Tuesday, April 13, 2010

And the Muzzle Goes to . . . .

bite meThe Administration of Southwestern College!

That's right folks, Dr. Chopra & Co. are again making headlines with their receipt of a not-so-coveted 2010 Jefferson Muzzle. The award was granted by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, in part "for promulgating and enforcing a policy limiting even peaceful and non-disruptive protests to a designated 'free speech' patio."

One of ten winners, the SWC Admin has the distinction of being the only community college thus recognized. Way to go, guys!

A sampling of coverage:

Greg Lukianoff for the Huffington Post: Muzzle Tov, Southwestern College and Your "Free Speech Patio"!

William Creeley for FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education): Southwestern College Receives Jefferson "Muzzle" Award for Egregious Censorship

Dissent the Blog: Southwestern College administrative rat bastards get major "muzzle" prize

CBS News:
Free Speech Group Gives "Muzzle" Awards

The story has also appeared in USA Today, Fox News, and countless other news outlets, both mainstream and specialized. (Try a Google search of "muzzle award" "Southwestern College" and you'll get over 5,000 results.)


Monday, April 5, 2010

Governing Board Matters

Yes, it does.

First, in case you haven't noticed, tonight the Governing Board is holding (as we speak) yet another "special" "closed" meeting regarding the evaluation of Superintendent/President Raj K. Chopra. We've lost count of how many of these meetings have been held so far, but suffice it to say that the faculty's previous evaluation hasn't been a factor.

Meanwhile, speculation rages on the outcome: will Chopra be greeted by a buy-out? or another hefty raise?

Second, the SCEA PAC recently released candidates' statements for the upcoming Board election:
Below are statements written by the candidates in response to the following question: “Imagine that we are telling our faculty about you. Provide a short paragraph that we may use as a sound bite when describing your candidacy.”

Norma Hernandez:
photo of Hernandez smilingI bring 31 years of community college experience working at various levels, from faculty to management and as a successful CEO at Southwestern College. My focus has always been on student achievement and in working collegially with faculty, staff, administrators, and students to support an environment that is conducive to teaching and learning. I am a firm supporter of the concept of shared governance; have implemented processes that are inclusive in decision making; and practiced transparency and open dialogue with all groups and individuals on campus. I am a problem solver and consensus builder and I care deeply that Southwestern College continue to become a premier institution of higher education for the communities it serves. Throughout the years, I have built strong ties to various community groups and continue to be involved with business and workforce organizations and with grassroots community groups.

Tim Nader:
photo of Nader smilingTim has previously been elected as Mayor of Chula Vista and was also elected twice to the Chula Vista City Council. Tim is experienced in handling complex issues and large public budgets. As a city official, he explicitly recognized the importance of Southwestern College to the future of the South Bay. Most of Tim's family were professional educators - his dad taught education at Fresno State before moving to Chula Vista, where he was a school teacher for 25 years, his mom was a credentialed teacher who substituted in local schools and his sister was a high school teacher in Riverside County. Tim has a strong sense of the importance of education to individuals and to the community as a whole, the importance of retaining and listening to experienced faculty, and the importance of academic freedom. Tim also has a strong record of understanding the role of elected officials in overseeing the performance of appointed officials and making sure employee and community input is given serious consideration in decision-making. With our support, Tim can be part of a stronger Board that will respect and listen to faculty, and restore the respect of the community.

Mitch Thompson:
photo of Thompson smilingI have come to know the faculty of Southwestern. I believe in the goodness, decency, commitment, dedication and wisdom of the faculty of Southwestern. How dare anyone stand in the way of their lifelong mission and purpose to educate others!! I will provide leadership and decision making that all will be proud of. I will stand with the faculty and make change happen so that noble mission can again be fulfilled to its greatest potential. I will bring back democratic principles to the governance of Southwestern College. I will make decisions that are based on full consensus building with faculty being at the center of that effort. The people of Southwestern College will again see a team of people dedicated to excellence in education moving in a common direction for the citizens of the South Bay. We will come out of this dark period of Southwestern's history with a renewed sense of common purpose and a renewed hope that we can achieve the great potential and hope that education has always brought to our community and its prosperity.