Monday, July 31, 2006

Suspension of Disbelief

Santa Monica Community College District has officially failed to comply with both my requests and the law pertaining to my wrongful suspension, disciplinary hold, and release and inspection of student records. I had given the District until today to begin a suspension appeal hearing, long overdue, and Robert Sammis has simply continued with business as usual. Here is another email to him, copied to President Chui L. Tsang, the Board of Trustees, and the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. Court intervention is long overdue in this matter.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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



July 31, 2006

Dear Mr. Sammis,

By copy of this email, I am informing you in writing that I do not agree to your unilateral setting of a suspension hearing for 10:00 a.m. on September 8, 2006 nor do I agree to a suspension hearing on September 15, 2006. You are in violation of my rights to due process. You are in violation of my rights to a timely appeal hearing regarding my suspension. Furthermore, I do not agree to your assertions that I did not provide the information you required concerning setting a suspension appeal hearing.

To reiterate, on or about June 13, 2006 I requested a suspension appeal hearing on this matter for the first week of July. You failed to respond. On or about June 16, 2006, I sent you an email reminder, yet you still failed to respond. At all relevant times, you received my emails and on or about July 17, 2006, you referenced my June 13, 2006 email in your email to me. Thus, you cannot allege that you did not receive timely notice of my request for you to comply with the California Education Code as well as SMC's own administrative regulations.

In a good faith attempt to informally resolve this matter, I emailed SMC President Chui L. Tsang on June 23, 2006 and sent him a certified letter, dated June 29, 2006. I emailed President Tsang again on July 20, 2006 and sent him a certified letter requesting that an appeal hearing begin on this matter no later than July 31, 2006, which is today. He did not respond. On or about July 22, 2006, I sent you notice via email of my certified letter to President Tsang. Furthermore, I emailed you repeatedly thereafter, making myself crystal clear that I insisted on a suspension appeal hearing that was to begin no later than Monday, July 31, 2006. Until your email today, you have failed to respond and the time has elapsed.

At all relevant times, I have objected to an appeal hearing after July 31, 2006 as it fails to comply with the California Education Code and SMC's own administrative regulations governing suspensions. I have provided you with the relevant laws and regulations that enforce my rights and mandate the time for suspension hearings. Despite my efforts to inform you of the law and the District's own policies, and my objections thereto, you have failed to comply. As such, the District is in violation of my rights governing the suspension appeal hearing.

Furthermore, I have objected in writing on numerous occasions to the immediate interim suspension, as it did not comply with the California Penal Code or SMC's own administrative regulations. To reiterate, the interim suspension was not justified, it was never confirmed by President Tsang within the allotted time period, and it is well beyond the maximum 14-day period as set forth by the law. Furthermore, pursuant to SMC's own administrative regulations, I was to be afforded a timely appeal hearing on this matter within 10 days, which SMC did not afford me. As such, the District is in violation of my rights as it continues to prevent me from entering campus without police escort, to which I do not agree.

Moreover, I have repeatedly objected to the wrongful disciplinary hold placed on my enrollment for the summer and fall 2006 respective semesters. To date, the District has failed to remove the disciplinary hold on my enrollment, thus preventing me from enrolling in classes. As such, SMC is in violation of my rights.

Additionally, I have repeatedly requested in writing, for almost one year, for physical inspection of my student records, including disciplinary records. To date, you have ignored my request to view these records. Furthermore, despite written authorization for my representative, Stephen Drury, to view these records, you have denied access to my records to him. Accordingly, the District, including yourself and Judith Penchansky, have been in violation of the California Education Code, its own administrative regulations and board polices, and the provisions as set forth in FERPA.

Furthermore, despite repeated written requests for copies of my disciplinary records, the District did not provide documents until after I filed my suspension appeal on June 6, 2006, denying me access to information that I could have responded to in my appeal. As such, the District was in violation of my rights. Furthermore, I have repeatedly requested copies and access to documents in my disciplinary records that the District to date has failed to disclose, such as any witness statements in my behalf. Accordingly, the District is in violation of my rights.

Moreover, I have repeatedly asked for the names and titles of the appeal hearing committee, including a formal written request as set forth in my June 6, 2006 suspension appeal. To date, you and the District have failed to provide this information to me, despite promptly disclosing this information to at least one other student who had been suspended at SMC. As such, the District is in violation of my rights in that it is being arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory in my case. Despite asking numerous questions to both you and Judith Penchansky regarding my suspension, both of you have failed to respond.

Taken as a whole, the District has, at all relevant times, acted in bad faith regarding my suspension and any appeal of same. The District has never addressed my written grievances, in violation of its own policies and those mandated under the law. The District has not followed any minimal due process in that I was never afforded a formal conference, any finding of facts, nor was any investigation conducted as to the summary allegations and alleged violations of the Student Conduct Code as set forth in Robert Adams' suspension email and letter, dated May 23, 2006.

Despite your written assurances that I would be afforded a hearing within 6 to 10 days, and despite your written guarantees that "All you need to do is simply let me know when you want the hearing to begin", and my confirmation of such, you have failed to provide me a hearing within the mandated time frame. To reiterate, the District has failed to comply with its own written guarantees of due process and has blatantly violated my rights.

For all the foregoing reasons, the suspension should be dismissed in its entirety and the disciplinary hold should be promptly lifted so that I may enroll for classes for the fall semester, which begins in less than one month. As it stands, the District's repeated refusal to comply with the law has damaged me in that many classes I wish to take have already been filled to capacity. Absent a prompt confirmation that the suspension will be dismissed in its entirety for the District's failure to comply with the law and its own written policies, I will have no other alternative than to seek immediate Court intervention to enforce my rights. If I am forced to seek Court intervention, I will seek relief from the Court for any and all attorney's fees incurred as a result.

If you need to review any of my correspondence with the District, copies of such have been placed on my SAVE SMC blog.

I look forward to your prompt response.

Very Truly Yours,

Des Manttari

cc: Chui L. Tsang, President and Superintendent
Robert Adams, Vice-President Student Affairs
Nancy Greenstein, Chair, SMC Board of Trustees
Susan Aminoff, Vice Chair, SMC Board of Trustees
Carol L. Currey, SMC Board of Trustees
Rob Rader, SMC Board of Trustees
U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights

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

To: Phoenix Genesis
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2006 11:35:26 -0700

Dear Des:

You have not yet provided me with the name and phone number of the attorney that is representing you in regards to your suspension. As I indicated to you in previous emails, if you did not provide this information by the end of last week, I would go ahead and unilaterally set the date for your suspension hearing. Thus, please be advised that your suspension hearing has been set to begin at 10:00 a.m. on September 8, 2006. In the event that a second day of hearing is necessary, the hearing will reconvene on September 15, 2006. At this time I do not know the location for the hearing. I will let you know the location of the hearing as soon as I am informed as to the location.

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

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