Whose College Is It, and Who’s It For?
by Carl Gettleman
Richard Tahvildaran, who as President of the Academic Senate opposed giving course credit to students for serving as elected officers in the College’s shared governance system, was previously confronted by the HR Department for a similar misuse of student labor to support candidates of his choosing in a local campaign. Tahvildaran, one of the most unctiously self-aggrandizing sycophants in SMC history (a high bar I assure you), has undue influence with the governing board of the College and has used that influence to secure taxpayer-funded junkets to Europe and elsewhere for himself and selected members of his entourage.
It is completely hypocritical for Tahvildaran, Don Girard, or the Board members (all fellow travelers in SMRR), to contend that his use of students is for their educational benefit. During the formation of the mandatory shared governance committee, now called DPAC, Tahvildaran advocated giving students, as well as classified employees at the College less than half the votes of either faculty or management, effectively marginalizing the participation of both of those constituencies in their advisory function within the College.
SMRR and its endorsed candidates for the Board of Trustees have long had a deleterious effect on the College’s operation, effectively hamstringing the College’s educational mission through chronic mis-allocation of vital resources and an abysmal executive recruitment record. They’ve raised over half a billion dollars in capital funds, but have failed to bring back any of the vocational education programs their predecessor SMRR-endorsed Board inadvisedly axed in 2003. They are worse than useless and hardly an endorsement of local control of community colleges. Does anyone think that the Board, or even Girard, would be OK with a group of students distributing leaflets for an organization whose goals were anathema to them?
President Obama has been quite clear about the community college system and its educational mission in our nation. It’s got less than nothing to do with promoting local political organizations. It’s got a great deal to do with providing young people with the skill sets they need to be able to pursue career paths that will enable them to support themselves and their families. It’s a noble aspiration. Would that SMC’s Board of Trustees shared it.
Tahvildaran may be clear how gaming a bunch of college students to do his work for the local potentates of SMRR is helpful to their aspirations. Those of us who know better are rather clear that it ain’t helpful at all.