[See follow-up: The pride of Trident U]
Oh my. Word is that Kiana Tabibzadeh, IVC Chemistry instructor and wife of IVC Prez Glenn Roquemore, has been directed to decamp and move herself south to Saddleback College—starting in the Fall, I believe.
The problem? NEPOTISM.
As you know, the board has periodically fretted over nepotism.
I searched the DtB archives and came up with 33 posts that mention the word.
● One of the earliest references to nepotism pops up in my notes for the September 27 Board Meeting of October, 1999:
● The next mention of nepotism occurs on March of 2007. In my Board Meeting Report, I note the following:
Eventually, the board moved on to "Academic Personnel Actions." [Trustee Nancy] Padberg noticed that, somewhere, a husband was about to be hired where his spouse was already working. Good Lord! [Trustee "Dot"] Fortune suggested that, as things stand, all sorts of unseemly things occur when part-timers are hired. She implied, falsely, that cronyism and nepotism were the rule and that the hiring of adjunct faculty follows no process. She declared that open positions ought to be "properly advertised." (They are.)
[Trustee John] Williams opined that the hire of this person should not be held up just because the board hasn't adopted an adequate nepotism policy. Fortune then painted a portrait of part-time hiring in the district according to which "only relatives" know that positions are open, and so they snap them up. [Chancellor Cedric] Sampson noted that the two employees in questions are part-timers, and that nepotism, as he understands it, concerns abuses of power by one employee in favor of another. No such power relationship is involved here, he said. Fortune, ignoring such twaddle, again bellowed that current practice is "improper." [Trustee "Dandy" Don] Wagner suggested that it is unfair to discuss these two people as though they've done something wrong. We have no reason at all to think that.
As this went on, new Director of HR, Sabrina R, had been standing at the podium to answer questions. She had had her hand raised for some time, hoping to shed light on this matter. Noticing this, El Ced alerted Dot to Sabrina's raised hand, but Dot wasn't interested in hearing from someone who might actually know what she's talking about. El Ced then looked straight at Sabrina; he shrugged and then winked, as if to say, "What can I do? The woman's an idiot."
[Trustee Nancy] Padberg worried about the high cost of the Performing Arts Center at IVC. Nobody seemed to want to join her. She did a lot of solitary carping tonight.● Next, my board meeting report for Dec. 11, 2007 notes that "Trustee John Williams, junketeer extraordinaire, requested a detailed report on nepotism in the district. Don't know what that's about."
She fretted, too, about apparent "nepotism" among classified mother-daughter team organizers, whatever they are. People started yawning.
● The next anti-nepotistic bleat emerged from Trustee Fuentes (SEE) in January of 2010, inspired by a new Fuentean hatred of Roquemore and his allies:
THE OL' NEPOTISM GAMBIT. I forgot to mention that, at Monday's board meeting, trustee Tom Fuentes requested a report on "nepotism" in the district. It's been a few years, he said, since the last report, so it's time for another one.
A cynical person (it is impossible not to be cynical upon observing Mr. Fuentes for any period) might guess that something else explains the timing of this request. There are two opposing factions in the district (well, these are the two that I know about, and they're pretty obvious): Fuentes/Mathur, et al. v. Wagner/Roquemore/Gabriella, et al. Anyone who watched last month's board meeting knows that the tension between these factions has, in the last two months, reached its apogee. On that night, Mr. Wagner, the board president, engineered (well, he presided over) a stunning power shift. After it was complete, he remained President of the board; Padberg was vice president, and Milchiker was Clerk. Lang, Williams, and Fuentes were eating Wagner's dust.
Fuentes was furious. Later in the meeting, he flashed some anger, leaving a thick layer of sulphur on the walls.● Well, Fuentes persisted. Next is my board meeting report of February 23, 2010:
. . .
Well, it's hard to deny that any report on nepotism is going to make Glenn look bad. Glenn's wife is a member of the faculty who doesn't mind throwing her weight around here and there. And so Tom asked for a report. It's like losing a baseball game and then pouring sugar in the opponents' gas tanks....
... Tom Fuentes wanted a report on nepotism. In particular, he wanted to know how well the district board policy on nepotism is administered "to prevent nepotism." He said he was concerned to have "the cleanest operation possible." The report, he said, is especially important in view of our economic downturn.
.....Possibly he's right about all that. Dunno. Still, I feel compelled to observe that Tom Fuentes is Mr. Hypocritical Politician par excellence. I dunno about nepotism, but Tom has got to be the most cronyistic guy the world has ever seen....
. . .
.....Tom asked that the report be as "detailed" as possible.
.....Sensing that ugly politics were afoot, Don Wagner asked for clarification. What do you mean by "nepotism"?
. . .
.....Wagner asked, "Is the report looking for violations of the board policy?" Wagner noted that the presence of relatives among employees is one thing; nepotism is something else altogether.
.....Fuentes clearly wanted the "broadest" report possible. That is, he wanted to see lists of relatives.
.....It's the usual witchhunt. Why bother with a tiny list of possible cases in which employees acted to benefit relatives when one can assemble a much longer and more impressive list of, well, just relatives?
.....Wagner noted that the presence of relatives in the workplace is not in itself nepotism--not in any meaningful sense. He decided to illustrate his point with the name of a volunteer that appeared in a footnote somewhere--a Michael Telson, whom, he said, is the nephew of Saddleback VP of SS Lise Telson.
.....Telson was in the audience. She spoke. She has no such nephew, she intoned.
.....She looked seriously pissed. I got the sense that her anger was not only about this apparent misunderstanding, if that's what it was. Emotions were running high. Naturally, there were plenty of characters in the room who could be the ultimate source of her consternation.
Nepotism reigns with the [IVC] President. Do we have to hire all of your wife's relatives?
● Here's an interesting item from October of 2010 (An administrator is fired. Over cake):
Kiana is held in low esteem by some faculty at the college, in part owing to her reputation for unapologetically exploiting her, um, influence. Evidently, in other ways, too, she does not leave the best of impressions as a colleague and educator.
Kiana Tabibzadeh, of course, is President Glenn Roquemore's wife.
On Friday, someone said: "Don't wanna eat a Kiana cake." That sort of thing. Har har. There were maybe eight people in the room.
Dean Schrader did not encourage the impromptu jocularity. Possibly, she joined in the laughter. She eventually said something to discourage it.
In any case, it was a fleeting episode about cake--one that briefly tapped into a widely-shared scorn of an arrogant and, well, notorious colleague.
. . .
The most commonly repeated story concerns Kiana's hiring a dozen or so years ago. Glenn was on the hiring committee. Some on the hiring committee were unimpressed by Kiana. Notoriously, Glenn championed her cause. She was hired.
He was also dating her at the time. Or so I've been assured numerous times by persons claiming to be in the know.
Today, I briefly spoke with a former IVC Affirmative Action officer. He told me that he had brought this episode up with then-Chancellor Lombardi, who said he'd deal with it. But, of course, nothing was done.
I recall an incident seven or eight years ago in which it was learned that Kiana was engineering her selection as "Teacher of the Year." (I was an officer in the Senate at the time.) She had instructed her students to submit the required glowing letters. We couldn't believe it. That time, the scheme was undone, owing to forceful objections from the Academic Senate.
. . .
An administrator told me this story: sometimes, evidently, Kiana will hole up in her office during her office hours and refuse to see students who are waiting to speak with her.
One such time, her dean knocked on Kiana's door herself. There was no answer.
Later in the day, the VPI (pre-Justice) visited that dean, explaining to her that, according to Kiana's husband (i.e., Roquemore), the dean's door-knocking had caused Kiana a "near nervous breakdown"!
Evidently, efforts to have Kiana actually hold office hours were verboten, owing to Kiana's delicate nerves.
. . .
More recently, Susan Cooper became the dean of this benighted zone of IVC instructors. She soon discovered the then-traditional abuses, including a series of manifestly hinky scheduling practices enforced by their beneficiary, Kiana Tabibzadeh. Cooper was determined to put a stop to that nonsense, but, to the degree that she pressed the matter, to that degree she experienced ferocious push-back from Glenn, who made her life miserable. In the end, she found it necessary to leave the college.
Not long ago, I had lunch with a former IVC administrator. He or she or it informed me that Kiana's father has been working at IVC for years (admittedly, in some minor role as a test proctor or something similar)--this despite Mr. Fuentes' occasional noisy (albeit hypocritical) accusations of nepotism at the colleges.
Some of us have complained about these abuses for many years. I recall arranging to meet with newly-elected trustee Don Wagner in late 1998. I had lunch with him at a restaurant across the street from the college. Among other things, I described some of the abuses mentioned above.
Well, I guess he didn't believe me. Absolutely nothing was done about them.
|Hava a cuppa?|
When is Glenn going to retrieve his ***** from the jar on Kiana's desk and stop letting her run the show? I have looked through the window of the anatomy lab (wouldn't want to actually go in there!) and spotted what looked like a couple of spines hanging around. Perhaps the biologists would like to loan one to Glenn? (9:05 p.m.)
What is it with the chemistry department at IVC? (10:03 p.m.)
. . .
Captain Obvious said...
* Did the Friday meeting-and jocularity-occur as described in this post?. . .
* Did a secretary record the School meeting and then provide that recording to administration?
* Did Glenn's reaction to listening to the recording inspire his untimely action to have her removed from campus (and on the day in which the Chem complex was opened)? (Note: the post acknowledged that it had long ago been decided that her contract would not be renewed.)
* Has Kiana been (and is she) the sort who inappropriately and routinely uses her influence at this college?
* Has her husband essentially permitted this behavior (for years, and despite complaints)?
* Have scandalous improprieties been allowed by this and other administrations, despite efforts by some administrators to address the abuses? -These and other questions strike me as valid. And clearly the most reasonable answers (given the evidence) of at least most, if not all, of these questions [are] disconcerting. (10:20 a.m.)
agent provocateur said...
People, just read the email memo that Glenn sent out -- it explains everything. He's doing his best to quell rumors and restore our sense of confidence. That's his job. He's even announced the interim dean so there are no worries at this critical time for all the schools involved. Geez, do you think he would fire someone without having a plan in place?! (9:25 a.m.)
Never, NEVER insult a woman's cake. (But I must say, pretty impressive cake baking skills from Kiana. I don't know how to bake one of those photo toppers...not that I want to eat a BLUE cake....) (9:33 a.m.)
Anonymous said...● Roquemore's curious account of the Schrader affair: "the gene pool" - NOVEMBER 4, 2010:
9:25 - There has been no general e-mail sent out to quell the campus-wide rumors and restore his campus-wide reputation. Perhaps something was sent out only to the affected schools? If so, it shows a lack of understanding of the ripple effect of events. - 8:37 (10:19 a.m.)
1. THE SCHRADER AFFAIR. You'll recall that, at last week's board meeting, IVC President Glenn Roquemore was smacked around by Board President Don Wagner. As he walked to the podium to make a presentation regarding IVC's 25th Anniversary celebration, Wagner suddenly declared a break to allow everyone to go to the back of the room to get a piece of celebratory cake (donated, I think, by the IVC cafeteria). Glenn never did get to show his video.
So he showed up today (at the Senate meeting) with that very video. He played it. It was pretty good, I guess. At one point, cheerleaders seemed to be screaming something about "big boobs." That seemed perfectly natural, though a little surprising. (A colleague behind me groaned.)
Only later did I realize that they must have been referring to "big blue" (blue is among IVC's colors).
Craig seemed to want Glenn to stick around for a Q and A. Oh really?
People wanted light shed on the Dean Kathy Schrader situation. Roquemore was asked several questions about it. Glenn presented quite a yarn about the episode. You'll recall that Dean Schrader was called into Glenn's office about a problem: something objectionable that was said during an Oct. 22 meeting of the School of Biological Sciences (over which Schrader presided). Yes, Glenn's wife was mentioned during the meeting, he said, but "that was not the issue." He has always had an understanding with her (i.e., his wife), he said, that she would be treated just as any instructor is treated. --That sort of thing.
He managed to say that with a straight face. It was remarkable.
No, said Glenn, the problem wasn't a remark about Glenn's "spouse"; rather, it was a remark concerning classified employees: something about being at the "bottom of the gene pool."
The bio faculty have consistently told me that, when it became clear that something about the School meeting had upset Roquemore, they could not think what happened that should cause offense. What could it possibly be? They told me that Schrader has never been the type to joke about people at their expense. If anything, she attempts to suppress such talk. So what was this about? The joke about Kiana?
I spoke with some of my bio friends after the meeting, and they expressed skepticism regarding some of Glenn's account. They remained puzzled regarding the remark during the Oct. 22 meeting that caused offense. They were sure that Schrader had not made any remark at classified's expense.
● The professionals! (Just Gimme Some Truth) - NOVEMBER 15, 2010
President Roquemore, who ascended to administrative ranks back in 1997 owing to his sudden willingness to work with the hated Raghu P. Mathur (until then, Roquemore had worked with administration to remove Mathur as chair of his School; the nakedly ambitious Mathur had used unscrupulous means to retain that position, one that the equally nakedly ambitious Roquemore desperately coveted), --as I was saying, President Roquemore called Schrader to his office a couple of weeks ago to call her on the carpet over her alleged unprofessionalism as evidenced by some of her instructors' banter, during a Biological Sciences meeting, regarding Mrs. Roquemore's planned cake-baking (or cake-buying) efforts for the opening of the new Chemistry buildings. (Kiana, Roquemore's wife, is an IVC chem instructor.)
(I'm told that Schrader was very clear about the object of Roquemore's consternation in conversations she had with friends in the immediate aftermath of her untimely "firing.")
PLAN B: No doubt after a session with "legal" (or HR) at the district, Roquemore developed a new sense of what occurred during his meeting with Schrader: no, he did not meet with Schrader about snarky faculty comments about Kiana's cake; it had nothing to do with that! (don't be silly! Glenn has always scrupulously treated his wife as just another instructor!*); it was, he said, about an alleged offensive remark made during the same meeting about classified employees: something about the shallow end of the gene pool. (Efforts to hear this comment on a tape recording of the meeting have yielded no evidence that classified employees were the target of the "gene pool" remark. Faculty who were at the meeting continue to scratch their heads over what about the meeting could be construed as evidence of Schrader's unprofessionalism--unless it's Glenn's notorious customary unprofessionalism and kneejerkery re Kiana.)
*I've spoken to some highly reliable people at IVC who swear that Glenn has--well, let's just say that they report numerous and amazing incidents of a kind that Glenn seems to say have never occurred! Some of these people are talkin'. And not just to me.● Bio faculty proclaim: Roquemore's characterization "was absolutely wrong" - NOVEMBER 18, 2010
At the time, Bio faculty who had attended the meeting in question could not imagine what Schrader had said or done that would earn the emnity of the President. That day, Schrader (reportedly) was under the impression that Roquemore was infuriated by the Kiana-cake-related remarks. But Bio faculty explained that Schrader's only participation in the "Kiana" jocularitude was her efforts to discourage such remarks.● The Kiana file - OCTOBER 19, 2011
A week later, to everyone's surprise, Roquemore showed up at the Senate Meeting to say: what was problematic during the Bio School Meeting was not remarks re Kiana and her cake--indeed, he explained, he has always been terribly scrupulous to treat his wife as he would treat any other faculty. [Ha ha ha.] No, the problem concerned alleged objectionable remarks about classified employees: something about their being at the shallow end of the gene pool.
Immediately after Glenn's remarkable Senate performance, I spoke with Bio faculty. One instructor told me that he had made the comment about the gene pool, but that it was not directed at classified employees. Further, he could not think of anything Schrader had subsequently done or said that amounted to expressing or permitting objectionable remarks about classified employees. Later (he told me), when he listened to an audio tape of the meeting, he realized that his recollection had been accurate: Schrader had done nothing that could be construed as stating or condoning or allowing objectionable remarks about classified employees.
So, today, that instructor, a member of the Rep Council, explained that President Roquemore's characterization of the School Meeting two weeks ago "was absolutely wrong." He explained that he had made the "gene pool" comment, not Schrader, and Schrader's subsequent comments were in no sense made at the expense of classified employees.
He had not come alone. Another senior Bio instructor, who had also attended that fateful School Meeting, next explained that Schrader's comment--the one that, Glenn now claimed, was problematic--"had nothing to do with classified."
Many faculty that I speak with at IVC are already under the impression that the President's odd Senate performance of two weeks ago was an after-the-fact attempt to rewrite history and thereby to shore up the miserable case that he (and VPI Craig Justice) had against Schrader.
Speaking of civility, I've heard for weeks now that Kiana Tabibzadeh (recommended mnemonic: "Ki-a-na-Boomz-de-ay"), IVC President Glenn Roqemore's chemistry instructor wife, is now the chair (co-chair?) of her school, Physical Sciences and Technology.● Tri-tip scandal rocks Irvine Valley College!? (What's the beef?) - JANUARY 12, 2012
Usually, such appointments are noted on the board agenda (doesn't the board have to approve them?). But I don't recall seeing her appointment. I'll take a closer look.
As I've mentioned previously, Kiana has a reputation for abusing her circumstance--that her husband is the Prez of the college who is liable to be unhappy if Kiana is unhappy. Reliable sources tell us that she has been involved in some difficulties with her deans (over her schedule, cake, etc.), of which there have been several in recent years, some of whom ceased deaning amid a large din of Sturm und Drang.
I've been told that, given this history, and given the obvious potential for conflicts of interest, the wise among us had recommended that Kiana not pursue the chair position.
Let me know where in past agendas her appointment appeared, if ever.
On Friday Glenn hosts a campus BBQ and 15 mins. into the event, runs out of food…
-12:33 PM, January 07, 2012
There was poor planning regarding the Friday barbecue -- they should have been cooking the stuff BEFORE people showed up. That was part of the problem -- the quantity was, uh, a bigger problem. But I heard Kiana's cake was FAB.
-5:45 PM, January 11, 2012
I'm curious: why does Glen close his email with that strange quotation by "Unknown" -- "Never confuse who you are with what you do." ????
Certainly what one does (one's actions) is part of who one is (IS in that BIG sense), right? How could it not be so? (You're a philosopher Roy, please explain.)
Does anyone know why this statement is near and dear to Glen's heart?
6:10 PM, January 12, 2012
B. von Traven said...
"Never confuse who you are with what you do."
Prima facie, the remark is odd, for there exists a familiar bit of reputed wisdom very much to the contrary: that the only real measure of who you are is, well, what you do--as opposed to the conduct you endorse, which, obviously, can diverge dramatically from one's conduct--especially among Republicans. "You are what you do" may seem to be worth saying.
Naturally, in a world in which people are often forced or compelled to "do things"--accept jobs or assignments--that they find disagreeable, it might be comforting to be told that that's not who you are, really. But that's a lot of context, and none of it is provided by the bare remark.
Perhaps the remark is making a point about the way in which one makes a living. Among businessmen, lawyers, salesmen, advertisers, and various others whose profession invites suspicion that they lack a soul, it might be nice to be told that, at the end of the day, when one arrives home to reunite with one's jaccuzi or mistress, one can, at long last, really be oneself. Hmmmm.
My guess is that Glenn scraped this saying from the bottom of a barrel found among the refuse of a business management course.
All in all, I'd say Glenn's saying is rubbish.
6:40 PM, January 12, 2012
Yes, I too have noticed Glenn's odd bit of alleged wisdom. Naturally, it is paradoxical; it seems to be the opposite of anything a wise person might say. I think we have all grown accustomed to this. Speaking for myself, anyway, I fully expect Glenn to own a plaque, sitting on his desk, that says something like, "the only lasting riches are, not in family and friends, but in one's bank account." No doubt, next to his toilet, there sits a book of wisdom, starting with the profound, "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" (Star Trek) and ending with the pithy "beam me up, Scotty!"
6:49 PM, January 12, 2012
|Irvine Valley College professor Kiana Tabibzadeh hands out slime during a demonstration at|
the 25th annual Astounding Inventions competition at Irvine Valley College Saturday.