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..."