The Metropolitan for April 15, 2010 (Why our colleges and universities are doomed)

Grrrr. Below is my article for this week. After the jump I kind of go off. Rest assured it’s well intended. I just think people are not standing up and defending their own rights, and it pisses me off. I’m just frustrated, really.

It’s probably the most work I’ve put into an article yet, and you can’t tell. I got nothing. It’s weak and crappy.

In an odd twist of fate, whoever was in charge of laying out the front page totally screwed the pooch and/or didn’t read my article, because they wrote what we had talked about at a budget meeting but not what I ended up getting. Oddly, the headline tells the truth, just not what I was able to report in the article. But alas, technically, THE FRONT-PAGE HEADLINE DOESN”T EVEN MAKE SENSE.

Faculty income comparison draws outrage from staff” is the front-page refer, and…well, technically that means the professors pay comparison made the gardeners, maintenance people and secretaries of Metro mad. The staff are all reading this and asking “huh?”

“Staff” is very specific: they are paid by the state and not by the college…totally different animal. Fucking young editors. (As I was a few years ago.)

But that ain’t what I’m pissed about!  

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The Metropolitan for April 1, 2010

Time for an Angelina De la Torre update. The former Metro professor, intitially fired in 2008 and then finally fired by the Board of Trustees in 2009, has filed her papers with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to be allowed to sue the college for descrimination. The EEOC first investigates her claims, then decides whether she gets a “right to sue letter.” The Federal EEOC has given her permission before, and if anyone looked at the case closely (the board surely did not)  they’d see she probably has a case this time, too.

Could this be a flashback to the professor Jackson case for Metro? Jackson won a huge raise, a mound of damages and pretty much everything he asked for…but the court did not grant him the “racism” charge, only discrimination and retaliation.

And lo and behold, De La Torre testified against the college on Jackson’s behalf. Golly.

In any case, it’s not a good alligation to have against a college, especially when a college aspires to be a Hispanic Serving Institution.

The real tragedy, however, is that an award-winning, community active professor is no longer in the classroom teaching students. ‘Angel” De La Torre is an artistic, eccentric, spiritual woman, not the accounting type of person, but a type the world needs non the less.

In my opinion, the college’s case is too weak to warrant her firing; she created the piece in question, presented it at the conference in question, the publisher eventually did publish it (without asking for more money), and she has compelling evidence of a mixup on the publisher’s part, while the school never talked to the publisher; all the college has is that she mess up filling out her forms (when the college’s investigation includes mispellings and inaccuracies, too, as a side).  

Likely, the college (er…the state of Colorado, actually) will pay…but it’s the students that lost something here, not to mention De La Torre.

(for a refresher on the case, click on the original article here, or my blog or reporting it  here, or on Fall 09. It’s in mid November.)

The revolution will not be social networked…

 Well…after all was said and done… somewhere between 500 and 700 students from around the state marched from Auraria to the Capitol on Wednesday’s student rally for higher education funding. A police escort blocked Colfax and Colorado’s gaggle of coed walked in orderly fashion up the avenue, banners and signs waving, chants of “Save our schools” echoing in the wind.

“The biggest student rally in Colorado for 25 years,” was the whisper. And while I haven’t had time to confirm that, it very well might be true. This is, after all, Colorado. We massacre people for less.

Indeed, the students who walked should be proud. 

But let’s get some facts straight here.

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The Met for Feb. 25

My article for this week on the small rally the students held to promote next week’s student march on the Colorado Capitol. Somewhere between 50 and 150 students took part (Pres. Andrew Bateman put the number at 150, but I counted 50 and the Met report estimated around 75) which was, as Bateman reminded the audience, much less than the 40,000 Auraria student population.

While the event was supposed to highlight the growing student ‘movement’ demanding better funding, it did more to underscore how few students, at least at Auraria, are getting involved, as well as revealing how much our student reps need teleprompters, and/or speech classes. Auraria students are notoriously dispersed and hard to get together, but another reason for the disunity is perhaps evident in the rumors of infighting among the student organizations.

Metro’s student government has apparently alienated a number of students (as far as I can tell the only other students than SGA involved) by branding them a ‘group of radicals’ who could potentially give the movement a bad name if they caused disruption. Students have reportedly been followed and some ‘talked to’ by Auraria police curious if they are planning trouble. None of the people I’ve talked to, however, have hinted toward trouble in any form. So basically you have the only people who were prepared to get involved other than SGA already pissed off and not prepared to go the extra mile if they are only going to be attacked, and for no reason at all. In this reporters opinion, based on not seeing people out talking to students, except for on rare occasion, the SGAs are failing their role and the students…well, it must be said, the students are, for whatever reason, at least starting to know something is wrong, but they haven’t seen any way to do anything about it, and that is squarely the responsibilty of the SGA. The reason is the total lack of physical presence on campus. All this Facebook, twitter and all the other stuff is just dandy, but it has to go WITH the old forms of political organizing, not replace them. The only physical presence of the student’s struggle on campus is a tattered old banner and a few posters. Where is the debate raging at the flagpole every single hour of every school day?

Anyway, alot of talk from a guy who hasn’t been in the SGA and can’t know how hard it is.

 As I’ve written before: pray for them for their state has sinned.