Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Widespread Discontent at Santa Monica College

In our two previous blog articles, Violation of Jeff Higley's Civil Rights by SMCPD and Judith Penchansky's and SMCPD's Abuse of Power, we examined the roles of SMCPD officers Michael Champagne and Steve Hearn, with a brief cameo by Willie Malone. We looked at the widespread police abuse, complete with some Rodney-King inspired video footage by SMC student Jeff Higley, editor-in-chief of The Siege Online. Last month, we briefly looked at Santa Monica College's Falsified Police Records.

Our blog article defending Mr. Higley and his related blog article, Widespread Police Misconduct Reported at Santa Monica College, has created quite a media stir online in the last few days. Thanks to the May 29, 2006 article entitled "F the SMC PD?" by Metroblogging Los Angeles (written by David Markland), Mr. Higley and I have received an explosion of hits to our respective blogs. Noteworthy visitors include local media giants the Los Angeles Times and the LA Weekly along with both a governmental investigation agency from Washington, DC and the California government!

Finally, after all the hard work writing on our blogs and all the abuse we've received at the hands of the Santa Monica College campus police force (SMCPD), run by Chief of Police Eileen Miller, we're finally gaining media recognition, proving that blogging is truly a grassroots media vehicle of political empowerment to be taken seriously by everyone. It is nice to see courageous individuals post supportive comments, using their names rather than hiding behind anonymity. One comment from an SMC student (who may now suddenly appear on Judith Penchansky's discipline radar) wrote the following praise, in relevant part:

Like many “official” organizations on campus, the SMC police have been given free will to do what they want. ... It seems that their job simply entails of reminding students that they are not in the “real world” yet (which is not true) and are thus not subject to the rights of proper police enforcement. ... But perhaps we should keep in mind that we’re talking about a school with an out-of-touch Board of Trustees who continue to piss our money away... This school is a disgrace to Santa Monica and to the educational system of California.

Metroblogging Los Angeles wrote the following news coverage about us:

By "F", I mean should campus police be given an F for Failing to uphold the rights of students of Santa Monica College, and, instead be given an A for aggressively violating their free speech rights?

SMC student Jeff Higley describes a number of incidents at his blog, The Siege Online, of campus police abusing their power and intimidating students, among them Jeff Higgins himself. In his most recent entry, Higley provides video to a recent encounter with SMC PD where they told him he couldn't record a public event.

Mr. Markland, the reporter, goes on to praise our SAVE SMC blog when he writes:

The blog Save SMC defends Higley, and also offers a transcript of his videotaped encounter with police. Save SMC is equally critical of recent happenings at Santa Monica College.

Other seemingly peaceful situations that both Higley and Save SMC have written about have resulted in arrests and disciplinary actions that they claim are in direct violations of their rights as students, let alone citizens. I haven't had the opportunity to review all the charges and seek out counterarguments, but encourage other interested bloggers and readers to look into what appears to be the implosion of what used to be one of the coolest community colleges in the country.

Markland even uses the screenshots I made of Higley's video clip of SMCPD Officer Mike Champagne. And, unlike Santa Monica College, Markland and Metroblogging Los Angeles respect my copyrights and credit me appropriately. Thank you Meotroblogging!

Jeff Higley added in relevant part the following commentary to Markland's article:

Des Manttari (Save SMC) and I really appreciate the fact that more and more people are taking an interest in the goings-on at our school. Perhaps with enough scrutiny, there will arise the kind of public pressure to bring about the necessary corrections.

We are both actually quite appreciative about many aspects of the college, but are distressed with much that is happening to both students and faculty. Thanks again.

Best regards,
Jeff Higley

So, not only is Santa Monica College held in low esteem by its student body, it's held in low esteem by its faculty, who still aren't satisfied with the endless excuses by its administration for the denial of a FAIR CONTRACT NOW! But perhaps we all truly love SMC and want to take control back from its top heavy administration into the hands of where the school truly belongs: to the students, the faculty, and the community.

Of course Robert Sammis and the Board of Trustees are not very pleased with the awakening of the slumbering educational giant by its faculty and students. Not only have the faculty been belittled and ignored, but the school has taken it upon itself to come after Jeff Higley and I with fictitious "disciplinary" sanctions for participating in and documenting the SMC Faculty March and Rally (held on April 25, 2006). Of course SMC will deny this, but they've complained about all the other civil rights we've vigorously exercised thus far. Watch Mr. Higley's video footage of the SMC Rally and my positive comments during the experience below:

Notice my comment to Mr. Higley (and notice how I wore a Fair Contract Now! shirt - after all, I was essentially a faculty member since I was a teaching assistant to AET Professor Jim Keeshen and did most of his work in three of his courses, especially last Spring 2005 semester): The students were cheering in the cafeteria!

Now, consider this for a moment: this video footage of my overwhelming support of the SMC faculty for equitable pay and rights occurred less than a month before I was suddenly suspended from the college by Robert Sammis, Robert Adams, and Judith Penchansky, all overpaid administrators. In my instant suspension, I am prohibited from stepping foot on the SMC campus (without a SMCPD escort by the same SMCPD who have abused us), allegedly under the guise of SMC's concern of protecting lives and property as I am considered so "disruptive" and there's so many students "against" me according to Thomas J. Baker and Kurt Peterson and I'm such a "threat" to the orderly conduct of the school and its classrooms.

Does SMC have any video footage to support this horrible picture it paints of me? Of course not. Watch Mr. Higley's footage of my support for faculty and praise for its student body and then watch again the video footage of my public commentary to the SMC Board of Trustees on April 10, 2006 as I defend the rights of disabled students at SMC. The only video footage you will not find is of me defending the rights of the SMC administration, who are clearly adverse to all our respective rights.
A simple peak at the April 10, 2006 Board of Trustees meeting shows the roll call of all of us (see screenshot below). Faculty and students working in harmony, addressing a rather stone cold (if not rude and inattentive) board as we tried to voice our concerns and obtain much needed help and sympathy. Of course none has been forthcoming from the Board.

SMC Board of Trustees Minutes with Public Comments April 10, 2006

What did all these faculty members discuss about their struggles for a fair contract from SMC's chief negotiator, Robert Sammis? Here are a few excerpts below. (I apologize if I don't know the names of each faculty member who made these comments).

And I don't want to have to participate in job actions, but I will. I don't want to picket, but I will. I don't want to advise the sixty members of my department and limit the number of students in their classes in the fall, but I will.

[To the new SMC president] We don't expect you to walk on water, but we do expect you to dive in and swim like mad, please.

But the continuing legacy I'm looking at now is the long delayed faculty contract. Contract negotiations for faculty have been made a burden for those hard working association representatives often working with misleading information and disingenuous negotiators. The result has been many faculty are demoralized, feel unappreciated, and unrecognized.

The important thing is that we're not heard and we're not seen.

And the problems that the administration here created by cutting back the enrollment and hoping that those students were gonna come back and when they didn't, 'oh well, gee now are we gonna do?' Our faculty are being asked to pay the price for the mismanagement by administrators in the last few years. And quite frankly, I'm tired of it. I'm tired of the arrogance that I see coming from some of the board members, the hypocrisy. I'm tired of it. ... There is tragedy here on this college. ... This is unconsciousable. The least we can do, the very least we can do is settle this contract.

The faculty are on the front line. While all the college staff work toward the achievement of student success, there is no college without the faculty. It's real hard to have classes if you don't have educators in those classrooms. ... We've been without a contract as others have mentioned for coming onto 2 years now and don't seem to be making much progress. Faculty feel undervalued and marginalized. ... People are just horrified.

[Faculty Association President LANTZ SIMPSON discussed the administration's "orchestration of fear" over its budget, used to manipulate the Board of Trustees]. The patience of the faculty has run out. There is no legitimate reason for any further delay. Let's settle a fair contract now!

I rest my case on SMC's less than ethical administration and thank all the wonderful faculty I have learned from in my over three years at SMC and those who have supported my efforts to SAVE SMC. Hopefully, it can still be saved before it is too late for us all. Hopefully Metroblogging Los Angeles and its overwhelming referrals will take an interest in the faculty's cause as well as our fight against police misconduct.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Santa Monica College Suspension Fraud

Now, despite repeated requests for a formal written letter of suspension as well as supporting documents and answers to my questions, Judith Penchansky has not bothered to respond to me. Since Penchansky is the designated campus "Disciplinarian" at Santa Monica College, operating her wrongful suspension mill out of the Office of Judicial Affairs and under the direction of Vice President of Student Affairs, Robert Adams, she is the person who is the designated point person in this sordid suspension affair.

As I've previously alleged on this blog, the entire suspension efforts by SMC has been undertaken to rid themselves of me because of my lawsuit for public records under the California Public Records Act, my potential claims for copyright infringement, as well as for my First Amendment Constitutionally protected right to publish information pertaining to the college and its administration and various individuals on my blog. See the previous article:
SMC's Smear Campaign and Extortion.

What I did get in response from SMC opened my mind to do a little in-depth analysis that ultimately led to some shocking proof that SMC's entire suspension scenario is fraudulent and done for the purpose of extortion. The item that began the wheels in motion for me was an email I received today from Judith Penchansky's assistant, Marilyn Goodrich. Here's a screenshot of her entire email response:

Marilyn Goodrich's May 30, 2006 email re: suspension

Notice that Marilyn states that the suspension letter (which I never received and which Penchansky refuses to provide) was allegedly mailed to my P.O. Box on May 24, 2006. Was this a coincidence that this was allegedly mailed on May 24th, my birthday? More likely, it's just another instance of Penchansky's perfectly timed harassment. She also allegedly mailed her disciplinary letter to SMC student Jeff Higley as well on that same date. Remember that in her first meeting she insisted I attend with Jim Keeshen (who was my sole witness, not my prime accuser as he is now) occurred on May 6, 2005, Holocaust Remembrance Day (and I was denied on that same date AET computer lab access to work on my Holocaust project).

Well, I have a fantastic memory and May 24th is a date I would not forget. So, I whipped up Marilyn's May 23, 2006 email to me in which the suspension notice was attached. Here's a screenshot:

Marilyn Goodrich's May 23, 2006 email re: suspension

Oh, now the suspension letter was allegedly sent on May 23, 2006, the day before (which is equally harassing as this is my mother's birthday). So, I would not forget that date either. So, was the suspension letter mailed on May 23rd or May 24th? Since I never received it, and SMC refuses to disclose it, I doubt it was ever sent. Penchansky and Robert Sammis have denied me so many of my due process rights, why should they comply with the law now?

If in fact the notice was mailed on May 24, 2006, this is important because I would have not received it until May 26, 2006, and would have had until May 29, 2006 to file a Notice of Intent to Appeal Suspension. I would not have filed a notice on May 25, 2006. Thus, I would not now be forced to file my appeal by Penchansky's June 2, 2006 deadline. I would have had until June 6, 2006. But of course SMC doesn't want me prepared for my appeal hearing. I have already been found guilty.

So, now I got really curious about the attached "ManttariSuspension.doc" attached to Marilyn's May 23, 2006 email. So, I decided to examine the author of this Microsoft Word masterpiece and other pertinent data by opening up the document's properties feature. Here's the first screenshot I made:

First Screenshot of SMC Suspension Doc Properties

Notice there's not much there. The "title" is the "May 23, 2006" date. The "author" is "Santa Monica College." Oh, but there's a button on the bottom right called "Advanced." So, I gave it a go and clicked on it and the following information came up as is shown in this screenshot in subsection entitled "origin":

Second Screenshot of SMC Suspension Doc Properties

Okay, see a few disturbing things here? The suspension document was created by "Santa Monica College" on May 23, 2006 at 3:05 p.m., less than an hour before Marilyn emailed it to me as an attachment. Now it was saved at 3:26 p.m. and sent at 3:52 pm and someone at SMC printed it out. So, if it was printed out, it was obviously in my STUDENT FILES. So, why wasn't it given to Steve Drury when he requested all the documents in my student files on May 25th?

The most glaring thing that stands out is that this is REVISION NUMBER 2. Now, why would this document that someone was supposedly just typing out from a hard copy letter (which again, I have never received) need a second revision? Was it that Penchansky wished to add that new May 8, 2006 allegation of "disruption" that was thrown in at the last minute (of course which I have received nothing explaining or elaborating it?) Hmm.... Did Robert Adams even write any of this or did Penchansky, wishing to blame someone else for her obvious fraud, just slap his name on it?

This new little "disruption" gem states the following: "You disrupted the AET lab on May 8, 2006, demanding that the lab tech remove a student who was using the lab, claiming that he was not entitled to use the lab." Notice that there are absolutely no names mentioned, no description of the "disruption," no time, no witnesses, and no formal complaint. It's just a summary that was thrown into the emailed suspension notice to add a little spice to the mix.

Oh, and what two relevant events happened on May 8, 2006 that would justify Penchansky trumping up this last minute fraudulent charge on that date? Well, on that same day, I emailed Penchansky the following in relevant part: "I am in receipt of your request to meet with me by this Friday, May 12, 2006, and wish to advise you that I am retaining new counsel and am requesting a two-week continuance to prepare for the meeting."

You can read the entire email in my blog article, "Ongoing Suspension Threats By Judith Penchansky." Oh, I also emailed Deyna Hearn that day with the information she requested about the SMC Gaming Club. You can read it all (complete with screenshots) in my blog article, "SMC Gaming Club Exposed." So, wasn't it convenient that I allegedly disrupted the AET computer lab (my, an entire year goes by, and suddenly I disrupted it again?) like clockwork with my two redress of grievances, of course which Deyna Hearn even denied receiving to Stahl, Peterson, and the AS Board)? If I were willingly trying to provide information to Ms. Hearn to clear my reputation, would I now do something to stain it? I doubt it. And how much energy could I have left to disrupt anything after writing all these time consuming and emotionally exhausting emails that afternoon?

What other Constitutionally protected activities match the dates of these alleged "disruptions" to the learning environment? We'll take a peak with a nice timeline of events with an analysis soon. I think you will find the truth quite shocking.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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Demand for Extension of Time to File Appeal

Here is the email I just sent Judith Penchansky, requesting an extension of time to file the appeal from her wrongful suspension and again demanding that my student records be turned over. Clearly, from the information graciously provided to me by SMC student Jeff Higley, Penchansky is in clear violation of my rights and discriminating against the disabled at Santa Monica College. For reference, see the three previous blog postings as follows: Violation of My Due Process Rights at SMC, Judith Penchansky's and SMCPD's Abuse of Power and SMC's Smear Campaign and Extortion.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

------------------------ MY EMAIL TO JUDITH PENCHANSKY --------------------



MAY 30, 2006

Dear Ms. Penchansky,

Despite your email assurance on Thursday, May 25, 2006, that you would get back to me regarding the issues I addressed as contained in my May 25, 2006 email to you, you have not bothered to respond.

To summarize, I have repeatedly asked in writing for my student records, including those contained in your alleged disciplinary file (including any and all witness statements for or against me, any formal written charges against me, including but not limited to SMCPD reports and complaints filed in your office, etc.). To date, despite these requests and the laws that mandate prompt disclosure and access to these records, you have refused to provide them to me.

On March 25, 2006, despite my valid written request to provide these records along with a formal notice of suspension to Stephen Drury, my authorized representative (as set forth in proper written procedure), you refused to turn these documents over. Now, it is May 30, 2006 and you are expecting me to file an appeal by this Friday, June 2, 2006, yet you, Robert Adams, Marilyn Goodrich, or any other authorized representative of the school have not bothered to provide me with a formal written notice of suspension, either served via U.S. mail or delivered in person to me or an authorized representative.

I consider the very vague and overbroad suspension notice, indicating that I was suspended immediately for two years from Santa Monica College, that was sent to me via email on or about May 23, 2006 insufficient notice to effectuate a valid deprivation of my student and civil rights or a valid notice of suspension as this email, allegedly signed by Robert Adams, was not even sent from his email address, but from your office by your assistant, Marilyn Goodrich.

Despite the fact that on the morning of May 25, 2006, you refused to provide my authorized representative with a formal written notice of suspension (along with the accompanying documents and SMC Administrative Regulations as referenced), you did in fact upon request, provide SMC student Jeffery Higley with a copy of his formal written notice of your intent to proceed with a disciplinary meeting with him due to alleged violations of the SMC Student Code of Conduct. Why was a non-disabled SMC student provided with a copy of a disciplinary letter from you upon request and a disabled student such as myself repeatedly denied access to a very serious suspension letter?

Furthermore, because your office has refused to provide Mr. Higley with a courtesy copy of the SMCPD incident report upon which you are basing your patently false and overbroad allegations that Mr. Higley has been "argumentative, disruptive, and rude," and the SMCPD has now curiously stated that they would not provide this report for ten business days, you have granted him an extension of time to meet with you until he has a chance to both obtain and examine the charges in this report.

Why is a non-disabled student such as Mr. Higley being allowed an extension of time to prepare his legal defense in the SMC Administrative arena and a disabled student such as myself expected to provide a response to very vague, ambiguous, and overbroad charges (not to mention extremely manufactured "evidence" and patently false allegations) and unclear student conduct codes in less than the mandated 5 school days time frame for appeals [by your own admission, Friday was essentially a school holiday at SMC as there were no classes]? Additionally, why was Mr. Higley afforded an extension of time to meet with you and I was not when I asked for a very reasonable extension so that I could bring my attorney along?

Additionally, why was I, a disabled student, denied representation by an ADA compliance officer, why did you deny me right to counsel of my choice, why are my witnesses being coerced into signing your petition against me (circulated by Thomas J. Baker, one of my accusers), and why have I not been given a copy of this petition despite numerous written requests for such?

Additionally, why have I not been afforded a chance to see any explanation of recent trumped up allegations against me that now appear in your most recent email sent from Marilyn Goodrich and why have I not been provided many of the police reports you have referenced as grounds for your overly lengthy suspension? It is very clear that you have violated every single due process right I have in addition to violating the law governing non-discrimination and harassment of disabled students. SMC has a clear policy of equal educational rights for the disabled and inclusion, yet by denying me access to finish my ET 14 web design class at the Academy of Entertainment and Technology, you are violating my rights.

Clearly, you have not provided me these student records, disciplinary records, and SMCPD incident reports as you are busy still manufacturing your "evidence" against me to justify your wrongful suspension due to my failure to remove your name off my blog and to drop you as a defendant in my California Public Records Act case against the school, as was spelled out to me during the April 21, 2006 bad faith "settlement negotiations" between Dustin Curran, myself, and the school's two legal representatives, Joshua Morrison and Robert Sammis.

Additionally, I find it curious that both Mr. Higley and I were both given disciplinary letters by you within a one day time frame (me via email and he via personal delivery by you), especially since Mr. Higley was exercising his rights to associated with a disabled students such as myself and went out of his way to record both evidence of police misconduct by the SMCPD (of which I have repeatedly alleged) and to videotape my speech to the SMC Board of Trustees on or about April 10, 2006. As you are well aware, during my public commentary to the Board, I asked that the hate crimes and hate speech against the disabled cease at SMC and that we were to no longer be retaliated against my anyone at SMC, including your office.

Additionally, both Mr. Higley and I have published extensively on our respective off-campus blogs, all within our First Amendment rights to Free Speech, yet the school, through you, is attempting to wrongly deprive us of these very same liberties afforded by the Constitution. Given the fact that Mr. Sammis had indicated he, and the school, did not wish to proceed with the suspension if I remove names of individuals (your name especially mentioned) off my blog and drop my CPRA lawsuit for vital public records (of which you are a named defendant), it is clear that this suspension appeal I am being forced to attend is in bad faith and done for the purpose of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment and in violation of my due process rights. Since Mr. Higley also writes on his blog, and has defended my blog, it is clear that any action you have taken, and intend to take against Mr. Higley, is also in bad faith.

Not only are you interfering with my right to pursue my education at SMC by your refusal to allow me to attend class for the remainder of the semester, and for your failure to provide me a viable alternative to completing my ET 14 web design course, you are excluding me from coming onto campus without police escort for the purpose of secluding me from any and all witnesses that I could obtain in my defense of your wrongful charges against me. This is clear violation, once again, of my rights to due process and other statutory law.

Additionally, to further violate my rights and to prevent me from continuing in my education, you have found me guilty before being proven innocent as is evident by your repeated unjustified "disciplinary" enrollment holds placed on my student records. If I am afforded a due process hearing, then I should be able to enroll in classes for the summer and fall semesters 2006.

By copy of this email, I am demanding that the enrollment hold placed by you on my student records be removed, that I be provided with the complete student files, including disciplinary files maintained by your office and the SMCPD incident reports upon which you base your allegations, the petition maintained in your office created by both you and Mr. Baker, the names of any and all individuals along with their respective titles who will sit on the Appeals Committee, and a formal written notice of suspension along with the appropriate AR documentation referenced by you.

Additionally, due to the denial of my student records, the lack of formal valid written notice of suspension (signed by Robert Adams), the denial of SMCPD incident reports, the lack of clear explanation of each and every charge against me and precisely which Code of Student Conduct I have violated by each allegation, the denial of an ADA compliance officer to assist me, your denial of my access to campus (which makes it more difficult to me to contact potential witnesses) and the difficulties caused by my disability, I am demanding a reasonable extension of time to file my Appeal from Suspension until you have provided me ample time to obtain and review all these records and to follow due process and to answer my very valid questions.

Absent a valid written notice of time for an extension to file my Appeal from Suspension, with a precise date with enough notice for me to give an attorney of my choice, and by virtue of Mr. Sammis' bad faith statements on or about April 21, 2006, and your previous written indications that you refused to have a written dialogue with me, I will assume that you have no interest in complying with the law and that I have been not been afforded ample time and ability to effectively respond favorably in my written appeal or will be allowed a fair and impartial hearing with the SMC Appeals Committee.

I look forward to your prompt response to the foregoing.

Very Truly Yours,

Des Manttari /s/
cc: U.S. Department of Education

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Request for Formal Investigation re: SMC Game Club

Here is the email I just sent Deyna Hearn, Santa Monica College's Assistant Dean of Student Life, regarding both her failure to respond to my May 8, 2006 email to her regarding the alleged discriminatory practices and misuse of campus police of the SMC Gaming Club as well as my request that your office promptly conduct a formal investigation into this matter. Given her past failure to respond, and SMC's past violation of my rights, I doubt she will respond to me. If she does respond, I'm sure it will be to wash her hands of the situation. [Note: I accidentally put "Mrs." Hearn when I meant "Ms." I have corrected this typo in this email contained below.]

SMC Student Activities Advisory, Benny Blaydes

------------------------------ MY EMAIL TO DEYNA HEARN -------------


MAY 30, 2006

Dear Ms. Hearn,

I am writing to you with great concern regarding the written information I sent you, pursuant to your oral requests, regarding the SMC Gaming Club. Despite the fact that I sent you this information on or about May 8, 2006, I have not heard a single word back from you for the last several weeks since I sent both of the emails to you and other concerned people in charge of Santa Monica College as well as referencing the fact that I had provided additional supporting screenshots on my SAVE SMC blog.

Additionally, after I sent this information to you, you indicated to the Associated Students, during its Board Meeting at 3pm on May 8, 2006, that I had not in fact sent this information to you to substantiate my claims, when in fact I did. I am curious as to why there is a delay in your responding and why I was suddenly emailed a very flimsy suspension notice as a result that is in part supported by the false (and contradictory claims under penalty of perjury) of SMC student Thomas J. Baker?

Furthermore, on or about April 17, 2006, you wrote me a letter in which you stated in relevant part the following: "I've been informed that you have been summoned by the college's disciplinarian and that you have not responded." At the time you wrote this information, I had in fact responded and my meeting with Ms. Penchansky, the college disciplinary, was set aside so that I could meet with both Robert Sammis and Attorney Joshua Morrison for alleged "settlement negotiations."

Despite the fact that your statement was misinformed, you informed me in writing: "As the dean of Student Life, I must restrict you from participating in any student related activities until you have met with the Dean of Student Services, Ms. J. Penchansky and your case has been resolved."

Which case are you referring to? My California Public Records Act case upon which my wrongful suspension is being based in major part? As you are well aware, SMC's AR 4405 Student Bill of Rights states in section (C)(4), which governs student activities, states the following:

In student activities, the district guarantees the right of students to organize, to exercise freedom of speech, to participate in the student and institution government and to prepare and distribute student publications.

Furthermore, this restriction must adhere to guidelines of the California Education Code Section 76030 (ratified by SMC's Administrative Regulations) governing in part Removal from Extra-Curricular Activities, which makes clear:

Before removal from the above-mentioned activities is imposed, the student shall have a right to pursue the Hearing and Appeal Process as set forth in Section 2, F of this administrative regulation.

At the time I was denied access to participate in any student activities, I was not given written or oral notice by you that I could appeal this decision. Furthermore, in violation of my rights to participate in Free Speech, on or about May 2, 2006, during the ICC meeting on campus, of which you attended, your representative, Benny Blaydes (the Student Activity Advisor) informed me that you indicated that I could not participate in public commentary regarding the SMC Gaming Club at the ICC meeting. Only after appealing to the ICC Board did Mr. Blayde revoke his gag order.

I am wondering why SMC is continuing to support Thomas J. Baker despite the overwhelmingly contradictory evidence and his opposing statements under penalty of perjury, his allegations based solely on hearsay and innuendo, and given his commingling of SMC's club funds (paid through tax dollars) and resources with his own outside personal business enterprises? In fact, many of the SMC Game Club members are in fact listed as writers of Thomas J. Baker's website and, as such, would not be considered impartial and witnesses in any disciplinary case brought before the school.

Furthermore, I have been informed and believe and thereon allege, based on more than one statement, that Thomas J. Baker has been attempting to coerce my friends and fellow students at SMC into signing a petition against me to justify Judith Penchansky's wrongful suspension and that although Ms. Penchansky has this petition allegedly in her Office of Judicial Affairs, she has refused to disclose it. I find the coercion of students a violation of the Student Code of Conduct on the part of Mr. Baker.

Please be advised that SMC student Kurt Peterson, who has been acting as the authorized representative for the SMC Gaming Club to procure funds for an alleged club event is a staff writer for Thomas J. Baker on his website, The Game Review. As I previously indicated to you, Mr. Peterson made some very hostile statements to me on or about May 4, 2006, when he took me out into the hallway during the AS Finance Committee Meeting. During this time, Mr. Peterson had indicated the following:

Miss, why do I have an entire club that's willing to
testify against you? Why do I have an entire club willing
to try to get YOU? They are saying YOU are wrong.

I find Mr. Peterson's statements very "disruptive" to my learning environment, very discriminatory, and harassing given that he was an allegedly new member of the club (pursuant to his own admissions) and that I have been provided credible information by one Game Club member that Mr. Baker was attempting to force him to sign a petition against me justifying that the club was "unanimously" against me. In fact, I know a handful of Game Club members who are actually supportive of me.

Additionally, as previously indicated to you in writing, Mr. Peterson indicated that the SMC Gaming Club was hiding its meetings from us, including many who are disabled students at SMC. This is in direct violation of SMC's policy for equal access to all students in club activities and federally mandated inclusion of the disabled. How the SMC Gaming Club can obtain public funds from the school for a club that discriminates against a protected class of disabled students, and has been hostile toward them and used unwarranted police force against them to scare them away from future meetings is very disturbing and I ask that your office take action.

Additionally, Margaret Wick, a Game Club member, has allegedly filed a complaint with Mr. Blaydes that she had gone to a meeting of the SMC Gaming Club on or about May 12, 2006 and that the Club was not in its designated area, to wit Business 119. Furthermore, there was no written notice of cancellation of the meeting.

When Mr. Baker met with you and Howard Stahl on or about April 4, 2006, I am sure he probably made several statements to you that he had written to the SMCPD. In his written statement to the SMCPD, he paints a rather graphic picture that I had following him around, had refused to leave, and various other allegations he goes into detail of an incident that occurred in 2005 at the E3 Expo. However, under penalty of perjury to the California State Court in his answer to the temporary restraining order obtained against him, he responded in writing that he had only met me once in his life, to wit on March 24, 2006 at SMC. Given that the second statement, under penalty of perjury, is the more valid of the two statements, Mr. Baker made these deliberate and willful statements to the SMCPD in writing, upon which Ms. Penchansky is basing her actions, to have me wrongfully suspended and to further discriminate and harassment as I am a disabled student.

Mr. Baker's false statements, done deliberately, are in violation of SMC's Student Code of Conduct that sets forth guidelines for Academic Dishonesty. As such, I should not be denied access to any campus events, nor denied a chance to make public commentary, and I now ask formally in writing that you promptly conduct an investigation into Mr. Baker's wrongful and false statements as you oversee the campus clubs.

I look forward to your prompt response to these matters.

Very Truly Yours,
Des Manttari

Here is the video footage of the May 8, 2006 Associated Students Board meeting, as described in our blog article SMC's Smear Campaign and Extortion.

Kurt Peterson (left) and Howard A. Stahl represent the SMC Game Club during the May 8, 2006 SMC Associated Students Board Meeting, denying any allegations of wrongdoing and painting a picture of fun and games for all.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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Monday, May 29, 2006

SMC's Smear Campaign and Extortion

SMC Assistant Dean of Judicial Affairs, Judith Penchansky, working in tandem with Vice-President of Planning and Development Robert Sammis and a number of alleged conspirators including Academy of Entertainment and Technology Dean Katharine Muller have worked tirelessly to turn me away from any and all civil rights, intellectual property rights, and student rights I may possess at Santa Monica College. Let's go through some of those again.

First, during Holocaust Remembrance Day on May 6, 2005, Penchansky dragged me into a meeting with Katharine Muller and AET Professor
Jim Keeshen, under the guise of "disciplining" me for using the AET computer lab, of which I was entitled to use pursuant to the fact that I was an enrolled student and teaching assistant to Professor Keeshen. At this time, I was denied computer lab privileges to finish my Holocaust teaching project in my ET 42 Game Development class, taught by Professor Jeannie Novak.

During this kangaroo session, I had been forewarned about Penchansky's less than ethical behavior. But when Jim Keeshen turned to me and stated that he was being blackmailed to write a false statement that I had a gun and threatened to kill two staff members, Stu Seldon and Tim Ryan, I was shocked. Keeshen informed me, in front of Muller and Penchansky, that if he did not write this false statement, he would lose his job. Of course both Keeshen and I were under tremendous stress and strain at this point, as Keeshen's father was dying of cancer and only had a few weeks to live. (His father did in fact die on May 20, 2005 -- of course Penchansky celebrated this tragic event by causing her assistant Marilyn Goodrich to email me a notice of suspension on behalf of Robert Adams -- more evidence of her perfectly timed harassment of Keeshen and me).

To say the least, both Penchansky and Muller were a little upset by Keeshen's disclosure. Keeshen had stated that both women needed to "fuel the fire" against me; and this was the perfect plan they had engineered to discredit me. Keeshen and I had a nice lengthy lunch meeting afterwards, of course off campus, where we discussed our plan. He indicated that he would consult his attorney. Of course he documented their
blackmail for both of us and we had subsequent conversations about it. To respect the terrible stress and strain Keeshen was under with his father, I left school on my own accord on or about May 10, 2006.

Now, if these rumors that I had a gun (which I did not then and do not now) and threatened to kill these two staff members (one of which I consider a friend) were true, then SMC would have been obligated to rush into action and immediately file a written complaint, a police report, conduct a thorough investigation, and in most likelihood immediately expel me from school to protect the lives and safety of those involved. SMC didn't do a single one of these things. Why? Because they simply were not true: I had done nothing wrong.

Then, months down the road, when I began my written requests for Santa Monica College's public records under the California Public Records Act and alleged
copyright infringement by SMC that had occurred subsequent to this May 6, 2005 meeting, out magically comes Jim Keeshen's falsified statement, of course extremely vague, informal, and conveniently backdated to July 5, 2005. In fact, in Keeshen's written statement, he provides no precise date I allegedly made this "death threat" statement. Of course during this time I had requested public records in SMC's custody from Judith Penchansky that pertained to Jim Keeshen. During this same period of time, Penchansky flooded me with a barrage of fabricated allegations that I was "disruptive." Why such a long delay from the May 6, 2005 meeting to July 5, 2005, almost two months down the road and then not serve me notice of this blackmailed letter until late August, when SMC needed to manufacture a little "evidence" against me to scare me away from their public records? Did Stu Seldon feel threatened by me? Had I ever made a threat to Stu Seldon? The answer is "no" to both of these questions.

On or about March 29, 2006, around 12:30 p.m., I met with SMC staff member Stuart “Stu” Seldon. At this time, Mr. Seldon asked me to speak to him. Mr. Seldon led me into his office in the AET computer lab. During this conversation, Mr. Seldon and I discussed the events of April 20, 2005 (the date SMCPD Office Kessler was used to deny me computer lab access) and March 24, 2006 (the date of the SMCPD involvement with the Gaming Club). Mr. Seldon indicated that on April 20, 2005, he did not want to call the campus police on me for using the AET computer lab, but he had to do what he was told as he has a family to support.

Mr. Seldon and I additionally discussed the alleged death threat rumors that we had both heard that I allegedly had a gun and wished to kill Mr. Seldon. This was written by Professor Jim Keeshen and Thomas J. Baker also stated this on March 24, 2006 to the SMC Gaming Club, including myself. Mr. Seldon stated that he first heard this rumor by Professor Jim Keeshen and is informed that Professor Keeshen was the one who fabricated this false allegation against me. He stated to me that Professor Keeshen was very specific and detailed in his description to him, alleging that I had bought a gun during the L.A. riots. I indicated to Mr. Seldon that we had been friends for many years, that I had never threatened his life, and that I have never bought a gun. Mr. Seldon indicated (or words to that effect):

I think there’s a big part of Jim [Keeshen] that’s full of bullshit. I do.

Not only did Keeshen allegedly tell Seldon to "be careful" of me, he also made this "be careful" statement to Lindsay Berkovitz during the ET18 Storyboarding course she was enrolled in with him. SMC student Mario Alarcon, another friend of mine, had stated that Keeshen was making his life hard in the ET 19A class he and Gabriel Quinteroz were enrolled in because of me. Since Thomas J. Baker also stated Keeshen's allegations as facts in front of all my friends during the March 24, 2006 Game Club meeting, it is safe to assume Keeshen went on a massive smear campaign to scare any potential witnesses I may have to defend myself against all his false allegations and to isolate me from my friends. I am informed and believe and thereon allege that this smear campaign was organized and executed by Judith Penchansky.

Wanting to give new life to these old and false rumors, Jim Keeshen delivered an official "announcement" to his ET 18 Storyboarding class on March 1, 2006 about how my disability is a "mental disease" which causes me to be a "problem" and "destructive." In delivering his hate speech against the disabled (of which Stu Seldon's son ironically fell into this category), and his threats to come after his students and to have them kicked out of the school, he hid behind school policy. Of course, Robert Sammis later denied any liability on behalf of the school in his April 21, 2006 meeting with Dustin Curran and myself. As previously quoted on this blog, Sammis said the following to us, or words to that effect:

Jim was speaking on his own behalf. He was not articulating any position on behalf of the college. It's not something we would condone... Official in his mind. And school policy in his own mind. That's not our policy. He was speaking completely on his own. He had no authority to represent the college. And quite honestly, if he were ever to be sued for that, we would not defend him. We would not be liable for it. He was on his own when he said those things.

Despite Sammis' comments, nothing has been done to "discipline" Professor Keeshen. On the contrary, the rumors (as rumors tend to do) have grown and expanded into a culture of fear and intimidation at SMC. Thomas J. Baker sure used enough of Keeshen's hate speech and alleged death threats in his
falsified statement to SMCPD. Suddenly, I was mentally ill, on medication for a mental illness, I had been arrested at SMC, I had a gun, I would kill people, I threatened people at AET, I threatened people in the library... the list goes on. This is very disturbing from an SMC fellow student I remember only meeting and speaking to once in my life, during my first attempt to participate in the SMC Gaming Club on March 24, 2006.

Baker was not the only student who had heard these well circulated and convincing rumors against me. On May 4, 2006, during the Associated Students Finance Committee, SMC student Kurt Peterson made similar statements to me. Here's the highlights of some of our conversation, of which he initiated when he brought me into the hallway, away from the ears of Dustin Curran, Denya Hearn, and the AS Board, and others.

Peterson stated that he had read my blog because someone had printed it out for him. I wonder who went out of his or her way to do that and to what end? He stated to both Margaret Wick and I the following: "Do you guys even like video games?" When I explained my rather extensive involvement, Peterson questioned:

Then why are you being expelled from this school?

Now, this was news to me, as I hadn't received any suspension or expulsion. I questioned Peterson regarding this false statement. He responded confrontationally:

Aren't you? Aren't you undergoing a huge lawsuit with the school?

Notice how these three key events (suspension, my SAVE SMC blog, and litigation under the California Public Records Act) tend to go hand-in-hand in everyone's mind. Clearly, this is the real reason I am being suspended.

Peterson asked me if I've ever been arrested before. I informed him that I had not been arrested on the SMC campus, had not been handcuffed, nor booked with any crime under the California Penal Code. Of course this rumor is very effective to discredit me with my friends and any new friends I might meet on campus or fellow students at large. But according to Peterson, who I have only spoken to this one time in my life, and who did not attend the March 24, 2006 Game Club meeting to the best of my recollection, stated that I had no friends at the SMC Gaming Club. "No one there claims to be your friend."

I find that hard to believe since I know several people who are still my friends. In fact, Ricardo Galindo recently confirmed that both he and Gabriel Quinteroz refused to sign the petition against me allegedly manufactured and circulated by Penchansky and Baker precisely because they consider me their friend, and I have considered them friends. Wasn't Jim Keeshen perhaps my best friend for over a year before Judith Penchansky and Katharine Muller got their hands on him? How could a student such as myself, who never had a problem at SMC for two years prior, and who has and is repeatedly marketed on SMC's literature and website, suddenly be so "disruptive" to the campus environment?

Peterson went on with his contentions that everyone at the Game Club was "unanimously" against me, a statement Baker has also made, of which we all know if patently false. He claims that the reason no one is my friend is the following vague response of which he did not elaborate: "Not after everything you've done." What had I done that was so terrible? I tried to help Jim Keeshen save his father's life by doing cancer research and seeking medical advice, I worked tirelessly for little or no pay as his teaching assistant for over a year in three of his classes, I helped the students, I resurrected the Academy Gaming Club, I worked hard on my Holocaust project to bring Holocaust awareness to SMC, I exercised my rights to public records, and I wrote about important issues pertaining to SMC on my blog to bring this awareness to other students. I guess all these things warrant suspension in Judith Penchansky's mind.

Peterson made clear the following to me as he shouted:

Miss, why do I have an entire club that's willing to
testify against you? Why do I have an entire club willing
to try to get YOU? They are saying YOU are wrong.

It's very important that Peterson used the first person "I have" rather than "we have" or "they have" in regards to all these people who are allegedly out to get me. Since he was a new member of the SMC Gaming Club, why is he now in charge of this entire club by his first person statements? Does this issue with Thomas J. Baker have anything to really do with the campus organization or with Baker's own self-serving interests in his website, The Game Review? A simple screenshot I made today shows the roll call of alleged staff writers employed by Thomas J. Baker and Mario Alarcon:

List of staff writers on Thomas J. Baker's Game Review website

Notice that Peterson's new inclusion in the SMC Gaming Club, and his efforts to obtain public funds for the club, suddenly elevated him to the position as a staff writer for Baker, although he's only allegedly written one extremely short article to date on the site. Notice all the other names of "staff writers" who are also SMC Game Club members: Thomas J. Baker, Mario Alarcon, Brian Puschell (and his sister Crystal), Gabriel Quinteroz, Ricardo Galindo, Cesar Portillo, Dung Trinh, John Klauschie, Kurt Peterson, etc.

Andres Reyes was enrolled in Professor Jim Keeshen's ET 18 Storyboarding course this semester, allegedly present when Keeshen made his March 1, 2006
hate speech against the disabled and made his threats against his students. Galindo and Quinteroz were enrolled in ET19 A, taught by Professor Steve Brown, when Keeshen suddenly appeared out of the blue and took over the class from Brown, without explanation. Do you see a connection here between all of this with Keeshen and his defamatory statements and the current hysteria permeating my existence?

At one time, Galindo, Quinteroz, Alarcon, and Keeshen himself were all staff writers for my online video game new media website,
Phoenix Genesis, attending the E3 Expo in downtown Los Angeles. Baker and Alarcon's site supposedly is a news media site devoted to video game news coverage. This is clearly more a tortuous interference with business relations to gain an economic advantage on Baker's behalf for himself than it is whether or not I did not warrant inclusion into the SMC Gaming Club for whatever fabricated and thinly veiled reason Baker may have provided to the SMCPD on March 24, 2006.

Additionally, Peterson admitted that the SMC Gaming Club was being held in essence as a
secret organization; in violation of SMC's own policies governing inclusion and prohibiting harassment and discrimination (especially against the disabled). Peterson stated the following or words to that effect:

Then why would they keep you out of their meetings?
Why would they hide their meetings from you?

Of course when I inquired about this, Peterson decided that he had admitted too much and quickly ended the conversation. Who could be feeding Peterson all these lies? Perhaps we should backtrack to a conversation I had with the SMC Gaming Club Faculty Advisor, Howard A. Stahl, during the SMC Faculty March and Rally, of which we both participated in on April 25, 2006.

Kurt Peterson and Howard Stahl representing the SMC Game Club
Kurt Peterson (left) and Howard A. Stahl represent the SMC Game Club during the May 8, 2006 SMC Associated Students Board Meeting, denying any allegations of wrongdoing and painting a picture of fun and games for all.

Stahl, like Peterson, admitted to reading my SAVE SMC blog and even stated: "Some of your points are valid." He confirmed that AET is a "problem." However, my First Amendment Free Speech on my blog and in my correspondence to the school's various public servants also seemed to terrify Professor Stahl as be stated to me:

It is not appropriate. Do you know any other students like yourself
who are writing letters to the school and have meetings with
Robert Sammis and hire attorneys and all the things you've done?

Stahl shortly thereafter added:

Well, there's a petition that the disciplinarian has which has
the names of I think almost every single member of the club.

Really? I find this surprising since I know that according to Galindo, that he and Quinteroz never signed it. Additionally, Lindsay Berkovitz and Dustin Curran have never seen this petition. Margaret Wick, another club member, even wrote a statement to Penchansky in my support. Of course Penchansky has repeatedly withheld any and all statements one way or other from me. Stahl went on to add a great amount of revealing information about the suspension that was being manufactured against me along with some enlightenment on SMC's true motives:

Ask me the last time I ever had a student who had a meeting with the attorney from the school or even knew his name and the answer is never. So I mean you know like in the big grand scheme of things, obviously what you do, or how you do it, or why you're doing it bothers a great number of people. Not just me, but countless, countless other people. Do you realize the amount of effort and to what gain? ... To what end is all of this effort?

Actually in reality there are a great number of people who are concerned in your participation in a great number of things. And so it's just not true. I mean like for students that are not doing the things you are doing, you could probably participate in the club.

There are a great number of people who are actively working to try to have you suspended.... They're trying to suspend you because of a lot of things you have done.

Stahl admitted to reading the SMC Gaming Club Yahoo! Group. However, Stahl admitted that he really wasn't very involved in the club, rarely attended meetings, and he didn't even know who the president of the club was this semester. He became very defensive: "Yeah, so? I don't remember. Why do I have to remember?" As to who the vice-president of the club was, he stated: "Honestly, I don't know." Notice that the "because of a lot of things you have done" statement by Stahl matches the "not after everything you've done" statement by Peterson.

Again, what was this dire crime warranting suspension? Seeking public records, writing letters to the school, and writing on my SAVE SMC Blog about my experience; all Constitutionally protected activities that should be encouraged in a public school dedicated to academic inquiry. However, Stahl had these final words about my blog:

But I have read your blog... It's amazing the
things you've found out. It's downright amazing.

Well, now we've added Howard Stahl's own admissions to the SAVE SMC Blog as "downright amazing" things I have found out about SMC's true motives in suspending me in violation of my due process rights, civil rights, and student rights. But it gets even better than this. Let's look at these well-organized and coordinated efforts of Robert Sammis, Joshua Morrison, and Judith Penchansky to have me suspended if I did not submit to their wishes to remove the very things in their life that I have done "wrong" in their eyes.

As I mentioned previously, Dustin Curran and I attended a meeting on April 21, 2006 with SMC legal counsel Robert Sammis and Joshua Morrison. To refresh your memory about the relationship between these two individuals, see the previous blog entitled "
A Little Bit of Nepotism Goes a Long Way." Now, keep in mind that this meeting occurred prior to both the SMC Faculty March with Howard Stahl and the AS Board Meeting with Deyna Hearns and Kurt Peterson. Could their vehement comments have anything to do with Robert Sammis?

Without going into each and every detail of our meeting with these two attorneys, I will point out the highlights that substantiate the allegations that my immediate suspension (via email notice only) is directly related to my failure to adhere to the extortionist demands of Sammis and Morrison to drop my claims for copyright infringement, dismiss my California Public Records Act lawsuit with prejudice, and to take down my SAVE SMC blog.

As mentioned previously, Sammis stated that he, nor to college, defends Jim Keeshen for what he said to his class on March 1, 2006. [see Sammis' quote earlier in this article]. In fact, although Sammis was concerned about individuals I wrote about on my blog, he didn't seem very concerned about anything I've said thus far about Jim Keeshen. He did state the following or words to that effect:

Think of all the time you've occupied on Jim. Is he worth
it? No, he's not worth it. No, he's not worth my time either.

Sammis also complained that Keeshen "makes a lot of money in this vortex." I remarked to Sammis that Jim Keeshen had previously referred to Santa Monica College as a "vortex" that was sucking both he and I under. Besides, Robert Sammis, Katharine Muller, and Judith Penchansky make equally, if not more money in this "vortex" than Keeshen.

As Jim and I discussed on or about August 31, 2005, Keeshen felt that he was "the sacrificial lamb" for SMC's "axe" and that the school would pit us against each other; then out goes Des, out goes Jim. As Keeshen stated:

Everybody here hates my guts now. Everybody in administration
hates my guts. Everybody thinks that I have caused all of this.

Jim Keeshen also added: "I'm telling you as a friend, the actions that you have done have really put me in a bad position here. And I know that's not your intention." Even after he was forced to write the death threat letter per Penchansky's alleged blackmail, Keeshen still considered me a friend. Now, if I had really made any threats to anyone on the SMC campus, Keeshen wouldn't have continued to secretly support me against the SMC administration. "I still consider you my friend. But you got me in trouble now." The trouble I had caused him? Merely my request for public records from the school. Remember, this was prior to filing a lawsuit under the CPRA. Why would the school administration be so angry with both Keeshen and I and would go to such lengths to try to remove both of us unless there was something being hidden in those records?

Keeshen had confided in me a long time ago that he felt they would target me to get to him. Now, Sammis seemed to confirm this, by essentially alleging that me and my SAVE SMC blog were the roadblocks to firing Jim Keeshen. Since the school administration felt justified in using Jim Keeshen and turning him against me, one can sympathize with Keeshen's statement on August 31, 2005:

I'll leave on my own terms when I want to leave. Right
now I'm just using them so that I can finish my film.

Sammis stated that he had what he needed to fire Keeshen. However, he first needed to get me to either adhere to his terms of removing the blog or rid himself of me through Penchansky's wrongful suspension. Here's Sammis' commentary about his sticky situation with Keeshen:

It doesn't need to involve you. In fact it's counterproductive for us when you involve yourself. It gives him somewhat of a defense. He tries to take things off himself by saying that you created it. So you think you're helping us, in fact it's making it more difficult for me to deal with issues with Jim the more you're involved. That's why I have an interest of coming to an agreement.

And what precisely was Sammis' agreement of "ratcheting down this conflict" he repeated like a legal mantra? Here are a few excerpts from his comments he directed at me in the presence of Josh Morrison and Dustin Curran.

The reaction you're going to get from most administrators in any institution is you're a student. We'll take care of that. You're a student. Your blog reflects some of that kind of 'I know better how to run this organization than they do.' It does. That's an element of what you have in there.

We come up with an agreement of how we're going to relate to one and other in the future in terms on conduct on behalf of the college and your conduct, which would include us asking you to remove some information from your blog that we think is defamatory or not fair to individuals. I don't care what you say about the college or its programs. I do have a concern about what you say about individuals at times.

I find it interesting that a six figure salaried senior administrator and designated attorney of the school such as Robert Sammis doesn't care about what I say about Santa Monica Community College. That's pretty disturbing. Of course all these solutions offered by Sammis "allows you to get back to getting educated." Was this a veiled threat? It sure sounded like one. So here Sammis now moves to his closing sales pitch about removing certain people off my blog:

You can help a lot by taking individuals off of the blog. I don't care if you criticize the policy of the college or criticize what the Academy [of Entertainment and Technology] is doing academically. There's a whole list of people on there.... but the usuals. Obviously people like Katharine [Muller] in the picture and things about Judy [Penchansky]... We don't get to pick and choose. We need to ratchet down the conflict by doing these things. I don't care if you criticize how the disciplinary process is done here.

Again, notice that although Jim Keeshen would be the number one person to remove from the SAVE SMC blog as the greatest amount of information has been written about him, Sammis didn't even mention him. The only two people he mentioned by name were AET Dean Katharine Muller and Assistant Dean of Judicial Affairs Judith Penchansky, the same two individuals who started this costly and emotionally exhausting legal battle in the first place by dragging Jim Keeshen and I into that mock disciplinary circus on May 6, 2005. Hmm... Again, does this relate to Penchansky's wrongful suspension?

Of course I stood by my First Amendment rights to publish what I have written thus far, especially pertaining to Judith Penchansky and her blackmail of Jim Keeshen. Sammis responded: "Jim lied to you." I believe Jim Keeshen more than I believe Robert Sammis, especially since Keeshen at least had the courage to tell me about Penchansky's blackmail and to admit to me that he had infringed on my copyrights; and he volunteered both bits of vital information to me on his own accord and free will. So, how did Sammis respond to my refusal to remove Penchansky from my blog? He indicated flat out that I would be sued for "defamation" and that he couldn't "control that." He claimed:

There are companies who believe that you have unfairly put them in false light on your blog. I'm not going to tell you who they are. They have contacted us. These folks are talking with attorneys. They are not going to sit by. For you, there is an interest in bringing resolution to this.

This sounded like another veiled extortion attempt to coerce me to remove my blog or face legal action. Even Morrison's good cop, bad cop response confirmed this suspicion: "So that you can take your classes..." In other words, if I didn't comply, I would be prohibited from taking classes, as Penchansky has now done in her instant email suspension on behalf of Robert Adams. Hmm...

Sammis added: "As a good faith gesture for us, too, that we would want you to take individuals off of your webpage that are college people." When I mentioned that I have approximately a thousand pages between my SAVE SMC blog and website, the room went dead silent for a very long time. Sammis at one point admitted that he hadn't even read most of my blog. I found that interesting since he was so upset about it. But, as he admitted, "We're not taking about accuracy or inaccuracy..." only about my removal and not posting anything in the "future."

Well what about my fight to SAVE SMC? Sammis stated that I didn't have to be "the police officer" and that "People will take up that battle and deal with it. You don't need to be the one who does it." Well, other than SMC student Jeff Higley on his blog,
The Siege Online, no one else has so far taken up the call to adventure that Sammis heralds. Perhaps because Higley is now being targeted for the next in line with suspension by Penchansky. You only have to take a brief minute of your time to glance through his wealth of information about SMC's questionable practices to see why. The SAVE SMC blog is very tame compared to the power of The Siege, even if one compares titles. Oh, but Sammis complained about the "SAVE SMC" title as well. I find it very appropriate.

When I inquired of Sammis and Morrison what we were going to do about the copyright dispute (remember, I was summoned to this meeting under the guise of a good faith "settlement negotiation" in lieu of "suspension" by Penchansky mind you), Sammis quickly remarked: "You're gonna forget about it." That quickly, that matter-of-factly: just forget about my rights. When I asked about my rights, Sammis did promise me: "Anything you developed with Jim Keeshen will not be used by the college." Since they've already stolen it again after a written assurance by Morrison last year, I would not hold my breath that they would keep their word this time. However, Keeshen has not been able to teach the History of Animation course since the last copyright infringement.

Now, here's the punch line to all of this "settlement negotiation" with Sammis. I state flat out: "I want the suspension thing dropped." I wanted to see what Sammis would say. Of course he confirmed my suspicions that the suspension was directly related to the legal and First Amendment blogging issues when he immediately shot back the following:

If we can work out an agreement where there is an understanding of how people are going to conduct themselves, then I have no interest in moving forward with the suspension. The college has no interest. The purpose of the suspension is to get people to conform to certain conduct.

When I stated that, "no one is suspending Jim Keeshen," Sammis shot back: "You don't know that." Well, there it is. Before I received a single legitimate good faith written settlement deal points memorandum from Morrison, as promised, Penchansky lunged right in with her suspension. How is removing me from SMC conforming to certain conduct? Well, Morrison after this meeting indicated I could "simply drop my lawsuit" or words to that effect when he spoke on the phone regarding why Penchansky was moving forward with suspension when Morrison had promised me a draft settlement document.

Ask yourself this: If my conduct was so "disruptive" to the learning environment as Penchansky claims, then how could Sammis and SMC's administrative guardians justify my presence on the campus? If I was such a threat to everyone's personal safety as Baker painted me out to be and could potentially cause bodily injury or death to someone at SMC, how could a broad waiver of liability as Morrison suggested I agree to in writing protect the academic community?

It simply couldn't. I have not been, currently am not, and will not be a threat to anyone in the future. The only real threat I pose is in these simple words I type in the comfort of my home on this computer screen for the world to read or reject according to its whim. To date, none of these SMC individuals (who are all public figures in a public school who are discussed in their roles involving public issues such as public policy and public records) Sammis is so concerned about have stepped forward to refute a single word written on my SAVE SMC blog and website. Nor have any of these individuals been able to refute a single word SMC student Jeff Higley has written on his blog. Nor have they been able to dispute our rather shocking video footage.

The only question I have is how did Jim Keeshen and I allowed the school to turn us against each other when we spent over a year working together in harmony at SMC's
Academy of Entertainment and Technology in addition to working on his various animation projects through his private company, Jim Keeshen Productions? Furthermore, how is removing both of us from SMC's educational equation going to solve a single problem both I and Jeff Higley have raised in our respective weblogs over the last year? It will actually make matters worse as there will be no student advocates left who have the courage to question anything at SMC.

Of course another solution proposed by Sammis was as follows: "We can get rid of the gaming club. That might be the easiest element here. We could disband it." However, it was I who actually defended the club, if run properly, as it was important to the school. Regardless, Sammis denies ever suggesting disbanding the club.

Notice that Sammis didn't offer a single suggestion or opportunity for the SMC community to work together in harmony to improve the overall academic environment. It was all about who and what he could rid himself of, similar to the "moral cleansing" performed in Nazi Germany during the reign of Hitler. The entire sequence of events in SMC's harassment and retaliation against us followed a strikingly similar cookie-cutter approach as the Third Reich: segregation, supremacy of one class of people over another, denial of attending public events, denial of access to certain facilities, denial of the right to attend classes, a well-propagandized smear campaign, seizure of property rights, the culture of fear and intimidation by association, and finally, the use of police brutality, citations of minor infractions with heavy penalties, and the "final solution" with "special handling" of shipping one off the motherland (in this case, the SMC campus via wrongful suspension).

The fact that I was working on an important project on Holocaust awareness only adds insult to this moral and civil injury. It is apparent that Santa Monica College, although a public institution of higher learning, has no real interest in "education." Clearly, nothing I can say or do will sway SMC to stop its wrongful suspension against me nor will it stop SMC from firing Professor Keeshen. The wheels are set in motion and the only thing left is for Judith Penchansky to manufacture more "evidence" against both of us and to keep any and all witnesses, students, staff, and faculty thoroughly intimidated, coerced, and concealed. Now can you understand why Penchansky has been so reluctant to produce my SMC student records or SMC's public records?

Stahl was correct in that a smear campaign of this magnitude takes a lot of coordinated effort (not to mention wasteful spending of our public funds) to accomplish, especially when it involves police misconduct against more than one helpless student and a tremendous amount of shuffling of responsibility and manufacturing of falsified evidence. To help our readers to keep track of the Who's Who of this strategic alliance, I've made a handy SMC Organizational Chart:

SMC Organizational Chart - May 2006

Robert Sammis seems to forget something very important regarding our academic community: it is only as healthy and strong and honest and viable as its individuals. If one single person in the Organizational Chart above had the moral courage and tenacity to simply stand by our educational institution's missions and goals and to defend (rather than infringe) on our rights, it might have made a world of difference to all of us. I only pray that you, dear readers, will be able to set the example so needed at SMC and to support both Jeff Higley and myself.

As Jim Keeshen always said to me: "From your lips, to God's ears."

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis//MBS LP

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