Thursday, February 02, 2006

SMC's Deceitful Tampering of My School Records

In our blog article, "Anatomy of a Blackmail Attempt," we showed how Santa Monica College dragged me through a mock disciplinary hearing on May 6, 2005 with Dean Judith Penchansky, Dean Katharine Muller, and AET Professor Jim Keeshen. At the time of this kangaroo court, Dean Muller took it upon herself to wrongfully terminate me from my job as Teaching Assistant to Professor Keeshen. He was left alone to struggle with his workload and my workload while also trying to spend as much time as possible with his terminally ill father.

To add insult to injury, on or about June 6, 2005, Dean Penchansky wrote me a letter. She stated in relevant part: "You also presented yourself as a teacher's assistant for Professor Keeshen. I clarified that there are no positions at Santa Monica College called Teacher Assistant and unless you were a Federal Work Study or Student Help student worker, you were not to consider yourself a paid staff member of the College. Dean Muller confirmed this."

Well, of course Penchansky's comment served a three-fold purpose. First, it was an excuse for Keeshen not to pay me. Second, it was justification for Penchansky to make me appear as if I lied about my Teaching Assistant position and to justify her mock disciplinary hearing. Third, it gave Muller reason to keep me out of the AET computer lab and to lay the foundation to steal my schoolwork. (Refer to our blog article, "
Copyright Infringement Cease and Desist Notice").

The only thing that Penchansky and Muller forgot is that my teaching assistantship was well documented through eCollege's smconline courses and homepage. As usual, here's another
Handy Chart with screenshots so you can follow along. On May 27, 2005, I logged onto my SMC online homepage and saw that all my online enrolled courses were intact. Not only were the Faculty Support and Instructional Design Tutorial links there, but all the courses in which I was a Teaching Assistant. Here's the screenshot. The second image on the right is a continuation of the image on the left. This was one login page from eCollege's smconline server.

All the ET 61 History of Animation online and ground courses were there. Also, the ET 2 Storytelling courses are there as well. We used eCollege's course modules for ET 61 online. We used eCollege's eCompanion for the ET 61 and ET 2 ground courses as an online supplement. During Spring semester 2005, Keeshen was receiving some alleged grief for using a teaching assistant, so he covered this up by providing me his login. However, you can see the screenshot for ET 2 showing I was a teaching assistant
HERE. You can see a similar screenshot for ET 61 HERE. Additionally, I signed most of the student work I graded in addition to all my announcements since Professor Keeshen and I shared the same login. We did this so that the students would not be confused.

You can also compare Professor James Keeshen's login homepage at SMC online to compare the courses he taught each semester with the ones from my homepage. Like myself, he also had a link to the Faculty Support and the Instructional Design Tutorial. Here's the
screenshot. So, during the semester in question when Dean Penchansky blatantly wrote that I was not a teaching assistant, you can see that I was a teaching assistant for three courses with Keeshen. Since the online ET 61 History of Animation was only eight weeks long, at the time of the May 6, 2005 mock disciplinary hearing, I was still working with Keeshen in both of his ground courses, ET 61 and ET 2. We had about a month left in the semester. Given the stress both Keeshen and I were under, this would have been a very long month. As it was, we were struggling to keep afloat.

Anyway, Dean Penchansky and Dean Muller finally figured out, either through SMC distance education employee Julie Yarrish or through Professor Keeshen himself, that my teaching assistant position was well documented through eCollege' smconline webpages and course modules. So, instead of admitting they made a mistake, they did what they thought was in their best interests. They began the process of eradicating my existence by deceitfully tampering with my school records. Given the fact that someone at SMC already
wrongfully altered my school records, that Keeshen felt comfortable with tampering with ET 61 online quiz grades, and Muller would play her part in deliberately concealing public records from the ET 61 course, it would make perfect sense to them to attempt to cover up their tracks.

When I logged onto my smconline homepage on or about July 18, 2005, I was surprised to see that all the courses in which I was a teaching assistant were gone except for one. Here's the
screenshot on the left. On that same day, I emailed helpdesk at about the missing courses. Here's the email I wrote:

July 18, 2005

Dear eCollege Help Desk:

I just logged onto my homepage at and noticed that several of my courses have vanished from the page as follows:

Spring 2005 - 8 Week (February 14th Start)
Design Technology
ET61 History of Animation: Section 2042 (Teaching Assistant) - eCourse AU

Winter 2005
Design Technology
ET61 History of Animation: Section 1282 (Teaching Assistant) - eCourse AU

Fall 2004 eCompanion (E-F)
ET2 "Storytelling - KEESHEN J F (1,17)" (Teaching Assistant) - eCompanion AU
ET61 "History of Animation - KEESHEN J F (1,17)" (Teaching Assistant) - eCompanion AU

Spring 2004 - 8 weeks (April 19th Start)
Cin 6 History of Animation - Section 1780 (Teaching Assistant) - eCourse AU

These courses were listed on my homepage when I lasted checked it on or about June 16, 2005.

The only course which remains on my homepage in which I was a teaching assistant is the following:

Fall 2004 - 8 Week (August 30th Start)
Design Technology
ET61 History of Animation Section 2020 (Teaching Assistant) - eCourse AU

Could you please fix this problem and reinstate these course back onto my homepage. If I need to contact someone else at eCollege about this problem, please email me the correct email contact information.

Thanks in advance,

On or about that same day, I received a response back from Chad at Santa Monica College Online Help Desk. He informed me that I should contact admissions "to double check on your registration status for the courses." So, on or about July 21, 2005, I did in fact email admissions at about this problem. Five days later, on July 26th, I received the blanket response from Kiersten Elliot, SMC Assistant Dean of Enrollment Services. Again, I wrote her back and she did not respond.

I also went back and forth with emails to and from Chad at SMC Help Desk. Basically, he confirmed that the school had "dropped" me from these courses. He alleged that eCollege did not have access to re-enroll me. Eventually, he sent me a registration history showing the dates I was added as a teaching assistant and the dates I had been dropped.

On or about July 30, 2005, I logged onto my SMC online homepage again to see that SMC had now erased my final course in which I was a teaching assistant. SMC also deleted the links to the Faculty Support and the Instructional Design Tutorial. You can view the screenshot on the right
HERE. Compare it to the one on the left from July 18, 2005. So, all this email correspondence got me was further erasure of my existence as a TA. SMC wanted to make sure there was absolutely no trace of my teaching assistantship to defend Dean Penchansky's June 6th letter.

My SMC online homepage wasn't the only place SMC would deliberately erase my existence. While all this was going on, SMC also took my name off all the copyrighted work I had done and which they had stolen. Keeshen would allegedly have a hand in all of this as well, going inside the eCollege course modules and systematically deleting me.

screenshot 4 reveals, the ET 2 Storytelling class for Spring 2005 listed me as a teaching assistant with two email addresses that students could use to contact me. This screenshot was taken on or about May 4, 2005, two days before the mock disciplinary hearing with Dean Penchansky and Dean Muller. On or about May 29, 2005, I took another screenshot showing that I had been erased from the ET 2 announcements section of the course. Notice that my April 12th grading announcement is still intact and bears my first name.

screenshot 6 and screenshot 7 for ET 61 History of Animation ground course. Notice that in screenshot 7, my email announcement is gone just like in ET 2's screenshot 5. Screenshot 4 was taken on May 4, 2005 and screenshot 7 was taken on May 29, 2005. Notice too that my April 20th grading announcement had been deleted. This was a mere week before Dean Penchansky wrote her letter stating that I was not a teaching assistant.

screenshot 9, taken also on May 29, 2005, shows that I was listed as a teaching assistant for Professor Keeshen. This is the Class Roster for the ET 61 online course for Spring 2005. Apparently, SMC wasn't very careful in covering their tracks completely. Feeling that something was afoul, I made sure to screenshot and document as much of my work as possible.

SMC didn't stop at erasing my homepage and the Spring 2005 eCollege courses. They also did a bit of backtracking and erased me from the Spring 2004 ET 61 online course as well.
Screenshot 8 on shows the internal email list for the course. On the May 6, 2005 screenshot on the left, you can see that my name with the title of Teaching Assistant is on the bottom after the students. Professor Keeshen's name would be on the top. By July 20, 2005, my name had mysteriously vanished from the list. Notice that the scrollbar is all the way at the bottom, showing the end of the list. Only the students' names remain intact.

On or about August 16, 2005, Dustin Curran and myself met with Kiersten Elliot. (See our blog article, "
SMC's Wrongful Alteration of My School Transcripts"). At the time, Elliot stated: "So, I've been told that I'm not supposed to talk to you yet because Katharine Muller and a couple of other people are trying to figure things out on their end. That's why I couldn't respond to the second email that you sent." What exactly was Dean Muller trying to figure out? How to effectively cover up my existence at SMC?

We also met with Julie Yarrish from distance education earlier that day at the SMC Media Center. Yarrish was the most logical choice as she had previously handled the paperwork adding me as Professor Keeshen's teaching assistant in the past. During this meeting, Yarrish confirmed that she was the one who had removed my name from the SMC online homepages. Yarrish confirmed: "Katharine Muller is involved." To what extend Muller was involved, I still do not know. Perhaps more will be revealed in the future.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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