Saturday, March 2, 2013

SWC Union Message

Southwestern College Education Association
SWC Administrative Mismanagement
 No More Salary Cuts…No More Lay-offs
Spring 2013

1. Massive cuts to classes cause severe disruption to student education.

2. Cuts to salary and threats of layoffs are destroying our workforce.

3. Only college in CA threatening lay-offs & only college in SD to take pay cuts.

4. Overreacts with budget despite passage of Prop 30.

5. Ignores obligation to make public accurate and useful budget information.

6. Endangers our Accreditation AGAIN by lack of transparency in budget planning.

Provide Public Accountability

→  Put Students and Instruction First
  Find Budget Solutions as Other Colleges Have
→  Use the College Budget Committee for Planning

Fast Facts Go To:

Friday, March 1, 2013

We Don't Get Fooled Again

Pick up your guitar and play. . . .

SWC GB Board Member Bill Stewart Resigns in Protest

In an interview with the Southwestern College Sun, Stewart said, “It’s as if someone said ‘hey we’re going to go 65 miles-per-hour down the freeway and by the way the fog is so thick you can’t see more than 15 feet in front of you’. . . . So I have a choice. I either get out of the car or take a chance of there being lots of casualties along the way.” Bill, we hear you. We're also really worried about who's driving the car now. . . . Read the whole story

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Cost of 5%

Dedicated to the ones we love.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Credit Where Due

Below, we share a letter, posted on The Writer's Washroom by Nick Furr on 10 January 2012.

But first, we would like to point out that while we appreciate the credit, we don't entirely agree with Furr's sentiments. Yes, there were rumblings on the ground and a lot of hard work before the UT picked up the story. That is how it goes.

As far as we're concerned, events played out exactly as they should: People close to the situation realized there were problems. (Note that the Save Our SWC blog began in September 2009, before student protests, free speech issues, and suspended instructors made things interesting; the SWC Sun had been publishing articles questioning admin and board actions for months before that; the SWC Academic Senate, Classified Employees Association, and Council of Chairs had already voted No Confidence in Chopra; check our September and October 2009 posts for background).

That is how it goes. People close to the situation start making noise. They begin to identify avenues for getting out their message. Some people hear it and start making noise too. People, many of whom have never been mentioned in a press piece or blog post, put their jobs on the line to help out. Meanwhile, if the problem is real, the bad guys keep messing up, people keep making noise, and the sound is heard farther away and higher up.

If social media has taught us anything, it's that effecting change isn't about individuals; it's about critical mass, people with shared concerns each providing a piece, passing it on, supporting each other to achieve a goal that transcends any one person's or organization's actions. That is how it goes, and it works.

We'd also like to point out that the San Diego UT (like SWC) is not a single mind. What an editorial board chooses to publish at one point and what Watchdog reporters do on the ground are very different. So thank you to the reporters there and to the other news outlets who contributed in bringing us to this point.

Thank you, everyone. We did it.


Ms. Dumanis:

It was with delight that I watched you stand tall with four other members of your department and announce a series of indictments against members of the Sweetwater Union High School District. Knowing that I would soon see the five of you stand together and announce indictments against members of the Southwestern College District community made me even happier.

Imagine my surprise when you went out of your way to thank the Union-Tribune for all their help in reporting these events, and specifically mentioned the Watchdog section for its work.

Not to ameliorate the credit given to the Watchdog section – particularly the wonderful Tanya Sierra, whom I believe now works in your office as Public Affairs Officer – but to thank the Union-Tribune for their hard work while ignoring those who actually went out of their way to originally write about the mess that was both SWC and SUHSD is short-sighted and questionably honest at best.
Months before the Union-Tribune even got involved, the San Diego Reader’s brilliant Susan Luzzaro wrote about pay-for-play corruption at both school districts – and was sourced by everyone who wrote about it later.

SWC’s own award-winning Southwestern College Sun got into the act, questioning the timing and bids of Nicholas Alioto’s Napa Valley trip – also long before the U-T got involved. After Sun articles which question Alioto’s actions were printed, the former Vice President of Business and Financial Affairs attempted to shut down the newspaper by forcibly ceasing printing, stripping the faculty advisor of the reassign time he received for his work (though he continued to work without receiving it), and threatening the arrest of numerous student journalists. Following this, the Sun editorial board opted to seek funding from outside the school and continue printing without Alioto’s permission. It was this action against a hostile administration that earned them the 2011 College Press Freedom Award, given out by the Associated Collegiate Press and the Student Press Law Center.

There were also three blogs active in the South Bay which continually disseminated information and opinion to the residents of the district. The first, “Save Our SWC,” uncovered and reported numerous problems with the school administration and did so in a tight, professional manner.

Two of my own blogs, “The Writer’s Washroom” and “SWC Board Must Go!” took a less-neutral stance. I used my own sites to try and affect change, and did so by focusing frequently on the dishonest actions – including pay-for-play ones – of Nick Alioto.

I am willing to have my websites be ignored, but I am less willing to let Susan Luzzaro and the Reader, the editorial board and staff of the Southwestern College Sun, and the anonymous blogger behind “Save Our SWC” go unnoticed.

These people deserve most of the credit you believe the Union-Tribune earned. Every voter in the district with any knowledge of this is aware of these facts.
Allow me to point out that the U-T’s editorial board not only ignored the issues at Southwestern College, but instead of hearing the complaints of students and faculty, they chose to interview Dr. Raj K. Chopra, the superintendent/president at the time, and write about what a fine job he was doing. Of course, all this was going on while Henry Amigable was involved in nearly-constant pay-for-play actions on the campus.

In fact, when a group of faculty, students, campus employees, and citizens (of which I was a proud member) chose to unify and organize in order to vote out the members of the board – some of whom are already mentioned in your documents – who continued to support John Wilson, Henry Amigable, Nick Alioto, and Raj Chopra, the U-T strongly endorsed those same incumbents. When the election was over, and the voters had sent Yolanda Salcido and Jorge Dominguez packing, the U-T’s editorial board wrote a lengthy screed about what a terrible thing the voters of the district had done.

These are hardly good reasons to thank the Union-Tribune for helping uncover these terrible things that happened on these campuses. Ms. Sierra, on the other hand, should still be commended for her stories, but I must again point out that what she wrote, she wrote after many others had already blazed the trail.

Lastly, though you did mention the “public,” as tipping your office about this, I must strongly state that the “public” is the reason investigations were done – at least on the campus of SWC. Were it not for the students of SWC who held rallies and demonstrations to attract attention and the faculty and classified employees that risked their jobs to get involved, the blogs, the Sun, and the Reader would never have researched and written about these criminal actions. Without that, conscientious politicians like Congressman Bob Filner wouldn’t have taken a stance against the corrupt administration. And without all the noise that this created, the Union-Tribune would never have gotten involved.

Please remember that the next time you thank someone for all the hard work that they’ve done.


Nickolas Furr

(Copies of this letter have been sent to the San Diego Reader, San Diego Union-Tribune, Southwestern College Sun, and the “Save Our SWC” blog.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tonight and Some Questions: New Board Members to Be Sworn-In, Followed by GB Meeting

New board members Norma L. Hernandez and Tim Nader and re-elected Terri Valladolid will be sworn-in tonight at 6:30 as part of a reception beginning at 6:00 p.m.

The reception and ceremony will be held in Room L238 North and South (the "big room" opposite the library). All are welcome to attend.

The regularly scheduled board meeting will follow at 7:00 p.m. in Mayan Hall (which provides far more seating than the usual board room 214). So come on down!

On the swearing-in: Some observers have raised questions about the pre-meeting ceremony. Why, they ask, not have the swearing-in on the regular meeting agenda as has been done in the past? Isn't this required by Brown Act rules of public notification?

A search of California Government Code, Elections Code, Education Code, the Brown Act, and board policy suggests the answer is no. In fact, if the freshly-elected board members aren't sworn prior to the meeting, there's no quorum. The outgoing members would convene the meeting, and the new members wouldn't be seated until swearing in. Clearly, this could be awkward.

(Relevant code sections: Ed Code sections 60, 5000, 5017, 5300, 72000; Elections Code 10554; Government Code 1302, 1360, 1362, 54952.2)

Some agenda items do warrant questions, however. Item 11D, page 6: Why does Alioto want to pay outside consultants over $4,000 for Opening Day presentations? Item 16C, pages 11-12: Why is Chopra requesting agreements with ten different law firms? (Hopefully, with his departure, this item will be tabled.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

SWC Superintendent/President Raj K. Chopra Resigns

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to everyone as we announce some more good news: Superintendent/President Raj K. Chopra has resigned from his position effective today.

Chopra announced his resignation with a global email sent to the SWC campus community:

Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 1:41 PM

College Community,

Effective today, November 30, 2010, I will resign from my position as Superintendent/President.

Until the Board can meet to discuss this matter, the vice presidents will serve as administrators in charge on a rotating basis and will perform day-to-day duties on behalf of the District. Following is the schedule:

· December 1-2 Vice President Suarez

· December 3 Vice President Kerns

· December 6 Vice President Alioto

· December 7-8 Vice President Meadows

It has been an honor to serve the students and community of Southwestern College. I wish you all a happy holiday season and all the best in the future.

Raj K. Chopra, Ph.D.
Southwestern College


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. ~Margaret Mead