Friday, August 31, 2007
A Call to Action
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
State of Confusion
As a principle of organic human organization, it is in our view synonymous with self-determination, a prerequisite to freedom and fullfillment.
On the other hand, majority rule -- as we have in the US -- is an anti-democratic system, one that systematically frustrates, subverts, and obstructs our becoming fully human. In essence, representative democracy is neither.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Scholars of social change and asymetrical conflict will likely find the attached bibliography enlightening.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
-- Ray A. Young Bear
Monday, August 20, 2007
To make matters worse, the Presidential Search Committee appointed by the board comprises three of the trustees involved in covering up the fraud and other legal violations exposed in May by whistleblowers employed at the school. Also on this committee are one of the deans found complicit by the WASC Special Investigation Team in perpetrating fraudulent courses. One of the staff on this blue ribbon committee has been involved in covering up numerous frauds at the school over a twenty year period. Another recently tried to intimidate an alumna in the school cafe.
To say we are unimpressed by the caliber of those chosen for this all-important task -- let alone by the anti-democratic process they've engaged in -- is an understatement. The fact the trustees expect us to buy into this bogus charade, let alone believe WASC will fall for it, is an insult to our intelligence.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Foxes in Henhouse
July 5, 2007:
This special investigation was conducted under the Commission Policy on Summary Sanctions for Unethical Institutional Behavior. New College did not provide complete information requested by the WASC team either before, during, or after the investigation.
In meeting its responsibilities to the federal and state government as a recipient of financial aid money and other benefits, New College unequivocally bears the burden of demonstrating the integrity of its records. After reviewing all of the evidence, the Commission has found substantial evidence of violations relating to operational integrity, honesty, and candor.
One of the fundamental purposes of accreditation is to assure the public that degrees represent the completion of a course of study that is appropriate in content and standards. The Commission has serious concerns about whether New College is meeting these aspects of academic integrity.
The Commission found that underlying the matters explored in the special investigation is a lack of effective leadership and required governance structures. The Commission has serious doubts that the same board that allowed the problems to persist are now capable of remedying these serious and pervasive matters.
New College is now given notice that if there is not significant improvement by fall, the Commission will consider whether to terminate accreditation.
Friday, August 17, 2007
We are defending democracy.
In trying times like these, there will always be those who counsel surrender at every opportunity. That is life.
In opposing governance of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich, the clamor for capitulation by those who lack the intestinal fortitude and moral fiber to prevail is but one obstacle along the way. For those just learning the tools of liberation, they serve as models of subservience accustomed to seeking permission to exist from the ruling class. A sad but true story.
For those who understand that freedom is not purchased by meekness and compliance, these lessons will serve them throughout their lives. Learning by doing, teaching by example, doing democracy.
Who are our heroes? Hank Adams, James Baldwin, Jack Minnis, Thomas Paine.
Why? Because they had the intelligence to know what needed to be said, and the courage to say it. A rare combination.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Mastering New College
In reality, we know this to be a falsehood. While some instructors and staff valiantly attempt to help and protect these injured scholars, the institution itself is wholly geared to exploit and thus re-traumatize them. Just read the testimony.
When South Africans were organizing to overcome tyranny there, one of the things they did was hold free classes and discussions where people could share their stories. In the curriculum developed by Nelson Mandela and his associates, they posited three propositions: The World We Live In, How We Are Governed, and The Need For Change. As we struggle with mastering the monster our alma mater has become, maybe it would behoove us to create a space and place for storytelling, learning, and coming to terms with a notion betrayed. We might even call it Mastering New College.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
As an example, the college's explanation that the waiver of the three-page written personal statement for admission was obviated by including it as part of the curriculum that included tutoring in writing and study skills -- also used as justification for awarding extra credits -- only reveals what a sham the school was pulling in order to milk the 80 PHLUTE students for tuition fees.
While we have no objection to remedial tutoring for those who did not receive adequate college preparation in high school, we do object to taking advantage of ill-prepared students to bolster college budgets. The proper time to offer lessons in basic writing and study skills is prior to college enrollment. That's why the personal statement tool is used. Asking students to pay private college tuition rates for what they should have received free in K-12 is unfair to those now paying back exorbitant student loans, as is obtaining college level credit for learning to read and write.
If the school administrators really wanted to help disadvantaged students go to college, they could become involved with centers like 826Valencia in providing
programs for that purpose--not in conning people into thinking they've found a short cut to college credentials. In reality, that shell game does no one any good.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Behind Closed Doors
Is Martin Hamilton still on the board, and if so, why?
Is Ms. O'Neal, Peter Gabel's former girl friend, resigning?
What is Jane Swan's relationship with Peter Gabel?
Does she manage his trust funds?
Sunday, August 12, 2007
An Act of Self Defense
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Eulogy for a Pariah
Friday, August 10, 2007
Failure to Communicate
Other than the persistent (and we can only assume intentional) neglect to
include alumni/ae in the proposed power-sharing at New College, the primary
complaint we have and continue to demand remedy of is the utter lack of
communication between the board of trustees and the New College
community-at-large. If they want to prevent rumor-mongering, there is a
mechanism for that; it's called communication.
New College has a website; it also has an e-mail database. To date, none of
the information we've obtained second and third hand via e-mail has been
posted on the New College homepage. None of the alumni/ae questions asked at
the board's open forum have been answered.
If the so-called savvy new board members and consultants want the support of
alumni/ae in raising funds, rather than rely exclusively on the largesse of
inherited wealth, then they would do well to treat us as though we exist.
Their continued bomfoggery, excuses, and patronizing posture isn't making
them any friends.
No donation without representation.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Saving a Myth
While frantic faculty are understandably concerned with saving their jobs, alumni and students might well ask, "Is the school worth saving?" I mean, the whole just, sacred, and sustainable malarkey has been pretty well blown out of the water. All that leaves are a bunch of nihilist manipulators and some crummy buildings.
Maybe instead of devoting our energy to resurrection of this academic monster, we should be seeking restitution from those who made it that way--the trustees themselves.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
A Moral Fraud
While WASC rightly focuses on the board of trustees' fiduciary neglect of academic integrity, financial transparency, and democratic governance, New College alumni/ae are forced to deal with the consequences of the board's long-term malign neglect of the entire New College community. Part of our response is to help our members come to terms with the enormity of the violations of social norms and human dignity over thirty years by the school's callous cabal of Peter Gabel, Mildred Henry, and Martin Hamilton. Another aspect of our engagement is to assist those harmed in seeking relief--legally, psychologically, as well as ethically. Seeing the school brought into compliance with the ethical requirements detailed in the WASC letter is but one part of our overall task of recreating the narrative of our alma mater; redevelopment of the school's policies and practices does not, however, address the serious moral issues that need to be aired through a formal process of truth-telling. For that, we have no agency to rely on; it is up to us to hold the trustees morally accountable.
In our many posts on this topic, we have written of the acute suffering by staff, students, and faculty maliciously harassed by the trustees and their administrative accomplices over the past two decades, but the full impact of this psychological brutality is only comprehendable when one reads or listens to testimony by those grievously harmed. In the following excerpt from just one of the many comments we've received from former humanities, law, and graduate psychology students and faculty, one begins to understand what we're talking about and why a community response is in order.
Must we keep silent in our suffering for the greater good of keeping a progressive institution going? It is like asking an abused child not to speak of their abuse lest their abuser be held accountable, be jailed. I call upon all students of color and their allies of any race, who have been harmed by the financial and racial predation of New College Of California and New College Of California School Of Law, to join a class action law suit against the school, it’s board of directors, selected faculty and selected administrators for the intentional infliction of economic and emotional distress; for the negligent infliction of economic and emotional distress; for breech of their fiduciary duty; for inducing and concealing fraud; for betrayal of the public trust. The burden of keeping New College afloat is too great for us to bear. It is time for the consequences of the school’s predation to rest on the shoulders of those who are/were most responsible.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Aside from a delightfully self-mocking satirical title, the contributors to the publication shared some beautiful metaphors with us. One of our favorites is President-for-Life Peter Gabel, the now completely disgraced sociopath of Bay Area moral theatrics.
Monday, August 06, 2007
Paddle to Lummi
Thanks to Paul de Armond for prompting me to collect these essays and for first publishing them. Also to Daniel Junas for his inspirational dedication. To the Lummi Nation for giving me joy and showing me the meaning of the term human dignity. To Anica Vesel Mander for her grace. To Colleen Gallagher for her gentleness, Hisako Oba for giving me peace, and Emerald O'Leary for reminding me that rage against injustice can overtake loving kindness, if you let it.
Today ended the week-long first potlatch in 70 years for Lummi Nation and all their relations who arrived from the coasts of Washington and British Columbia by canoe. Here is the story of Paddle to Lummi--past, present, and future.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Encounter with Eloquence
Netwar at New College
Research conducted by alumni/ae, faculty and students attempting to democratize a small private college in
Following a no-confidence vote in the college president by faculty led by longtime professor Harry Britt, and a demand for trustee resignations on July 18, college alumnus Holly Harwood ramped up her interactive website SSOS with documents and articles, while adjunct faculty member Alison Burek launched a letter-writing campaign. On July 20, an independent alumni/ae association was formed, and online discussions started taking place on local media weblogs. On July 25, former
By July 29, a critical mass of information from correspondents had accumulated for analysis to take place that would assess the most promising lines of inquiry for assignment to a growing number of research volunteers. On July 31, the San Francisco Chronicle ran an A-1, above-the-fold headline story on the
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Ironically, the unraveling of his fantasyland Mecca of moral theatrics, is a direct result of his invitation to imported thugs and local hoodlums expected to enhance his defiant, anti-authoritarian image. Luckily for us, the previously-hoodwinked agents of accountability have finally seen through this ruse. Unfortunately for them, the day of reckoning is drawing nearer every day.
Perhaps like Patty, it's time for Peter to take a time out.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Follow the Money
Reading the WASC Special Investigation Team report last night, we were reminded of these tools of the trade by several remarks about secrecy, missing records, evasive responses, and curious delays in student loan disbursements. Which got us thinking along RICO lines of inquiry, like who had access to moving funds around. And we made a list.
But before we name names, it's important to shed the notion of bumbling idiots promoted by New College president Martin Hamilton, and begin thinking of criminal enterprise in a corrupt organization. It takes cooperation from several key individuals to launder money, and it takes planning, coordination, and -- when things start going south -- a cover-up. We believe we're at the latter phase.
One more thing before we get to the cast of characters. There's more than one scam going on in our alma mater, although they are likely related, but focusing solely on the PHLUTE program masterminded by Dr. Myers would be a mistake. She only arrived two years ago, and funny stuff was going on long before that. PHLUTE may be the latest and most flagrant example of a shell program, but we don't think it's the first. But even that misses the larger picture of systematic, prolonged practice of felony fraud--something we've repeatedly referred to.
One obvious place to start an investigation of this would be, as they say, to follow the money. Since the school runs 95% on student loans, it should be easy to track. Money in--money out, right? Well, not quite. In the Special Investigation Team report, they mention complaints about delays in federal student loan disbursements, sometimes up to a month or two after the funds arrive from the U.S. Department of Education. I personally remember a week or two being the norm.
With an annual cash flow of $16 million from the U.S. Treasury, that means something like $1.3 million a month was flowing through the school's bank account. If someone was able to reroute that money -- even for a short period of time -- the interest skimmed could amount to a fairly tidy sum. $100,000 a year would be a very conservative estimate.
But we -- unlike the New College administration -- are not funded by the US government. We're volunteer concerned alumni. We don't have lawyers, private investigators, and auditors. But someone we know does.
Update: New College board of trustees have accepted Hamilton's resignation.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Climate of Secrecy
Our finding is that in several specifiable instances, most specifically those involving the PHLUTE program, some classes may be sufficiently doubtful of content as to rate them suspect.
The PHLUTE program is a BA degree marketed primarily to the San Francisco African American community. Students attend class each term for about 56 hours instead of the usual 300 that would be required for 20 units. This practice strikes us as a gross misapplication of academic advising, program administration, and program design [by vice presidents Michael McAvoy, Linda Myers, and Bob Brown].
Input about the PHLUTE program from several sources highlights a number of additional issues of concern. One is the climate of secrecy and differential treatment of students in the program. Further, the team was provided with information indicating that the PHLUTE program, originally housed in Humanities, appears to have been moved to Psychology.
Humanities is the only department that has a WASC-approved Bachelor's degree; the Psychology department is not authorized to award Bachelor's degrees. It is also hard to understand how one department could oversee and administer a program whose faculty are retained by another department.
PHLUTE was not approved by any of the governing entities.
That fraud, to put it bluntly, is in creating a criminal scam within New College targeting poorly-educated blacks in the Bay Area as victims. By luring them into the Afro-centric programs designed to fleece these students Dr. Myers betrays everything the champions of the Civil Rights Movement fought and died for. But in terms of the present accreditation crisis at New College, it is the race-based con devised by Dr. Myers that is most likely to bring the walls of the school tumbling down.
In a complaint filed in California Superior Court in April of this year, Dr. Rebecca Bauknight -- former assistant dean of the graduate psychology department at New College -- charged that in 2005 she "was concerned that Dean Myers' lack of attention to existing programs would jeopardize New College's ability to meet accreditation requirements and licensing board mandates." After filing a racial discrimination complaint with President Hamilton and trustee Gabel in October 2006, Dr. Bauknight was relieved of her duties without any investigation into her complaint against Dr. Myers. Her prescient remarks have apparently now come back to haunt them.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Black and White
The third thing we learned last night was that Pamela Gilmore is the director of the infamous PHLUTE program which has come under such pointed scrutiny by the oversight agency WASC for flagrant violations of financial and academic integrity. Playing the race card in her defense, Ms. Gilmore said, "WASC was called because people didn't like having a black woman as academic vice president."
Referring to her superior in the Graduate Psychology department (Dr. Linda James Myers), Ms. Gilmore was apparently attempting to defend Dr. Myers -- the person responsible for supervising her program -- in advance of charges being filed. From what we can determine, the forthcoming charges will likely include forcing school registrars to violate federal loan policies and threatening other administrators uncomfortable with defrauding the federal government.
While we're on the topic of criminal wrongdoing, we would be remiss not to draw reader's attention to this San Francisco Chronicle article about a Hunters Point construction project of the San Francisco Unified School District, in which Pamela Gilmore -- then a SFUSD employee -- was charged with 'aiding and abetting felony fraud.' To top things off in the unraveling New College scandal surrounding the PHLUTE program, it appears that Gilmore's domestic partner and PHLUTE enrollee is none other than Keith Jackson, former board president of SFUSD, and consultant hired by New College to use his influence at city hall to make a bid for the UC Berkeley Extension Laguna Street campus. Word on the street has it that in addition to his consulting fees, Jackson made commissions on all the related bank loans.
Due to the fact that Pamela Gilmore, Keith Jackson, and Dr. Linda James Myers are all black, Ms. Gilmore seems to think they should be given a pass for white collar crime. We disagree.
Update: Three witnesses saw and two heard Keith Jackson threatening New College professor Harry Britt (one of the faculty calling for an investigation) outside the school. According to one witness, Jackson was heard to say, "If you say that again, I'll take you out." The District Attorney's office has been alerted.