actions. Carries unanimously.
Reports: (little or no discussion throughout)
     7.1 Speakers
     7.2 Basic Aid report
     7.3 Retirement trust fund
     7.4 Facilities plan status report
     7.5 Financial status report
     7.6 Interfund transfer of cash

Written reports: shared governance groups, etc.

James B. Utt
     Saddleback College Academic Senate: resolution read. (See it here.) Senate recommends that the Library be renamed. Mentions Utt's record and remarks. The Library was never properly named. Senate Prez wants to "encourage" this as agenda item.
     IVC Academic Senate, LDA: mentions lecture series, etc.
. . .
     IVC President Roquemore: presentation before accreditors (ACCJC). Based on smiles in the room, seemed to go well. (Uh-oh.)
     Saddleback Prez Burnett: also presented before the ACCJC. We hired a new financial aid directors. "We stoled him." Blah, blah, blah

     I should add that at least one student group (Saddleback College student government) supported the Saddleback College Academic Senate "library" resolution. So the trustees were getting it from all directions.
     That was about it.

SEE ALSO: The December board meeting: ATEP of the mind


Anonymous said...

Nancy's practicing magic these days - she'll appear - voila!

Anonymous said...

As with most board meetings:

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until they speak.

Dr. Spock

Anonymous said...

TJ was at IVC today!

Anonymous said...

Just to clarify, the students who spoke during public comments were Joseph Hassine and Shireen Ebrahim. It was also Saddleback's Student government that spoke at the end.

B. von Traven said...

Thanks for the clarification.

Anonymous said...

ATEP - a waste of resources and a failure of vision from beginning to we're stuck.

Sort of like the Early College Program.

Anonymous said...

Why is Saddleback "pink" and IVC "blue" on the ATEP map?

Anonymous said...

Good for Saddleback to reject the Utt.

What about Reeve?

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