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MISSION VIEJO | Community News Focus

Job Changes at College Stir Controversy

July 18, 1997|MARTIN MILLER]

In a closed-session action that prompted three trustees to walk out in protest, trustees for the Saddleback Community College District voted 4 to 0 Wednesday night to revamp campus management at Irvine Valley College.

The dissenting trustees--David Lang, Marcia Milchiker, and Joan Hueter--walked out of closed session before the vote on the restructuring plan was taken. The three disagreed with the plan and also accused the other trustees of violating the Brown Act by conducting the vote in closed session.

Under the new plan, which takes effect in the fall semester, all 10 IVC department heads will halt their administrative duties and return to the classroom full time. Also, as part of the restructuring plan, five of 14 deans from Saddleback College with transfer to IVC to assume managerial tasks.

Meanwhile, the remaining Saddleback College deans will be responsible for more academic departments as part of an accompanying consolidation plan. For instance, liberal arts and social behavioral sciences departments will now be combined.

Trustee proponents of the plan, such as President Steven Frogue, argue the move will improve campus management. Also, backers say, students will benefit because experienced teachers who have otherwise been bogged down supervising departments will now teach full time.

"Basically, we reduced the bureaucracy," Trustee Teddi Lorch said. "It's a vote of confidence for the taxpayers and the students of our district."

IVC department heads, however, decried the board's vote Thursday, arguing the action is a move to stamp out dissent. IVC department heads such as Roy Bauer, chairman of the school of humanities and language, argue the old system worked efficiently.

"We are in the grips of a Neanderthal board," Bauer said. "This is another chapter in that story.

"I think it's clear this board distrust academics," he added. "They see themselves as the authority who issues orders, and our job is to simply follow them."

Bauer and the dissenting trustees contend the majority trustees violated the Brown Act by holding the vote in closed session. But school officials reply closed session was appropriate since it involved personnel matters.

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