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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 [1775]

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"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 [2004]

"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...


"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.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006


arrow   Where are All the SMC AET Internships and Jobs?


Santa Monica College's Academy of Entertainment and Technology (AET) has been around for almost a decade. However, it has not delivered on all its glorified promises. Let's look at those juicy internships with industry partners that were supposed to launch us into high paying careers.


When AET's website first started back around December 1998, it stated that it offered "internships leading to proficiency in each of these fields with the goal of immediate employment. The Advisory Board's members currently represent motion picture and television studios, visual effect houses, theme park operators, distribution companies, and multi-media and music companies." [emphasis added]


You can browse our handy SMC AET Industry Partnership chart to see all the alleged entertainment companies that were supposed to partner with the Academy program. Now, although AET has once again redesigned its website, there isn't even a single mention of any company being a current partner of the AET program. So, what happened? In fact, you will see the following:


The Entertainment Technology program works in close collaboration with the entertainment industry to ensure that students learn practical, job-oriented skills. Certificate students develop professional portfolios, work in teams, and may participate in internships with industry partners when available. [emphasis added]


Here's a screenshot I made:


SMC AET Entertainment Technology page mentioning Internships


On the support page, AET internship coordinator, Gloria Mottler, seems to be shamelessly begging companies to provide internships and job placements. The page reads:


Companies who want to support the Design Technology Department by providing internship or employment opportunities for students and graduates can contact: Gloria Mottler, Internship Coordinator


Here's a screenshot I made:


SMC AET Support Webpage re Internships and Job Placement


The fact that AET Dean Katharine Muller is also begging for "donations of equipment and software" as well as "financial contribution[s]" from "an individual or company" should throw up a huge red flag for any prospective student considering enrolling in the AET program.


And where's those "employment opportunities" allegedly guaranteed to AET students? In Santa Monica College's "Request for Approval of an Educational Center," dated November 8, 1996, to then Chancellor Thomas J. Nussbaum and The Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, SMC (by and through then President Piedad Robertson) wrote the following:


As these programs have been identified by the major employers as meeting their most critical workforce needs, there is a high level of confidence that students trained in the Academy's programs will find employment in California at above average salaries in positions with potential for six figure incomes with a community college education.


Six figure incomes? A high level of confidence? Didn't Robertson receive a vote of no-confidence from SMC? Didn't she abandon SMC and the AET program to take up shop at the Education Commission of the States in Denver, Colorado? There's a huge difference between "above average salaries" and "six figure incomes." Where's the hard data to prove these claims? AET's Alumni webpage only lists one graduate from AET working in the industry: Steve Rembuskos. And Rembuskos graduated five years ago!


Where's all the other AET alumni reeling in those six figure entertainment industry salaries? AET shamelessly offers an AET Alumni Google Group in which Gloria Mottler states in her little press release the following:


I wanted to welcome each and everyone of you to this wonderful new feature on our AET website. This is a great way of communicating with fellow students both past and present. Let us know what you are currently doing and share your experiences here at the academy and in your current career. I look forward to hearing from you!


Only two students responded to her call to adventure: Bob Paulson and Jason Marley. And remember that Bob Paulson worked for both Mottler and Jim Keeshen. (See our blog article: Family Guy Pilot Episode Scandal and Lawsuit). And what did Jason Marley write about his life after AET? Here's the relevant excerpt from his blurb:


I just stumbled across this group, but I am an Alumni of The AET. Just wondering where everyone is and what happend [sic] to the Business Module? I was one of the few special students in the Production Management Module but I see that it is no longer existing...


Marley points out that the Production Management certificate no longer exists. Also, he mentions that he's currently "consulting as a Multimedia Specialist." That's a bit vague and ambiguous. If he were working for some major entertainment company, you'd think he would brag about it. Paulson's entry is entitled "yo this place is deserted" and gives a nice visual of tumbleweeds passing by. Paulson makes two additional postings, but mentions nothing of his lucrative career in the entertainment industry. This reminds me of that saying: "Buyer Beware."


-- Des Manttari,


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