Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The DtB year in review, part 1: an inveterate tolerance for sh*t

Mary Pickford c. 1926
     I figured I’d write a brief “2013 in review,” dissentwise, but, as I slogged through our posts starting in January of ’13, I found way too much to review.
     So here’s part 1.


     • The year began with lots of talk in Sacramento, and by the Governor in particular, about needed changes in the state’s higher ed system, ‘cuz money’s tight, and ed costs keep going up. With regard to the state’s community college system, Brown focused on the need to increase graduation and transfer rates.
     • Meanwhile, those Rat Bastard higher ed “for profits”—U. of Phoenix, etc.—were true to form, getting smacked around by Accreditors for the usual misdeeds. Not that the latter were (or are) anything to write home about. (As I write, the ACCJC—and its leader, Babs Beno—are under considerable pressure and scrutiny over the ACCJC's decision to pull SF City College’s ticket. Old Babs ain’t lookin’ so good these days.)
Don Rickner
     • THOSE ZANY FOUNDATIONS. The two colleges’ foundations popped over the horizon in January. The trustees clearly had some concerns about ‘em. For instance, toward the end of ’12, one trustee made a request:
     “I understand that there will be a separate report on the foundations in January. ... The one thing that strikes me when I review the financial information … is the level of support that the colleges provide to each of the foundations in the form of donated services and donated professional fees. For Saddleback it was like 53.4% of the unrestricted total support. For Irvine Valley College it was 92.76% of that figure. And I’m hopeful that in the reports that you’ll come back with, there may be some information that gives us a way to benchmark that against perhaps some of our other peers and community college foundations…."
     • Not sure those January reports clarified much on that score. The reports were more a plea for funding for more staff. "It takes money to make money," they said.
     • In January, we reminded folks of the miserable record of IVC’s scholarship program in recent years, what with compliance (with fed rules) issues, poorly designed application forms, the odd decision to dispense with letters of rec, gross errors, and so on.
     • HUELL HOWSER DIES. Like everyone else in California, we noted the passing of Huell Howser, who had participated in at least one foundation event—way back in 2006.
An excellent suggestion ignored
(Thanks, SS)
     • LASER FREAKIN' ROAD? Also in January, the college (IVC) solicited suggestions for naming the soon-to-be-constructed Barranca entrance to the college. In the email, the name “Laser” was suggested. We noted that, not long ago, the college had created a committee to find a replacement for the “laser” mascot—the assumption being that the mascot needed replacing. As usual, at IVC, the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.
     • THE CHEEK OF JEMAL. At January’s board meeting, newbie trustee Tim Jemal pisses off his colleagues by asking for some big reports on student mental health, certificate programs, and business partnerships. Why, the cheek of the man! But the Timster abides.
     • BULLY BLOCKING TENURE. We commenced tracking an apparently hinky effort by a disturbingly powerful instructor to block a colleague’s tenure. Soon, Glenn and Co. started circling the wagons. It all ended in a showdown—more about that later.
     We reminded readers of an effort, more than a dozen years earlier, to block a faculty’s tenure simply in order to intimidate faculty critics of then-IVC-President Raghu Mathur.
Cheeky fellow
     • SADDLEBACK COLLEGE OWNS THE COLOR RED? We noted absurd proscriptions in the paint scheme for the almost-completed Life Sciences Building at IVC. Faculty wanted splashes of red. But no. Red is Saddleback’s color, they were told. Really. Reason has no power at IVC.
     • Legislators—including our own “Dandy” Don Wagner—pursued legislation to train and arm school personnel. Natch.


     • ROQUEMORE'S DUBIOUS CLAIMS. At the urging of some colleagues, we began asking questions about certain allegedly successful Foundation events and the funds they supposedly generated for “veterans.” How come the veterans haven’t seen that money? we asked. President Roquemore has never offered any explanation of this discrepancy. But that's his way. Glenn offers opaque bullshit and calls it transparency.

     • We noted the disturbing murder of Monica Quan and Keith Lawrence in an Irvine parking garage. That story soon mushroomed into one of the biggest in the state: the Christopher Dorner Manhunt.
     • ROQUEMORE AND BULLY HAUTE COUTURE. In early February, we reported recent tales of Roquemorian incompetence—and described his long history of supporting and protecting bullies. We tell the story of Roquemore’s panicky mishandling of the alleged fiscal emergency of the Fall and his apparent plan to deal with the “crisis” by unilaterally cancelling all new faculty hires. Luckily, the Academic Senate was on the case and, to a degree, thwarted Roquemore’s unilateralism.
     • TARGETED PROBIES. We connected Roquemore’s longstanding nurturing of a college “bully culture” with the recent “denying tenure” story. The latter grew big fast.

     • CONFLICT OF INTEREST. We noted that one of the probies that Roquemore was about to pass judgment upon is a close personal friend of his. At any rate, we had the photos of the two on holiday together in Hawaii (or some such place) with their families.
     • The “denying tenure” story continued. We wrote:
     Some of us wonder about the integrity of the (district) [tenure] process as it is being practiced here at Irvine Valley College. We worry about bullies throwing their weight around, pursuing personal agendas, driving others into submission or silence. Perhaps those and other failures of objectivity and fairness are afoot: helping friends, hurting enemies—that sort of thing.
     • Gosh, money must be growing on trees. In mid-February, we revealed a memo, sent to faculty from their dean, alerting them of the opportunity to “order name badges.” Really.
     Nobody cared.
     • BIOs SEE RED. The “Saddleback owns the color red” controversy continued:
     Bio faculty met again today with the usual district/college suspects, and they pressed for the rationale for prohibiting red in the new building. Once again, reference was made to Saddleback College's ownership of red. But they were also told that "every other user group" on campus has (in the past, I suppose) objected to the color red. (?)
     I was not aware of this. (Nobody is aware of this.)
     This bio crew is the only one who actually likes the color, Bio faculty were told.
     And so, today, Bio faculty were informed that, since "faculty" have expressed their wishes re color—they dislike red—that color must not be permitted in the new Life Sciences Building.
     —Yeah, but what if the actual occupants of the Life Sciences Building—namely, the Bio faculty—like red? What difference does it make that other faculty don't like it?
     Doesn't matter. Faculty have expressed their desire. End of story.
     • LASER LOSERS. At an Academic Senate meeting, reps learned that some committee had decided that the new Barranca entrance will be called “Laser Road”:
     "But wait a minute," I said. A few years ago, unhappiness with the IVC mascot—the goddam Laser—led to the formation of a committee charged with finding a replacement nickname/mascot. Besides, I said, the college used to own a laser, about which it used to make a big freakin' deal, but we sold the dang thing years ago. So our college is vehemently post-Laser.
     That "new mascot" committee seemed to fade away, but the problem—our laser mascotry—remains. Naming the new entrance "Laser Road" will, I said, cement the college’s misbegotten laserhood.
     Kathy S, the Academic Senate Prez, agreed that this road-naming move, if it stands, will yield laser permanence. Kathy then said she made precisely my point (about our efforts to de-laser) at the Deacons meeting. But, she reported, IVC's Director of Marketing—aka Glenn Roquemore's flack, Diane O—declared that the mascot change committee is dissolved and there's no chance we're gonna change our mascot.
     I said something like, "Um, who is Diane O to make that decision?" Pretty soon, several other members of the Rep Council piled on. David, our Recorder, normally a mute presence, made some dry remarks about the difficulty finding a suitable mascot for "a beam of coherent light." Just what would that be? he asked.
     Meanwhile, Steve noted that many among us are embarrassed by the Laser. The "word on the street," he said, is strictly negatory, laser-wise.
     • DtB recommends that the college replace the “laser” with the “zombies.”
     • THE ALI SYED STORY. It turns out that the latest rampaging OC killer is a Saddleback College student. His rampage is quite outstanding.
     • In view of the Ali Syed story—Saddleback College's rampaging murderer—we reminded readers that the district, or at least IVC, has a history of bungling the presence of potentially threatening students.
     • Re the “tenure denied/IVC bullies” story: just prior to the February board meeting, we reported as follows:
     …[T]he two fourth-year faculty probies in IVC’s School of Fine Arts up for tenure have reportedly received negative (i.e., terminal) recommendations by their Tenure Review Committees. In the case of at least one of these instances, a notorious faculty bully is involved, and some of us have grown concerned that an injustice is afoot. Glenn Roquemore’s history of accommodating bullies leaves us with little hope that pleas to look into possible problems in the process will yield anything.
     I noticed that the two probies in question are not on the list of fourth-year tenure-track faculty recommended for tenure … Expect litigation.
     • We noted the identity of the two probies who seem to be targeted for non-tenure. They seem to have received very positive attention in recent years.
     • ROQUEMORE'S DEFEAT. Wow. At the February board meeting, an enormous show of support for one or two of the above-mentioned probies appeared to move the board to reject Roquemore’s hinky recommendations for non-tenure. It’s a huge defeat for the Glennster, who imagines that he’ll be Chancellor some day.
     • GLENN'S LOUSY JUDGMENT. Notoriously, Glenn Roquemore holds all of the cards in the process whereby commencement speakers are chosen. Over the years, faculty have managed to get some interesting people sent up among speaker recommendations, but Glenn always choses the business types, the non-academics, the plagiarists, et al.
     Repeatedly among these interesting names was Gustavo Arellano, editor of the OC Weekly. Natch, Glenn always passed on Gustavo. But, as it turned out, UCLA chose Gustavo for commencement speaker. Meanwhile, Glenn went out of his way to choose an unimpressive guy who plagiarized part of his address.
     Rebel Girl laid out some of the issues.


     • Rebel Girl offered some thoughts on the tragic passing of a well-regarded adjunct instructor.
     • Saddleback College opens its new library “and learning resources center.” The name “James B. Utt” begins to fade from memory.
     • FISCAL FOOL. We report on, among other things, Glenn Roquemore’s curious way with finances. Efforts to gain clarity about past budget decisions produce such answers as “don’t know.”
     • IVC invites the enemy—the for-profits—to set up tables at the college. Clueless as usual.

     • Fraudster and pal-o-Fuentes—and (thus) unwanted friend of the district—Chriss Street must pay a $7 million judgment. Chriss used to come around and explain the property tax situation to us.
     • DtB faces the miserable fact that the current board is likely the best board this district has ever had.
     • Cats, cats, cats!
     • Celebrating Amy Grimm
     • A brief meeting of the SOCCCD BOT in which Bill Jay declares his love of Kevin O’Connor and Tim Jemal gets all serious about business partnerships and such.
     • Jason Davis in the NYT. A student to remember. These days, he works for vets in Washington, D.C.
     • Duplicative administrators, natch


     • A sub-collegiate lecture at IVC. No wonder they poke fun at CCs.
     • THOSE WACKY TRABUCO HIKERS. The Missing wacked hikers in Trabuco Canyon story. It sure had legs, somehow. A field day for cynics.
     • Grading software?
     • The ever-popular Wacky Friday
     • MORE CATS! Cats in these mountains
     • THE STUDENT SUCCESS SCORECARD. Uh-oh, the Student Success Scorecard came today! We get a B-
     • DISMISSING CLASS EARLY IS UNCOOL. Rebel Girl blows the lid off of the nighttime Empty Classroom syndrome at IVC. (The issue would return in a big way in the Fall of 2013.) Glenn and Co. don't give a damn. Natch.
     • The student hour: our deeply fraudulent system
     • Delilah Snell
The Werlester
     • MORE IVC FOUNDATION BLUESAnother harangue re IVC’s Foundation and its director. Glenn's record of hires is really quite remarkable.
     • I'M SO OUTA HEREKathy Werle makes good her escape
     • TRUSTEES DISRESPECT ADJUNCTSApril BOT meet: adjunct complains about SOCCCD re “equal pay for equal work.” The board is remarkably defensive and testy. This will come back to haunt them.


    •  IVC SCHOLARSHIP WORLD. We enter IVC’s wacky Scholarship World, and it isn’t pretty:
     A while back, the IVC Foundation—i.e., Executive Foundation Dir. Richard Morley—informed financial aid that the Foundation would be awarding six $1,000 scholarships, as they had in past years, from the “Learning Excellence” Scholarship.
     Oh good.
    The scholarship was posted on Stars and a number of students applied. A scholarship committee was formed to review and score all the applications. Students were chosen to receive the scholarships.
     Um, one thing though: evidently, Herr Morley failed to confirm the funding for the scholarship, i.e., whether it would be renewed by the donor.
     Nope. (He made this mistake last year with a number of scholarships.)
     And so, after the selections were made and students chosen, go-to faculty Kurt Meyer and Kay Ryals were notified by Morley that the scholarships would not be awarded after all.
     There were sparks, gnashing of teeth—dark, dark mutterings.
     Before Mr. Morley came on board a couple of years ago, all the funding was confirmed before the scholarships were announced.
     No longer, evidently.
     • YET ANOTHER SCHOLARSHIP FUBARAnother IVC scholarship fubar
    • An “atmosphere of fear” at OC agencies. OC shrugs, does nothing. It's Cretin-town, Jake.
Young Bugsy, my pal
     • Michael Shermer comes to IVC to do his skeptical shtick. It doesn't take.
     • I SEE THEM IN MY MINDColorful SOCCCD leadership - psychedelisized.
     • The Two types of seasoned instructor: my goofy graphics
     • TOD LOOKS FOR A NEW GIG. Saddleback College Prez Tod Burnett is lookin’ hard for a job elsewhere. We speculate that his job as SC Prez isn't secure--we can think of many reasons why--but what do we know?
     • May’s BOT meeting: what the adjunct said was correct—adjuncts have it bad; trustees, wise up! Also, ATEP land swap
     • Ray Manzarek is dead
     • TOD B LOOKIN' FOR GREENER PASTURES? Tod still looking for work
     • Glenn Roquemore at the Neanderthalic Pacifica Institute. Not good
     • TOD SEEKS AN "INSTITUTION OF EXCELLENCE." Burnett is looking for an institution of excellence. We can see his point
     • IVC Commencement pics

    • Pain: grading final exams - in goofy graphics
    • A typical Roquemorian bullshit email - Glenn Roquemore’s hinky moves re commencement: process schmocess


     • BIGOT. When Nancy Padberg agreed that we must “take back our Christian country”
     • The district’s history page
     • Burnett and Cabrillo College
     • No nod for Tod
     • ROQUEMORE'S "PROCESS." More on Roquemore’s Commencement speaker selection “process”; mighty hinky. Trustees, you listening? Ever?
     • The Scholarship Program “debriefing”, Part 1
     • The Scholarship Program “debriefing”, Part 2: how come a committee labors to produce recommendations, and then the recommendations are ignored? Richard is one thin-skinned dude:
     I…presented six points re the scholarship process that, in truth, had been composed by a (rebellious) colleague of mine who is very familiar with the issues surrounding the scholarship program at IVC….:

• Poor outreach. 300 application out of 15,000 students….
• Application process. Applicants need to be advised about submitting FULL applications (letters, statements etc.) and the failure to do so weakens their chances of gaining a scholarship.
• Some applications that I read had alarming facts – e.g., GPAs were noted but units earned were Zero(?!). Or the number of units earned was [inexplicably] large – in one case, very large (over 500).
• Concerned about distribution of awards. Is the old policy of limiting the number and/or amount of awards in order to increase the number of recipients still in place?….
• Why are the awards that are won by individual students not listed next to their names in the program? This absence fuels a sense of a lack of accountability.…
• The timing of the application and decision-making process. This is related to outreach and publicity. Is it possible to begin the application process late in the year (November?) and close in February, thus allowing for a longer period to apply? Is it possible to begin the decision-making process earlier, shortly after the application deadline?
     • Shots fired at Santa Monica College
     • Roy’s family - tales of the world's only nonverbal human family. Arf.
     • The Age of Stupid:

     • OC'S ZANY PAST. Right wing paranoia and foolishness, 1970: in those days, right-wingers worried about kids burning banks, even at UCI. A UCI/SOCCCD connection
     • Hysterical homophobic demagoguery: Don’s pal John Eastman of Chapman U; ridiculous
     • ONCE AGAIN, a reminder of DtB’s generous policy re opposing views: "everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it"
     • Flucht Kinder: Bauer family tales (the collapse of Germany)
     • Saddleback Memories
     • Another Bauer family story: “lots of cloud” - More yarns about the nonverbals of Trabuco Canyon
     • JACKASS FREE. The June SOCCCD BOT board meeting: the board is jackass free, more or less (so why don't they listen?)
     • The First Years of Saddleback College: we hear about a terrific sabbatical project—artifacts coming soon
     • RIPPING YARNS 1Ripping yarns from 2001's Making History: the first years of Saddleback College - Really. Ripping.
     • MORE RIPPING YARNS: from Making History: the first years of Saddleback College - I pity the fool who doesn't read this amazing shit.
     • IVC Then and Now: IVC’s Pinterest page, old photos. Mighty cool.
     • PRAYERContra SOCCCD prayer: it's all about who's appointed to those "commencement" committees!: one way in which the shitty shenanigans of the old right-wing “Board Majority” continue. The bad faith bears.
     • Gumby College:
Evidently, among the names suggested for Irvine Valley College back in the spring of 1985 were "Gumby College" and "El Torito College."

     • FRISCO CITY COLLEGEAccred bombshell: San Francisco City College gets its ticket pulled—or no?
     • Teddy the cat - rescued—and lovable, as it turns out

     • On the Saddleback College history website. Impressive. Filmed interviews.
     • Coast campuses receive accred warnings: ouch
     • THE SUICIDE ARSONIST STORY. The odd and mysterious Saddleback College fire victim story breaks
     • More on the odd Saddleback College student/arson story
     • COAST TO COAST ACCRED SPANKAGE. The Coast CCD colleges get spanked by the Accreds; about Babs Beno
     • Arson/fire update
     • My niece has artistic talent, it seems
     • Campus fire a suicide
     • OC Weekly:
     A Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) administrator of a federal assistance program for migrant farm workers initially claimed she was innocent of cheating students out of their grant money but has signed a guilty plea.

     • ANOTHER HINKY ADMINISTRATIVE HIRE. July SOCCCD Board Meet: Trustees give themselves a raise; colleges’ student success “score cards” discussed & ‘splained; IVC hires yet another administrator with a troubled background (they get ‘em at Cuesta)
     • CLIMATE SURVEY: THE WEATHER IS DICEY. District climate survey results:
     I only glanced through the report, but it did seem to me that people had lots to say about an unhealthy rivalry between the two colleges—and some discreditable tensions between the two college presidents. Also, as usual, there were lots of complaints about communication and the quality and conduct of top administration at IVC. It amazes me that the P and VP at IVC still have their jobs.
     • "Verbatim responses" in the SOCCCD "climate" survey: oh my
     • DISTRICTULAR POPPYCOCKDistrictular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle


Anonymous said...

SC's foundation will take 5% off the top of donations/contributions to the college's scholarships to cover the cost of the office and staff.

Anonymous said...

How is it that while the district pushes an anti-bullying agenda to improve our organizational culture, they knowingly permit a bullying Glenn and his cronys to lead and run IVC? Isn't this duplicitous, wasteful, and contrary to the mission of the Colleges? How can that stand?

Anonymous said...

Nothing will ever change.

Quiet night

And I followed her to the station With a suitcase in my hand And I followed her to the station With a suitcase in my hand Well, ...