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Community College District Dispute

March 12, 2000

* In your story about continuing dissent in the South Orange County Community College District (March 2), Chancellor Cedric Sampson claims district critics "find some solace with the courts." Wrong.

Students and staff have gone to court and to the Public Employees Relations Board to defend free speech and fair employment practices.

They've forced the chancellor and the board of trustees to follow the law. They do not seek "solace." They seek justice.

With an unbroken series of decisions against the chancellor and the board, they have found it. The chancellor's suggestion that the U.S. justice system delivers only "solace" is insulting.

LISA ALVAREZ

Professor of English

Irvine Valley College

* The epic tale of legal failures by the South Orange County Community College District continues.

How much more taxpayer money will Chancellor Cedric Sampson deliver to attorneys--his losing counsel and those of watchdog professor Roy Bauer--to protect an irresponsible board majority?

ANDREW TONKOVICH

Laguna Beach

* Owing to the misconduct and incompetence of the board of trustees, our district resided, until recently, on the state chancellor's fiscal watch list.

Owing to the board's penchant for micro-management, the district was, again until recently, placed on warning status by the accrediting commission.

Owing to the board's demand for unquestioning obedience, the district's best administrators have fled and have been replaced by incompetents.

Owing to a remarkable pattern of misconduct, including violations of student and faculty 1st Amendment rights and the state's open-meeting laws, the district has lost a series of embarrassing and expensive high-profile lawsuits.

These are no trivial matters, as The Times' reference to "squabbling educators" unfortunately implies.

ROY BAUER

Professor of Philosophy

Irvine Valley College

* The battle at South Orange County Community College District is, you write, indeed a saga.

But let's be clear: It's not between "squabbling educators."

The struggle is about district mismanagement and cronyism.

I agree with Chancellor Cedric Sampson: Faculty, staff and students "do not respect authority of the board of trustees and are trying to reverse the direction the board is taking."

We need to support the efforts of those brave faculty, staff and students.

STEPHEN ROCHFORD

Professor of Music

Irvine Valley College

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