Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Our Education: Where Does All The Money Go?

Most colleges complain about tightening the budget belt and direct their budget crunches against faculty salary increases and elimination of student services. The money seems to be there, yet it is being allocated in the wrong places. Here are a few recent news stories that make us wonder how effective our tax dollars are being spent.

According to
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Eduardo J. Padrón, the President of Miami-Dade College, found a nice legal loophole to give himself almost a million dollars. As President, Padrón makes $400,000 a year. That didn't seem enough for him, so he retired... for an entire month. Thanks to the State of Florida, he was given an $893,000 payout. According to the article: "The deal is made possible by a Florida law that allows state employees to retire and collect benefits, then return to their jobs after 30 days if their employers are willing." How many students could have received scholarships to fund their college education with this money? How many books could have been bought for students or computers updated? How many faculty members could have been hired?

Former President of both Miami-Dade College and Santa Monica College, Piedad Robertson, is running into a little fiscal difficulty as well these days in her new position as president of the Education Commission of the States in Denver, Colorado. In a May 10, 2006 article by The Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled "
High-Level Exodus Heralds Trouble at Education Commission of the States," Kathy Christie, the Vice President of Information Management & ECS Clearinghouse, turned in a resignation letter on or about May 4, 2006. In her resignation letter, she warned that the future of the ECS is "in jeopardy." She further explained, "Our cash-flow position is dire, which immediately impacts the ability of the organization to sustain itself."

The ECS's cash-flow position is dire? According to the ECS's 2003 Form 990 non-profit tax return, the ECS reported gross receipts of $9,716,099. Under the supervision of then President Ted Sanders, the ECS reeled in direct public support of $2,453,934 and another $2,526,319 in government contributions and grants. That's over a half million dollars. Alleged unspecified "other employee benefits" were reported to total $914,078. The Texas Association of Community Colleges threw in $61,081 in the ECS's direction that year.

The ECS is allegedly drawing on a $1 million line of credit. Kathy Christie is disputing President Robertson's claims that the financial picture will improve with the infusion of state member dues. Christie contends that a report to the group’s steering committee did not “accurately disclose the financial realities facing ECS.” Three other employees have also resigned in recent months. According to the ECS's website, Cristie's job description was as follows:

Kathy Christie serves as vice president for Knowledge Management & ECS Clearinghouse, where staff collect and analyze research, track state and district reforms and analyze the various reforms in the states. Clearinghouse staff respond to requests concerning policy and prepare issue sites for the ECS Web site. Prior to working with ECS, Christie worked as a freelance writer, a secondary language arts teacher, juvenile detention center counselor and was employed with the National Conference of State Legislatures. She has served on the board of directors for the Colorado Association of School Boards and is completing a third term on a local school board. Christie writes a monthly "Stateline" for the Phi Delta Kappan magazine.

During the 2003 tax period, Kathy Christie is reported as receiving a salary of $103,005 for her senior vice-president position at the ECS. This was less than half of what the president receives. Charles Coble, Vice President for Policy Studies and Programs no longer appears in the ECS website, nor does William Shade. Robertson has received two no votes of confidence, one as Secretary of Education in Massachusetts and another as President of Santa Monica College. It appears her track record is following her into her position as head of the ECS. Winniphred Stone, Vice President of Planning and Development for the ECS, continues to be glued by Robertson's side. Stone was the senior policy analyst in the Executive Office of Education in Massachusetts under Robertson and held various administrative positions for Robertson when she ran Santa Monica College.

Miami Dade College President Eduardo PadronECS President Piedad RobertsonUC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice Denton
From left to right: Eduardo J. Padrón, Piedad Robertson, and Denice Denton

Some senior education administrators do not take their financial situations very well. Just over the weekend, on or about June 24, 2006, 46 year-old UC Santa Cruz Chancellor, Denice Dee Denton plunged to her death from her high-rise apartment. Her mother alleges that her severe depression over scrutiny of her financial transactions with the school led to her apparent suicide. Denton reeled in a salary of $282,000 while providing her gay lover of seven years, Gretchen Kalonji, with a salary of $192,000 for a management position.

Denton billed the school approximately $600,000 of upgrades to her campus home, including a $30,000 fence for her dogs and an expensive sound-system. Denton was criticized by the UC labor union and mobbed on at least one occasion by UCSC students. Protestors also visited her controversial campus home. Denton was also part of an executive compensation scandal due to failure to disclosure benefits at the time of hiring.

In New York, former Roslyn schools superintendent, Frank A. Tassone, 58, plead guilty last September to stealing $2 million from the school system over a six-year period. According to the blog,
Jerry Moore's School Talk:

The $2 million Dr. Tassone admitted to stealing paid for vacations, meals, dry cleaning bills, furniture, dermatology treatments, car loans, real estate investments and personal expenses averaging about $20,000 a month in some years. In a separate admission, he said he submitted $219,000 worth of fake invoices on behalf of his partner, Mr. Signorelli, for the printing of school handbooks.

Tassone also spent the money on "liposuction and diet treatments." Like most white collar criminals once caught, Tassone agreed to turn in other top school administrators, who allegedly worked together in a fraud scheme within the district that cost the taxpayers an estimated $11 million. Tassone agreed to make restitution and repay his ill-gotten gains.

In Illinois, Sauk Village schools superintendent, Thomas Ryan, age 53, was charged in August 2005 with several felonies including "theft, bribery, intimidation, harassment of a witness, obstruction of justice and official misconduct." Ryan allegedly stole $100,000 from what is allegedly an extremely financially impoverished school district. Investigators allegedly seized $730,000 in hidden cash from Ryan's home. Former Sauk Village school board president Louise Morales was also charged with "theft, official misconduct and misapplication of funds." If convicted, Ryan could potentially face thirty years in prison.

While engaging in numerous criminal conduct, Ryan ironically had a zero tolerance policy against children in his schools, disciplining innocent homeless children for failing to meet the school's dress code. Despite earning a yearly salary of $183,000, Ryan allocated $70,000 of his stolen funds to pay for his three daughters' college tuition. Meanwhile, he was denying fee waivers to students who couldn't afford to attend school and retaliated by denying students basic rights for failure to pay fees, such as not being able to attend graduation or school field trips. Ryan went so far as to allegedly threaten to break witnesses legs if they testified against him or provided information to investigators.

It seems that the more one takes the time to investigate our educational system, the more one sees that many senior administrators are not working as public servants of the students, parents, and community nor are these administrators guardians of our sacred funds. School boards turn their backs and governmental agencies in charge of oversight are under-funded and ill equipped to investigate. It seems that the monitoring of our educational system and an insistence on transparency and accountability are left in the hands of those responsible and concerned citizens who will not rest until justice is served.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Santa Monica College Celebrates Free Speech on Campus

Please Note: This is a parody article, including any photographs, and not to be taken seriously. It is neither endorsed nor affiliated with Santa Monica Community College District. Phoenix Genesis and SAVE SMC do not in any way endorse any Nazi, Fascist, or Klu Klux Klan organization or group nor are we part of any or intend to be in the future. Any reference to such is done as mere satire. As all satire, there are hints of truth throughout. To the best of my knowledge, there is no such SMC White Power Club on campus and hopefully none will be installed in the future.

As a public institution, Santa Monica College is bound to guarantee its students their right of free speech and expression under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which includes robust guarantees of protection for satirical expression such as the caricature of SMC administrators as KKK Neo-Nazi members. The First Amendment protects highly offensive material, including satire and profanity. We do not intend to offer such material maliciously or to offend anyone, but to prove a point about the gross violation of our student rights at SMC by public employees acting under the auspices of the Office of Judicial Affairs and its legal counsel.

With that said, please enjoy our parody article.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP


Not wanting Santa Monica College to be deemed a campus wide censorship zone, SMC has graciously offered its students a small grassy area near the Clocktower on main campus as its designated free speech area. However, Denya Hearn in the Office of Student Life must approve all intended student club events. To celebrate SMC's new free speech area, Vice President of Planning and Development Robert Sammis and Assistant Dean of Judicial Affairs Judith Penchansky were present to welcome a newly installed club, the SMC White Power Club. According to Ms. Hearn: "The mission of the White Power Club is to promote white supremacy on campus."

SMC Celebrates Free Speech on Campus
Robert Sammis (left) and Judith Penchansky (right) salute the SMC White Power Club.

According to Mr. Sammis, "The White Power Club did an amazing job of organizing and fundraising for their free speech event on campus. The highlight of the event was a speech delivered by the Grand Wizard of the KKK." When a student inquired to Mr. Sammis about the free speech areas on the handful of satellite campuses, Sammis quickly remarked, "Oh, there aren't any. We have a shuttle service linking the Academy of Entertainment and Technology and other satellite campuses to the main campus. Students therefore have access to the main campus free speech area. Since we don't get many students who exercise this right, we don't need more than one free speech area."

However, the Jewish and African American student groups on campus objected to the White Power club event. After Penchansky threatened disciplinary measures for harassment against the White Power Club, these other groups quietly backed down. Sammis sent an official letter in his capacity as legal counsel, emphasizing the provisions of SMC's Student Bill of Rights, "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. Students and student organizations should be free to examine and to discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. They should always be free to support causes by orderly means which do not disrupt the essential operation of the institution."

When questioned about what exactly constituted "disruption of the essential operation of the institution," Sammis replied with confidence, "Pesky students who think they are entitled to view public records belonging to the college. That's clearly disruptive. We have to vigilantly protect those records from disclosure to the public. After all, we can't have students monitoring the administration. They have to understand their place as students and let the administrators run the school as they see fit. Fortunately, the SMCPD is always on hand to take care of this problem." This was confirmed by SMC employee Pat Green who added: "When SMC students Des Manttari and Dustin Curran came snooping around for public records, I clearly and firmly told them, 'Let me tell something right now. I'm gonna tell you something. You either turn your asses around now and get out or I call the police. What choice do you want?' I feel it's always important to give students choices in these matters and not be too dictatorial."

Judith Penchansky was equally exhilarated by the SMC White Power event. Ms. Penchansky opened the celebration by lighting the swastikas herself. Penchansky exclaimed, "We used SMC student Des Manttari's award winning Holocaust novel, 'The Roar of the Beast' to fuel the flames. Since we suspended Manttari, a Jewish student, for disrupting the AET computer lab by working on her Holocaust awareness project in April 2005, we shouldn't have any problems with her finding out. In any event, if she shows up, we've got enough campus police fire power behind us to deal with any potential problems."

Penchansky is in charge of the SMC student code of conduct. Recently, the code has been under fire for its vague, ambiguous, and overbroad definitions of disruption and harassment. Penchansky didn't want to miss out on an opportunity to help students understand provisions of the student conduct code. While the SMC White Power Club delivered a riveting tribute to their beloved Adolf Hitler, exercising their First Amendment rights to profanity and vulgarity, Penchansky gathered a handful of select SMC staff, students, and faculty to provide personal examples of provision A of the Student Conduct Code that prohibits "habitual profanity or vulgarity."

SMC student Thomas J. Baker glowingly supported Ms. Penchansky in her capacity as campus disciplinarian. According to Mr. Baker, "SMC student Des Manttari disrupted our SMC Game Club meeting on March 24th by suggesting the meeting be called to order. I firmly told her, 'This isn’t a f--king open-air discussion for you to air your grievances and whatever personal matters you have. We don’t care about your problems.' Fortunately, Ms. Penchansky backed me one hundred percent. She instantly knew how to handle the situation by suggesting we trump up some criminal allegations against Manttari. Fortunately, my friends came through for me. That Penchansky, she's a lifesaver."

Penchansky quickly chimed in, "Students enrolling in the college assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the college’s function as an educational institution. We just can't have students running around criticizing our administration. That is clearly inappropriate and disruptive."

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Request to President Chui Tsang for Dismissal of Suspension

Here is an email I just sent our new Santa Monica College President, Chui L. Tsang, requesting the immediate dismissal of my wrongful suspension. To date, SMC has maintained complete radio silence regarding affording me an impartial hearing appeal or inspection of my disciplinary files. They cannot hide forever.

- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

-------------------------- MY EMAIL TO SMC PRESIDENT TSANG -------------------------

Attention: President Chui L. Tsang
Santa Monica Community College District
1900 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, California

June 23, 2006

From: Des Manttari, SMC Student

Re: Written Request for Immediate Removal of Wrongful Suspension

Dear Mr. Tsang:

I am writing to you in the spirit of compromise and in good faith to avoid the inevitability of costly litigation against the school due to my immediate and wrongful suspension by Santa Monica Community College. By copy of this letter, I ask that you drop the suspension and remove the enrollment hold on my records so that I may register for classes in the Fall 2006 semester.

On or about May 23, 2006, I was served via email with a two-year suspension from Robert Adams. I was not allowed to attend my ET14 web design course (which I had maintained a grade of A) nor was I allowed on campus without police escort. In internal memos provided to me from the school, the suspension did not officially begin until May 30, 2006, but the school deliberately concealed this fact from me. I was injured in that I was unable to obtain favorable witnesses or to finish my course. I ultimately received a D for my ET14 class due to my inability to attend the final. According to California Law, as Superintendent and President of the school, you were required to confirm or deny the suspension within 24 hours. This did not occur and the suspension decision was never sent to me via certified or registered mail, as is also required by law. As such, my due process rights were violated.

Additionally, I have repeatedly written (via email) to both Vice President of Planning and Development Robert Sammis and Assistant Dean of Judicial Affairs Judith Penchansky, requesting answers to my legitimate questions, including the names of the appeal committee members, evidence relied upon in my case, the documents sent to the Office of Judicial Affairs in my support, as well as my student records and disciplinary records. To date, I have not received a response. As you are well aware, I am entitled to an impartial hearing, a timely appeal hearing, and my student records. The time for the hearing under California Law has elapsed. Despite requesting my records in writing since August 2005 and inspection of such, my authorized representative and I have been denied such records as well as an opportunity for inspection. Despite denying me a right as set forth in FERPA and the California Education code to inspect such records, other students have been afforded such a right. This is clearly a violation of my rights to access to information about me.

Ms. Penchansky has not even maintained a thin veil of impartiality or fairness in my suspension. When she requested to meet with me last August, she instantly cancelled the meeting under the guise that she needed an attorney since I was then represented by counsel. Although she made this contention to delay meeting me, she never bothered to reschedule a meeting until May of this year, an almost ten month delay. Suddenly, she expected me to drop everything and rush instantly to her office. She stated that Attorney Robert Sammis would be present. When I asked for a short extension of time to schedule my attorney, and provided several dates to fit her schedule as a courtesy to her, she did not bother to respond and wrote Mr. Sammis that she would suspend me. This seems to be a double standard as well as a violation of my rights regarding legal representation.

On or about June 6, 2005, Ms. Penchansky exonerated me of two of the alleged charges against me. She stated in writing that nothing would appear in my academic records. Yet, almost a year later, Ms. Penchansky instantly suspends me on these very same charges that I had been exonerated. This is a clear violation of my Constitutional rights.

Additionally, I was suspended for taking alleged photographs at AET. First, there was no written policy preventing a student was taking photographs in the AET computer lab or elsewhere on campus. The law in fact makes clear that videotapes and photographs are permissible and protected under the First Amendment. Mr. Sammis informed SMC student Jeff Higley that SMC had no policy prohibiting such photography. At the time I took any photographs, there was no material disruption of the AET computer lab. I was denied access to the computer lab under a thin veil in Spring 2005 and campus police force was used against me to prevent me from finishing my course work in my AET class (which dealt with an important project on Holocaust Awareness), my work as Professor Keeshen's teaching assistant, and cancer research for Professor Keeshen which he had authorized.

Yet, despite Ms. Penchansky's attempts to discipline me, AET allowed non-AET students and non-students in general to repeatedly use the AET computer lab, some who even used the lab not for academic pursuits, but for commercial purposes. As a student, I had every right to document via a photograph of these individuals sitting at these computers while I was being denied access. This was hard evidence for any grievances and defense I would take up with the school and performed in good faith. Clearly, the school can neither deny me this right nor suspend me as a result.

I have also been suspended for attempting to exercise my rights under the California Public Records Act (CPRA) to view public records of the school that should be available during normal business hours. The CPRA is not only set forth in the California Government Code, but also codified in the California Constitution. At all times, I was respectful of SMC's staff. However, SMC sought to prevent me and other students from viewing public records through the improper use of police threats and interrogation. This is a clear violation of my Constitutional rights. Curiously, despite the fact that other students were present with me and attempted to exercise their rights, the school has only sought to retaliate against me with disciplinary measures, including the wrongful suspension. If any disruption occurred, it was through SMC's attempts to thwart disclosure of vital public records and through SMC's misuse of campus police. Since SMC has caused its own disruption, if any occurred, I should not be penalized as a result.

Additionally, SMC caused its own disruption through SMC student Thomas J. Baker's misuse of campus police when he attempted, wrongfully and in violation of school policy, to discriminate against me by not allowing me to participate in the SMC Game Club on or about March 24, 2006. There was no disruption of the meeting, as the meeting had never been called to order. In fact, Mr. Baker used profanity against me when I asked the meeting to be called to order. Additionally, SMC violated its own school policies by allowing students to meet for the purpose of holding a meeting without faculty supervision. SMC further violated its own policies by allowing both Mr. Baker and the SMCPD to interrogate me against my will and without probable cause. At the time, I was a legitimate member of the SMC Game Club, approved by Mr. Baker.

Mr. Baker’s complaints against me to SMC come with unclean hands. In internal documentation, including alleged emails provided to me by SMC, Mr. Baker even admits that he had no authority to prevent me from participating in the club and went so far as to seek others to wrongly document falsified evidence against me. Mr. Baker's statement to the SMCPD is inconsistent with other written statements about the event, which he himself signed under penalty of perjury. Mr. Baker's statements are filled with hearsay and false accusations and character assassinations. The same is true of the statements provided by SMC students Mario Alarcon and Jeremy Meyer. None of these individuals are impartial or factual. If you take the time to do a bit of research, you would find that Mr. Baker is an employee of Mr. Meyer and that Mr. Alarcon is a co-owner of a website with Mr. Baker.

Additionally, AET Professor Jim Keeshen, Jeremy Meyer, and Mario Alarcon were all at one point staff writers for my online news media outlet Phoenix Genesis. Mr. Baker, Mr. Alarcon, and Mr. Meyer now all run competing online news media services. Mr. Baker and Mr. Alarcon have conveniently stocked their online business with either most of the SMC Game Club, including two more of my former staff writers. To further tortuously interfere with my business, Ms. Penchansky sought to drag me into a meeting during the E3 Expo, when my staff and I were covering important media events and interviews and meeting with legitimate video game businesses. By SMC's actions, by and through its employees and students, SMC is allowing Mr. Baker, Mr. Meyer, and Mr. Alarcon to tortuously interfere with my business relations to secure an economic advantage over me. All have gone out of their way to write fabricated statements against me to this end. This is a clear violation of SMC's ethical standards governing academic honesty.

Of course neither Ms. Penchansky nor Ms. Deyna Hearn addressed my complaints regarding this matter. Ms. Penchansky has done no investigation whatsoever, but has gone out of her way to actively help Mr. Baker destroy both my reputation and my business. She has never written any investigation or made any finding of facts. Based on these false allegations by these less than impartial parties, I was suspended. As the California Education Code makes clear, the school cannot suspend or otherwise discipline a student for matters outside the school.

The California Education Code also applies equally well regarding my being suspended for sending an email to Professor Jim Keeshen on or about March 15, 2006. This email was a good faith attempt to resolve several grievances with him without the necessity of litigation or filing a formal complaint with the school. However, Ms. Penchansky suspended me for "willful and blatant misuse of email." Mr. Keeshen was not academically honest when he wrote in his ET2 course syllabus on eCompanion that he directed the Family Guy pilot. The credits for the pilot clearly show without a doubt that Seth MacFarlane was the writer, creator, and director of the Family Guy pilot. Asking Professor Keeshen to remove a factually inaccurate statement is only consistent with SMC's policy of academic honesty, but is also consistent with keeping with SMC's regulations regarding taking credit for another's copyrighted work.

Additionally, my email also discussed in relevant part an official announcement Professor Keeshen made in his ET 18 course in which he stated wrongly and maliciously that autism is a "mental disease." Mr. Keeshen at this time also made several threats to his students, including having them kicked out of school. At the time he made this statement, at least one student in his class was on the autistic spectrum. I was down the hall in my ET 14 web design course. I was later informed of his statements by at least two of his students who found them offensive. I wrote to many autism advocacy groups who were rather disturbed by his comments. They suggested I ask for an apology. I did just that in my March 15, 2006 email.

How asking for an apology can be grounds for suspension defies the imagination as well as the free speech clauses of the United States Constitution. There seems to be a double standard at SMC whereby Professor Keeshen can say and do as he pleases; yet I am not afforded the same rights to freedom of expression. Even Mr. Sammis stated on or about April 21, 2006 that the school did not endorse what Mr. Keeshen stated on March 1, 2006 and that they would not support him if he were sued for such.

Mr. Keeshen also comes to SMC as an accuser against me with unclean hands. Not only has he made a number of patently false accusations against me, he has done so with malice for retaliation for various grievances I have addressed to him and the school, many of which I have covered in detail on my SAVE SMC blog. As such, he is neither impartial nor honest. Mr. Keeshen conveniently cries "harassment" due to the fact that he is outside his comfort zone of my addressing legitimate grievances, most of which have gone unheard by the school. This is not the legal definition of harassment, but a vague accusation against me to justify wrongful suspension.

In fact, I have not been provided with any legitimate allegations whatsoever. SMC has merely thrown together a list of vague, ambiguous, and overbroad boilerplate summaries followed by equally vague student conduct code violations. None of these summaries or alleged student code violations are substantiated by facts. Most of the "evidence" provided by Mr. Sammis and Ms. Penchansky is manufactured and untimely. Many statements are undated, unsigned, hearsay, false, and groundless. Many of these same statements are not even original documents. As such, they should be instantly removed from my SMC disciplinary files. I was never afforded an opportunity to due process to challenge any of these statements against me or to confront or question my accusers.

If you further examine your student conduct code, you will find that much of it is in violation of Constitutional law. Many provisions of your student conduct code not only directly contradict your SMC Student Bill of Rights, but also are merely prohibited speech codes. To criminalize and censor a student's freedom of speech, both on campus and off campus in my SAVE SMC blog, is to have a chilling effect to everyone's rights at SMC, whether administrator, faculty, staff, or student. SMC's free speech area is yet another example of violating our First Amendment rights protected under the United States Constitution.

As you should be aware, public schools are obliged to protect the speech of its students, even if such speech causes a person to become uncomfortable, angry, annoyed, or offended. Such intellectual debate should not be quelled even if it is critical of the school. SMC as a public community college cannot restrict a student's freedoms and is allegedly a "marketplace of ideas" where opposing viewpoints should be heard. However, at SMC there exists a double standard whereby anyone else can feel free to use profanity or vulgarity against me, yet I cannot ask a simple question to anyone without being harassed, intimidated, and subjected to police interrogation. If SMC has any issues with disruption (a patently vague term in and of itself), it was caused by SMC's own misuse of such police and censoring of free speech.

If you take the time to research Supreme Court decisions, you will see that schools rarely, if ever, win a challenge to a student's freedom of speech and press nor do they win against violations of a student's due process rights. Not only are there many lawyers eager to set precedents in this matter, many non-profit foundations are equally vigilant to step up to the plate to defend students in the federal court system and to expose these abuses through the media. Clearly, if SMC wishes to pursue this wrongful suspension against me, they would not win on either the merits of the case nor would they win given the overwhelming documentation of the repeated violation of my due process rights and other rights that have been violated.

Mr. Tsang, SMC has written that you were the champion of First Amendment Rights at your former school. If you wish to maintain that position at SMC, then I humbly and respectfully ask now in writing to stand up for my rights as a student at SMC and intervene in your capacity as president and superintendent to immediately dismiss this wrongful suspension against me and to exonerate me of all these false charges. We can all work together to improve the school or we can waste valuable time, resources, and finances in violating our students’ rights. I leave that decision in your hands. I am more than happy to meet with you in person if you would like to further discuss this matter in order to reach a swift and amicable resolution.

I look forward to your prompt response and thank you for your time.

Very Truly Yours,

Des Manttari /s/

Phoenix Genesis

cc: Office of Civil Rights
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

SMC Computer and Network Use Policy

Santa Monica Community College District Administrative Regulation Section 2000: General District contains detailed information about SMC's computer and network use policies for faculty, staff, and students. Under AR 2515, the purpose of computer and network use is described as follows:

The Santa Monica Community College District provides a wide array of technology resources to staff, students and faculty. These resources are intended to advance the educational, scholarly, and service missions of the District. Technology computing resources are a limited and finite resource that each and every user needs to respect. Every user is expected to use the technology resources in a manner which does not infringe upon use of those facilities by other people and which does not waste either "soft" resources (e.g., computer time) or "hard'' resources (e.g., paper, disk space, documentation materials). The guidelines discussed here are intended to insure that the security of the system is protected consistent with the user’s right to privacy and fair share of available resources. Users agree to read and abide by this regulation.

Under section 3 of System Security:

No computers or network accounts shall be used for unlawful purposes, or in violation of district policies or procedures.

Appropriate and Inappropriate Use, section 1, states in relevant part:

Users shall not use technology resources for non-District fundraising or commercial purposes.

Users shall not use technology resources for any activities which violate state or federal laws. Computing resources may not be used to intimidate, threaten or harass individuals, or violate the college's policies concerning relationships between college constituencies. Such activities include, but are not limited to, using computing resources to store, print, or send obscene, slanderous, or threatening messages.

Under Process for Suspension and Termination of Use:

Users understand that violation of this regulation may result in suspension or termination of computer, network account and other access and, depending upon the circumstances, may result in disciplinary action. Violations will be processed through normal District channels. If the activity is also unlawful, it may result in criminal and/or civil prosecution.

Academy of Entertainment and Technology (AET) Professor David Javelosa allegedly violated SMC's computer and network use policies by maintaining personal webpages, movies, and music on the AET servers that contained violent and sexually inappropriate material that was hidden from the SMC administration, students, and general community. His massive amount of material, including numerous mp3 songs he created, wasted both soft and hard computer and network resources. Additionally, by redirecting his website to AET's school servers, and advertising such on his personal MySpace account, he was using the school's limited resources, paid for by the public, for commercial purposes to promote his own personal music.

As far back as March 2005, Professor Javelosa was advertising his music for commercial purposes using the AET school servers, including his "Music for Teenage Sex." According to the website, Javelosa, acting under the alias David Microwave, was part of The First Annual Ultimate GDC Game Audio Party. GDC stands for Game Developers Conference. The GDC was charging an admission price for their event of $10.00. Javelosa lists himself as "an instructor at Santa Monica College's Academy of Entertainment and Technology teaching interactive media." His bio also states the following:

The same year he collaborates with Charles Hornaday and members of Los Microwaves in the group Baby Buddha, which releases only "Music for Teenage Sex". That album includes dissonant electronic cover tunes and some wacky originals. All work on the Posh Boy record label. From San Francisco.

Javelosa offers a link to his "David Microwave website." Simply place your mouse on this link and look at the status bar at the bottom left of your web browser. What do you see? This commercial website links directly to the Academy's website, where Javelosa teaches! This page is hidden in a folder called DJ under his ET13 course at AET. However, if the user went to the ET13 course pages, there is no direct link. This clearly shows that he was concealing this misuse of limited AET resources from the school's eyes. Shame on Javelosa. Here's a screenshot with the AET link showing on the bottom left of the Internet Explorer status bar:

SMC Professor David Javelosa's unauthorized commercial use of the AET server

For several years, Professor Javelosa was allowed to misuse our school resources for his own personal and commercial purposes. Mp3 songs included, but are not limited to:

Live and Lumpy
Weird Thrash Hop
At Least Its Friendly Fire
Here Come the Body Bags
Seeds of Deception
The Power and the Glory
Thematically Related Warfare
Permissive Attitudes
I Don't Want To Hold You
Young & Ready
Acid 4 Alicia
Take it EZ Sleazy
Loving U Remix
Frosty the Chicken
Hold the Chicken
Tender Gentle Remix
Twiddly Patterns
Krispy Kat Whack
Los Microwaves: Time to Get Up
Return to Forbidden Planet

Overall, back around March 2006, I was able to download approximately 342 megabytes of mp3 music that Javelosa had illegally placed on the Academy of Entertainment and Technology's public school server. Add to this over 6 megs of skydiving videos, which server no educational purpose whatsoever. This does not include all the personal and commercial html pages (with images and photos) he maintained for both him and his son. To give you a comparison of what a vast waste of prime real estate this was on the AET server, the entire newly created AET server, with legitimate links, only came to 390 kilobytes! Not only do these mp3s take up physical space, but they also use expensive bandwidth for downloading. This bandwidth is billed to the school's ISP. This cost is ultimately transferred to the taxpayer. With the high salary that Professor Javelosa allegedly made, he could have afforded to host his commercial music on his own privately paid website. Clearly, the school administration should take action to have Professor Javelosa reimburse the school for this cost.

For related SAVE SMC Blog articles relevant to this post, see the following:

06-18-06: Santa Monica College Sex Scandals Exposed: Part 1
06-20-06: Santa Monica College Sex Scandals Exposed: Part 2
06-20-06: Professor David Javelosa's Underage MySpace Friends

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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Jeff Higley's Public Records Request to Deyna Hearn

On or about June 20, 2006, SMC student Jeff Higley sent a certified letter to Deyna Hearn, Assistant Dean of Student Life at Santa Monica College. In his letter, Mr. Higley has requested that Ms. Hearn comply with the California Public Records Act and produce those public records in the custody and control of the Office of Student Life. Mr. Higley relies on case law and legal decisions warranting such disclosure as well as SMC's own Board Policy governing prompt disclosure. Mr. Higley copied his letter to Dr. Robert Adams and President Chui L. Tsang. You can view an Adobe PDF copy of his letter HERE.

In Mr. Higley's accompanying public records request to SMC, he lists 113 distinct requests for copies and inspection of records in a 19-page document. He asks, in part, for minutes and agendas dating as far back as 1988. His records requests span various committees including the Finance Committee, the Activities Committee, the Inter-Club Council’s Constitution Committee, Inter-Club Council’s Activities Committee, the Inter-Club Council’s Publicity Committee, the Associated Student board of directors’ ad hoc committee meetings, and the Associated Student board of directors’ Election Committee meetings, including others. Mr. Higley is exceptionally thorough in his requests, including regular meetings, special meetings, and emergency meetings. You can view his complete public records request in Adobe PDF format HERE.

Mr. Higley is perhaps one of the most politically active students at SMC, actually taking the time to not only regularly attend many of these meetings, but to make his voice heard and to video record these meetings so that other students can be informed of the political decision making that affects us all as students. Mr. Higley has also written a great deal about the Office of Student Life on his politically conscious blog, The Siege Online. I urge all students to take the time to read his intelligently written and well-researched blog.

Given SMC's reluctance with complying with the California Public Records Act in the past with requests from the SMC Faculty Association and students such as myself, it will be interesting to see if SMC's administrators will actually come through with Mr. Higley's request. In the past, SMC has lowered itself to use intimidation by the SMCPD campus police and wrongful disciplinary proceedings to scare students away from its sacrosanct public records. When several SMC students went to seek public records on or about August 19, 2005, SMCPD Officer Willie Malone was called to prevent such disclosure. He states to us the following:

MALONE: I'm going to say it one time. She is going to make an appointment with you for the necessary records that's necessary that you see. Yes, it says in the record there that it's available for public display at any time during normal business office [hours], but they're not available. Okay?

MANTTARI: So they're not complying with the law?

MALONE: They're not complying with the law right now. Because it's not available for what you need, okay? You understand me?

Nowhere in the California Public Records Act does it state that the person wishing to view public records needs to state a reason for such inspection or copies. Access to public information is not a privilege contingent on any purpose of those wishing to enforce the law, but a fundamental right. As set forth in California Government Code section 6250:

In enacting this chapter, the Legislature, mindful of the right of individuals to privacy, finds and declares that access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.

According to the website entitled First Amendment org, they cite under the CPRA:

The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist they may retain control over the instruments they have created.

However, there is a difference with what the law states and what actually occurs when most people of this state seek public records. According to SMC Dean of Judicial Affairs, Judith Penchansky, she claims that requests for public records are allegedly "disruptive" to the learning process of SMC. Penchansky has been named in our lawsuit under the CPRA as a defendant for failing to disclose vital public records belonging to the school. Additionally, despite numerous written requests for student records, disclosable under FERPA and the California Education Code, Ms. Penchansky has repeatedly failed to disclose student records, including disciplinary records, claiming they are not "appropriate" for a student to view, despite the fact that the law states otherwise.

Even SMC student Jeremy Meyer criticized me for requesting public records from Santa Monica College. In a letter to SMC allegedly dated March 2, 2006, which SMC is attempting to use against me to justify its two-year immediate wrongful suspension for seeking public records and writing about my struggles to obtain such records on the SAVE SMC blog, Mr. Meyer writes:

Regarding this law suite [sic] she has filled [sic] and is to this day pursuing for her curiosity to look at SMC records that she has no business to look at. Yes they may be public records, but for SMC to give her the right to see the files she still needs an excuse.

This mentality is quite disturbing coming from Mr. Meyer since he has taken the helm as the Editor-in-Chief of SMC's student newspaper, The Corsair. First, because Mr. Meyer is the head of this publication and a journalism student, yet he cannot obviously write proper English. Second, because as an alleged journalist, he is under a duty to research the law before making such an absurd statement. If Mr. Meyer had taken a few moments of his time, he would see that Rocco Versaci v. The Superior Court of San Diego (Palomar Community College District) makes clear the following:

The Act provides for the inspection of public records maintained by state and local agencies. (§ 6253, subd. (a).) "The Legislature enacted the [Act] in 1968 to give the public access to information in possession of public agencies in furtherance of the notion that government should be accountable for its actions and, . . . to verify accountability, individuals must have access to government files. [Citation.]

This decision is supported by the California Attorney General's Office that supports the citizen's right to monitor its government:

In enacting the CPRA, the Legislature stated that access to information concerning the conduct of the public's business is a fundamental and necessary right for every person in the State. Cases interpreting the CPRA also have emphasized that its primary purpose is to give the public an opportunity to monitor the functioning of their government. The greater and more unfettered the public official's power, the greater the public's interest in monitoring the governmental action.

Despite all this case law and legislature, on or about August 18, 2005, SMC employee Pat Green again attempted to use SMCPD police force against us to deny access to public records when she stated the following to us:

Let me tell something right now. I'm gonna tell you something. You either turn your asses around now and get out or I call the police. What choice do you want?

It seems Pat Green was acting in typical fashion as other California public employees. In an online article entitled "Richmond Retains Secrecy Lead", dated July 25, 2004:

"Ask for routine public records at most Bay Area public agencies and you'll likely be met with suspicion, defensiveness, intimidation, needless delays, incompetence and ignorance,” says the article, and that certainly describes Richmond.

In another article entitled "Dealing with the City's Response to Your Discovery:"

The way some cities reply to Discoveries is a clear attempt to grind you down, run you around, and in general keep you so busy trying to get the information that you won't have the time or energy to really analyze it (assuming you are able to get it at all).

Yet another online article entitled "Environmental groups sue California water boards to force compliance with Public Records Act" cries:

"Government transparency is vital to democracy," said Iryna Kwasny, Director of RiverLaw. "The water boards' restrictive policies seriously burden all Californians, including environmental organizations, who wish to monitor the effectiveness of our state's water policies."

So, will Denya Hearn take a lesson from all of this and comply with Mr. Higley's public records request, or will she hide behind scant excuses such as those provided by Penchansky, Meyer, and Vice-President of Planning and Development Robert Sammis? Only time will tell whether Mr. Higley will be stonewalled or not.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Professor David Javelosa's Underage MySpace Friends

So far, we've covered Santa Monica College professor David Javelosa's questionable use of the Academy of Entertainment and Technology (AET) server and his advertisements on MySpace in both Part 1 and Part 2 of our ongoing series entitled: Santa Monica College Sex Scandals Exposed. We revealed that Professor Javelosa ran a secret website on our public vocational school's server advocating teenage sex and even had an ultra secret section for his young son. He used MySpace as a way to promote and lure visitors to, which was little more than a redirect to the school's server at AET. Apparently, this went on for several years. Here's a screenshot from the AET server, where Javelosa hid the webpages in a subfolder called DJ under his ET13 video game course website and where he went by the alias "David Microwave":

SMC Professor David Javelosa under the alias David Microwave

Now keep in mind that Professor Javelosa is a 52 year-old male displaying youthful photos of himself, dating as far back as 1983. This in itself points a serious red flag considering his underage "private" friends on MySpace that he associates with and encourages to visit his site that really links to these secret school webpages. Keep in mind also that Javelosa is now in charge of all the video game courses at the Academy and that kids love video games. Let's see a screenshot of
Javelosa's MySpace friends:

SMC Professor David Javelosa posing in a rather revealing photo SMC Professor David Javelosa's MySpace Friends

Three of Javelosa's "friends" stand out. The first is called "Julia Lolita." Here's a screenshot:

David Javelosa's MySpace friend Julia Lolita

"Lolita" refers to the famous 1955 novel by Vladimir Nabokov made into a 1962 movie by Stanley Kubrick. The main character, Humbert Humbert, is a pedophile who becomes sexually obsessed with a pubescent girl named Lolita.

David Javelosa, going under the MySpace name of David Microwave, curiously has two 14 year-old friends, a male minor by the MySpace name of
Cheesehead and a female minor by the MySpace name of Lexington. Both users profiles are set to "private," meaning the minor must add someone on their "friends" list to view his or her profile. Why a 14 year-old minor would add a 52 year-old man to his or her profile is quite disturbing. Because the profiles are private, they are immune from public scrutiny, which means they are unmonitored from potential abuse. Here's the respective screenshots:

David Javelosa's underage MySpace friend Cheesehead

David Javelosa's underage MySpace friend Lexington

Both children have recently accessed MySpace as has Professor Javelosa. David Javelosa's last MySpace login is dated June 12, 2006. Since age 14 is the minimum age to join MySpace, many minors lie about their age to gain access to this popular social networking website. Since children under 16 can set their profiles to private, unless a parent has the login to their account or is added as a friend, even the parents can't see what their child is doing and who they are communicating with.

For the last several months, MySpace has been attacked in the media, by elected officials, and law enforcement agencies, all who claim that it is far too easy for sexual predators to hook up with underage naive victims. Not only can unscrupulous adults talk dirty with children, but some even go as far as to meet their victims for illicit sex. Some of these encounters are only discovered when the parents regrettably learn that their child has been murdered.

According to an online article by The Age, dated February 20, 2006, entitled "Dark Side of the Web," "Police in Middletown, Connecticut are investigating recent reports that as many as seven local girls were sexually assaulted by men in their 20s who contacted them through MySpace pretending to be teenagers." In January 2006, "14-year-old Judy Cajuste was found strangled and naked in a Newark, New Jersey, garbage bin. Police seized a computer from her bedroom after friends said she told them of a man in his 20s she met on MySpace." These are not isolated incidents.

UGN Safenet describes MySpace as a "Parent's Nightmare" and "Predator's Dream." According to Joe Showker, who runs seminars on Child Safety and Internet Safety:

I also found that the porn business is alive and well on with pages setup specifically to lure underage youth to amateur and commercial pornography pages. (There is no restriction and no filters of any kind at "Some of these pages actually load a video clip for the viewer.

According to Larry Magid of CBS News:

Predators looking for teenage girls or boys have a tool that makes it very easy for them to find and groom their victims and millions of teens are playing right into their hands. In the NBC sting operation News Correspondent Chris Hansen reports: "48-year-old Allen, screename 'trying-2b-normal,' promised to teach a girl who said she was 13 different sexual positions and show her what a man really likes."

Regardless of SMC Professor David Javelosa's reasons for maintaining private underage friends on MySpace, he should take heed with the recent criticisms of MySpace to avoid this kind of negative publicity against Santa Monica College. Since he linked his MySpace profile to his secret AET webpages with Teenage Sex, G-Spot, and Collateral Damage, among many, many others, he's raised a real red flag of his motives and purpose for maintaining such, given these webpages were hidden from the SMC community for the last several years. This raises potential liability for the college as a third party that should have, but did not, monitor such activity of one of its full time professors on its school servers. Thankfully, many schools are being socially responsible and limiting their MySpace activities on their campuses.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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Santa Monica College Sex Scandals Exposed: Part 2

In Santa Monica College Sex Scandals Exposed: Part 1, we gave you an overview on the secret agendas at the Academy of Entertainment and Technology. While AET Professor Jim Keeshen was jet setting around the globe to Korea to work on his animated film, his rival AET Professor David Javelosa was off skydiving and prancing around half nude on his hidden AET webpages. Javelosa gave a new meaning to "Pretty in Pink." While Javelosa was hogging up hundreds of megs of school server space for his less than tasteful photos, skydiving videos, and personal mp3 songs, the Academy couldn't be bothered with giving its students space to display their work online.

Heck, even Javelosa's son, Luca, was afforded the luxury of precious AET web space and bandwidth for his photos and projects. Under the et13 directory, there was a secret folder called "Lizard." Now, it wasn't simple to get to this secret hyperlink. The user has to first find Javelosa's secret site, then click on the image of him that rolled over, and then click to a page that read: "Dragons and Friends are Welcome. Others beware." Ahem, as a student at AET, I should beware going on my school's server? Well, I took the chance and came to this page:

David Javelosa's son Luca using our AET school server

Gee, you could even email Luca Javelosa. You'd think this was a MySpace site, not a vocational school paid for with the public's hard earned money. If you still have doubts, here's another screenshot of Luca on the AET website. He even had an entire photo spread with dad.

Luca Javelosa's secret photo spread on our AET school server

Luca the Lizard? Hmm... Now, keep in mind that SMC went ahead and suspended me for using the AET computer lab despite being a paid and enrolled student as well as a teaching assistant for Jim Keeshen. Not only was I doing cancer research for Keeshen, I was working on an important project on the Holocaust. According to Assistant Dean of Judicial Affairs (a.k.a., the Campus Disciplinarian) Judith Penchansky and AET Dean Katharine Muller, none of these legitimate educational activities warranted computer lab privileges. Well, all my other classmates were allowed to use the computer lab. Oh, I forgot, they weren't disabled students, like myself. So, while I'm doing the educational work I paid for, out comes the SMCPD to scare me away from the computer lab and school servers. Meanwhile, Javelosa is using this same school server as his personal MySpace gallery for his family.

Oh, but David Javelosa did have a MySpace account as well. He's listed as
David Microwave. He describes himself as a 52 year-old male from Mar Vista, California. Since his last login was a few days ago on June 12, 2006, we can assume the information is current. Javelosa's logline reads: "O.G. Techno Freak." In his "about me" section he writes the following:

I'm a seriously fun-loving guy with a wide range of interests that center mostly around music. I've been in bands, indie labels, performance tours, video game soundtracks, music technology and game academics ( I love to travel and have become passionate about scuba and sky diving. Also being in the mountains, biking, walking, swimming, yoga, etc. Since I've been teaching, I have a lot of time to write and record electronic music and perform at festivals. But the best part is actually the teaching. Kids are the future and I love teaching them what they love. I like living at the beach but spend time in Hollywood, the Bay Area, Sierras, the east coast, and abroad.

That's nice that Professor Javelosa's teaching, of which he receives a rather hefty salary, affords him so much time to have so much fun. Seeing is believing, so here's a screenshot:

David Javelosa's MySpace Profile

Oh, look what we have here: Javelosa advertises his SMC AET redirect site. Now, I want you to ask yourself what a 52 year-old man is doing on MySpace advertising young people to go to our AET school server to view photos of him semi-nude and to download teenage sex and G-Spot music? Under "Who I'd Like to Meet," Javelosa states the following: "Goddesses; brainy style junkies; new wave music fans; single parents for vacation playdates."

Single parents for vacation playdates? But under his details section in status, he lists that he's "married." I'm not even going to go there. Let's take a peek at Javelosa's MySpace blog instead.

In his
February 2, 2005 blog entry, Javelosa states in relevant part the following:

What a whirlwind.....
the fall flashed by in a blink!
- performances with Monica went well at SMC and SD
- semester ended with issues about the program at school

What issues about the AET program? Let's look at an
August 18, 2004 blog entry:

Got back from a brilliant trip to London with Luca. We saw every free museum we could get our selves to! Spent a day in Brighton Beach; a lovely sea side town with out the bustle of central London. Also caught the Queen musical, We Will Rock You! All in all, the high-point of our summer.

So now back to fall...
I'm teaching 6 classes this fall covering 4 subject preps. At least I'm of the hook for asst. chair! I hate politics, especially small-time academic ones...
I'm up at my dad's prepping class sites and deluding myself that I might actually work on some music. Got a wedding in SF Sat. and I'm back Sun. night in time for school next week.
I'm also back to London for a game conference, and Labour day weekend in Portugal.
yes, I shall be a wreck...

But I am up to level 6 in my skydiving classes. Solo 360 turns, docking, and landings!
Next jump, I get pushed out of the plane to see how fast I can stabilize...
You must try it sometime...

So, this confirms his son's name is Luca Javelosa. By the way, who paid for this game conference in London? Did Santa Monica College? This is my favorite Javelosa quote:

I'm teaching 6 classes this fall covering 4 subject preps. At least I'm of the hook for asst. chair! I hate politics, especially small-time academic ones...

So, straight for the horse's mouth, our own Academy Professor describes Katharine Muller's Academy of Entertainment and Technology vocational school as small-time academic politics. So, Perhaps Jim Keeshen and Javelosa have more in common than they think. Remember that memorable quote from Jim Keeshen back around September 2005:

I don’t care about Julie Yarrish and I don’t care about [Winniphred] Stone and I don’t care about [Judith] Penchansky. I have to live with them because we’re swimming in the same pond.

Well, as usual, here's a screenshot of Javelosa's MySpace blog entry:

David Javelosa's MySpace Blog Criticizing AET's two-bit politics

So, with Jim Keeshen worrying more about his Day of the Dead animated film, Javelosa worrying more about having a good time, William Lancaster securing a questionable sabbatical to improve his typography freelance business, and Dean Katharine Muller securing covert deals with Electronic Arts for her friends Piedad Robertson and Winniphred Stone at the Education Commission of the States, is it any wonder the AET program is suffering? Even great professors such as Jeannie Novak have taken flight to teach at better schools where she's more appreciated. It seems that Santa Monica College has a double standard when it comes to the conduct of its professors and another for its students. It is perfectly fine for our full time faculty to be critical of the school and to focus their efforts elsewhere, but if a single student is critical, the school jumps all over him or her with police force and wrongful disciplinary sanctions.

Here's a few little statistics about MySpace and Sexual Predators. According to a recent article by business news:

Internet security and law enforcement officials say the personal data publicly available on MySpace and similar networking sites, matched with innocent attitudes by youths, make the sites ripe for information-digging sexual predators.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has received at least 288 MySpace-related complaints, according to U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan in Pittsburgh.

Ms. Buchanan said MySpace was a "significant concern" for law enforcement. For pedophiles, she said, "MySpace creates a smorgasbord."

That said, a 52 year-old college professor who teaches video games such as David Javelosa and advertising anyone who visits MySpace to visit his site, cloaked as a hidden site on SMC's AET server, that then directs these young folks to teenage sex music and downloadable provocative mp3 music and revealing photos of himself should not be encouraged or endorsed by Santa Monica College. More importantly, we as taxpayers should not be paying for this!

In Part 3, we will finally see how all this behavior by our AET faculty trickled down into the student body and how it has damaged not only the reputation of the school, but disrupted students' lives as well.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Professor Bill Lancaster's Questionable Sabbatical

Previously, we did a blog article entitled, "Jim Keeshen's Fall 2003 Sabbatical" in which we examined the questionable sabbatical by Santa Monica College professor Jim Keeshen. Keeshen teaches at the Academy of Entertainment and Technology (AET). According to Vice President of Planning and Development, Robert Sammis, Keeshen never filed his mandated sabbatical reports with the school. In essence, Keeshen did not complete the sabbatical, was paid handsomely for it, and walked away with a semester long vacation.

Another AET professor, William "Bill" Lancaster, is slated for a Spring 2007 sabbatical according to the
SMC Board of Trustee minutes for May 8, 2006. Here's a screenshot:

Bill Lancaster's proposed 2007 sabbatical with SMC

According to the Board of Trustees, "Professor Lancaster will use his Creative Project sabbatical to develop a new functional typeface design that will be shared with the campus community upon completion. Through this sabbatical, he will further his personal knowledge of typography and type design, which he can then disseminate to his students."

Sounds legitimate. However, let's take a peek at some additional information on Lancaster from SMC's
AET website. Here's a screenshot I made of AET's newly designed website under faculty:

William Lancaster's bio from the SMC AET website

The last sentence of William Lancaster's biography stands out: "Bill maintains a freelance practice that specializes in typographic and logotype design." Compare this to the Board of Trustees' sabbatical approval: "Through this sabbatical, he will further his personal knowledge of typography and type design."

So, is this sabbatical truly undertaken to benefit the SMC community or to benefit Lancaster's freelance typography business? This seems like a bit of a conflict of interest or at least convoluted interests. If so, then the SMC community should not be paying for this sabbatical. As former chairman of AET, Lancaster was reeling in a six-figure salary. He would receive half that salary for his sabbatical in addition to a ten percent pay increase. Sounds like a sweet deal for Lancaster.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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