Just the facts, ma’am
June 10, 2008
By THE EDITORS
A Cal Poly official took to the airways Monday to dispute portions of an UncoveredSLO.com article posted last week.
Amy Hewes, director of publications and communications for the College of Engineering, argued on Dave Congalton’s 920KVEC Hometown Radio show that she disagreed with parts of the article, “Cal Poly’s College of Engineering budget bleeds.”
Hewes called Congalton’s show to disagree with the article. UncoveredSLO.com Co-Editor Karen Velie, a guest on the show, cited for Hewes documents used in the article’s research. Hewes then admitted that the university’s College of Engineering was, indeed, in the red. She added that all of the colleges at Cal Poly are in the red.
However, numerous university sources insist both the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science and Math are operating in the black.
Hewes called a second time Monday to the Congalton show, claiming off-air that she had been speaking as a private citizen, and not as a spokesperson for the university.
Asked which version of the College of Engineering’s fiscal health is true, Cal Poly spokesperson Stacia Momburg said earlier today, “I would go with the provost.” That’s the version that everything is good. Momberg said she would check her information regarding the financial status of both the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Engineering. When she responded, she said, “The budget is balanced and there is no shortfall in the College of Engineering and there is no deficit in the College of Liberal Arts.”
The number of employees raising funds for the college was another point of contention.
Hewes claimed that the number of college advancement staff members has not changed under Engineering College Dean Mohammad Noori’s guidance. From one perspective, her claim may have merit; the college appears to have placed fund raising staff in other departments.
So, to clarify, the number of fund raising staff has more than doubled in number, while the fruits of their efforts have shrunk. The numbers and findings in UncoveredSLO.com’s report originate with, and are verified by, numerous university sources.
In 2005, when Engineering College Dean Mohammad Noori first started at Cal Poly, Michelle Jenkins and Jennifer Endes were the two employees responsible for the College of Engineering’s fund raising effort. Both were earning approximately $70,000 per year.
Noori fired Endes in March 2006 and Jenkins continued to run the department alone for about six months.
Around September 2006, Noori appointed a friend from Iran, Zahed Sheikh, with a starting salary of around $120,000 and a fund raising quota of $300,000. After failing to meet his quota, Sheikh was given a full time position with a more than $100,000 salary.
A fall 2006 newsletter lists Sheikh under the category of “development.”
An October 2006 memo from Noori announced Joe Donahoo would fill the assistant dean/director of advancement position. He is reported to have a salary of over $100,000.
Noori then promoted Donna Aiken from assistant to the dean, to director of donor relations, at a salary of more than $70,000. The job change came with a 66 percent salary increase.
Debbie Houseman spent a few days in development in March 2007, before exiting on stress leave.
In April 2007, after five years as director of corporate relations, Jenkins left with a settlement agreement.
Then in August 2007, Cindy Holton was brought in as a full time assistant to support the fund raising effort.
Hewes also claimed six chairs had not stepped down during Noori’s three-year reign. The following six chairs ended their terms during Noori’s tenure at Cal Poly:
Dr. Robert Crockett resigned during year two of a three-year term as chair of bio-medical engineering.
Dr. Gregg Fiegel resigned in year two of his first three-year term as chair of civil and environmental engineering.
Dr. Thomas Mackin completed a three-year term as mechanical engineering chair and chose not to run again.
Professor Mike Cirovic stepped down as the chair of electrical engineering.
Dr. Linda Vanasupa resigned in year two of her second term as materials engineering chair and went on to become director of Global EdGe.
Dr. Mei-Ling Liu completed a one year term as computer science chair. She did not compete for the three-year term in the open search.
“When Amy Hewes came on the show, a group of us were listening in at the CFA year-end picnic,” said an engineering professor who asked to remain anonymous. “When she said this is academia and there is no retribution here, everyone scoffed and guffawed. What does she know? She hasn’t been through the process. So, how can she comment?”
Tags:, Cal Poly, Congalton