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Vote Does Not Eliminate Support For Fired Professor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Samantha Jo Jaffray   
Thursday, 06 March 2014 04:55

On Feb. 26, the Board of Trustees for the Los Angeles Community College District voted 7-0 to deny Los Angeles Mission College Professor Guillermo Aviles-Rodriguez tenure.

Which in effect means they voted to effectively fire Prof. Aviles-Rodriguez effective June 30. This is the same professor who made history at LAMC by directing L.A. Mission’s first ever theatrical production in 2011, “Crossing the Line: A Latino Kyogen,” and the same professor that over 1,000 people have signed a petition to save.

Guillermo has done nothing but bring our community and students together and maybe this is his big crime. After all it was Aviles-Rodriguez’ last theatrical production, “ALMAS: Voices of Pioneer Memorial Cemetery,” that did the most to bring the community together this past October.

It was the hope of every student who has ever taken a class from Guillermo, and been inspired by his passionate style, that the Board of Trustees would take the time to investigate this sham and correct the tenure review committee’s irresponsible vote.

The community and students are disappointed that this board of elected trustees would be so willful in ignoring such a loud and forceful outcry from such a large portion of the Los Angeles Mission College community and student body.

With their vote against integrity, this Board of Trustees has unwittingly inspired all students and community members at L.A. Mission for whom justice still has meaning to double our efforts and find new and creative ways to shine a light on the corruption and filth of the leadership of Los Angeles Mission College.

Perhaps the Board of Trustees felt that they had to show support for the failed leadership at LA Mission? A unanimous vote to eliminate and innocent professor in fact is a vote to support two misguided presidents who are going to lose our College’s accreditation.

Who are these presidents? One is a hopelessly inept puppet, and the other a two-faced backstabber. Both President Perez and Academic Senate President/Professor Leslie Milke have taught the students just how disingenuous a person in power can be when they want to wash themselves clean of their responsibilities and to cover up any wrong doing or mistakes made under their watch.

Both of these individuals have participated in this travesty and have been all too quick to distance themselves from it. Milke went as far as to lie to a group of students about her status and involvement on Professor Aviles-Rodriguez’ tenure review committee.

Professor Milke first stated that she was not on Professor Aviles-Rodriguez's committee, and then only minutes later stated she was a non-voting member.

So which is it Professor Milke? What hope do we students have to become ethical contributing members of society when our leadership lie about their actions or cannot even stand by their decisions? Professor Deborah Paulsen, the chair of Aviles-Rodriguez’ tenure review committee, declined to answer any questions regarding the committee, and in this way joined this lawless posse in circling the wagons of corruption to keep we students the wild savages out of the power center at Mission, and thus passing the buck.

It should be noted that Deborah Paulsen has publicly stated that she has supported Aviles- Rodriguez in his four years at Mission. What she leaves out is that she works mostly from home, and in the last four years she has had semesters where she only has had to be on campus on one to two days a week. It is hard to believe you can guide someone from a computer working mostly at home. In her e-mail response, Paulsen suggested that we reach out to Vice President of Academic Affairs Michael Allen for information.

The same Michael Allen who, two weeks before Guillermo’s tenure rejection vote, yelled at him that he “had been lucky”, but his “luck was about to run out.”

The saddest part in all this is that President Perez brought Michael Allen especially to Mission, going as far as to use LA Mission College Foundation funds to pay for Allen’s moving expenses.

Using student scholarship money to make an administrator’s move more comfortable sounds like another example of the top notch leadership decision making that is going on at Mission.

But the best part of Mr. Allen’s story is that he and Louise Barbato the union rep, are in charge of one of the biggest recommendations made by the accreditation commission last year: improving Collegiality at Mission! Barbato is a key player in Aviles-Rodriguez’ story because she was in charge of getting Guillermo to quit when he went to her for help with his tenure issues.

In front of [foundation member] Monica Moreno, Barbato had the audacity to tell Guillermo he should save himself the stigma of loosing tenure and resign! This is who the professors elected to uphold their union rights? Should Barbato follow the lead of the other cowards in this story and deny what she did, she should know the truth always comes out in the end.

Here is a question; why has the Union not encouraged Barbato to quit? Maybe the union also wants Guillermo to quit? Seems like the only people who see the value of an outstanding teacher who is selfless and puts students first are the Community and students themselves.

Is all this not a cause for concern? A group of individuals targeting people who are helping students? Why is Guillermo such a threat? These people have had the school under their thumb and all it has gotten us is to a point where students are the last concern instead of the first.

The California Educational Code Section 87660-87683 (d) states that “the peer review process shall address the forthcoming demographics of California, and the principles of affirmative action.” And that “the process shall require that the peers reviewing are both representative of the diversity of California and sensitive to affirmative action concerns.” Well the facts are that ALL of the members of Aviles-Rodriguez’ tenure review Committee are White and that two of the three voting members — Curtis Stage and Deborah Paulsen — both went to the same school, Claremont Graduate University.

Maybe these are two of the strikes against Professor Aviles- Rodriguez: he is not White and he did not go to the right school? It is clear that this committee has demonstrated that they are not sensitive to affirmative action concerns since two of the members of Guillermo’s committee have publicly berated him — Curtis Stage (a voting member) actually cursed Guillermo in a faculty meeting and Milke has referenced, on at least one occasion, a Latino male as a dog.

If she was a little more literate she would know that when Latino’s have to be compared to animals they prefer to be associated with cockroaches as in “Revolt of the Cockroach People.” Speaking of which, it would be amazing to have an active Chicana/o Department at Mission. Samantha Jo Jaffray is a student at Los Angeles Mission College.