Former engineering dean sues Cal Poly and Karen Velie

December 15, 2010

Mohammad Noori


A former Cal Poly dean of the College of Engineering has filed a lengthy lawsuit naming the California State University Board of Trustees, Cal Poly, journalist Karen Velie, and others, citing a dozen allegations including racial and religious discrimination, defamation and wrongful termination.

In an action filed Dec. 7 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Mohammad Noori, 57, said his complaints centered around his unsuccessful efforts in 2008 to assist a Saudi Arabia university in starting an engineering program. Noori also named as co-defendants Cal Poly’s Provost and Vice-President of Academic Affairs Robert Koob, engineering professor Unny Menon and blogger Roger Freberg.

He seeks reinstatement by the university to his previous position and unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for alleged losses of income. Noori was hired as the College of Engineering dean in 2005 and demoted in June 2010.

Noori’s attorney says in the lawsuit, “In the fall of 2007,…as negotiations with the University of Saudi Arabia prolonged, a series of racial and defamatory attacks on Noori began by Freberg and Velie, which appeared on their respective websites. Menon provided internal materials to Freberg and Velie.”

Both Freberg and Velie said they stand by their articles which are still available on the web.

The Saudi proposal was controversial because it appeared to limit in a discriminatory manner those who could participate. CalCoastNews reported on February 14, 2008 in an article headlined: “An intriguing Cal Poly/Saudi project if you’re not a woman, Jewish or gay.”

The article details “a proposed Cal Poly agreement to develop an engineering program in Jubail from which women, Jewish people and gays would be excluded. The controversial co-venture pits a department head and a handful of administrators backing the project against an apparent majority of the Engineering College faculty.”

The issue was also covered by the Los Angeles Times and NPR’s California Report.

The website, in an June 10, 2008 article headlined “Cal Poly’s controversial dean of engineering dismissed,” reported: “After years of controversy, high staff turnover and faculty discontent, Mohammad Noori, the controversial dean of Cal Poly’s College of Engineering, was asked last week to step down as the head of the university’s most prestigious college, CalCoastNews has learned.

“The move caps more than two years of maneuvering by faculty and department chairs within the Engineering College over how to deal with the increasingly unpopular Noori. “Dissatisfied critics said Noori’s inability to manage budget deficits, a seemingly lack of leadership for such an important academic unit within Cal Poly and his failed plan for a proposed partnership in 2008 with an engineering school in Saudi Arabia project led to growing calls that he be fired. CalCoastNews learned that Cal Poly’s interim provost Robert Koob met with Noori last Thursday and told him he had to step down.”

The article further reported that “prior to being hired at Cal Poly, Noori served as the mechanical and aeronautical engineering department head at North Carolina State University from 1999 to 2004. The administration forced Noori to step down as department head due to reported widespread dissatisfaction with his performance.”

Noori noted in his suit that he had been assured his proposed dismissal would be confidential until he was allotted more time to state his position. The next day, he said Velie arrived at his office and requested an interview about his dismissal.

Freberg,  who writes a popular blog that often reports on Cal Poly occurrences, was alleged by Noori to have caused “defamatory articles, blogs to appear against the plaintiff (Noori), including one which showed Osama Bin Laden’s head placed on a Cal Poly jersey.”

“I used it as a metaphor for Cal Poly’s proposed relationship with Jubail University in Saudi Arabia,” Freberg said. “It is sad, this is someone who doesn’t understand free speech and obviously wants to strike back at all those who disagree with him.”

Noori also alleged retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination; breach of contract; negligent interference with economic advantage and intentionally inflicting emotional duress.

Noori was told to step down in June 2010, about six months before he would be vested in his state retirement. Cal Poly officials said he would join the faculty and teach mechanical engineering.

He has been on leave from the university since June. In the lawsuit, Noori claims venue in Los Angeles County is proper because he either lives in, or is doing business, there.

He is currently slated to teach at Cal Poly in the spring.

At an Academic Senate Executive Committee meeting, Norri told attendees that he was not Muslim. In the lawsuit, he claims he is.

Noori is represented by Charles Mathews of The Mathews Law Group, San Marino.

Daniel Blackburn, editor of, can be reached at


Piss off Wiseguy…everybody is entitled to their opinion, thats whats makes this a free country. Its your kind who intend to silence others with the likes of Fairness Doctrines which are a insult to free speech much like your response. If you don’t like what you see don’t read it, move on.


I take it that you are responding to Wiseguy’s reply to standup? It gets confusing when people don’t attach their response to the post they are referencing.


I am this>< close to deleting this comment...Only because of the excretory references; DO NOT USE THEM,
use language appropriate for a living room, with your or my mother.
K ?


Of course people are “entitled to their opinion.” Who said they are not?

I have no intention of forcing anyone to withhold their opinions from this forum.

But look at it this way:

Everyone is entitled to get sick also, but if you’re contagious, it would be common courtesy to stay away from the public and not to try to infect others with your disease. Similarly, some ideas and opinions are disease laden and unhealthy and contagious and potentially deadly and it would be common courtesy, and of vast public benefit, to not thoughtlessly or selfishly spew that sickness all over town.

Promoting hatred and violence and prejudice on this forum is not illegal, but there is nothing wrong with trying to counsel people not to do it and to stand up and speak out against bullying.


My gut tells me Wiseguy is NOT a guy!


Out of curiosity I went back and read the articles by Karen and Roger. I just have to shake my head because this guy never should have been hired into CalPoly to begin with. Didn’t anyone do a background check? He has been nothing but trouble wherever he goes. In fact he was accused of everything that he has accused the named defendants of. This guy wasn’t just incompetent but appears to have been delusional and mentally unbalanced. He has caused severe financial, moral and academic damage in every department he was involved in. Even faculty from SC admit that they knew they were dumping a hugh problem on CalPoly and they were happy to wash their hands of him. Where is the accountability? CalPoly deserves to have this come back to bite them in the behind for a second time. At least after this, no other US college will ever have anything to do with him.

I have to admit that Karen and Roger sure did get the FACTS out. Like I said, I was shaking my head and Roger, I loved the T-Shirt.


We are living in an increasingly insane society. So many institutions, public and private, are infected and reward and promote the dysfunctional and selfish, greedy and inept who rise despite actions that harm the institutions that are hired to work for. It’s happening all across the nation, as it has for many years now. We see it in so many industries. It’s nothing new at Cal Poly.

Too many people are too willing to look the other way, or ignore unethical behavior, often with the excuse that such things, and worsse, are happening “everywhere”.

In some ways, that is why organizations like Wikileaks and CalCoastNews are spawning naturally, as an antidote, as a balance to all the dark secrets held by so many.


Too many people are willing to look the other way? Unethical behavior is killing innocent people through terrorist activities. Yet you seem to support this kind of activity through your ripping of my post. You have the appearance of a hypocrite.


On the contrary, Standup, I am adamantly AGAINST terrorist activity. And that includes the terror-inspiring, hateful, violence promoting rhetoric you continually spew. Your vision is obviously clouded by the fear and hatred that is overwhelming your soul and inflaming your mind.


I don’t recall CCN reporting any lies and if it was hearsay the sourse had been included.

This is the sort headache that goes with the business.

It does not surprise me that someone who walks on eggshells end up with the only crown left (misery who loves company)

I think CCN should be excluded from the lawsuit / vindictive harrassment.

Myself I would not excuse him from malicious or negligent litigation.


Noori: You’re a hypocrite. You were a bully and a liar at Poly. You played employees against each other and kept an inner circle of yes-men. You think Unny Menon was “the source”? You have no idea just how many people thought very little of you. Not because of your skin color or religion, but because of your staggering ineptitude. I hope you have to prove you WERE NOT a complete failure during the course of this legal action.

It’s a shame you weren’t exposed by a media outlet like CalCoastNews while you were in North Carolina. Then Poly could have avoided you completely and the College of Engineering would be in a much better place today.


I love this part of the story….

“Noori also alleged retaliation, failure to prevent discrimination; breach of contract; negligent interference with economic advantage and intentionally inflicting emotional duress.”

Wait did I just read that he is WHINING about failure to prevent discrimination and yet ,if I understand this right, he was wanting to form this engineering school in Saudi Arabia that excludes women, Jews and gays???? Mr. Noori if you are reading this, (which you probably are) you have either been SCREWED out of your money on your education, in not understanding what discrimnation is (calling the kettle black here my friend) or you are the world’s biggest HYPOCRITE!!!! So which is it?

Also now that your credibility has already been damaged by the above statement you claim to one group that you are not Muslim and then to another that you are?? SIr might I suggest with all your contradictions that you get your story straight before court, because a Judge and Jury will smell your BULLSHIT a mile away!!!!!


I’m reminded of the old Gypsy curse:

May you be involved in a lawsuit in which you know that you are right.

Herewith, Dr. Noori digs his professional grave.


You know that you have “arrived” when you are named in a lawsuit.

Congrats to all!


“He has been on leave from the university since June. In the lawsuit, Noori claims venue in Los Angeles County is proper because he either lives in, or is doing business, there.”

Sounds like his attorney’s are as whacked out as he is. Isn’t the proper venue always where the incident occurred or the transaction was executed? This turkey actually believes that all the offensive infidels have to follow his ass around and answer to him based on where he decides to live? Good thing he didn’t move to Saudi, you’d all get stoned for this!


“a proposed Cal Poly agreement to develop an engineering program in Jubail from which women, Jewish people and gays would be excluded. The controversial co-venture pits a department head and a handful of administrators backing the project against an apparent majority of the Engineering College faculty.”

“It is sad, this is someone who doesn’t understand free speech and obviously wants to strike back at all those who disagree with him.”

He wants to enjoy the freedoms and rights our nation provides but is instrumental in preventing others from doing so. If he is so disatisfied with our laws and rules maybe he should move back to the middle east where I’m sure his free speech will be curtailed…


Well Mr. Noori, be glad I am not in charge of this country. I would have never let you or anyone else from your region of the world into this great country. You are all a bunch of wacked out terrorist is my book. Call me raciest, a hate monger, I don’t care. When your countrymen fly planes into our buildings, I have no choice but group you with them. Quit sniveling and move on.


Standup, your bigoted, hate-inspired, violence promoting comments do nothing to make the U.S. a better nation. Quite the opposite. You absolutely DO have a choice in this matter, despite your groundless protests and excuses for your despicable and false claims. As poorly as Mr. Noori comes off, YOU, mr. “Standup” come off as worse. Your ego-centric delusion that wants to paint yourself as superior to every single person of an entire race, demonstrates a perverse and destructive mindset that, if not controlled, will lead you to increased misery for you and many of those who you associate with.

I’m sympathetic to your fears and insecurity and, rather than wishing you any harm, I hope that somehow you are granted the grace to learn the error of your ways before your destructive and unhealthy attitude and actions further harm yourself and others. You are infected with a viral meme which is contagious. May your find healing ASAP. Please don’t be so quick to dismiss my words and the vital truth behind them that could help you if you take them to heart.

On a personal note, your despicable comments, are not appreciated and I politely ask you to refrain from such posts as they will only lead to more suffering.


Put a sock in it, Wiseguy. Most of us are just tired of Muslims crying discrimination every time you turn around. Look at the case of the teacher wanting three weeks off during the school year to visit Mecca. What race is Noori claiming to be, anyway. Protected races in the U.S. are African American, Asian, and Native American. Am I wrong.


“Put a sock in it”? Why?

Personally, I think it is healthy and a good thing for our community and nation and world when people speak out against bullying.


Bullying? whose bullying. You can take your Muslim love elsewhere. They want us dead according to their religion. You know the word “infidels”? If they want to live in peace according to our laws, not expect some kind of preferential treatment for their religion, not send money “back home” to support terrorists, they are welcome. If they can’t live up to that, screw ’em. This guy is a piece of you know what. Give it up or let him move into your home.


Standup, YOU are among those who are bullying Muslims, spreading misunderstanding, hatred and violence in our community. Your accusations are unfounded and abusive. I don’t hate you for this. I consider you an unfortunate victim of propaganda, poor education, and fear-mongering. You have come to represent so much of what you claim to despise. There’s some serious and unhealthy conflict and contradictions raging in your soul. The fact that there are so many others similarly diseased in our community may give you some sense of security or belonging or empowerment, but it is illusion. The hatred you harbor and spew is consuming you in ways you do not yet appreciate. The future does not look hopeful for you unless you wake up and have the courage and faith to push down your base instincts and fears. It all comes down to faith or fear. Unfortunately, you have let yourself succumb to the latter. But it is not too late to step up and turn your life around and be a force for good in our community, rather than a contagious disease.


Most of us are just tired


standup didn’t say that he thinks he is better. He said that he doesn’t trust any of them, I guess he is referring to the Muslims particularly the ones with strong ties to the Middle East like Noori. Lets face it, they are a bizarre bunch of extremist, they are so violent that they stone 14 year old little girls to death in the streets and the most bigoted sociopaths in the world. If they don’t like it here, they need to get the hell out.


Cindy, once again your are ignorantly stereotyping a vast segment of the world’s population and promoting hatred and misunderstanding. Being Muslim does not and should not mean you have less rights than non-Muslims. It is part of the foundation of the United States that this is a nation that does not discriminate based on a person’s spiritual beliefs. Not all Muslims and not all Christians are criminals or terrorists.

I find your anti-Muslim statements ignorant, self-centered, selfish, and despicable, and a threat to so much of what is great about the United States.

We need to unify the world, not divide it.


“we have met the enemy and he is us”


In some cases but not in all cases!


He may not have stated it so clearly, but it is obvious that Standup has deluded himself into acting as if he has more right to live in our nation than do people who are Muslims. There is a basic human disrespect that taints Standups posts and implied that he thinks he is, for some reason, a better person than everyone those people in our world who are Muslim and/or have strong connections to the Middle East. This is pure, unfortunate delusion on his part. And Cindy, based on your comments, you show similar traits.


Say what you want wise guy. I DO NOT TRUST people from the middle east. THEIR religion wants us all destroyed. As soon as some whacko ignites a dirty bomb and kills someone in your family, we’ll see how you feel then. I never said I was superior, I just don’t want them in this country if their goal in life is to kill us. Am I wrong for that? Please explain idiot. I am not insecure, we lost good human beings in 911 because one religion despises Christians. False claims, my ass which you can kiss.


Standup, it’s obvious you are a victim of anti-Muslim propaganda and thus are an unwitting tool for the enemies of peace and freedom. It’s obvious you have no true understanding of the Muslim religion.

It’s also obvious you are frightened and insecure and have let your most base and violent and hateful animal instincts control you. The hateful rhetoric you spew so freely shows YOU to be a danger to our community.

The Muslim religion, in fact, HONORS Jesus Christ and the teachings of Jesus.

There are violent and hateful people who identify themselves as Christians and the same goes for Muslims. But these are people who don’t appreciate and understand the core of the religion they identify with.

The hateful and violent rhetoric you spew is a threat to many good people in our community. The fear and insecurity you harbor has taken over you and you are now spreading it like an infectious disease. YOU are everything YOU claim to despise.

I’m imagine you are in for some very tough lessons in this life unless you wake up and have the courage to open your heart and face your fears and embrace the lessons of love that are at the core of Islamic and Christian religions as well as all the other great religions of the world.

The courage and faith to love is the only solution to the problems and concerns that have crippled you and sickened so many in our nation and our world.


WiseGuy, The Muslims interpret the Koran any old which way. They also believe that the Koran directs them to kill all us American’s and anyone who doesn’t adhere to their religious beliefs. “Jihad”, remember that duty so many of them have, or is that a figment of the Western imagination? I agree that it’s time for you to stick a sock in it. We all know how you feel, as you have made that quite clear. Your attack’s on everyone who expresses a different opinion isn’t appreciated, it’s called foisting. Nobody said ALL Muslims, the problem is that we don’t know which ones are which and there are plenty of them to be weary of. You seem to think this country has nothing better to do than keep tabs on them, wiretap telephones and search everyone at the airports. I for one don’t appreciate any of it.


The Muslims we are talking about here are wahabist, from Saudi Arabia and are great friends of America but not other Islamic republics like Iran.

please stay on topic & be civil to each other.

Everyone is interested in what you have to say about this affair not in what you have to say about other people participating here.

“”Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the

issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site””


Cindy, once AGAIN, you are showing your extreme prejudice as you stereotype great segments of our population, and spread division and animosity and misunderstanding in our nation and our world. The very fact that you would use this unfortunate situation at Cal Poly as a foundation to spread anti-Muslim sentiment is very telling of your motivation and mindset.

It’s ironic that the most hate-filled, violence promoting, prejudiced, stereotyping and anti-freedom postingson this forum come from those who speak against Muslims. It’s pure bullying and its a shame that so many are so tolerant of it. I can’t stop you from spreading your disease through this forum, but while I’m able to, I’ll speak out against it and dissect all your specious and misleading and ill-informed comments.


Listen up and learn to read. I have not at any time in my posts equated the incident at CalPoly to have anything to do with Muslims. Noori is simply a whack job that never should have been hired in the first place for obvious reasons including his track record.

We are off track thanks to you attacking everyone who did voice an opinion on Muslims. American’s have a right to be angry, now go make nicey nice while the rest of us concern ourselves with the REALITY of “too many” extremists running around our country and plotting how to blow us up, poison us, derail trains and crash airliners. The majority of terrorists so happen to be Muslims. That’s a FACT.

I’m finished with you on this thread.


Yes, Cindy, if I were you, I’d also be ready to give up trying to bolster such flimsy ideas. It must get tiring to so often spreading such hatred and misunderstanding throughout our community. Your extremist bigotry and ignorance, if you insist on it, would be best kept private for your sake and the sake of our community.

What possible good do you imagine you are doing by stirring up so much hatred and animosity aimed at millions of people who happen to have been born in a culture you don’t happen to appreciate? Can you answer me that? What GOOD are you doing?

Your hateful extremist comments degrade everyone in our community and will only make things worse.

Please drop your ego and look at the reality of what you are doing. It’s sad in so many ways.


” The muslims religion ,in fact HONORS Jesus Christ and the teachings of Jesus ” Have you read the Quran? or you been listening to some of muslim spin Doctors. that is what they have come up with in the last decade or so. From Muslim’s Quran Sura 5:51″ Believers ,take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends and protectors for they are friends and protectors of one another. Whoever of you seeks their friendship and supports them shall become one of their number.Allah does not guide the wrong doers” just read withfreedomrg and Get wiser about islam


I stand by what I said as would any serious religious scholar: Islam HONORS Jesus.

Here’s is a link to one of MANY books that delve into this deeper:


Amen WiseGuy! Standup’s comment is a troll (he admits as much) feed sparingly or ignore.


Huh, What comment?


“Call me raciest, a hate monger”

that’s the comment that all the above are replies to.


standup. I for one agree with you . The vast majority of naive Americans are still asleep NOT know what is happening inside America, especially in place of learning Unis and Cal Poly. I think Noori wanted to link up in Saudi Arabia is that in USA ,if he does any thing which is not legal ,he would be caught and ridiculed,as he is now.But had he had these facilities also in SA would have had less chances of this happening,he would be far removed from that kind of fear. I would even go step further and say no post in Higher Education should be held by any muslims. Let the people call me what they will, I predict that within this century Islam will dominate USA. Just see and


Sorry it should be wwwbliptv/file/1382254 I do apologise also see wthereligionofpeacecom May I wish you all MERRY XMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR


Skai, you are acting as a fear-mongering, hate-mongering spreader of divisive anti-American propaganda. You literally do not know what you are talking about. I don’t know for sure of you are a wiling propagandist, or a victim of propaganda.

Here’s a link to one of many books that point out something that so many fanatic anti-Muslim hate-mongers don’t want people to understand: