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The rattlesnake "may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. ... She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. ... she never wounds 'till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her."
-- An American Guesser 
"The true story of Santa Monica College under the current administration and the current
Board of Trustees is a cautionary tale for the future of publicly funded institutions of higher education."
-- CSEA Accreditation Self Study Addendum 
"Des Manttari is a tenacious defender of the rights of Santa Monica College students to be safe on campus, to their right to know..." -- Jeff Higley, Activist
Through his companies, Jim Keeshen Productions and Studio Animatics, SMC Professor James Keeshen recruited both students and faculty to the AET vocational program for his own bidding as cheap slave labor while outsourcing animation work to Korea for his Day of the Dead animated short film. Read more...
SHOCKING COURT RECORDS
"The Complaint contains allegations of misappropriation of student funds and property, illegal fees, abuse of process, and various unconstitutional activities by Defendants with the goal of suppressing dissent and avoiding auditing and oversight by non-conspirators. The Defendants have a history of such activities. The findings of the PERB were that the Santa Monica Community College District, which would include all defendants in this case, were found to have violated state statutes regarding expenditure of funds and activities undertaken to intimidate and suppress the faculty's opposition to the administration."
"Defendants have obtained this control through racketeering activities, including but not limited to: (a) The extortion of property, such as restricted accounts for the defendants' personal use. (b) Robbery or the conversion of Student funds. (c) Bribery of student officials. (d) As well as multiple violations of the Hobbs Act (18 U.S.C. § 1951) that include (i) exerting outside pressure through undue influence and coercision so as to control business decisions, and (ii), the taking of the Student bookstore and other commerce. Defendants' acts of racketeering activity have been unceasing for over fifteen (15) years."
-- Associated Students of Santa Monica College, et. al. vs. Santa Monica Community College District Board of Trustees, KCRW, Herb Roney, Dorothy Ehrhart-Morrison, Illona Katz, Piedad Robertson, Thomas Donner, Robert Sammis, Charlie Yen, Robert Adams, Cheryl Miller, Mark Romano, Eileen Miller, Mark Kessler, Charles Bays, et. al.
You can view the original CSEA Survey Comments about the 2004 Accreditation of Santa Monica College document (www.smc.edu/csea/Accreditation/ Accreditation%20Survey%20Comments.doc) or download a PDF version I made by clicking HERE. Otherwise, here's the full text as follows below. Hopefully, this document will shed light on why it is so important to SAVE SMC before it is too late and why we cannot expect our administrators, Board of Trustees, or President to save it for us. Ironically, the former President of SMC, Piedad Robertson, left the school at the beginning of this year having received a vote of no confidence, her second in her career. To date, Thomas Donner sits as temporary president while the school frantically searches for another president to fill Robertson's position. Given the administrative problems of the school and its fiscal crisis, it may be a long wait until we have someone who is willing to step up to the plate.
CSEA SURVEY COMMENTS
The following is a compilation of all of the comments from 143 surveys returned out of approximately 440 sent out. No editing was done except to correct occasional minor spelling errors.
a. Based upon the Trustee's actions at Board meetings, including outright rudeness, eye-rolling, note-passing, name-garbling, scowling, sneering, smirking, and whispering, as well as their disrespectful treatment of those who make pubic comments by contradicting them instead of dialoguing with them, threatening censorship and accusing them of slander instead of listening, demanding the final word because speakers are only allowed to speak once, while Trustees can speak in unlimited monologues, the Board of Trustees clearly shows disregard for the public interest.
b. The Board is currently functioning with limited information because of the top down structure of the college.
c. They only support administration.
d. It does not reflect the SMC students interest.
e. The current Board does not reflect public interest.
f. It's a known fact that the Board is controlled by Tom Donner, he hired Cheryl Miller, and need I say more.
g. I do not think the board did enough to research and form their own opinion of the budget crisis we are currently facing.
h. Public and community interests have certainly not been taken into account in the light of recent program discontinuances.
a. The Board discourages public discussion of institutional practices.
b. Does this from one perspective (Administration) only.
c. Only Nancy Greenstein, we need to recall the others.
d. Not completely - too much is "Just not mentioned".
a. The Board only gives consideration and credence to information filtered by the Administration.
b. The Superintendent is the only input they listen to.
c. I don't feel the board reviewed information provided to them thoroughly.
d. But do they listen?? Do they hear??
a. The Board dismisses information that conflicts or does not support the Administration’s views.
b. They do whatever Piedad Robertson tells them to do.
c. Lacking a great deal.
d. The Board of trustees is not considering facts and views to make important decisions.
e. I don't feel the did look at all the facts & views when deciding program eliminations.
f. A blind eye and deaf ear to all of the facts and views presented by faculty and staff & CSEA regarding layoffs and program discontinuance as well as possible solutions.
a. Their actions are in direct conflict with their mission statement.
b. No. consistent with the wishes and goals of Admin.
c. They do not have the students interests at heart, except Nancy Greenstein.
d. They just need to follow it.
e. The BOT is ignoring SMC's mission statement.
g. Community, not transfer.
i. Based on recent program cuts we are not upholding the college's mission statement.
a. The Board does not adhere to its policies.
b. Only Nancy Greenstein.
a. The Board relies on the Administration to provide information, and rather than assuming responsibility for the credibility of that information, accepts it without critical review.
b. Only Nancy Greenstein.
c. The BOT is acting against education quality.
d. Too much finger pointing.
e. Isn't this a shared item?
f. This has certainly not been demonstrated this fiscal year.
a. The Board relies on the Administration’s interpretation of facts and does not critically evaluate the legality of SMC Administrations actions.
b. The Board goes way too far.
c. Only Nancy Greenstein.
d. They do not, period.
e. Defers to president.
a. The Board relies on the Administration’s interpretation of facts and does not critically evaluate the financial integrity SMC Administrations actions.
b. Way too much waste and irresponsible spending.
c. The Board believes whatever they are told by Administration.
d. They spent our reserve.
e. Defers to pres.
f. Integrity? I don't think they know what that is.
g. Disaster. More hidden agenda.
a. No, because actions speak louder than words.
b. Defers to pres.
c. Because we rashly and irresponsibly spend on the wrong things, institutional goals are sometimes neglected.
d. No way. They closed programs.
e. Maybe Dr. R's goals.
g. The board needs to have much more open dialogue with faculty staff & students at SMC they need to know who we are & what we do. h. So much of our "in-house" services have been discontinued or contracted out - i.e. - printing, photography, etc. - and where did all that equipment go???
a. The Board does not invite direct interaction with the constituent groups. Even the Board dialogues, ostensibly organized to address their disconnect, was structured by the Board to limit content and topics, and the ideas and concerns raised by the constituent groups were given only lip service. The Board has not maintained any commitment to continuing any on-going direct dialogue.
b. Never see them except for Nancy Greenstein.
c. Should have town hall meetings to get to know immediate concerns of groups.
d. Defers to pres.
e. Lots of jargon.
f. As stated above they do not know and understand the concerns of the groups on campus because they do not interact with them enough.
g. No. It has been demonstrated that there is no understanding or doesn't appear to want to.
a. Though the Board does post its agenda within the required 72 hours, because the Board meetings are on Monday, the 72 hours encompass weekend days, thereby rendering the notice inadequate. The Board manipulates the rules to speak to the agenda items by refusing to recognize speakers, shuffling the order in which people speak, reprimanding and lecturing attendees, yet they consistently fail to directly address the questions and issues raised by the public speakers.
b. Needs to come out at least by Wednesday prior to Board meeting.
c. No. I disagree, not enough time.
e. The agendas are well done but I did not know they could be evaluated.
f. Too many hidden agendas.
g. Not in recent months Friday evening postings are not enough time to evaluate & identify concerns when most of us don't see it until Monday morn.
h. This entire fiscal matter seems to have dropped like a bomb "out of the blue" - warning? I think not.
b. Its seems to be the other way around.
c. It works the other way around here.
d. President owns the Board, the opposite is true.
e. I think it's the other way around.
f. If they did a good job at this we wouldn't be in this mess even with budget cuts.
g. The Board works for the President and vice versa.
h. I believe it is the other way around.
i. I feel it is the other way around and that is a problem.
a. Though the President is asked questions publicly, follow-up questions are not asked because the Board feels that further probing, rather than reinforcing accountability, will be perceived as an effort to embarrass the President. The Board does not seem clear on the issue of who is in charge.
b. They should have fired her long ago.
c. If they did we wouldn't be where we are.
d. They don't.
e. Definitely not.
g. That is yet to be seen.
h. In the light of what is happening and what has happened to SMC in the past 6 years that statement is a farce.
a. The Board considers evaluating the President a personnel issue, and does not publicize their critique or criteria, nor do they seek input from any of the constituent groups.
b. Not to my knowledge. The President/Superintendent needs to be evaluated by all college constituencies.
c. They should ask for an outside audit.
d. Not true.
e. They seem to have their own agenda.
f. That is yet to be seen.
g. If the above statement were true - a great deal of the impact of our present situation would 1)not have occurred or 2) - been eased.
a. The Board is clueless, given that it has approved a 100% increase in management while the work staff has increased by only 20%. b. We're a college, not a cooperation.
c. The word for it is "featherbedding".
d. Management to staff ratio is 3 managers to every staff at SMC.
e. The P/S does the above for the purposes of the P/S.
f. You mean, all of Rocky Young's plans implemented.
g. Completely false.
h. Not even, remember the three rings.
j. I feel there is a way to many administrate staff and that is part of the problem.
k. No. Unsatisfactory - not enough direct communication between management and classified as to what's really (underlined twice) happening.
a. The President appointed a human resources director who clearly does not play well with others.
b. Doubt it. Administrators behave as though they're under orders.
c. Only those who agree with her.
d. Completely false.
e. Her senior staff is a group of spineless wimps who goes along with whatever she says or wants.
g. SMC is management top-heavy!!
a. The President disregards the process when it conflicts with her goals.
b. Shared governance is smoke and mirrors.
c. The college should be on watch due to President's actions.
d. Must have been in Boston, sure not at SMC.
e. Seems resistant to shared governance.
f. Don't make me laugh.
g. I can only see what's happening now - certainly no improvement for students.
a. The President disregards analysis and suggestions that conflict with her goals.
b. No, she clearly is self serving look at her past.
c. Friends and family.
d. It's based on first hand knowledge.
e. Not the case in program eliminations one day the programs are viable and....
f. Research? Analysis? Too little too late.
a. The President does not allocate resources to programs that conflict with her goals.
b. Doesn't seem like it.
c. Students and staff suffer due to her decisions.
d. Please, this is not working.
e. There is no learning process if vital programs are discontinued - as has happened.
a. The President disregards evaluations that do not glorify her goals.
b. Attempts, but they're top down.
c. She has hurt this college, not helped, she needs to go.
d. By force of faculty, staff and students.
e. The "evaluation" system /method still has problems.
a. They try.
b. No. She does what she wants.
c. You must be kidding.
d. I don't think they have a clue
a. The President’s interpretation of the college’s mission and policies are self-serving and shortsighted.
b. No. A college is not about its CEO or its president. It 's about faculty, student and curriculum.
c. She has hurt this college and only cares about management.
d. What a joke.
e. Just on paper.
f. Definitely not. No equal access.
g. The only thing she makes sure of is that she gets what she wants.
h. Budget cuts unfair to students, especially vocational.
i. She has but one mission, kill programs and destroy lives.
j. Cutting programs is not consistent with the college mission and policies.
a. The President allocates disproportionate funds to pet projects (i.e. the anti-merit system campaign, Cubafest, Workforce and Development, Madison) that do not serve the community or the college.
b. No. Spending is too free and not thought through.
c. That is a joke.
d. She is running this college into the ground.
e. Another joke.
f. To benefit herself.
g. This is the area the CSEA "E" Board should focus on because SMC is in this predicament because of mismanagement of previous business.
h. For her own personal interests.
i. Definite control.
j. The people who oversee the money.
k. Too many managers and Administrative positions.
a. The President refuses to meet with all constituencies simultaneously; instead she meets with them individually, slanting her message and using the meetings as an opportunity to pit one constituency against another.
b. Orders, but little communication.
c. There is no respect and no collegiality here.
d. She lies to us and the Board. She disregards what we want.
e. More jokes.
f. Her way or the highway for classified staff only, she protects her incompetent Sr. staff.
g. Okay, when she is on a mission.
h. No, the last few months is an example of how the constituencies have been unable to communicate effectively with the President.
-- Des Manttari,
(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP
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