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NEWS

December 1, 2010 — Vol. 54, Special Edition

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The Southwestern College Sun

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&*$+,

WED . ALL KNOW C

THAT R HOPRA CAME FROM A DIFFERENT SYSTEM. HE SEEMS TO BE TRYING TO RUN SOUTHWESTERN AS A K-12. HE IS AUTOCRATIC. AND WHEN THE UNION TRIED TO SAY SOMETHING, HE JUST WENT BALLISTIC.”

- QUOTE FROM FORMER ACADEMIC SENATOR JOAN STROH

!"#/(RP

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1) Relations hip betwee n Administr ator: In on Trustee and Senior e district, a romantic re Trustee is lationship engaged in with relationsh a ip is ackn a senior administrat or. owledged by both p This arties. 2) Intertw ined Trust ee/Adminis between co trator rela mmunity co tionship llege distri school dist ct and a lo rict. cal high FIGURE: EXC

ERPTS FR OM THE WHICH CA N BE FOUN D IN VOL .

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GRAND JUR 52, ISSUE 1,Y REPORT, PG. 6

NEWS

The Southwestern College Sun

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WE HAVE NEW BUSINESS MANAGER?

FIVE DAYS LATER, HE CALLS US AND HE SAID,

THERE ARE 400,000 OTHER PEOPLE AND

HOW MANY PEOPLE IN THIS DIFFICULT

YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GO AND TALK TO THEM ABOUT WHAT ATTITUDE THEY HAVE

Continued from Page 1

STAFF) NOT GET THEIR STEP INCREASE OR

“I’M NOT COMING. I’M GOING SOMEPLACE ELSE BECAUSE I GOT A BETTER OFFER, $35,000 MORE THAN WHAT YOU GUYS ARE PAYING ME.’ SO WHAT I AM SAYING TO YOU...THE BOARD’S LOGIC HAS BEEN

THEIR COLUMN INCREASE?

THAT MY SALARY HAS SO MUCH OUT OF

BELIEVE YOU. YOUR WORLD EXIST LIKE A

KILT AND ALL THE OTHER EMPLOYEES HAVE

FROG IN A VALVE.

BEEN GETTING IT, AND

OF THESE PEOPLE YOU TALK WITH THESE

CRITICAL WAY THAT

FORMER TRUSTEE DAVID AGOSTO ON CHOPRA’S RAISE

-"*./(01

“WHILE YOU ARE LOOKING AT, IN A I GOT 7.9 PERCENT RAISE, $15,000 LOUSY DOLLARS, WHY DON’T YOU, AT THE SAME TIME LOOK AT

Buyout: Board pays embattled superintendent $100,000 to depart

In his own words: Chopra on his Raise

WE HOPE HE WILL STAY HERE FOR MANY YEARS. THIS COMPENSATION PACKAGE IS THE FIRST STEP TO BRING DR. CHOPRA’S SALARY AND BENEFITS PACKAGE IN LINE WITH OTHER COMMUNITY COLLEGE CEOS.”

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FINANCIAL TIME HAVE LOST THEIR JOB? EMPLOYEES AT

(NO

SWC HAD BEEN LAID OFF DID THE (FACULTY AND

AT THAT POINT.)

A STEP INCREASE CAN BE 4 TO 5 PERCENT. EVERYBODY GOT ALL THOSE INCREASES IN JULY OF THIS YEAR, OR AUGUST THIS, EXCEPT ONE PERSON, THAT’S ME. SO THE BOARD, AS A RESULT OF THEIR EVALUATION, THEY CAME TO THE CONCLUSION, THAT FIRST OFF THAT

23.2#"$(

MY SALARY WAS AMONG THE LOWER IN THE AREA, YOU KNOW, IF YOU COMPARE

SPRING 2008

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SUMMER 2008

THE SOONER

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WE CAN REPLACE THE CURRENT SUPERINTENDENT-PRESIDENT AND THE BOARD MEMBERS WHO LACK VISION AND THE WILLINGNESS TO WORK COLLEGIALLY WITH FACULTY, STAGE AND STUDENTS, THE BETTER OUR CHANCES TO PRESERVE OUR COLLEGE.”

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FALL 2010

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RUSTEE

(8-*

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RA’S WARD CHOP MARCH TO STUDENTS

LATER AFTER ACCEPTING THE POSITION, OR

INTERESTED IN COMMUNITY AT LARGE.

ABOUT ME AND WHAT

I AM DOING OUT THERE

AS A SPOKESPERSON FOR THIS COLLEGE AND IMPROVING PERCEPTION.

I HAVE MANAGED

THIS DISTRICT WELL, AND THEY SAID IT IN A

PEOPLE, YOU THINK THIS IS THE WORLD.

PRESS RELEASE,

THERE IS NOTHING. ONE SHOULD JUMP OUT OF THE VALVE AND GO OUT THERE,

I THINK, WHICH I’M SURE YOU HAVE IN YOUR POSSESSION. THEY GAVE THEIR REASON AND THAT’S WHY THEY ADJUSTED THE SALARY. BUT LET ME SAY THIS TO YOU, PLEASE, QUOTE ME. I HAVE NO APOLOGY TO MAKE FOR MY SALARY, TO ANYONE...

THERE IS A MUCH LARGER WORLD THAN YOU EVER IMAGINE IT IS.

SO YOU ARE LIKE THE

CAMPUS COMMUNITY, YOU KNOW, THAT IS MY ATTITUDE.”

GUILAR

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An excerpt from Kelly’s language and Chopra’s language

EVEN DURING THE DARK DAYS 1863 BEFORE CIVIL WAR, PRESIDENT LINCOLN FOUND MUCH FOR WHICH TO BE THANKFUL: ‘THE OF

YEAR IS DRAWING TOWARDS ITS

EVEN DURING THE DARK DAYS 1863 DURING THE CIVIL WAR PRESIDENT LINCOLN FOUND MUCH FOR WHICH TO BE THANKFUL: ‘THE OF

YEAR THAT IS DRAWING TOWARDS IT

CLOSE HAS BEEN FILLED WITH THE

CLOSE HAS BEEN FILLED WITH THE

BLESSINGS OF FRUITFUL FIELDS AND

BLESSING OF FRUITFUL FIELDS AND

HEALTHFUL SKIES.’ THE

ON BEHALF OF SOUTHWEST FAMILY, I HOPE

HEALTHFUL SKIES.’

AND HEALTHFUL SKIES.”

YOUR OWN YEAR HAS SEEN FRUITFUL FIELDS AND HEALTHFUL SKIES.”

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CHAIRMAN AND CEO GARY KELLY

I HOPE YOUR

YEAR HAS SEEN FRUITFUL FIELDS

RAJ K. CHOPRA’S 2008 THANKSGIVING MESSAGE TO CAMPUS COMMUNITY

SPRING 2009

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425")#"$ (L-R) ANDREW REM

PT,

JANET MAZZA

RELLA,

PHIL LOPEZ,

OMED

DINORAH GUA

DIANA-COS

TA.

RMA D NO N. ER AN ECTIO TIM NADATING THEIR EL R EB EL C

PARTY TO A

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C E WEL EZ AR

D HERNAN

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FALL 2009

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THEATRE STUDENTS LEROY BENITEZ AND GEO ALVA PROTEST CLASS CUTS.

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BUT I DON’T

YOU HEAR THE VOICES

23.2#"$(

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23./RR

-"*./RS

YOU (THE SUN) ARE MORE INTERESTED IN CAMPUS COMMUNITY THAN YOU ARE

(::-!-(3!5'&*'&3'&,,L*-2(' "-4"0'!,&))()'MB'$(%!(3*':7,,0

SS CUTS. OTEST OF CLA OFFICE IN PR

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FALL 2008

A HISTORY OF CHOPRA AT SWC: MONEY AND POLITICS

December 1, 2010 — Vol. 54, Special Edition

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experience in higher education. He had served in the K-12 system for 33 years, including schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Kansas and Iowa. When he signed on at SWC he said he had high hopes. “As we look to the future, we must assess how we meet the challenge for preparing developmental courses as continuing waves of ‘under prepared and under achieving’ students come to college,” Chopra said in a 2007 statement. “The most significant answer lies in our psychic stamina, our determinations, and our cohesiveness.” Faculty said they had high hopes in Chopra. In December 2007 he had helped SWC employee unions dodge a health and welfare crisis that may have caused monthly dues to skyrocket. Disillusionment set in, though, about two months later when he reorganized the college without meaningful input. The Academic Senate slapped him with a resolution reminding him of a state law that said he had to consult with them “collegially” while making campus-wide decisions. This was the beginning of what would become a not-so-subtle war between the SWC employees and Chopra. By the next year California and the United States would begin its descent into one of the country’s worst recession since The Great Depression. Property values began to plummet and the state’s deficit began to grow. Chopra made cuts to the only part of the college’s budget that was not locked into employee contracts, which was about 20 percent of the college’s $85 million budget. Summer session 2008 had “dismal” offerings. That fall each of the college’s eight schools cut 10 percent from their operating budgets. Fliers signed by Chopra were posted on office copy machines telling users to conserve paper. Mid-year cuts were expected and 25 faculty sabbaticals were reduced by half. In October 2008 Chopra was praised by the governing board and after a passing performance evaluation he was given a $15,000 raise for “thinking outside the box” and taking on the work of two empty six-figure vice president positions. The raise put Chopra’s $203,391 salary on a par with other local superintendents. He also received a $24,000 housing allowance, health benefits and petty cash. Though he said he would not justify his raise to upset employee unions, he pointed at an 11 percent cost of living adjustment SWC employees had received months earlier and their yearly step and column raises. “[Chopra] Faculty, who h a d r e c e n t l y only knew fought a how to r e d u c t i o n t o shove. The their sabbaticals and who had community personally turned shoved away students due to class cuts, back.” saw the raise as a deal breaker. Editor-in-Chief It would later become a major John Carter talking point The SWC Sun when faculty refused to offer a pay reduction to save classes. Over the next two years more than 40 percent of the college’s classes were cut, including a 26 percent cut in the spring semester of 2010 alone. When Chopra took his seat at SWC he stated that “business as usual would not continue” and it did not. He froze hiring immediately, took on extra work, begun to tackle long-standing liabilities in the college’s pension fund. He claimed to be an integral part in getting a $389 million construction and renovation bond which would allow the college to put to use a acre empty lot in the front of the college that SWC had tried and failed to develop over the last 10 years. He built up the college’s reserves and paid off unfunded liabilities, which allowed the college to receive a good bond rating for the construction. Many faculty leaders said the development was good, they also said it could not come at a worse time because it cost the college needed classes when a community wrecked by high unemployment was most desperate for them. Faculty called the corner lot project Chopra’s legacy. And while Chopra made strides on the financial side of SWC, his heavy-handed leadership style lost him the support of his employees. A series of events in the spring and fall semesters of 2009 caused the faculty and staff to unite and galvanized a year-long campaign to “take the college back” from please see Buyout pg. 3


The Southwestern College Sun

XXXXXXX, Volume XX, Issue XX

XX

!"#$%!

!"#$%&'()*+,-*.+&/#'*0+11 23*"+,-*%,*"+,Coach John Cosentino sits in a humble office across from the gym meditating on the season that could have been. The 2009-10 men’s basketball season contained the highest of highs, and unfortunately the lowest of lows. On March 6 the Jaguars broke an 18 game winning streak, a first for Southwestern College’s men’s basketball, when they lost to San Bernardino Valley in the last 35 seconds of the playoff game. “We had them beat,” said Cosentino. “They hit a ridiculously long three pointer and then we turned the ball over twice.” No team wants to end a season on a sour note, but for the Jags, it was put into perspective quicker than most. “Anthony [Cosentino] was hurt that game, he wasn’t playing 100 percent,” said Cosentino. “On the drive home, it was raining and we had to go the emergency room right after the game. He thought he was having a heart attack.” Anthony, the coach’s son, tore some of the cartilage away from his ribs, if the team would have won, he would not have been able to play in the following championship games. Jaguar players put their heads down.

“It was loud, we just ran out of gas,” said Captain Devone “Mick” Davis. “Losing the game was heart breaking when you really think about it.” A father-son dynamic is one that many teams do not get to experience. But for the Jaguars it turned out to be nothing short of a good thing. Anthony was named MVP at the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) and first team all state, while his dad was named coach of the year at the PCC. “I was awarded coach of the year because I have the best players,” said Coach Cosentino. “I have the best assistant coach in conference, I have the best point guard in conference and I have the best sixth man in conference.” Anthony had to find the balance between being the coach’s son and a player on the team, a balance that he easily recognizes. “When I walk into the gym, he’s my coach,” said Anthony. “At home, he’s just my dad.” The team got off to a rocky start this season. With Johnny Francis being the only returner, Coach Cosentino did not think they would have a shot at playoffs. “I knew we had a good team, but I figured we’d have a year to go before we made it to the playoffs,” said Coach

Cosentino. “Winning is always in the back of your mind, but I was focused on working on a day-by-day basis.” For the players, it was a little deeper than day-by-day. “We had to take it quarter-by-quarter,” said Davis. “We couldn’t count the eggs before they hatched.” 5-4 going into conference may not be something teams strive for, but according to Anthony, it was beneficial. “Pre-season helped us out a lot,” he said. “It made us realize that we had to play every game hard. It opened our eyes.” Coach Cosentino compares his team to the Boston Celtics – five years ago. “If the Celtics were younger and healthier, just think of what they could have accomplished,” he said. “We have that, we have what they could’ve had. We are versatile and athletic.” Out of the 10-man team, one was named MVP at conference, three made first team and two were named honorable mention. However, Charles “Snacks” Joseph seems to be the name on everyone’s lips. The 6’9”, 300-pound freshmen, center, came to SWC by way of Brooklyn, New York to play basketball. “I feel like the rain came when I

came,” said Joseph. Joseph deceived the opposition with his size and uncanny ability to put the ball in the net. “He’s like a Rashid Wallace,” said Coach Cosentino. “I’m going to call him that next season. He’s just a deadly three point shooter.” Joseph is one of three men to come to SWC by way of the big apple and according to Coach Cosentino this has been occurring for the past 15 years. “California junior colleges, basketball-wise, are the best junior colleges in the country,” he said. “The players know we have a good team, so they are willing to come over and play for us.” Basketball is not the only benefit to moving to California. “It’s a lot warmer,” said Joseph. “New York is so cold. I’m not used to wearing shoes and slippers in the middle of the summer.” Although his business card says he is the basketball coach, Cosentino has bigger plans for his players. Post-season, he expects them to spend as much time at the library studying as they do practicing in the gym. “It’s time for them to put additional time in the classroom,” he said. “Basketball is going to end sooner than they

know, and they need to continue to work towards graduation.” Cosentino’s players have the talent and work ethic to land basketball scholarships but he would rather they apply those scholarships to the real world. “They are here for a degree,” said Cosentino. “I don’t want them working a minimum wage job in 10 or 15 years.” With this season ending the way it did, it is hard for Coach Cosentino to look towards the next one. “This has never happened before,” he said. “We’ve never had an 18 win streak, we’ve never made it to playoffs. This feeling is new. Knowing you are just one stop away and it just didn’t happen.” Looking forward to another undefeated season, Anthony will be joined by his older, yet shorter, brother Domenic. “He’s as good as any junior college point guard in the state,” said Coach Cosentino. “We’re also bringing in two big forwards. We’re hoping that will help, because you can’t teach height.” While the 2010-11 basketball season is months away, SWC can be proud that their team made it as far as they did. “If you ain’t winning no one’s going to come watch the game,” said Joseph. “We always put on a good show for the fans.”


BACKPAGE

The Southwestern College Sun

ELECTION

2010 Following

8

October 26, 2010 — Vol. 54, Special Edition

the Campaign Trail 1

DANIELA PADILLA/STAFF

3

DIANA INOCENCIO/STAFF

4

2

DANIELA PADILLA/STAFF CHRIS JUACHON/STAFF

5 6

AMANDA LYONS/STAFF

1 2

Norma Hernandez, governing board candidate, shows a precinct to a volunteer. Similar to other candidates, Hernandez and a team of volunteers go door-to-door for her campaign. Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez enthusiastically greets her supporters at a fundraising event for her campaign.

7

CHRIS JUACHON/STAFF

3 4 5

Tim Nader awaits his turn at the mic to answer questions submitted by students at the ASO sponsored candidates forum. William McLeroy speaks to students and faculty during a Candidate Meet and Greet. Yolanda Salcido speaks to a crowd about the construction of SWC’s corner lot at the ground breaking ceremony.

DANIELA PADILLA/STAFF

6

Candidate Jorge Dominguez caught behind the scenes before ASO-sponsored Candidate Forum where students were given the oppor tunity to submit questions to candidates who answer them on the spot.

7

Hernandez shows SWC counselor David Ramirez, some of the campaign mailers supporting and opposing her.

PAGE DESIGN BY JOSEPH YOUNG AND DIANA INOCENCIO 


A6

Sept.24 ­ Oct. 11, 2010 — Vol. 54, Iss. 2

ELECTION

2010

2010 GOVERNING BOARD CANDIDATES

The Southwestern College Sun

The Southwestern College Sun

Meet the Candidates

Jesseca Saenz­Gonzalez Seat #2 

First-time candidate Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez is challenging incumbent Terri Valladolid in the 2010 election for Seat No. 2 on the SWC governing board. Saenz-Gonzalez is originally from Roswell, New Mexico, where she attended Eastern New Mexico University and earned a BA degree in sociology and criminal justice. She moved to Chula Vista shortly after and began working with students. She started her career working at Filben Learning Centers and later decided to open her own business, which is now the San Diego Learning Center. Saenz-Gonzalez is also chairwoman for the San Diego Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She said she has lived in the community for more than 10 years. She said the recent accreditation situation is what piqued her interest in running for the board. “Whenever I had heard that (SWC) was on probation and could possibly lose its accreditation I knew right there and then that something was going on,” said Saenz-Gonzalez. “I kind of

Yolanda Salcido Seat #4

Governing Board President Yolanda Salcido is seeking her third term in Seat No. 4 of the Southwestern College Governing Board. Salcido emigrated from Mexico as a child and said she considers herself a life-long Chula Vista resident. Growing up in the Hilltop area, her family is proudly in the third generation of the Hilltop Lancers. Salcido was a student at SWC and said she was here excessively long. Jumping from major to major, she said she did not know what she wanted to do. “I was very lost,” she said. “Even with counselors I was not sure what to do and how to move on.” Salcido said being a student at SWC and knowing the difficulties of a “starving student” lifestyle is her strongest motivation as a public servant. She said this community has many underserved areas and wants to provide them with assistance in reaching their educational goals. “I was one of those,” she said. “Do I buy a book today or do I eat? Do I pay rent or do I pay my tuition?” Salcido graduated with a degree in administration of criminal justice and law enforcement. Going through the academy, Salcido has served as a Reserve Police Officer with the Imperial Beach Police Department and the San Diego County Sherriff. She completed a law degree at Thomas

had an inclination that it could have been the leadership, but I really didn’t know for sure so I decided that I wanted to speak with the students, faculty and staff. After I spoke to them, I have learned a lot and now I know that we desperately need new leadership. I also attended board meetings because I wanted to see for myself what was going on. I think through this entire process the students lost their voice and I want to be able to provide that voice for them, because the students are most concerned about the class cuts and the inability to get through SWC in two years. “We definitely need to reinstate those courses that have been cut and also answering the question ‘What does it mean we’re on probation?” Saenz-Gonzalez said the current governing board is out of touch. She said talking to students would help incumbent board members to understand what is going on at the college. If elected, she said she would be open to hearing everyone out. “I have an open door policy,” she said. “I am here if anyone has questions or concerns. Anyone can come to me and I am here to listen. That works the same with the faculty and the staff. My goal is to come in and implement my business practices. We need to ask the faculty what can we do to better the situation and hear them out and actually consider some of their recommendations.” Saenz-Gonzalez said she expected more from the current governing board. “I felt that as a community member that I was going to walk into a board meeting and it was going to be very professional, there was going to be good communication and it was very embarrassing,” she said. “I was embarrassed to be in a community and have adults act in this manner. I cannot believe that this is ongoing, the way they behave. They’re just unprofessional.” Saenz-Gonzalez said there is going to be definite change if she is elected. “The support that I’ve been getting is amazing,” she said. “That gives me more drive and motivation to keep moving forward because I am running against an incumbent that’s been there for 12 years, but you know what? It’s not going to take me 12 years to make a difference.”

Jefferson Law School. Salcido said she has spent her life in community involvement. She has served on the Citizen’s Police Review, voter registration, Chicano Federation Board and was a co-founder of the South Bay Forum. “I am very involved in my community because it is the community I love,” she said. “I ran in mind with the students being the ones I needed to serve. Students like me.” Elected in 2002, Salcido said she has been blessed and honored to serve SWC and the community for the past eight years. She said she is proud of her accomplishments. “When I look at something I look at what I would like to see as a resident, taxpayer, voter and a mother,” she said. “What would I like to see not only for my children, but future generations? It is my district, it is my community because this is where I live and I have a lot of love for both.” Salcido said she fought the development of the corner lot when she first arrived because it was only a shopping center and not geared towards the needs of the student. Salcido created a coalition of the leaders in the college, the students and community that successfully advocated Sacramento for more funding because SWC was the lowest funded community college in the state. “I held fundraisers in my home and everywhere to get the coalition to Sacramento,” she said. “After joining forces with the San Diego Community College Imperial Valley Community College Districts, we fought for two years and we were very successful.” Today, Salcido said that the economy is a major threat to the future of SWC and that she is fiscally conservative. She said that despite the worst economy since the Great Depression the college is in very good financial shape and kept all fulltime faculty and contract employees, their health and welfare benefits and stipends covered. She said there was a hit on the adjunct faculty, but by contract, preference has to go to full-time faculty. “I have been very vocal about that in my time on the board,” said Salcido. “Seeing the future of the economy early, I became concerned we were spending money unwisely without having a grasp of it a preparing for the future. Good thing we did take control of it over the last three years.” She said adding the categorical programs are essential for helping the community in these economic times.

 Terri Valladolid Seat #2

Terri Valladolid, a Southwestern College board member of 12 years, is up for re-election for her fourth term. Originally from Imperial Valley, Valladolid said her parents were farm workers and during the summertime her family would go to Irvine and Fresno to help her family work in the grape fields. “My dad used to say ‘If you don’t want to work in the fields for the rest of your life, it’s important to get an education.’ That was such a good motivator,” she said. Valladolid attended Imperial Valley Community College and later transferred to SDSU. She majored in Chicano Studies and minored in business management. Valladolid said she has held many administrative positions, including directing a youth program. She said she also coordinated a peer-counseling and tutoring program at SDSU. Later she became a union organizer at UCSD and is currently the Labor Relations Advocate at the UCSD Department of Human Resources. Valladolid said after experience in working

Norma Hernandez Seat #4

Former Southwestern College superintendent Norma Hernandez is vying for governing board Seat No. 4. Originally from Tijuana, Hernandez arrived in the U.S. at the age of 15. Growing up here, she said SWC is where she wanted to work. Hernandez began her professional career helping families and youth in disadvantaged Logan Heights. She was hired by SWC in 1975 as a counselor. “When I came to SWC I felt like the most fortunate person in the world,” she said. “Not only is the college and city beautiful, it has such a welcoming environment and a community where I really felt at home.” Hernandez said she did a lot of counseling with Vietnam veterans and they also taught her. “I learned when you work with students you don’t just tell them what classes to take, but you take them in as a whole person,” she said. Hernandez became dean of student services and counseling, vice president of student services and served as superintendent, retiring in 2006. In looking back at her accomplishments, she said none of them was hers alone. “SWC always represented a community where we all had to work together for the main purpose we were there—the students,” she

in the unions, she felt she could actually make a difference. “I remember getting a flier,” said Valladolid. “It was a bulletin, it said ‘Do you believe in quality education? Do you believe that every person has a right to quality education? That it’s a right, it’s not a privilege?’ Then it said if you can answer yes to these questions you might consider running for office, for a school board. So I thought, ooh then maybe I can do it, then there was talk of Dr. Gordon Browning not running again, so I decided to run for his seat and I actually won.” After being on the governing board for 12 years, Valladolid said some of her accomplishments are big and small but one major achievement really sticks out to her. “One of the things I’m really proud of and it might seem silly, but not to me, is when I first came on board, the mascot was the Apaches but some people felt disrespected so we decided to change it,” she said. “So I was the one that made the motion to move that we change from the Apaches to the Jaguars.” Valladolid also said she was proud that while working with the union she managed to create better programs for home care workers. “We started a partnership for home care workers between the union, college and county,” she said. “The college was able to provide these mainly Latino and Vietnamese women a course to work with patients and learn English as a second language and made it possible for them to do things beyond home care working like CNA, it was a certificated program so they could move on.” Valladolid said after talking to students, she learned many of them were having trouble getting transfer information they needed. “One of the complaints I get is either the counselor didn’t give them enough good information or they took the wrong classes or not enough guidance,” said Valladolid. “When my daughter started SWC we went to a parent orientation, it wasn’t required but that might be something good we require, because the first please see Valladolid pg. A9

said. “Throughout my career, I am most proud in my belief in collaboration and collegiality, staying focused our mission--the students--and that ultimately serves our community.” Hernandez said that getting the support of SWC’s faculty and staff is a unique situation for a retired college president and proof of her commitment to her mission to serve students. “I think it speaks to my philosophy and my approach to education,” she said. “and to the fact we have a big responsibility and can only do it all together, supporting each other.” In January 2003, she was asked by the board to assume the interim position as superintendent because her predecessor had been placed on administrative leave and the college was in turmoil. Hernandez said SWC is even more unstable now. “First of all, I have experience coming into critical situations and being able to work with others in problem solving,” she said. “I feel that where we find ourselves today is even more critical. SWC is on academic probation from WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges.)” She said she had experience with WASC, encouraging them to come down after she took over as superintendent to provide “fresh eyes.” A 2003 report from WASC had eight recommendations. Three pertained to the board overlap. “Having gone through the process, one of the most critical things is for the constituent groups to work together,” she said. “By the time I left the college was not on probation. It was fiscally sound. The budget was balanced and we met our student cap. We made great strides in labor relations and the relationship between faculty, staff, the board and the administration.” Hernandez said the reason she is running is because she knows that SWC is staring at the greatest crisis it has ever faced and could be shut down by WASC. Warring constituent groups and a culture of retaliation are destroying the college, she said. “People on campus told me there was a lack of respect for student voice, faculty and staff, and that it is coming from the administration,” she said. “Out in the community and speaking to people from all different parts of our district, please see Hernandez pg. A9

2010 GOVERNING BOARD CANDIDATES

Sept.24 ­ Oct. 11, 2010 — Vol. 54, Iss. 2

A7

Southwestern College and its community are approaching one of the most controversial governing board elections in the college’s history. Vote by mail ballots go out Oct. 4 and election day is Nov. 2. Sun staff writers have interviewed all seven candidates for the three seats. Governing board members and opposing candidates were given unlimited time to say whatever they wanted. Here is what the candidates had to say.

 Tim Nader Seat #5

 Dr. Jorge Dominguez Seat #5

Former Chula Vista mayor Tim Nader is competing in the November elections for Southwestern College Governing Board seat No. 5 against incumbent Dr. Jorge Dominguez. Nader is a first-generation Lebanese-American born and raised in California. He graduated from Hilltop High School and earned a law degree from UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law. Nader worked as a criminal prosecutor for seven years and served two terms on the Chula Vista City Council and was elected mayor of Chula Vista in 1991. Nader said the Sept. 11 attacks influenced his decision to serve in a foreign aid program to promote democracy in totalitarian Turkmenistan. In 2002 he went to work for the San Diego County Department of Child Support Services and in 2008 for the Attorney General. Nader said he is proud of his accomplishments as mayor of Chula Vista. “I brought together the police department, the schools, South Bay community services and the city youth commission,” said Nader. “We started a program with the input of young people to see what kind of activities they needed.” A youth club operated by youth was created. Classes included an entrepreneurial business skills course. The youth club eventually won a national award in 1994. Nader said during his term as mayor Chula Vista had the third largest drop in crime in California. “I do think it’s partly because of our concerted effort to be tough and compassionate at the same time,” said Nader. “We used our police to enforce the law and to crack down on unacceptable activity but at the same time to develop a relationship with people who needed the positive attention.” Freedom of speech at SWC is one of Nader’s concerns, he said. It was the suspension of four faculty members for participating in a demonstration that caught his attention. “First I couldn’t help but notice that by supposed coincidence the faculty members who were suspended happened to be leaders of organized faculty,” said Nader. “In fact, one of them wasn’t there, she was teaching a math class during the demonstration.” Nader said the faculty ban was “a clear violation of the First Amendment.” “This whole idea of the free speech patio to me was very offensive on a couple of levels,” said Nader. “America is a free speech area. You don’t confine it to a patio somewhere, especially on public property. Number two, it was reminiscent of Soviet tactics, you would see these things in a totalitarian Soviet-type country.” Nader said fairness is a quality SWC administration appears to be lacking. SWC administrators are aggressively trying to express their disagreements with faculty and students rather than engage in positive resolutions, he said. Nader said that the governing board of Southwestern College basically has two jobs, one is to oversee the president and administration, the other is to adopt the annual budget. “Once the board starts involving itself in minutiae details, that’s micro-management,” said Nader. “Which is one of the issues the accreditation commission identified (when SWC was placed on probation).” Nader said a good example was the administration’s attempts to prevent the printing of the student newspaper, based on a dormant 20-year-old policy that administrators dug up in July but sprung on the newspaper days before the printing of its first issue. “I don’t blame Chopra so much as I blame the board,” he said. “Chopra is being told by the board that everything he is doing is right. That’s the feedback he is getting from his boss.” Free speech on a college campus is paramount, Nader said. “Teachers should feel free to teach, students should feel free to learn and learning includes the ability to express opinions and to listen to opinions and to argue opinions and to do all of this very freely,” he said. If elected Nader said he will demand stability and respect for other board members and especially teachers and students. He said he will focus on those issues in the accreditation and hold the president accountable for making education top priority in all budget decisions. “If you are going to make those kinds of deep (class) cuts, that will affect people’s lives, you should take time to listen and consider alternatives,” said Nader. “Even if it means you stay up to 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m.” please see Nader pg. A9

Southwestern College Governing Board Trustee Dr. Jorge Dominguez is seeking his second term for Seat No. 5 in November. Dominguez attended SWC while he was an electronic engineer and it gave him the opportunity to learn more about this field. He began his involvement with SWC after earning a Master’s degree in Education at San Diego State University and started his doctorate at age 54 in Leadership and Management. He said he did not get involved in the field of education until he met his wife who was an educator. Dominguez served more than 12 years in the Sweetwater district office as Director of Educational Technology. Dominguez said that motivation is what drove him to have many accomplishments in his own life. “I’ve got to say the same thing about my educational career as I would say about SWC,” he said, “and that is all the students I had I was able to help and motivate.” He said he is proud of the work he has done at the board, especially the corner lot. When Prop R passed, he said the board not only had the vision, they had the funds. “Other folks either didn’t have the money, or the support, the vision, or they just couldn’t bring it all together,” said Dominguez. “We’ve been very fortunate.” As board member, he said he helped approve teacher incentives like paying for sabbaticals and health benefits. Dominguez said the most important thing in a school is teachers. He admits many would think the answer should really be the students. “Without quality teachers the students can’t learn,” he said. Dominguez said he is an optimist and thinks SWC is in great shape, but has room for improvement. “The faculty and Superintendent need to work a little harder on both sides to improve relationships, with regard to the shared governance issue,” said Dominguez. He said he plans to keep more classes for students and SWC is now offering more sections than last year. Dominguez said this can be done with a great budget. “I understand what the priorities need to be in education and I made sure these things are in place so that we can continue operating,” he said. Dominguez said SWC provided 700 more students than paid for by the state because they were diligent enough to save the money. He said opponents lack educational experience and proven results, a must for a seat like this one. “I’m a 35- year veteran of education,” said Dominguez. “It’s a huge responsibility being on the board.” He said he thought long and hard about not running but realized why he wanted to remain on the board. “I think the next four years are going to be just fantastic for this place,” said Dominguez. “You are going to get that corner lot built. We’ve got additional plans for development off-campus over in Coronado.” Dominguez said that he is thrilled to be a part of SWC and the legacy he is building. Through SWC, Dominguez said he wants to help the community by helping its citizens become successful. Dominguez said his teaching at Sweetwater probably touched the lives of tens of thousands of kids. “Now that has been a thrill for me,” he said.

William McLeroy Seat #5

William McLeroy is one of the candidates running for seat No. 5 of the Southwestern College governing board. Jorge Dominguez currently holds the seat. McLeroy graduated from Montgomery High School before attending SWC. He said he feels close to the college as his wife and son are SWC alumni. McLeroy has been a fireman for more than 20 years and has 28 years of military experience, including deployment to Iraq and Germany during the reunification. He is currently the director of instruction of the Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations School in San Jose. “My job in the military is what they call the director of instruction or basically the dean of a military school,” he said. McLeroy lost a leg in a car accident 17 years ago, but continued his duties as a fireman and member of the U.S. military. He worked in conjunction with deans from different universities in Iraq to improve the education system there. McLeroy said he feels his work there is one of his biggest accomplishments. “The Iraqi students would come in and get an outdated education,” he said. “I helped them upgrade their education system.” One of the deans McLeroy worked with told him that sometimes it did not matter if they got an education. “You need to be able to see the future,” he said. “That was a hard thing to do.” McLeroy said one of his interpreters had a degree in engineering that he was not allowed to use, so instead ran a bakery. “That’s one of their big issues,” he said. “Being gifted and not being able to use their education.” At the Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations School, McLeroy said he has received the Center of Excellence, which is the highest mark you could ever get by the Department of Quality Assurance. “In the past four years we had an accreditation team come out and we have been fully accredited by the department of quality assurance, the ones who grant accreditation status,” he said. One issue McLeroy said SWC needs to work on is making sure that it does not lose its accreditation. “Southwestern College has been here for 30 years or more and their goal is to help prepare students to go out into the world,” he said. “If they lose their accreditation, it would be a travesty.” McLeroy said that there is too much “playing politics and cutting corners,” rather than focusing on the students.” “I’m sorry, I love Southwestern College,” he said. “But it hasn’t been run properly, it doesn’t function properly and the students pay the price for it and it would be terrible for a student to go and attend and get on the verge of getting a degree only to have the university mess things up and they’ve lost their education.” He said he is the type to get right to the root of the problem and focus on important things. McLeroy said he still refuses to let his disability stop him from achieving his goals. “I’m still that fireman with one leg,” he said. “I’m still that service member with one leg. I still refuse to give up. I still strive to do the right thing and I still strive to make sure other people are successful.” McLeroy said that he was determined to improve SWC please see McLeroy pg. A9

Issues, Candidates, Politics and more. Get up to date news on one of SWC’s most important elections ever. Read online or via a moblie device at:

SOUTHWESTERNCOLLEGESUN.COM

Information compiled by Marcela Applehanz, Albert Fulcher, Veronica Gehlken, Alyssa Simental, Monika Tuncbilek


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