Tuesday, March 21, 2006

SMC's Ongoing Violation of Student Rights and Negligence

Here's the email I just sent Robert Sammis, Santa Monica College Vice-President of Planning and Development in response to the email he sent me the other day. As is clear from Mr. Sammis' email, the District is taking little action to either defend our civil rights or to address the serious issues that demand immediate attention. SMC continues to stonewall us pertaining to its required disclosure of public records and is passing the buck regarding the need to take responsibility for Professor Jim Keeshen's hate speech, threats and retaliatory acts against his students. Is anyone truly in charge at SMC?

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

-------------------------MY EMAIL TO ROBERT SAMMIS-------------------

[Editor's Note: Minor typos have been corrected.]



MARCH 21, 2006

Dear Mr. Sammis,

Thank you for your prompt response. I will briefly address each of the issues outstanding. As to the public records issue, as I indicated to you, I have been trying to locate you unsuccessfully since you moved from your office in AET. In fact this was the second email I sent to you before I heard back. As far as I was informed, my attorneys had been communicating with your attorneys regarding the obtainment of the long outstanding public records. In any event, as the District stands by its position, we stand by ours. These public records belonging to SMC are long overdue and the District waived any objections by failing to respond in a timely manner. As such, all such records should be produced forthwith. So, having made my position clear, please indicate when I can begin to view these public records and other vital records of the District as well as when I can receive copies of the same.

Now, as to the issue of my student records, there are two points I wish to address in response. First, you indicated that I have received "a copy of all material that is currently included in a disciplinary file concerning you that is maintained by Dean Penchansky." I don't know who informed you of this, but you have been misinformed. According to Marilyn Goodrich, Ms. Penchansky's assistant, SMC through Penchansky's Office is maintaining a "very large file" on me. I received only two documents from them recently, both of which were the fabricated informal accusations by Professor Jim Keeshen, stamped received on March 7, 2006. Again, I am asking for the complete file that Ms. Penchansky is allegedly maintaining in her office pertaining to me. I ask that this file be released forthwith to me and that I can pick it up from Ms. Goodrich. Please indicate when I can pick this file up. I have requested this file as far back as August 2005. As such, it should have been disclosed and failure to disclose it is a violation of my rights.

Now, as to your assertion that I should contact Ms. Kiersten Elliot, Assistant Dean of Enrollment Services, to view my student records. I had already attempted that in writing and orally again back in July and August 2005. To date, I have not received my student records. In fact, when I met with Ms. Elliot on or about August 16, 2005, she indicated to me at this time that she had been instructed by Dean Katharine Muller not to respond to me "because Katharine Muller and a couple of other people are trying to figure things out on their end," or words to that effect. Since we're now in March 2006, it is obvious that Dean Muller and SMC hasn't "figured things out" and that the wrongful gag order stands for Ms. Elliot. To date, the deleted student records on my smconline.org homepage have not been restored and my SMC online transcripts have not been corrected since the date I discovered they had been tampered with, both issues which I addressed to Ms. Elliot in addition to the request to view my student records.

Finally, you wrote me the following: "I will respond to your other issues set forth in the email through counsel at a later date." I am curious to which counsel you are referring to? According to a letter by Attorney Joshua Morrison, dated March 8, 2006, he indicated to Attorney Edward Y. Lee to "please direct communications on matters not directly related to this litigation to Robert Sammis." Now, it appears that all these matters are interrelated as the retaliation, the harassment, the stonewalling of public records, and the wrongful disciplinary hold are all directly related to the instant litigation in this matter. If you would take the time to make a simple timeline of events, you would clearly see that each instance of retaliation, abuse of the judicial process, use of police force, false allegations and threats by Professor Jim Keeshen, and general harassment and denial of rights by the District have been triggered by our persistence to obtain these long overdue public records.

My last email of March 16, 2006 addresses many important issues pertaining to the violation of my civil rights and my student rights, as well as the violation of all student rights in general. These matters demand immediate attention and should not be swept under the rug for a "later date." For example, the issue of Professor Keeshen's hate speech against the disabled and his threats to his students in his ET 18 Storyboarding class on or about March 1, 2006, demand immediate attention by the District. Given the fact that he subsequently made good on at least several of these threats after this speech, the District is either intentionally or negligently condoning such wrongful acts and threats by Professor Keeshen and, in doing so, placing the lives of its students (and my life) at serious risk.

Furthermore, prior to Professor Keeshen's March 1, 2006 hate speech, he has either orally or in writing made numerous references to death and other implied threats of bodily harm or injury to me. For example, he has asked me to "just disappear" rather than seek public records. He has indicated that he doesn't want to be "putting flowers where ever they bury you” and “I don't need your death on my conscience.” He has indicated that he wanted me “alive, not dead.” Regarding my request for public records, he indicated that I didn't "understand consequences" and "you’ve dug my own grave for me.” He has also stated: “You will bury me or I will bury you,” or words to that effect. Furthermore, in his alleged July 5, 2005 letter to Penchansky, which I received in August 2005, he wrongfully alleged that I had a gun and wished to kill two staff members at AET. He had indicated that he was blackmailed to write this on fear of job loss. He has recently written that he is on the "ragged edge." As part of his threats to originally write this blackmailed statement, he indicated that he wanted me "alive, not dead."

Taken in its totality, I am informed and believe and thereon allege that Professor Jim Keeshen is a serious potential liability for the school and that he has the very real potential of causing physical bodily harm or death to either myself or one or more of the students at SMC. Given the fact that he has recently abused police force against us, has published "You are an AH" (asshole) and "Gotcha!" in his ET 2 eCompanion course module, and has told his students that he would come after them, get them, have them kicked out of school, and that they would suffer other "consequences," he is obviously not being reprimanded by the District or the SMC administration or you and that he is in fact being encouraged to continue in this destructive vindictive path.

Add to this that the school has allegedly received complaints from students that Professor Keeshen was violent toward women, abusive, and "out of control" and that the District has had this knowledge and has failed to act on it, places additional liability and responsibility on the District to now act to stop Professor Keeshen from harming himself, me, or anyone else. By copy of this email, please advise me as soon as possible what the District intends to do to protect both me and its student body from potential harm or death at the hands of Professor Jim Keeshen and what the District intends to do to reprimand Professor Keeshen as well as to prevent this ongoing abuse from happening in the future.

Thank you for your prompt attention to the foregoing.

Very Truly Yours,
Des Manttari

------------------------ROBERT SAMMIS' EMAIL TO ME --------------------

To: "Phoenix Genesis"
Subject : RE: Violation of My Civil Rights by Santa Monica College

Date: March 20, 2006

Dear Des:

I have reviewed the below email from you. In response to your comments concerning your request for public records, in my letter of January 9, 2006, I summarized the District’s position as to each and every request you have made for public documents. I also invited you to contact me to further discuss your requests and to arrange for an inspection of files as delineated in the text of the letter. Until the email I received from you on March 16, 2006, I have had no contact from you concerning your request for public records. If you want to arrange for an inspection of the files as indicated in the January 9, 2006 letter, please contact me so we can arrange for a mutually agreeable date and time for such inspection. As to your request to inspect your student record, please contact Ms. Kirsten Elliott, Assistant Dean-Enrollment Services, to arrange for a date and time for such an inspection. I am aware that you have been provided a copy of all material that is currently included in a disciplinary file concerning you that is maintained by Dean Penchansky.

I will respond to your other issues set forth in the email through counsel at a later date.

Take Care,

Robert Sammis
Vice President, Planning&Development
Santa Monica Community College District

Feel free to link or print this; just include the SAVE SMC URL: http://savesmc.blogspot.com/

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