Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Are You Listening, SWC Board and Admin?

While the SWC public relations machine churns out its own good-news press releases, here are some news items it's bound to overlook.

Cited in this post:

Pat Flynn, writing for the San Diego Union Tribune reports that "the San Diego Community College District is reversing a two-year trend of class reductions and adding 1,150 classes" for the upcoming Fall term. The district includes City College, Mesa College, and Miramar College.

The classes are being funded by reserve savings. District Chancellor Constance Carroll points out the funds could have been left in the reserve, but "our board, all of us, think this is the best thing to do with double-digit unemployment . . . and all the students who can't get into SDSU because of their budget cuts."

We applaud this decision by the San Diego Community College District Board and Chancellor Carroll. SWC, are you listening?

Similar class savings could have been realized at SWC if only the board and Superintendent/President Raj K. Chopra had listened to faculty, staff, students, and community members over two years ago, when concerns about institutional organization, budget decisions, and governance issues were first raised. (This blog, in fact, was started as a way to catalog and communicate these concerns to the larger community.)

Instead Superintendent/President Raj K. Chopra and Governing Board members, in particular current president Yolanda Salicido and former president Terri Valladolid, have continued down a path of top-down management that has led to dismaying results, including record-breaking class cuts, national notoriety for civil rights violations, and threatened loss of accreditation.

Compare the governance of SWC to that of Wake Tech Community College, which was recently singled out in a Chronicle of Higher Education report, "Great Colleges to Work For." According to The Chronicle, North Carolina's Wake Tech stands out as "a college where faculty and staff members say they can openly discuss job issues and concerns with administrators." Much of the credit goes to Wake Tech president Stephen C. Scott, who made openness and a culture of collaboration priorities from the beginning. The result is a climate of trust and rapport between administration, faculty, and staff, where everyone works together to resolve problems.

It should come as no surprise, then, that 30 of 39 Great Colleges cited "Collaborative Governance" as the top reason making their college "great." (Also frequently mentioned by these model colleges were "Respect and Appreciation" and "Confidence in Senior Leadership.")

In contrast, according to the WASC action letter notifying SWC of its probationary status, the college falls seriously short in this area: "The team recommends that the college set as a priority fostering an environment of trust and respect for all employees and students that allows the college community to promote administrative stability and to work together for the good of the college. The team further recommends that the college establish a written process and structure providing faculty, staff, administrators, and students a substantial voice in decision-making processes."

SWC, are you listening?


Further reading from this blog:

Southwestern College on Probation
A Note to Students and the Community

Friday, July 23, 2010

SWC in the News

Yesterday's issue of the San Diego Reader features an article titled
"Southwestern College's Proper Snack Bar."

In the article, author Susan Luzzaro highlights several questionable spending decisions made by the SWC Governing Board and Superintendent/President Raj K. Chopra.

The article focuses on the continued outsourcing of tasks for which the college already has salaried personnel: communication services, a pension consultant, a snack-bar consultant, and a technology consultant. The cost of these contracts exceeds $235,000.

For more details on this dubious spending, please see the entire article, and be sure to check out comments from the community as well.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

You Are Cordially Invited

Special fundraising reception honoring
Norma Hernandez
Candidate for Southwestern College Board,
Seat #4

Friday, July 30, 2010
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Hosted by
Roger and Norma Cazares
45 El Rancho Vista
Chula Vista, CA 91910
(Off Hilltop Drive, one block north of H Street)

Please RSVP your attendance to Norma Cazares at (619) 422-0432 or

via email at:

See this flyer for more details, and see you there!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Upcoming Events!

This week, two events you won't want to miss!


Meet and Greet for 3rd Seat on SWC Governing Board!
Date: Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Time: 5:30 pm- 7 pm
Presentations/Q&A: 7 pm- 8 pm
Location: POSH Bar, 683 Broadway, Chula Vista, CA
Meet and Greet Flyer

Suggestion Minimum Donation: $25 Advance/$30 at the door
RSVP to Janet Mazzarella at or Andrew Rempt at

Tim Nader for Southwestern College Board Fundraiser
Date: Friday, July 9, 2010
Time: 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Location: Villa Capri, 2330 Proctor Valley Road, Chula Vista, CA
Fundraiser Flyer

See you there!