Yay Us, Kudos Coast Report

Dilatory as ever, this message comes late but is no less heartfelt.

Thank you.

In my view, the Coast Report this semester has been really good—as good as I’ve seen over the past few years.

I deeply appreciate all the time, care, intelligence and dedication it takes to put it out each week.

It was particularly astonishing to pick up last week’s edition Wednesday morning reporting the Tuesday night election results. You must have stayed up all night to bring us the news—both national and local. And very well done, too, I might add.

To me, the strength of your fall 2008 effort has been the in-depth coverage of campus and local news. It’s been intelligent, mature and important.

This gives those dedicated to building the best OCC community an opportunity to learn of campus issues and participate in finding solutions.

So special thanks to Editor in Chief Britney Barnes, News Editor Fernando Vazquez and writer Nuran Alteir. You’ve just been outstanding.

Most of our fellow students, I’d guess, have no idea that the paper they pick up each week—for free—is the work-product of just a few, unpaid student reporters, photographers and editors, with, of course, under the extraordinary advice and direction of faculty members Cathy Werblin and Alicia Lopez.

Neither do most know that because Coast Report is actually a class, the team changes (sometimes rather drastically) each semester, and that while there are returning writers each term, often time new members have little or no experience in journalistic writing.

It’s rather a miracle that it’s as good as it is. If it slips a bit once in a while, I ask my classmates to “cut‘em a little slack.” And when they do a great job, let’s all say so.

So, once again, well done, all. And Thank You.

Lynne Riddle

OCC student

Petitions Leave a Divided Faculty

In response to Britney Barnes’ Oct. 29 article “Petition Supports Nish,” I remind Professor Naesse and Dr. Ring, that the “petition circulated last spring by a group of faculty unhappy with [the vice president’s] performance” merely proposed that all faculty be allowed to participate in the evaluation process of the three vice presidents.

Had OCC’s president granted our reasonable request then, Naesse’s and Ring’s counter-petition would have been unnecessary, and all could have fairly offered their perceptions and experiences regarding the VP’s leadership, and much of the tension between faculty would have been avoided. Perhaps administration prefers the faculty-against-faculty culture that does prevail.

Barnes’s article cites Georgie Monahan as declaring, “now the record is set straight.” But both petitions are the record. And both realities exist—those who have had positive experiences with the VPI and those who believe her leadership style has contributed to a negative ethos on campus. Monahan and Ring focus on numbers—Ring boasting he “could have got more signatures” and Monahan asserting that “the greater percentage of faculty support” the VPI. The evaluation isn’t a popularity contest.

Rather than focus on how many do or don’t support the vice president, it might be instructive for the president and the board of trustees to face the feedback.

One conclusion that might be drawn from the dueling petitions is that the VPI’s management style has had a polarizing effect on campus: colleagues are at odds with colleagues, departments are colliding with other departments, division deans are often caught in the middle of their faculty and administrators.

Here we are: a divided faculty, a college on warning status in a district that has apparently mismanaged Coastline’s growth (though no-one has yet been held accountable), forcing OCC to make cuts in its offerings. Though the VPI is not solely responsible for these problems, she, or her successor, is responsible for navigating through this crisis: that will take the support of the faculty.

If the VPI can repair this current divide—even if that divide seems lopsided—so that serious concerns get addressed, so faculty can, in turn, better serve their students (this is the VPI’s mandate—to support faculty so they can support their students) then I will offer my support of the VPI and give high marks on any evaluation that I am invited to complete.

Glynis T. Hoffman

OCC Professor, English

Administrator Needs to Help Unite

Response to the Oct. 29 article “Petition Supports Nish:” I found the article sad. No faculty should be so divided. Georgie Monahan states in the article that the petition of last semester is a personal attack but that is not so. Many of the signers of the petition are long time faculty members of OCC and some are even former recipients of the Outstanding Faculty of the Year award.

Specific serious concerns are documented in our letters to the board of trustees. We don’t have a personal vendetta against Nish. The concerns are with her terrible and often offensive and unprofessional management style.

These are very serious concerns that have caused conflicts among faculty in these times of enormous challenges, when California is facing serious economic challenges and thousands are losing their jobs and homes. It is a time when we should all be united and trying to help the general public prepare for higher education and retraining in a multitude of fields.

VP Nish seems to be an excellent divider of the campus. She divides in several ways, one of which is to throw a few bones to her select favorites and to deny her least favorites by prematurely cutting classes way before the start of the semester. There is always an excuse.

I have been a community college educator since 1977 including 11 years as an assistant dean and dean and have worked under many different presidents and vice presidents but have never before worked under someone who seems intent in dividing the faculty and staff as we are witnessing here at OCC. This petition in support of Nish was signed by 134 persons and circulated by 10 faculty and or staff. There are 266 full-time and 580 part-time instructors plus 350 classified staff for a total of 1196. The 134 is only 11 percent of campus employees and if gathered by 10 persons that is a fairly low number for such a great effort.

If Nish thinks that by cutting classes and funding for those that do not support her is doing damage to the individual faculty members she is quite mistaken. All of us are tenured, can bump part timers and even qualify for retraining in the case of serious reductions in departments and workloads. The precedent has been set at the college and district levels.

What she is doing is damaging the community and not the targeted teachers. Her style seems to be management by intimidation and fear. In this business we need a uniter and not a divider.

Joe Cortez

OCC Professor, Machine Technology

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