Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Southwestern College's Suspended Professors Receive Media & Press Attention (And It's Positive!)

So…after a few days of keeping this post at the top of the page, I decided to go ahead and update. Nothing had changed yet, and nothing likely will at least until after the rally tomorrow. But the pro-faculty movement is making great strides.

Local press that is notoriously… anti-faculty (and anti-education) has begun to weigh in – and are giving this a fair look. Oddly enough, local television has been a boon to the Southwestern College faculty – the exposure is growing much more through TV than through print.

The really good news comes from online, and from publications that focus on educators, schools and colleges, education, and faculty and students’ rights. This is getting major play on their sites – and these are the publications that Those Who Oversee Education in the country read. The Chronicle of Higher Education, generally regarded as the Wall Street Journal of education has weighed in, as has Inside Higher Ed, a vastly-influential news organ that took immediate interest. I’m not going to name everyone who’s done so, since you’ll find the links below.

Go to them, read them, and comment there - they would like to know what you have to say. Feel free to leave a comment here if you know of anyone I’ve missed – and I’m certain I have. Lastly, If anyone reading this knows any other media organization – whether it be television, print, radio, or online – please contact them and let them know. Let’s keep pushing this out there; the more light shines on this, the less chance that President Raj Chopra and the Board will have to hide.

And, hey! Remember, I'm not an educator or a professor. I'm not a student at Southwestern College. I'm not employed there in any way. So, the place you want to go if you want the most information is here: Save Our SWC. While you're at it, follow that blog on Twitter at @saveourswc.

KPBS (San Diego Public Radio/Televison) [print only]: "Four Southwestern College Professors Suspended."

San Diego Union-Tribune (daily): "4 Faculty at College Suspended After Rally."

Center for Campus Free Speech: "Suspended for Walking Across Campus?"

Confessions of a College Dean (from the blogs at Inside Higher Ed): "Power 101." (A college adminstrator gives his thoughts on the actions of Dr. Raj Chopra.)

Dissent the Blog: "Curious Suspensions." (Contains much on the history of the administration's troubles at Southwestern College.

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE): "Community College in California Suspends Four Professors Without Explanation Following Peaceful Protest." (Notes that FIRE is beginning an investigation into this.)

Minding the Campus: "Free Speech Woes." (SWC is included with several schools having this same problem.)

The New Faculty Majority also weighed in, posting my original post (same link as in first paragraph) - along with the note that the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) had taken an interest in this case.

Some of these articles and posts - along with mine - have been picked up by many news, education, and business sites: All Business, More About Education, and, to name only the first three I found on Google.

Don't forget to visit Save Our SWC for the most current information. They've got a Facebook page as well. They'd love it if you'd connect with them there.
UPDATE (November 3): For updated links to more media coverage, I've added this post.


  1. Wow, this is quite a story. What is the rally about? Do you know any details of it?

  2. The rally doesn't focus on Southwestern College. It is a multi-school rally to protest state budget cuts. Cali has cut an insane amount from the education budget, all while Governor Schwarzenegger continues to offer fat tax breaks to Big Business.

    This is simply a chance for faculty members, students, and the public to make their opinions known.

    There isn't much about this in print, but here is a link to their flyer:

    Having spoke to the people behind this, I can tell you: the public is DEFINITELY encouraged/asked to attend. The more faces seen, the better it looks.

    Thanks for visiting, Sara!

  3. Acting SWC Superintendent/President Nicholas Aliotto (in lieu of MIA Chops) issued a statement & cites "three areas" of "concern":
    a) Incitement of students to move outside the free speech area and to violate College policies
    b) Disregard for warnings and directives of police officers
    c) Physical confrontation with police officers

    This is my comment:
    1) Having a "free speech area" is unconstitutional.
    2) There was frustration but no disregard of PO. No one did what the cops said we couldn't do.
    3) What does physical confrontation with PO mean? Hit a cop? Push him? Isn't that a crime? Wouldn't we have gone to jail immediately?

  4. How was the rally at Balboa Park? I was unable to attend.

  5. Anonymous (A): Nick Aliotto seems to me to be just a tool of Dr. Chopra. I think he's having his strings pulled.

    The faculty didn't incite the students. The students decided to do this on their own. It was a brave move, and I STILL applaud the students for choosing it.

    NO ONE disregarded the police officers' warnings. It was a VERY civil discussion about the rights of the students and the faculty (and about how they had none).

    NO ONE touched a police officer. The officers handled themselves in a sterling manner, and explained WHY the students couldn't touch them. But the faculty also handled themselves in a stunningly professional manner.

    It's time for SWC administration to realize they screwed the pooch on this one. There's NO WAY they can continue down this route without lawsuits flying.

    It's also time for the board to man up, and realize what an albatross their beloved Pres has become.

    Lose him, y'all. He's turned you into a punchline.

  6. Anonymous (B):

    The rally was pretty dang good. A few hundred folks showed up, and it got a smattering of press coverage:

    KFMB Channel 8 (video):

    KUSI Channel 9 (video):

    KPBS Public Radio (audio):

    There's also a pretty decent photo piece Here: