Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Harassment of AET Students By Jim Keeshen

Here is a letter sent to me by Santa Monica College student Lindsay Berkovitz regarding AET Professor Jim Keeshen's harassment, verbal attacks, and misuse of campus police on or about February 27, 2006 in his ET 2 Storytelling course taught at the Academy of Entertainment and Technology. Two days after this incident, Jim Keeshen delivered his hate speech and threats to his students. For the full story, please refer to our blog article entitled "SMC Professor Jim Keeshen's Hate Speech Against the Disabled." You can also read my blog article entitled "My Email to Jim Keeshen Re: Ongoing Retaliation." Despite numerous emails and a speech to the SMC Board of Trustees, the school has done nothing to reprimand Professor Jim Keeshen.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

--------------------------LINDSAY BERKOVITZ'S LETTER-------------------------

Lindsay Berkovitz
ET 2 Storytelling
February 28, 2006

On Monday night, February 27, 2006 after ET 2 Storytelling with Jim Keeshen and the Mary Pickford series guest Fred Crippen, there were quite a few disturbances after class. A student, Ms. Des Manttari, went quietly up to Professor Keeshen after class had ended to ask a question. He was incensed. He blew up, screaming, "You are a vicious woman!" Stay away from me!...” Professor Keeshen gestured violently while shouting, “You’re harassing me and I have all these witnesses.” These same “witnesses” looked bewildered. This emotional outburst continued on even as Ms. Manttari removed herself from Professor Keeshen immediately, shocked and silent. He then stated he was going to call the campus police.

Then almost immediately after Professor Keeshen vacated the classroom, an older woman with long black hair blocked her path and started to speak in a loud and threatening voice to the effect that Ms. Manttari was a threat and an obstacle to the institution of learning. Ruth was her name I believe. Ruth then out of the blue accused Ms. Manttari of an unrelated incident regarding the deletion of “Maya renderings” she and other students created last year. The personal attack continued further and after responding at first, Ms. Manttari chose to remain silent and walk away as the confrontation began to escalate even further on the part of Ruth despite Ms. Manttari’s repeated attempts to contain the situation. To the best of my recollection, I have never seen this Ruth woman before and do not think she’s enrolled in my ET 2 class.

After this particular confrontation, the guest speaker asked Ms Manttari if everything was okay. She shook his hand again and apologized for the ruckus. I then proceeded to follow Ms. Manttari out the door to wait for my ride however; I was met with another scene. On the left, were the campus police and on the right, Professor Keeshen. I was beside Ms. Manttari; to her left, was the young man she came with, Dustin.

Ms. Manttari calmly asked Professor Keeshen to discuss his point of contention in front of the campus police and the students. He just went into an emotional supernova. One of the campus police officers signaled for Professor Keeshen to calm down and be led away from everyone else. Professor Keeshen moved down the hall a bit. Ms. Manttari asked me to remain as a witness. Mr. Keeshen, overhearing this, exploded with anger. He yelled more than once, “Lindsay, stay out of this!” Despite this fact, campus police wished me to remain as a witness.

The atmosphere lightened considerably with the campus police after Professor Keeshen was extracted from the situation. One of the officers commented sympathetically that Professor Keeshen was retaliating against Ms. Manttari and it felt like a “bad divorce.” After speaking with the 3 officers for several minutes, we were all let go with no complaint. In fact, one of the officers indicated that in the case of a public forum, such as the Mary Pickford Series, we have a right to be present and not be persecuted, even by a faculty member. I am afraid that Professor Keeshen may retaliate against me for representing the truth as I witnessed it. I addressed this fear with the campus police.

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

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