Friday, September 16, 2016

Batsh*t crazy @ Saddleback College

"Gensler designed the wings." Gensler in action. 
Batty Man
      Ever wonder about Saddleback College Econ instructor—and one-time IVC Dean of Humanities and Languages—Howard Gensler?
     Yeah, we have too. (See The most unappreciated person in the history of humankind.)
     Somehow, we missed this article, which appeared in the OC Register nearly six months ago:

'Batman v Superman': A mild-mannered economics professor by day, but a caped crusader by night 
(OC Reg, March 24, 2016)
     ...He’s got a piece of Robin’s cape from the 1960s Batman TV show. He’s got a life-sized Catwoman mannequin. Other costumed mannequins populate the room – Poison Ivy, Harely Quinn, Wonder Woman.
     “When people come in here, they just say ‘Wow,’” Gensler said....
"He wears this custom-made Batman suit for Halloween while teaching."
"He has an impressive home museum dedicated to the superhero."
Catwoman and Power Girl have "a custom made shelf to
house them." Howard made the shelf all by himself. Grrrrr. 
Batshit Crazy Man
See also The “Howard Hilton”

Movement in the loutisphere

Trump Clung to ‘Birther’ Lie for Years, and Still Isn’t Apologetic
(New York Times)
     It was not true in 2011, when Donald J. Trump mischievously began to question President Obama’s birthplace aloud in television interviews. “I’m starting to think that he was not born here,” he said at the time.
     It was not true in 2012, when he took to Twitter to declare that “an ‘extremely credible source’” had called his office to inform him that Mr. Obama’s birth certificate was “a fraud.”
     It was not true in 2014, when Mr. Trump invited hackers to “please hack Obama’s college records (destroyed?) and check ‘place of birth.’”
     It was never true, any of it. Mr. Obama’s citizenship was never in question. No credible evidence ever suggested otherwise.
     Yet it took Mr. Trump five years of dodging, winking and joking to surrender to reality, finally, on Friday, after a remarkable campaign of relentless deception that tried to undermine the legitimacy of the nation’s first black president….
Orly Taitz is Still Down with Donald Trump Despite Birfer Abandonment (OC Weekly)

What gives?

    Despite assurances made by Saddleback's PIO Jennie McCue to the contrary (on Monday), this sort of disturbing comment continues to appear on the Saddleback College Facebook Page. (I'm referring to the first comment below.)

Appearing on SC Facebook Page as of 1:45 p.m., 9/16/16

MEANWHILE, this morning:
Groundbreaking: IVC building at ATEP

ACCORDING TO THE DISTRICT: 
     "September 16, 2016 – South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) broke ground early this morning on the first building at the Advanced Technology and Education Park (ATEP) which will host career technical programs for Irvine Valley College."
     ...SOCCCD Interim Chancellor Debra L. Fitzsimons provided a global view of the 62-acre site at ATEP which will accommodate a mix of educational and non-educational uses and host education, business and commercial partners. 'I know that you share my enthusiasm for this project. This is just the beginning. You will hear much more in the coming months and years as public-private partnerships form to build a national model at ATEP,' said Interim Chancellor Fitzsimons. Saddleback College is planning a Center for Innovation in Healthcare Education which will include a fully simulated hospital to train students in a risk-free environment as well as a regional training conference center...."

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

In the Reg

Removal of 9/11 posters at Saddleback College sparks debate (OC Reg)
…On Monday, Tod Burnett, the college’s president, and other school officials met with the Young Americans. The conversation centered on improving the processes for becoming an active club and clarifying the rules for putting up posters….

Monday, September 12, 2016

The problem at Saddleback College (throwing Margot under the bus)

     It’s been another banner day for the right-wing loutisphere—and, so, too, for the Neville Chamberlain Appreciation Society. (See Saturday's The YAF brouhaha: righties flip out, leaving slime and worse.) Clueless right wing louts have continued to post disturbing denunciations of Saddleback College administration, academia in general, and especially a certain history instructor who was recently videotaped taking down illegally posted 9-11 posters on campus.
     This has continued, not just in the predictable right-wing places—Breitbart.comThe Blaze—but on Saddleback College’s own Facebook page! Evidently, little if anything is done to curate remarks at the latter site, and so it was left to various faculty, at least here at IVC, to contact Jenny M of Public Info and complain.
     Understandably, they don’t like to delete comments (said Jenny) but they have been monitoring the Facebook remarks and deleting those judged problematic. OK?
     Huh? In fact, plenty of hateful and appalling remarks can be found on Saddleback’s page (see below) right now. Some of us have been monitoring the site for days, and there’s no indication of the alleged curation or culling. (Possibly, Jenny needs to upgrade her concept of hateful verbiage to include “bitch” and “cunt.”)

This comment can be found on Saddleback College's Facebook Page (as of 7:00 p.m. today (9/12/16))
     I called the Jennster myself, and she was quite friendly. I asked her about the hateful (and sometimes violent—see above) Facebook comments and the stunning decision, evidently made by college officials, to invite the leader of the student group (Young Americans for Freedom's Audra Leslie) to lead the pledge at today’s Saddleback College 9-11 event!
     How can this be, Neville? Nasty right wing louts working hard to generate fact-challenged blogospheric feeding frenzies and to terrorize policy-upholding faculty? That’s who gets invited to say the pledge at the big 9-11 event?
     It seemed to many of us that, with that, the college had officially thrown Margot under the bus.
     But here’s how Jenny explained the situation to me. "We need to change the subject now," she said. We need to take the focus away from Margot and return it to the 9-11 event. That's why they invited the YAF kid to lead the pledge.

Appearing on Saddleback's Facebook Page: "Audra Leslie of Young Americans for Freedom 
(YAF) lead the Pledge of Allegiance."
     That's nuts. Some of us at least at IVC were hopping mad, and we started strategizing. Among other things, we planned to attend this afternoon’s meeting of the Faculty Association (aka the union), at IVC, to make our displeasure known.
     In the meantime, as per the right wing loutisphere’s playbook, the instructor in question, now thoroughly demonized, has had her personal information promulgated, not just on Breitbart.com, but on the college Facebook page! And so the Big Ugly is on: she’s received the predictable threats and has had to take extreme steps to protect herself. Even her office mate doesn’t feel safe, and no wonder. (Have you read some of these comments? Some of 'em are bad, really bad.)
     Well, at 3:00 today, three of us from IVC’s School of Humanities (plus a Humanities Faculty Rep and Lewis Long) were present to make our case. Lewis successfully motioned to move up the “other items” portion of the agenda. Then, the union prez briefly explained the brouhaha for those still out of the loop. The instructor in question, he said, simply acted in accordance with the existing policy for postings and thus deserved none of the invective she received. Efforts to get the critics to recognize that Margot was simply acting in accordance with district policy (policy, by the way created by a restriction-happy conservative board that sought to muzzle student criticism) went nowhere. The feeding frenzy was on.
     The discussion that followed lasted at least a half hour. Here are my notes:
  • Many faculty in the room were unaware of the situation, but, upon hearing the facts, they seemed to share our concerns.
  • Lewis explained that, as a union, at the least we could and should press the safety issue raised by the situation.
  • Some faculty seemed moved by an impulse to ban and muzzle the YAF kids. I (among others) suggested that such a move is contrary to an embrace of free speech and, beyond that, it would give these louts precisely what they want: something to crow about.
  • I
    From Audra's Twitter page
    noted that lots of right-wing organizations have a curious but effective MO, which was illustrated by an incident occurring at IVC last Spring. A "preacher" and his crew came to campus and, quoting the Bible, proceeded to spew obnoxious remarks: women shouldn’t go to college, Mohammed was a pedophile, etc. Many students were offended and outraged that anyone would be allowed to say such things on the grounds of the college. Some of us—and, to his credit, the President of the college—came to the Bible-toters’ defense, explaining that, though we may hate what they have to say, they have a right to their opinion. (In fact, the “preacher” did receive abuse from some students.) It soon became clear that the preacher's organization tours college campuses, attempting to provoke intolerance of him: taunts, threats, spitting, banishment, etc. The trick is to video the intolerance, edit the footage for maximal cherry-pickular impact, and then release it to the hungry freaks of conservative social media. Boom!
  • Plainly, that’s what these YAF kids (or their flag-pledging leader) are about. They filmed the instructor who, quite correctly, as per the district’s AR8000 (a policy created by a right-wing board that sought to minimize speech that had been critical of them), took down “never forget” posters that had been illegally posted on campus buildings. Voila! The video went viral, “proving” once again that liberals are afoot in academia, oppressing the poor defenseless right-winger who wishes only to love her country.
  • Fear was expressed that, by appeasing this group, we were in fact setting a precedent and inviting these right-wing guerrillas to monitor instructors, taping or filming their remarks, editing them for maximum effect, and then promulgating them on the right-winged crazy-towns of the internet.
  • It was suggested that we call for the application of our free speech policies fairly and even-handedly, whatever a group’s politics.
  • Someone noted that a member of the SC faculty evidently joined the frey, condemning the instructor on their personal Facebook page.
  • Those who run the college Facebook page should be encouraged to do a much better job curating hateful comments.
  • The union Prez should meet with SC Prez Burnett, communicating our concerns.
  • And so on.
More later.
Audra with pal and felon Dinesh D'Souza

Sunday, September 11, 2016

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary