Oh Cuesta, my Cuesta

February 9, 2012

Marilyn Rossa

OPINION By MARILYN ROSSA

My heart hurts right now. My Cuesta College is seriously wounded. Many of you have been here long enough to remember. There was a time when you only had to interview at Cuesta to fall in love with it. But, times have changed.

How many Cuesta College faculty members have you talked to today who are scared to death that they will lose their job?–first, terrified that their name will be at the top of the pink slip list. Now, certain that Cuesta will close and they will be out of a job. Where are your faculty leaders to quell your fears on today’s news?

Regarding the above issue of pink-slipping, had the faculty, under the leadership of both faculty organizations, applied enormous collective pressure on the district–and, I mean up to and including a job action–Cuesta would not be sending out 23 pink slips to tenured faculty. So, why is the district sending that huge number out? Because they can. Where is the outrage? Where is the outcry? Why the terrible silence? Have you given up?

And, then the news of today. Of course, no longer do I say I’m surprised. I was a bit surprised when Cuesta was put on accreditation warning in 2009. This was Cuesta?  Stable, solid Cuesta? The crown jewel of California’s community colleges? The college with the the highest transfer rate of all the cc’s in the state? This was a Cuesta which won multiple state and national awards for academic excellence. One whose Disabled Students Programs and Services was nationally, no internationally, renowned. We had students coming from other countries just to get into our DSPS; now, like so many other programs at Cuesta, it is a mere skeleton of what it used to be and shrinking.

Yes, Gil Stork had to reveal the ACCJC’s ruling in its entirety, and that’s a good thing. But, he didn’t give you the whole picture. He yelled “fire” and told you not to panic. His tone was unnecessarily inflammatory. To start with, he should have told you that Cuesta is not the only college in this situation. College of the Redwoods just got a “show cause” notice: http://www.times-standard.com/ci_19889869?source=most_viewed. I don’t know if there are others, but, at least you can know that we are not alone.

Further, even with the miniscule chance that Cuesta will lose its accreditation (It’s hard for me to even put that down), Cuesta, as such, will not close. If history is any guide, it would be subsumed into another community college district. Read: Compton College. From a 2011, LA Times article: “School officials had embezzled money and the college was seen as woefully mismanaged when an oversight agency revoked Compton’s accreditation in 2005. After the college gave up on its appeals, it was subsumed by El Camino Community College in Torrance, becoming El Camino Compton Center.” Compton continues to work toward re-accreditation.

In 2006, the Chancellor’s Office made this statement:

“Had the state not taken the extraordinary measures that it has, Compton Community College would have been the first publicly-funded community college in the nation to lose its accreditation and close its doors. Closing the college was never an option. The state invested considerable staffing and fiscal resources to save Compton, because its students and district residents deserve quality education that is accessible, affordable, and located in their own community.

“Although the journey to full recovery and fiscal health will require years of intensive rebuilding of its entire infrastructure, Compton Community College remains open, its classes accredited, and essential state support will continue to remedy the problems that jeopardized its fiscal stability and existence. Educational access at Compton will be preserved for future generations.”

So, just as Compton is now “El Camino College, Compton Center,” Cuesta can become “Allan Hancock College, Cuesta Center.”  Has a nice ring to it, eh?

Because of what had been reported to me today about new faculty anxiety, I think it important for you to know that if you slip by the pink-slipping, you’ll still have a job.

So, now the spin and the finger-pointing begins. There’s enough blame to go around, that’s for sure. One of the biggest players by law in the accreditation process is the Academic Senate. Senates have enormous power in accreditation if they wield it. Unfortunately, ours haven’t. Accreditation reports are not official unless signed by the Senate President. I had to withhold my signature more than once during my several terms as Senate President some years ago: held up signing until the college president agreed to faculty positions. We came to amicable agreement.


Loading...

34 Comments

  1. obispan says:

    What a parasite. She’ll cash in, and doesn’t give a flying f’ about education.

    (16) 22 Total Votes - 19 up - 3 down
  2. MChammer says:

    Marilyn Oh Marilyn. Its ok if you don’t get what you want at work, you can always work up some sort of lawsuit to try and get your way.

    (19) 25 Total Votes - 22 up - 3 down
    • taxpayer says:

      Anything Marilyn does is all about Marilyn. It’s called a shakedown. I hope every other instructor and classified employee at Cuesta College realizes that any money used for legal fees or for a settlement is all money that could have been used to help with salaries and to make the learning experience better for the students. Cuesta is a great school in spite of people like Marilyn Rossa. She teaches her classes from home and they aren’t full. What does that say about her popularity as an instructor? It’s a shame that one person’s bitterness and ego can distract from all the good work that other people on campus are doing. Thank you to all the hardworking employees who actually do their jobs and care so much for the Community College that we have all learned to appreciate.

      (11) 21 Total Votes - 16 up - 5 down
      • reverb says:

        Are you dull? I don’t teach at Cuesta but I unlike you, know how settlements are paid. Any
        financial settlement would come from Cuesta’s insurance coverage-money which students and
        staff would never see anyway. You and the others like you on here sound like downright cretins.
        You want to criticize powerful women and you have no sympathy for the women being sexually
        harassed by their boss. What’s wrong with you people? You must condone the actions of this guy,
        (who sounds downright creepy) because I haven’t heard any of you say you stand with the women being hurt. Is Cuesta really in the dark ages? If this college let this terrible treatment go on for so
        long, maybe they deserve to lose their accreditation.

        (-12) 20 Total Votes - 4 up - 16 down
        • slocalgal says:

          Marilyn has filed a sexual harrassment lawsuit against Cuesta and Don Norton. They are ALLEGATIONS and have yet to be proven. I think Don is an amazing instructor and great guy. I have never found him to be inappropriate with other instructors or students. On the other hand, one of the Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Claudia Harmon Wharton, is an absolute kook! I have had her for classes and SHE is the one who makes sexual innuendos during instruction. It’s downright embarrassing and disgraceful for her to make these claims against Don. I do not believe these women were sexually harrassed in the least.

          (15) 21 Total Votes - 18 up - 3 down
      • Chief Justice says:

        Has Marilyn Rossa lifted a finger to help with any part of the accreditation report or any other remedial measure Cuesta can elect to take? I can’t understand why anyone would think that this accreditation problem doesn’t stem from the years when Marilyn Rossa was the faculty union president. She makes it sound like it just popped out of thin air and surprised everyone when she says, “I was a bit surprised when Cuesta was put on accreditation warning in 2009.” The ACCJC issued a warning to Cuesta that was discussed in February 2008. http://academic.cuesta.edu/president/MINUTES/MIN%200208.pdf. I think Marilyn’s bit of feigned surprise is overshadowed by all the crap she put the entire College through during her reign as union president. What the hell did Marilyn Rossa think was going to happen and why has she failed and refused to do anything about it? Yeah, I think taxpayer is right, Marilyn Rossa is too busy fighting the College so she can continue teaching near-empty classes from home for full salary, and also while attending California School of Law and actually spending her time studying a special course at Gould’s Legal Education prior to taking the Baby Bar.

        (12) 20 Total Votes - 16 up - 4 down
        • slocalgal says:

          AMEN!

          (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
        • reverb says:

          This case has really started to intrigue me. I was thinking what is this stuff about Marilyn Rossa’s being in law school. The writer above made no sense but he obviously googled Marilyn Rossa. So I decided to do the same. Hey chief, why didn’t you include what the first entry in google said–

          Gould’s Legal Education
          gouldslegaleducation.com/index.html
          … TWENTY-FIVE Law Students Received an Essay Score in the “90’s” on the October, 2011, Baby Bar, including MARILYN ROSSA, of California School of Law, …

          So you’re calling her stupid? I think we know who the stupid one is. I went ahead and also checked to see if her classes are really empty like iron chief said. The Cuesta site is not easy to find yur way around in but I found her classes. They are almost completely full. it’s all starting to make sense now. I know Marilyn from the community work I do and I knew she was awesome. so none of this was making any sense. It is now. You guilty ones are scared to death. Time will tell, won’t it. Hard to believe that you actually teach college. Scary.

          (-10) 12 Total Votes - 1 up - 11 down
          • jessica says:

            I have worked with Marilyn Rossa at Cuesta and found her to be competent in many ways; unfortunately, honesty is not one of her strong suits. She is more an abuser than the abused. Be careful of what you Google.

            (11) 17 Total Votes - 14 up - 3 down
          • Chief Justice says:

            Reverb, your additional testimonial about Marilyn Rossa’s time being spent at a Baby Bar course proves my point, and contradicts the inference you make. If this makes “no sense” to you, I guess you can be right about that all day long. I didn’t call her stupid. But to take a Baby Bar boot camp course in addition to going to law school, which expects at least 14 hours a week of study in addition to the 6 hours of class time (during the time you’re also teaching a full load of classes–that must be the part that confused you, reverb, because it doesn’t make sense to me either) doesn’t prove you’ve got an above-average intellectual capacity.

            Marilyn Rossa’s classes she monitors from home may not be empty, I’ll give you that, but she’s at home and sets the class time on a “TBA” schedule, conveniently while also going to law school, going to boot camp, and doing who knows what else besides teaching. I don’t have any proof she’s actually doing exactly that–except common sense (as in, I’m sure it takes a lot of time to do all that extra stuff). I’d like the attorneys on the other side of her case to conduct some discovery of her computer hard drive and find out for sure how much time she actually spends on her class. Will they? Like you said, time will tell.

            You’re anecdotal character reference about knowing Marilyn from the community work you do doesn’t prove anything except that you are biased.

            (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
  3. Ugluk says:

    So a lawsuit is going to heal your “hurting heart” and “seriously wounded” Cuesta College, lady?

    (15) 21 Total Votes - 18 up - 3 down
  4. Shane says:

    Sorry to be a pedant, but grading the essay the subject/verb agreement was not congruent, use of the dash was not appropriate and lack of complex sentence structure was troubling for a college educated person, as well as no unifying theme to the essay; other than that it was great!

    (-9) 13 Total Votes - 2 up - 11 down
  5. cougarist says:

    It’s so easy to find fault. Just look at how many comments are simpleton, unsupported, personal attacks. But where is the intellegent discussion of the issues?
    1) Is Cuesta again firing the employees who work for the students while hiring even more, extremely expensive administrators? The minimum-wage student employees were let go to save a buck, and literally, not much more. The inexpensive, but hard-working hourly employees were fired to save another buck. The faculty and staff who have raised concerns have been targeted, harrassed, and even some of them have been fired. When three administrators were let go a couple of years ago, all continued to receive a fat paycheck for the remainder of their contracts. One was even given an extension on his contract so that he could receive a better retirement!
    2) Does Cuesta have effective faculty leadership? How can they when the faculty-union president is, herself, an administrator? To get an honest answer, just ask any faculty member who has asked the union for help with a problem concerning the administration. If they’re one of the lucky few who has even gotten a response from the union, you can be sure it is not to pursue a solution and resolve the problem.
    3) Isn’t it the purpose of the BoT to monitor and encourage the health of the college? All they seem able to do is restate their unfailing support of this failed administration. It is time to demand accountability.

    (-11) 21 Total Votes - 5 up - 16 down
    • Chief Justice says:

      It’s so easy to make a simpleton, unsupported, personal attack. Just look at the semi-retarded lawsuit filed by Marilyn Rossa and her cronies. Her attorney is obviously a crackpot, as his complaint wouldn’t pass muster in any court. I bet the whole or most of it gets dismissed on demurrer, especially the hogwash about Marilyn Rossa’s load or any harm she’s alleging.
      1) It reflects poor extremely moral character for Marilyn Rossa to have used her union president position for over a decade to collect a full teacher’s salary while really just sittin in an empty “student lab,” only so she could perform other work for which she received additional compensation. And, to add to that fraudulent crap, now she complains that the current union won’t help her continue the double-dipping and cheat the taxpayers and students out of their expectated benefits. It would be nice if Marily Rossa answered with how many hours she actually had face-to-face time with a student out of the hundreds of hours she purportedly conducted that student lab time. And since the answer is, probably, few to none, it would be also nice to know why she fought to continue purportedly conducting the same lab for a full teacher’s salary after she was unanimously ousted from her position as union president. Hey, maybe Marilyn Rossa wasn’t cheating the community; maybe she really was teaching during those hours.
      2) Cuesta loves Marilyn, or it’s vice versa, right? Her love must be just too complicated, for the regular people to understand how much her inane, pitbull persona really helped them? Why did the entire college, except for about 50 of her cronies, vote to kick Marilyn Rossa out of office? Why has that number dwindled to about 20 cronies? Doesn’t everyone want to be involved in Marilyn Rossa’s righteous lawsuit now? Suing to help Marilyn Rossa take the righteous path to sit beside those she purportedly is disgusted with? Were the accreditation issues correlated to issues she bit into during her union presidency? Maybe if Marilyn Rossa had the brains to lead the College or at least the mentality to focus on important policy, instead of obscuring reality by making nonsensical personal attacks over and over, she could be an administrator too. No, Marilyn Rossa was busy spending over $300k of Cuesta faculty’s money fighting for some piecemeal, lame issues, because she’s too stupid to figure out how to resolve things in a reasonable manner. That is, reasonable means reaching your goal while not dragging everyone into moral, financial, and personal quagmire. Being an administrator would give her a sense of the whole process, which she clearly doesn’t comprehend. It’s easy for Marilyn now to sit back–no student lab is available to her to get paid for doing nothing, so now she’s going to a law school in Northern California during hours she is receiving a full teacher’s salary–and claim this or that went wrong in the short term. But her comments only speak to her failure to handle anything beyond her myopic, reactionary viewpoint. Why don’t you dig in now Marilyn Rossa and do something substantial like prepare a report to hand over to the accreditors. Oh, wait. Marilyn Rossa doesn’t have to because it’s all someone else’s fault.
      3) The BoT is a complete failure, agreed. But then again, where is Marilyn Rossa’s leadership on that. It doesn’t exist, except in the imagination of misguided Marilyn and her cronies. Maybe if she wasn’t a simpelton, unsupported, ad hominem arguing, crackpot, she could use her delusional ramblings for something other than her own gain.

      (9) 15 Total Votes - 12 up - 3 down
      • bmax says:

        If chief justice happens to be one of the defendants, then ladies, congratulations–you’ve just won your case.

        p.s. Hey chief, I think it’s time for your medication.

        (-9) 13 Total Votes - 2 up - 11 down
        • Chief Justice says:

          In this case, there is nothing to defend against in the lawsuit. Have you read the lawsuit? I don’t believe you can refute, even for the sake of argument, what I said above is untrue or unreasonable. So, I don’t follow what you mean in your reply. And it wouldn’t really matter if I was a defendant and also stark, raving mad. The lawsuit is such a poorly crafted and thinly veiled attempt to cash in, an average 10-year-old could defend that crapshoot without an attorney. Here’s an idea for you: Just attempt to argue against anything I wrote. I would like to read your reasoning. Why don’t you just hang around, bmax, because the “ladies” might need someone of your brilliance to assist them in convincing anyone besides themselves that they have a chance in hell prosecuting their case.

          p.s. Yo, bmax, I just threw up in my mouth a little when Marilyn Rossa’s picture appeared when I opened this page. I think I need some Pepto Bismo–is that what you’re talking about?

          (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
    • TruthandNothingBut says:

      The Administration at Cuesta has been changing and why do you think that is? Because they weren’t satisfied with the work being done…it goes back to Marie Rosenwasser, Dan Chacon, and Harry Schade. Marie did NOT retire because of a failed bond measure and if you believe that you are STUPID. Don’t blame Gill Stork for planning that should have started then. The BoT has been monitoring the situation or David Pelham (Marilyn Rossa’s Top Pick) might still be there…

      (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down

Comments are closed.