"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards." - Robert A. Heinlein

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Note to the Parents of Southwestern College Students (Something to Think About Over the Thanksgiving Weekend)

This is addressed solely to those people who have children attending Southwestern College. I know some of you read this regularly. I also know some of your kids will make you read it (at least this one post).

...Sorry about that.

In the past few weeks, I've had a couple of conversations with parents who have children going to school there. In each case, the parents say they know their students have told them about the troubles at the school. But they've also heard - usually by reading the San Diego Union-Tribune, it must be noted - that President Raj K. Chopra denies these charges levied against him by the students and faculty members.

Just this week, I spoke with a man who is a respected member of the community. He told me that his child had told him about President Chopra's continued attempts to quell free speech, and about the student protest that Chopra dishonestly referred to as a "riot" that was inspired by several members of the teaching staff.

This man (who is, yes, remaining nameless) reported that it is hard to justify what his child told him with what Dr. Chopra continues to say, again and again and again.

He didn't say why, but I suppose I can understand. It is in a child's nature to lie to his or her parents. "No, I didn't break the window. No, I didn't take the car out. Yes, I did my homework."

As such, it's in a parent's nature to take what a child tells them with a grain of salt.

On the other hand, one expects people in authority to be honest. We expect that the president of the college the child attends to be honest. We need him to be honest.

Your son or daughter has likely told you that the students held a rally to protest budget cuts, and then decided to march on the president's office to be heard. They will tell you they (the students) met the police, spoke with them, and after half an hour or so, went their own way. No one was arrested, no one was harmed, and no one assaulted anyone in uniform.

Raj Chopra has said that members of the teaching staff incited a riot, by going on the microphone and urging the students to march. He has said that his students followed the professors, attacked the police, and threatened the safety of all and sundry on the campus. In fact, here he states (and I quote): "Then there was a faculty member who went on the microphone and said they should march with the students and incited them."

Parents, understand, that is not true.

Again, as I have said here and here, and in other places, I was present at the students' protest, and at the administration building when the police stopped the march. At no point did the professors incite the students to do anything, and at no point was there a riot.

I am no young student. I am a middle-aged man likely older than many of you parents reading this. I know some of you have wondered if what your children have told you is true, and I know that many of you assume that if the college president says it, it must be true.

Please stop. Raj Chopra has been dishonest about this situation from the beginning, and now he has no choice but to continue to do so. He has to continue to call this a riot, and to blame the professors, because if he admits to any of it being a lie, then his entire house of cards tumbles. He has more to lose than anyone - his position, his power, his pension, and his local prestige. Of course he'll do anything to keep that.

As SWC president, he has a voice in the media that no one else has. He is able to simply make a statement and to some members of the press (the Union-Tribune, for instance), it is true. For some readers, because it's in print, it's automatically true.

It's not. Listen to your children. They may likely tell you something different than the newspaper has. Listen. Because they're right.

Just a Few Things I'm Thankful For...

I'm going to keep this simple. In the United States, it's an often-overdone custom that we spend the Thanksgiving holiday being thankful for things and people close to us.

Though I often sneer at such remedial sentimentality, I am of a mindset this year to participate. I pledge to you that I shall not engage in mawkish silliness, or purposeful heartstring-tugging. No, I'll keep it simple, keep it honest, and keep it short. That last, to those of you who read this regularly, know that will be a blessing in and of itself.

I'm thankful to my family, my loved ones, my friends - both in real-life, and here. I see no reason to say more. They know how I feel. I'm thankful that I've had a chance to know, and like or love other friends and family who have passed on.

I'm thankful for the members of my writers' group, who have given me praise when I deserved it, and smacked me around when I needed it. I'm thankful for those of you who have done the same here and on the Annex.

I'm thankful for the faculty and students of Southwestern College, who continue to stand up to a a dishonest, shameless administration. I'm also thankful for their parents who have joined the fight, the members of the public who are standing up to be heard, and for political movers-and-shakers who are disgusted with that whole lot on the Board, and in the President's office.

I'm thankful we live in a country that is, despite the best interest of certain conservative special-interest groups, is beginning to tolerate those that are different; is starting to respect those with intelligence and education; and is attempting to regain its respected place on the world's stage.

I'm thankful that we live in a country where I can say these things whenever I want, and outside of a few psychotic right-wing nut jobs, no one gets angry at me for saying it.

I'm thankful we live in a world full of miracles, where we can communicate with each other across long distances, and read each others' silly thoughts and ideas.

Thank you. Thank you, all of you.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Coming Soon: Rallies, Protests, and Board Meetings! (Southwestern College)

Consider this space a short "Coming Soon" notice, because that's what it is. I have chosen to wait to do a combined post on last week's faculty free speech rally, this week's students' silent protest, and last night's Governing Board meeting.

I was unable to attend the silent protest, and would like to use a photo or two here. Of course, I'm happy to give all photo credits and a big thank you! for the use. And because I actually participated last night, I was unable to detach myself enough to take any photos then. I'd like to use a few good photos of the Governing Board meeting, too, if anyone has any I could use and/or link to.

Leave a comment, or send me an email - nickolasfurr (at) yahoo (dot) com, if you have photos I might use. It will probably be Friday before this post is removed and replaced by the next one. Thanks, y'all!


My brain has melted this weekend. I'm fighting a nasty cold, and haven't been able to update. I will as soon as I'm able to. I still would like a good photo or three from the the GB meeting, but I do have a couple of shots from the silent protest.

I haven't forgotten. I just haven't been able to get to it yet. But I will.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chopra Returns! Just in Time for the New Governing Board Meeting at Southwestern College

Tonight's the night, folks. Starting at 7 p.m. on the campus of Southwestern College in Chula Vista, the public, students, and faculty will get to speak.

President Raj K. Chopra has finally returned from that very long vacation he needed after suspending four professors, and I'm guessing he's feeling rested, tanned, and ready to hear what we have to say.

I suggest we give it to him.

This Governing Board meeting will be held in Cafeteria East. Pressure from the public, the students, the faculty, the press -- pretty much from everywhere -- forced Chopra to move this meeting from its usual location to the cafeteria. This means that no one should be forced to stand outside in the cold again.

If you want to speak, show up before 7:00 and fill out one of the "yellow cards." They're available as you go inside. Fill in your name and city, and you can speak to the Governing Board for up to three minutes. You don't have to speak that long, but that is the most you can speak.

This is your chance to be heard, people! Seize it! If you're an angry or frustrated parent, a student who's being forced out, a member of the public with questions or concerns, or even a business leader who just wants to know what the heck is going on over there (which we're hearing a lot of you do), come out and be heard.

The press will be there. This is likely to be big. You want to be here tonight. I suspect that if someone needs translation into Spanish, that can be found.

It is time to start taking back this school from this current administration. And it's time the Board takes some responsibility for putting this shameful leadership in place.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Frustrated Southwestern College Student Speaks to the Administration

Last night, I received the following from an SWC student. Frustrated at the current administration, “they” explained that they feel that the students’ voices have been ignored by the administration and the Board through all that has gone on. The student, going by the name of “SOSWC Student Blogger,” has no connection with the Save Our SWC blog, and has asked for a chance to be heard.

I’m all for it. The bottom line is: President Raj K. Chopra has made a very bad choice in his decision to cut classes. Southwestern College will lose many professors, and it will probably lose thousands of students. I’m delighted that so many of these affected students have become involved in the protests and rallies, and I’m happy to provide a bit of online real estate for them to be heard.

I’ve formatted this to fit the blog, but I have changed no content. The letter’s words are the words of the student, not mine.

Letter begins:

“October 22, 2009 will be the day that changed the community of Southwestern College forever. Most students and faculty gathered around this so called “free speech” zone to voice their concerns on recent budget cuts and staff layoffs. As one courageous student stood out and spoke, “let’s take it to where they can hear us,” students and faculty were marching to President Chopra’s office to meet face to face with him, so they thought. Students were confronted by a blockade of SWC police officers, as a crowd of onlookers from the side watched. After the crowd of students dispersed about a half hour after the rally was supposed to be over, the war on education began. This is certainly a “slap in the face” for all who were affected by the administration’s move to suspend the “SWC Three” the day after the rally took place. It personally affected me in more ways than one.

I would like to take a moment and say the following to all the members of the Governing Board, the administration, and especially to President Chopra:

‘Why did you have to make matters worse by threatening the “SWC Three” with criminal charges, when it shouldn’t have been done in the first place? Why did it have to be until three weeks later that we hear that the charges are being dropped, especially in the form of a letter that was sent an hour before the Free Speech Rally? Was this an attempt from you to have us cancel the rally? I say that sending that letter was a cowardly move. We would all like to hear a public apology, especially from you, President Chopra. It was unfair, unjust, and flat out wrong what you did, and you know that. Until then, we the students and faculty of SWC will not give up…until our voices finally reach you and you decide to answer us…’

SWC is the starting point of abolishing unconstitutional free speech areas in community colleges and universities in the state of California and around the nation. This goal cannot be reached alone. Together, students, faculty, and community members can step up and make a difference.

--SOSWC Student Blogger

P.S. To all the students out there supporting this cause: You guys are doing a fantastic job. With brilliant minds and kind hearts, we can fight this war and win it! Keep it up, and if all else fails, ‘try and try again.’”

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What is Southwestern College's Reserve Fund? (The Economics of Accreditation, the Surplus, and the Bond Rating)

Like the Nick Alioto piece, this came from some of my comments in the comments section. I think the questions are big enough to warrant consideration. Call it hubris if you will, but I haven't heard anyone else asking them. I'm going to call it "watchdogging."

Accreditation in Jeopardy?

In February, WASC (the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – Accrediting Commission for Schools) will present its findings regarding Southwestern College. This will be one month after the school begins its new Chopra-created shorted schedule.

Among their initial findings were these (and I'm quoting here from SWC's Exit Interview Transcript of October 8, 2009 - written by Dr. Gari Browning/Superintendent of Ohone College, and WASC Team Chair):

"The Team recommends that the college set as a priority fostering an environment of trust and respect for all employees and students." (This was not part of another bullet point; it was one entire point on its own.)

How well can this administration’s agenda of fear reflect on WASC's decision? Chopra or his sidekick, Nick Alioto, has apparently finished their "investigation" and placed official Letters of Reprimand in the files of those professors the administration is trying to railroad! Students are saying they've been told they're not allowed to complain about the administrations' actions. The community is starting to realize how divisive these actions are. WASC quite rightly said that the college should move in the opposite direction - engendering trust among its faculty and students, the very people who are being turned out into the cold.

"The Team further recommends that the college establish and follow a written process for providing faculty, staff, administrators, and students, a substantial voice in decision making processes."

Do I need to mention again the fact that these unilateral budget cuts weren't even allowed to be discussed? The Board rubber-stamped Chopra's budget and refused to even allow Board member Nick Aguilar's motion to simply discuss other options in an emergency meeting. There is no one besides the upper administration that thinks they have a voice in the process. They don't. That has been made clear.

There are other recommendations, but these are two that directly impact how WASC perceives Southwestern College.

It would be ludicrous to think that WASC is unaware of the actions of FIRE and the ACLU, the frequent negative (to the administration) news coverage, and yes, the constant buzz about the blogosphere. Can anyone take seriously the idea that this can't affect SWC's accreditation process?

It can, and it would fall hard at the feet of an administration that has created an atmosphere of fear and disenfranchised the very people that WASC thinks must be included in the decision-making process.

The Bond Rating: Why is This More Important Than Classes?

At the last Board meeting, the vice-president, Yolanda Salcido, said that the college's 11.5 million-dollar 'reserve' needed to be left intact, "to help maintain their bond rating." (And, yeah, that's a quote.)

Leaving aside for a moment the concept that a school's administration and Board should tear apart their own schedule, disenfranchise their faculty, and kick an unknown number of students to the curb, just to make themselves more attractive for possible future investors, there is a question of economic fact.

Standard & Poor's has given Southwestern College a rating of AA- (Double A minus), which is pretty damn good, and keeps them in the top bracket of performance. But, after doing some research, I've found some facts of interest.The amount of money in the bank counts very little toward how a rating agency (like S&P) grades the bonds. You know what's more important? The quality of education, the diversity of adjunct faculty, the diversity of students, and a well-balanced selection of classes all weigh more to the rating agencies.

To recap: to keep from spending less than $2M out of $11.5M in the bank, the Board would rather lower its quality of education (point 1), by cutting hundreds of classes - both electives and core (point 4); in doing so, laying off (or "not bringing back" in SWC parlance) about half its adjunct faculty (point 2), and forcing an undefined number of student - but surely in the few thousands - to give up their education or go somewhere else (point 3).

All to 'keep that money in the bank to look good' - which is not nearly as important to the rating agencies!

To me, this appears to be the short-sighted nature of this administration and its Governing Board - to take the 'easy' way out, and do it on the backs of the students and faculty, all so they can make the school look better to those possible future investors.

You have to ask: why does this matter more than the student's education? Does this focus on the financial risks of the investors (not the school) mean that they have ignored the school's focus: to educate those students of the South Bay area?

I'll be the first to admit that I could have this wrong. If someone out there with a background in Economics could let me know how I got it wrong, please do. I'd be delighted to hear it.

Okay…one last thing I forgot to point out.

According to Moody's (another rating agency), approximately 95% of all the public institutions that they rated received a grade of "A" or better.

(Moody's, Standard & Poor's, Fitch IBCA, and Duff & Phelps' all use equivalent "A" ratings. SWC's "AA-" is equivalent to Moody's "Aa3" - both of which refer to High-Quality, strong Investment Grade bonds.)

This reflects well on the school - pre-budget cuts. By undermining its own values as an educational institution, they'll have done more harm to the credit rating than spending less than $2 million - most of which would have gone back into the economy in and around Chula Vista.

But with about 19 in 20 public institutions being "Investment Grade" bonds or better, Yolanda Salcido's comment takes on a darker hue: is she unaware of how the bond rating is determined, or does she not care - and simply whipped it out as a handy reason hard to challenge on the spot?

So...why? Why was this reason given? Why would they rather keep this money in the bank than spend the profits of a few good years on one year when the school needs it?

The Board's driving goal should be to maintain the highest quality of education. Instead, it looks like their one goal is to protect a fat, fat bank account.

Is Southwestern College's Nick Alioto Racine USD's Nick Alioto?

Nick Alioto is the current Vice-President of Business and Finance at Southwestern College, and the guy calling the shots now that Raj K. Chopra is "on vacation." Just a couple of years ago, a chap named Nick Alioto made a lot of news in Wisconsin for some business dealings with the Racine Unified School District.

Were they the same people? This question came up in the comments on my recent ACLU piece. It interested me, and I did a little digging. I posted my thoughts in comments, but decided they were worth putting here instead. (I've modified my own answer in a few places to better suit the format.)

I don't think that they can be the same person. Wisconsin's Nick Alioto was a financial genius able to save Racine USD somewhere between $15 and $18 million dollars in the first six months that his company - Public Business Consulting Group (PBCG) - went to work. They painstakingly sought out "savings" that no one else had ever considered*, transferred money from one fund to another**, and implemented energy savings programs.***

That Nick Alioto was so successful that his company made an estimated $1.8 million is less than two years - based upon an agreed-upon pay rate of 20% of all found savings****. That Nick Alioto almost forced the Racine USD to pay a multi-million dollar penalty from breaking a contract with PBCG, but still collected a $750,000 settlement when the district insisted on parting ways.

Southwestern College's Nick Alioto clearly isn't that guy. Knowing that this question must come up, our Nick Alioto is the guy who arrived at the last Governing Board meeting unable to narrow down the amount of budget shortfall any more than, "somewhere between 1.3 and 1.7 million dollars." Our Nick Alioto is the guy unable to divine any way of saving the college's big fat bank account, short of putting faculty and students on the street.

Nope. There's no way this is the same guy.


*Stuff that almost every other Wisconsin public school district had been doing for decades.

**A shell game that meant that taxpayers paid more for those savings, and then paid PBCG its percentage for the privilege of getting ripped off.

***Claiming money saved on hypothetical situations.

****Twenty-five percent.


Seriously, you need more proof these can't be the same guy? These these links:

JSOnline (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) - "Firm Overbills Racine Schools"

JSOnline - "Director Left Last District in the Hole"

FoxPolitics.Net - "Racine: The Tragedy of Smoke and Mirrors Savings"

Real Debate Wisconsin - "An Interesting Story About PBCG Head Nick Alioto"

JSOnline - "District May Renegotiate With Consulting Firm"

LawyersAndSettlements.com - Settlement Details

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ACLU Weighs in Regarding Southwestern College

It's official; this is big. The ACLU has sent a letter to Southwestern College's president, Raj K. Chopra, the members of its governing board, the various vice-presidents, and even to the campus police chief. In that patented American Civil Liberties Union fashion, it fires a broadside at the administration - but in a very polite, very professional manner.

(Please visit the Save Our SWC blog for a summary of the letter, and for a link to the entire thing. I haven't figured out how to link to PDF's yet, so I'm going to let them do it.)

I'll admit, I'm feeling pretty prescient - a few posts ago, I commented that have FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) take you to task was one short step to having the ACLU get involved. (The actual comment is located here.)

I've decided to test it again. I think that, given the consistent bad press that they're getting from Higher Education's most respected publications - Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed; and because of the actions of FIRE and the ACLU; and because the Governing Board is trying to blame these budget cuts entirely on the government of the State of California, I predict that it won't be too much longer before the state's Attorney General's office gets involved.

So again I ask: What is wrong with this Board? Do they enjoy this? Have they completely abrogated their responsibility to keep the school and its students first in their priorities?

To me - and I suspect to many others, it appears that they have. The only communication they've made so far to anyone has been supportive of Raj Chopra's 'non-suspension' suspension of the professors. Will it take the involvement of the Attorney General for the Board to realize what a mistake they've made?

I'm guessing it won't be long until we find out.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Southwestern College Professors & Students March Again

Together with students of all ages, members of the faculty at Southwestern College took their protest to the public on Thursday. Literally walking a thin line (between the street and campus property - where they apparently were told they could not protest) for a few hours under the sun, the professors and their students worked together to call more attention to the budget cuts tearing the school apart.

During the march, some professors left to teach their classes. Other arrived only after their classes were dismissed. Students came and went, some taking extremely active roles.

With passersby honking and cheering their support, one of San Diego's alt-papers, City Beat, made its first appearance, as did Univision.

It goes without saying - but I'm saying it, that this isn't going to just fade away. In a just world, they wouldn't have had to go this far to support the education of the youth of the South Bay area.

It's a good thing that some members of the community actually care.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Let's Talk About This "Riot" at Southwestern College (An Open Letter to the DA's Office)

To Whom it Does Concern:

Two weeks ago, out of a desire to watch a bit of student activism at work, I went to Southwestern College in Chula Vista. Students were rallying to protest budget cuts. I went, took a few photos with my cell phone, and watched as the students decided to march on the president’s office. He wasn’t there; campus police stopped the students from getting near the office. I took a few more pictures. Three professors – at least one of whom wasn’t even present at the rally – spoke to the police, and were informed that no one would be allowed to pass into the administration area until they (campus police) decided.
Frustrated, the students chanted, asking President Chopra to come out. Not realizing that he wasn’t even present, they remained until another the Dean of Student Services, Mia McClellan, came out and told them they couldn’t be there. She opted not to tell them he wasn’t around. Had she done so, she could have short-circuited their anger quite neatly. She didn’t. Instead, she demanded they leave.

The professors had left the ‘conflict area’ before that, and only watched over their students from the back of the crowd. The only people near the police were students – and none of them did anything more than launch entirely-justifiable questions and complaints at Ms. McClellan.

Apparently fed up with those folks exercising their Right to Assemble, Ms. McClellan told them again to leave. She walked off, leaving it in the hands of the campus police. The police very calmly asked the students to leave – and most did. A few students stayed behind, asking “What would happen if…” and “Why can’t I…” questions. After another few minutes, the crowd drifted away, and even the police went their own way.

I was there. I arrived before at least one of the professors, and remained within a few feet of the police at all times. There was no riot; I saw no conflict.

Two days ago, the administration of the college apparently completed their “investigation” and referred their situation to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. They have asked the D.A. to file charges on three professors: SCEA President Phillip Lopez, Andrew Rempt, and Dinorah Guadiana-Costa.
The claim is that the professors:

1. Incited the students to move outside the “free speech area” and to violate SWC policies,

2. Ignored the warnings and directives of the campus police, and

3. Had physical confrontation with the police.

These are bogus charges. None of the professors ever had contact with the police. Had they, I doubt the police would have simply waved them away – which they did. When the police told them that they were not allowed into the administration area to do their jobs, the three of them left. There was frustration in their voices, yes, but I’d not even go so far as to call it anger. Hardly the behavior of police-assaulting rioters, is it?

Furthermore, I was also present at the rally. By happenstance, I was standing near the faculty when one of the students ran over and breathlessly informed them that they were going to march. The professors raised eyebrows and wondered aloud about this decision. A minute or two later, when the students began to march, a few of the faculty followed them – and some simply chose to walk on to their next class.

At no point did any member of the faculty incite this lawful action. The students of SWC chose to do so – and, personally, I applaud their decision to do so. But to claim that any member of the faculty beat the drum to start this action is ludicrous, dishonest, and wrong.

Lastly, I must point out that the SWC police peacefully met the students face-to-face. When one young female student held a sign up in front of one of the officers, he pulled it down and quite reasonably explained that she simply could not block his line of sight; it was unsafe for him to not be able to see. When she had follow-up questions, he patiently explained that his safety and the safety of his fellow officers must be paramount.

I agree with that; as, I suspect does most everyone else – including these professors whom the school has asked you to railroad. Don’t let this happen. Don’t give this administration – an administration which appears to be drifting from unremitting incompetence toward earnest corruption – another tool to attack its faculty. They get enough of that on a daily basis from President Raj K. Chopra.

If you need, I have more details, and I’m happy to put this on the record. My email is nickolasfurr (at) yahoo (dot) com. I thank you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Media Attention Continues to Shine on Southwestern College's Suspended Professors (And FIRE Opens Fire)

I’m back with more press coverage; I’m late, yes, but I’m back. I’m posting these to remind you that people are watching the ridiculous blow-up at Southwestern College. Though President Raj Chopra and his administration would love for this to disappear (a sentiment shared by the San Diego Union-Tribune, which has apparently reverted to its notorious anti-education screeds), it has not.

People are watching, they’re reading, they’re talking about it…and they’re taking action.

Newly Updated! Check below for information on new press and even coverage from the Huffington Post!

The protest march last Thursday attracted about as much attention as I had expected – all of it from television and radio, of course. (Visit here to visit earlier press & media links.)

KPBS – San Diego public radio (audio and print): "Local Professors Protest Budget Cuts to Higher Education."

KUSI – Television: "Students Protest Community College Budget Cuts."

KFMB – Television: "Protestors Rally in Balboa Park Against Cuts in Education."

And there’s more!

Inside Higher Ed weighs in with “When is a Suspension Not a Suspension?”

Student Activism continues to take a very active role:
"Lawful Free Expression" at Southwestern College."
"New Administration Statement on the Southwestern College Suspensions."
"Update: Southwestern College Suspensions."

The Chronicle of Higher Education keeps it on the radar with “Is Your ‘Fiscal Crisis’ Real?” This refers to SWC, but is about the whole of the situation.

La Prensa San Diego: the oldest, largest Mexican-American newspaper in San Diego County (and probably the second-most read newspaper of any kind) has been a long-time supporter of both President Chopra and the Board. However, even they question the misguided actions taken by the administration, following the student rally of late October: "Editorial: Southwestern College Community Wants Answers!"

SWC’s own newspaper, the Southwestern College Sun (http://www.southwesterncollegesun.com/), has unsurprisingly taken a pro-student, pro-faculty stance. In a lot of schools, this would mean nothing, but the Sun is actually regarded as one of the leading student newspapers in the country. (And so it should surprise no one that Chopra has attempted to disembowel it at every opportunity.)
“Students, Staff, Faculty Protest a ‘Culture of Fear.’’
“New ASO Looks for Hope During a ‘Brutal’ Year.”
“Unsigned: The Truths and Myths About Raj K. Chopra."

And now there’s this!

Just before I was about to post this, I received word that FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) sent a letter to Raj Chopra today. In essence, the letter rips him a new one. I’d love to quote from it, but you should read it here, in its entirety.

A link to FIRE's initial blog entry (and another link to the letter to Chopra), can be found here: "FIRE Intervenes in Case of Professors Suspended at California's Southwestern College for Assembly Outside the 'Free Speech Patio.'"


FIRE's president, Greg Lukianoff, has gone so far as to strike out at President Chopra on one of the biggest, most influential political websites in the country, the Huffington Post. What does he have to say there?

Channel 10 (ABC) covers the situation with: "Criminal Charges Possible for Professors' Role in Protest."

The Southwestern College Sun actually ran a special edition today, with a few new pieces:
"Faculty Union Members Banned"
"Faculty Four are Experienced Professors"
"Strong Voices, Deaf Ears"

Actions like these is usually what helps lead to further national attention. My question to the Board: How much longer are you willing to put up with the SWC’s shredded reputation among higher-education organs, all for the sake of keeping Raj K. Chopra in place? You have made a mistake. You know you’ve made a mistake. Admit the error. Agree to a special meeting ASAP to find different ways to handle this. If not, you’re letting the school – your charge – continue along a route of self-destruction, all piloted by a president who has become higher education’s biggest punchline.

Remember to visit Save Our SWC for the most current information. They’re on Twitter (as @saveourswc), and on Facebook. Follow the badge over there to become a friend.

Next Time: I was there, and what I saw.

EDIT: Added link to FIRE's website.
NEXT EDIT: Added Huffington Post/Channel 10/Sun information, and changed "An action like this..." to "Actions like these..."