Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Cessa's gone

Tonight.
We don't know that much but the outline of the story seems sadly familiar, predictable even.

By the time Rebel Girl arrived on the scene after her last class ended, a dozen students were helping Cessa and her two daughters load up a U-HAUL as campus police stood by. The sun had set. It was dark. Rebel Girl was told that Linda F. was on hand earlier.  Staff and students at the SAC were dismissed before Cessa's pre-arranged arrival time at 5:30.

What to say?

This is what others said:

Earlier today, a staff person wondered aloud if she should go over to say good-bye or if seen doing so, if she would "get in trouble." Two others overhearing this shuddered about the climate of fear and retaliation indicated by that question but admitted that sure, some staff people may be right to feel vulnerable since apparently Cessa was criticized for questioning authority.

A student cried out that at a meeting she and other students were told that due to personal problems, Cessa had decided to leave. That's a lie, the student said, you didn't decide to leave.

Another person pointed out that this is the so-called Year of Equity at IVC and the administration has just fired the single person responsible for bringing measurably increased equity on campus.

Students wept.

Cessa at the 2018 IVC's Foundation dinner where she received an award for excellence,
flanked by Glenn and Betty Jo Woolett. 
Someone else pointed out that Cessa did not deserve the treatment she received at IVC, recalling troubling characterizations of Cessa in public forums, meetings and emails.

Another recalled that those who made those problematic characterizations were not rebuked or corrected.

Still another suggested that the person charged with enforcing board policies written by others is never very popular, especially if those policies had been overlooked or not consistently observed before.

One mentioned something about Cessa's 425 vacation hours accumulated because of denied requests.

Another said something about negative evals that mentioned talking "too ghetto."

Someone else observed the challenges of changing an entrenched culture which forgives or overlooks so much in some but not in others, ever.

Finally another suggested that those who find the situation appalling should make a donation to the Te'Veannah Smith Advocacy and Social Justice Scholarship.


Do that.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

So much is odd about this. For one, the new job announcement only describes HALF of Cessa's job - director of student life. What about equity? Did they fire her for not being able to do a job that no single person could do?

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to imagine a job where a boss could call someone "ghetto" in an evaluation and not be sued for Title IX violations. Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

What about the new hiring of a Title IX investigator instead just letting Linda and Liz do what they have been doing? What's up with that? Is that all due to what happened and didn't happen last year? Linda's chiding and dismissive public remarks about faculty just "wanting a hug"? The failure to act? To communicate? Who holds her accountable? Where is the leadership there?

Anonymous said...

I am surprised such an honest, good person like Cessa would have over 400 hours of accumulated vacation, especially with such a slave driver of a boss- forcing her to work 2 whole days each week this summer so she could finish her doctoral studies. Such a travesty. And since we all know that possession is 9/10ths of the law, she had every right to pack up an entire uhaul after submitting reimbursements totalling tens of thousands of dollars in asg and equity funds to pretty up the now empty SAC, a fact so poignantly depicted in your picture.
My point is that we have no idea why Cessa is gone, but I'd get some more information before petitioning the pope for her canonization....

And do you know how many title ix cases ivc deals with on a daily, weekly, monthly, annual basis? Or what goes into investigating a single case? The annual security report we were all just sent will give you an idea and as far as the investigation part- pick any season of Law and Order and find me one episode where Law is the same people as Order.

Facts before judgement would be a good rule to follow here.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened to Police Chief John Meyer? He's been with us only a few years and now he's "retiring?"

Anonymous said...

The racially-charged language in Anon 10:07's comment is part of the problem, isn't it?

Yes, more facts would be welcome but IVC often offers few, another part of the problem.

BTW: I doubt the devoted atheists bloggers will petition the pope for anything. No worries on that account. I doubt they are fans of Law and Order either.

Anyway, process anybody?









Anonymous said...

Chief Meyer is out? I haven't heard this.

Dorothy Gale said...

My! People come and go so quickly here!

Anonymous said...

I would recommend resisting the either/or fallacy. Reality is more complicated. The Director of Student Life position has always been a challenging one because of needing to negotiate board policies, student desires, faculty wishes - and who knows what else from administration. Cessa worked hard to challenge and change the culture around diversity and equity issues at an increasingly diverse college where previously those issues were ignored, marginalized or distorted. Cessa changed things for the better and the development of student life programming has added to the creating some kind of cultural vibrancy on campus. Think of the Noruz celebration in the spring. I mean, it wasn't that long ago when the college was featured in this 2010 OC Weekly article:


Irvine Valley College Celebrates Black History Month with Gandhi, Graffiti Wall, Double Obamas!

Oh, the racialist merriment of the South Orange County Community College District never end[s]! We've previously written about Saddleback College's gaucho-masquerading-as-bandito, and now Irvine Valley College has gotten into the simplistic-approach-to-race game so endemic in Orange County. IVC spokesperson Diane Oaks sent out a campus-wide email yesterday advertising the juco's Feb. 24 Black History Month celebration. Attached was a flyer (above) that is...interesting.

For starters: exactly how is Mahatma Gandhi black?

Yes, Gandhi inspired the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, but there are hundreds of other African-Americans that most folks would put on a poster of notables before the martyr for a Black History Month poster. Whoever made this flyer didn't even have to look far for another face.
. . .
What's worst about these efforts, though, is the urging of students to leave their thoughts about Black History Month on a "graffiti wall." You can make the argument such a move stereotypes blacks as criminals, but my bigger concern is that dumbass coeds will leave nasty remarks about African-American students on it—such harassment has happened at Saddleback College in the not-so-distant past, with less of an invitation.

But the one part of the flyer that's not foolish? Soul food for the IVC celebration. Drudge and his pals might've tried to make a big scandal of NBC serving such grub for their Black History Month celebration, but come on: you're not going to eat pizza for St. Patrick's Day, or kielbasa on Cinco de Mayo. Now, let's see if IVC can sneak in Jackie Robinson into the flyer...

****

Those of us who have been here for some time could tell you more.

I can only imagine what it was like for Cessa to be in some meetings with some people. And I can only imagine what - but more importantly - how things were said after she left those rooms.

Was she perfect? No. But hey there are lots of imperfect people around here, some of them working hard to do their jobs, to do better, working imperfectly (like most of us), some of them - well, not so much. You know what I mean. They don't get treated as she did.

Real leadership would have perhaps held others accountable for their problematic actions and attitudes during Cessa's tenure. That would have difficult, I know. Real leadership would have done some self-reflection as well. (Take a look at that job description! Directing student life AND the ever growing equity programs. I know we have a robust tradition here at IVC of people accepting so many responsibilities and titles and so many stipends and pay bumps to do all sorts of extra work - and sometimes, sometimes actually doing it but geez.) But self-reflection is also difficult. We all have a lot to learn here folks.

As Gandhi said, everyone has a piece of the truth. This is mine.

Anonymous said...

True there were problems. There are always problems. But how does the system and individuals in the system treat some people vs. others? Is it fair?

Anonymous said...

Here today; gone tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Word is out that IT director Bruce Hagan has been cut. Any info?

Anonymous said...

The president gone too?? Why are they all leaving??? Is this more systemic of a bigger problem?

Anonymous said...

Geez 5:01, pull your head out of the sand much, if ever?

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