The Sun
Southwestern College

Dissident Group Wants to
Cut Ties with CTA

By: Sean Campbell
Oct. 5, 2007

Last spring 389 Southwestern
College professors and adjunct
instructors told the state Public
Employment Relations Board
they wanted to vote on who
represented them.

They got their wish. Ballots
were sent by PERB to about
1,300 faculty members and are
due Nov. 5.

With Pasadena City College
recently breaking from the
California Teachers
Association and Rio Hondo
Community College
marshaling to follow in its
footsteps, the CTA, which
ultimately oversees the
college's faculty union, has a
stake in keeping SWC under
its organization.

SWC professors and
instructors have three
choices on their ballots, to
stay with the Southwestern
College Education
Association, have no union
at all, or switch to an
independent union called
the Independent Faculty
Association (IFA). All
balloting will be conducted
by mail. Votes will be tallied
Nov. 6.

A second vote in the future will
ask SWC instructional staff if
union payments should be

SWC instructional staff pay
the Burlingame-based
association about $400,000
in fees annually.
That is the
problem, for a group of
professors who call themselves
the Freedom Fighters. The
dissidents started organizing
more than a year ago when the
SCEA made union payments
mandatory. More than 80
percent of that money is sent to
the SCEA's larger associations,
most of which goes to the CTA.

Freedom Fighters Frank
Paiano and Joan Stroh
said the CTA is loyal to
K-12 educators at the
expense of community
colleges. They said that
college faculty could get
more for less if it was
keeping its money local.
They are not anti-union,
they said, they are

That the CTA is primarily
focused on K-12 is not
contested by SCEA President
Janet Mazzarella. Almost 90
percent of the association is
made up of K-12 members, she
said. But, Mazzarella, along with
other SCEA members, said that
being second priority with the
CTA still gives the college
faculty better representation
than being first priority with an
independent union

Under current representation,
full-time faculty pay $97.30 a
month and the part-time faculty
pay $20.76 a month. The IFA
proposes to charge full-time
professors $45 and the
part-time instructors $5.

Paiano contends that an
independent union will create a
larger war chest for the college
because its dues will not leave
the district.

When the money goes to
Burlingame it does not
disappear, Mazzarella said, and
CTA gives the union support
that an independent union
could not. CTA provides
information that is "top notch,"
trained professionals who know
the ins and outs of the
community college system, and
a team of lawyers that can
protect faculty. She said she
recently had to call on the CTA
for help and has used its
assistance many times in the

CTA provides training for
negotiating, wrote SCEA
member and SWC English
Professor Andrew Rempt, in a
global e-mail. Rempt
questioned the representation
of the proposed independent

"What have any of the members
of the IFA done to prepare
themselves for stepping into the
enormous shoes of the SCEA?"
Rempt wrote.

Several SCEA negotiators have
attended interest-based
bargaining seminars, Rempt
said. He questioned how IFA
negotiators would compete.

Paiano said that the IFA has an
excellent legal firm that has
done well against the CTA and
has represented other faculty in
dealing with districts. The legal
firm is well versed in
Independent Faculty Unions,
which it has been working with
for 16 years, he said.

Paiano and Stroh have both
worked on at least one SCEA
negotiating team and both said
they believe they can do a
better job negotiating than
SCEA, Paiano said.

Rempt said an independent
union will not be a strong
lobbyist for education legislation
in Sacramento and that it was
irresponsible for SWC faculty to
have other people lobbying for
SWC at a state level without
SWC's support, said Rempt.

Joan Stroh, SWC chair for
computer information systems,
said the IFA would not be on its
own, but part of a larger
organization called the
California Community College
Independents (CCCI) which has
13 community college districts
under it, including the
Community College District.

IFA supporters point out the
state's split of Proposition
98 to show CTA's loyalty to
K-12. Eleven percent of the
millions provided by
proposition are supposed to
go to community colleges,
Paiano said. He said that in
the last twenty years
community colleges have
received the proper 11
percent allocation only
once. He contends that the
CTA never agitated in the
college's favor.

"They're working against
us," he said.

The California Community
College Initiative, which is on
the February 2008 ballot
proposing to lower community
college tuition from $20 to $15
is another example of CTA's
overarching loyalty to K-12,
said Stroh.

But SCEA officials said the
initiative is not as clear-cut an
issue as IFA proponents
believe. They said that IFA's
dragging it into this vote is a
"red herring."

Part-time adjuncts at SWC
outnumber full-time faculty 3 to
1 and they have the power to
swing the vote. A flier found in
faculty mailboxes on Oct. 3
read, "We, the part-time faculty
of Southwestern College, know
that you need our votes in the
upcoming PERB election."

Adjunct instructors will vote for
that organization which creates
bylaws benefiting part-timers,
the flier read. It asked for
adjuncts to be included on the
executive board and negotiating
team and be placed on
representative councils "in
numbers proportionate to the
number of part-time faculty on
campus." The letter went on to
ask for adjuncts to have a piece
of shared governance on
campus committees.

SCEA currently has a place for
one part-time faculty member
on the union's executive board,
negotiation team and health
and welfare committee. SCEA
also allows one part-time
representative from each of
SWC's eight schools to sit on its
representative council.

Stroh said that the proposed
IFA constitution includes bylaws
that would give part-timers 49
percent of the seats on IFA's
representative assembly and
would allow at least one
representative to sit on the
negotiation team.

Stroh said the bylaws would
also include laws that would
push to allow for adjuncts to
recieve office space and paid
office hours.

Adjuncts have always
expressed concerns about
health benefits and not having
paid office-hours, Mazzarella
said. There are adjuncts that
want improvements in these
areas but the larger part of
adjuncts have expressed that
they will not use part-time office
hours or benefits, Mazzarella
said. Rather than focusing on
gains in those areas, the SCEA
has focused all its attention into
getting adjuncts the highest
wage per hour, Mazzarella said.

Phil Lopez, SCEA grievance
chairman and SWC English
professor, said that the SCEA's
numbers have shown that they
have successfully done this.

Since 1992 SCEA adjuncts
have enjoyed an 88 percent
increase in starting pay.
Long-time adjuncts have shown
a 96 percent increase,
compared to full-time faculty,
which have seen only a 72
percent increase, according to

One hurdle the IFA supporters
have to overcome for the PERB
vote is the SCEA's contract,
which was ratified last spring.
SCEA leaders said the contract
garnered an unprecedented
cost of living increase, 11.53
percent, from the district.

Stroh wrote in a global e-mail
that the raise was not
necessarily due to the SCEA
negotiating team but instead
due to the college's need to
keep up with a state regulation.
The law requires community
colleges to dedicate 50 percent
of its allocations to instructional
costs. This year college
allocations for instruction sit at
52.6 percent according to SWC
CCFS-311 report filed with the
state chancellors office on Oct.

Lopez also pointed out the
college's part-time standing
compared to a
Gossmont-Cuyamaca, a
comparable college to SWC
that is represented by an
independent union. He said the
SCEA created a step schedule
that Grossmont-Cuyamaca
does not have. It rewards
adjuncts who stay with the
college. The part-time starting
hourly rate at SWC is $17.08
higher than at
according to a flier written by
Lopez. SCEA receive pro-rated
paid benefits compared to
Grosmont-Cuyamaca's, which
has no part-time benefits,
according to Lopez.

SCEA also made a separate
salary schedule to benefit
part-timers, so that full-time
professors teaching overload
could not benefit from state
money that was allocated solely
for part-time use. Most other
schools do not have such a
system, Lopez said.

"We have these two groups of
people, part-time and full-time,"
said Lopez. "Our goal is to get
their salaries closer together,
not farther apart."

He said that from the numbers,
they have clearly met that goal
and that the numbers clearly
demonstrate SCEA's
commitment to part-time faculty.

Stroh said it is not accurate to
use Grossmont-Cuyamaca as a
benchmark for an independent
union because it is one of the
lowest paid independent unions
in the CCCI.

Three adjuncts interviewed for
this article said they had not yet
decided how they would vote.

Carol Stuardo, SCEA adjunct
faculty representative and SWC
Spanish and English as a
Second Language instructor,
said she was voting for the

Stuardo teaches at another
campus, which she chose not to
name, where part-time faculty
are represented by an
independent union. She said
she is much more satisfied with
the SCEA and that she likes
knowing there is proven
support, on a state and national
level, backing the current SWC

"It would be disconcerting to
lose their support," she said.

Stuardo said the independent
union at her other college
charges $5 a month, about one
fourth SCEA's part-time monthly
dues. SCEA has negotiated a
contract that pays faculty $15 to
20 more per hour compared to
her independent
representatives, she said.

"In one hour of teaching (at
SWC)," Stuardo said. "I've
already made back my monthly

Carole Ziegler, SWC geography
and geology adjunct, said she
planned to vote for the IFA to
represent her.

"One of the reasons," she said.
"Is that I work at another
university and I have to pay two

She said she is looking forward
to the debate coming to an end
so teachers can get back to
what they are at SWC for-the
[Note: Southwestern faculty
members Paiano and Stroh
were proved right in the Feb.
5, 2008 election when CTA
campaigned against an
initiative to help community

"Freedom Fighters Frank
Paiano and Joan Stroh
said the CTA is loyal to
K-12 educators at the
expense of community
colleges. They said that
college faculty could get
more for less if it was
keeping its money local.
They are not anti-union,
they said, they are
Board Members
still love
Stutz, Artiano
Shinoff & Holtz.
Southwestern Community College
Vote may
decide future
of the SDCEA
faculty union
Freedom Fighters get a vote
on decertification

By: Sean Campbell

A faction of dissident professors and
instructors has claimed a first-round victory in
its effort to decertify Southwestern College's
faculty union.
No complaint was filed as of press time.

Union executives denied harassing Paiano. Mazzarella said two union
executives confronted him not for soliciting signatures but because he was
speaking badly about the union's executive team.

"They can do what they want," Mazzarella said. "But now they're making it
personal. We walked up to him and said we didn't appreciate that you're
insulting your colleagues."

Fusako Yokotobi, vice president of SWC Human Resources, settled an earlier
squabble between the two groups over whether Freedom Fighters could solicit
professors for their signatures using faculty mail boxes or by approaching them
on campus.

In the March 28 e-mail to Paiano, she cited a California government code
stating that the Freedom Fighters have the right to solicit employees at SWC
and the right to "use institutional bulletin boards, mailboxes, and other means of

"Please be advised," she said in the e-mail, "that harassment of district
employees or disruption of district activities will not be permitted at any time."

SWC Professor of English Phil Lopez said that it was Paiano who was being
erratic and behaving inappropriately. The Freedom Fighters, if anyone, are the
ones guilty of harassment, Lopez said, citing two examples of when Freedom
Fighters pushed social boundaries while collecting signatures.

The Freedom Fighters are trying to dissolve the SCEA, which is affiliated with
the California Teachers Association. In March the Freedom Fighters filed a
petition to call a vote for independent representation with PERB. The petition
was supported by what Paiano said he thought was 30 percent of the college's
faculty, but he said he was wrong.

SWC's Human Resources represntatives had told the Freedom Fighters that
there were 970 faculty members working for the college, Paiano said. But when
PERB asked the college for a list of faculty, the HR list had grown to 1,091
names, making the Freedom Fighters short by 31 signatures.

PERB notified the Freedom Fighters of this shortage April 27 and gave the
dissident group 10 days to gather more signatures. While Paiano was
scrambling for signatures, he said, the incident with Mazzarella occurred.

Paiano said Freedom Fighters were able to add almost 50 signatures to their
list in just two days and sent the signatures back to PERB May 7. Three days
later PERB notified Paiano that the Freedom Fighters had attained enough
signatures and a vote to decertify the union and to rescind fair share would take
place sometime in fall 2007.

"Let's hope for a positive, constructive and informative campaign by both sides,"
Paiano said. "I got involved in this because of what CTA did to our adjunct
instructors. I collected over 280 signatures because I felt that they were getting
a really raw deal from CTA."

Paiano said that he had given the president of the union the opportunity to
avoid this vote.

"I told Janet Mazzeralla that if CTA lowered dues for adjuncts from $20 to 5 that I
wouldn't collect a single signature," said Paiano. "She declined immediately."

Five days before the vote was called by PERB, Mazzarella rebutted a Freedom
Fighter e-mail.

"The statements that were sent out in the IFA (Freedom Fighters) global e-mail
are so misguided that we felt compelled to set the record straight," wrote

The Freedom Fighter e-mail accused the CTA of being a primarily K-12 union
disinterested in community colleges and lambasted the CTA for its mandatory
union dues, known as fair share. It told readers that an independent union
could build a war chest just as strong as the CTA, and build it up with less
expensive dues.

Mazzarella said that every educational organization in the country, to her
knowledge, has fair share dues and that an independent union could not create
a war chest comparable to the CTA.

"The cost to fight the firing of one tenured faculty member is approximately
$250,000 to 300,000," said Mazzarella. "CTA spent nearly a million on three
faculty members here at SWC. It will take a local independent organization
years to build a war chest that big."

In the e-mail Mazzarella said that the members of the current faculty negotiation
team, executive committee and recent officers agreed not to take part in an
independent union.

"Who is going to run the new union?" she said.

Mazzarell compared SWC to Grossmont/Cuyamaca, one of California's 12
community college districts with independent unions. Grossmont/Cuyamaca
ranked worst on a number of important measures.

"This is one of the reasons Grossmont's part-time faculty just left the IFA
(independent union) and joined the ranks of (the CTA)," she said.

Joan Stroh, a Freedom Fighter, said Mazzarella is comparing SWC to
Grossmont, which is the only independent union that has lower faculty salaries
than SWC. The other 11 community college districts that have independent
unions all have higher salaries than SWC, she said.

"She keeps harping on Grossmont," said Stroh.

In an e-mail to SWC faculty Lopez said the SCEA offered Freedom Fighters a
vote on mandatory dues.

"We told Frank Paiano that if the IFA (Freedom Fighters) would agree to be
bound by this vote we would open the contract ratification election to all faculty
members," Lopez wrote. "Paiano said 'no.'"

The movement for an independent union spearheaded by the Freedom
Fighters is not as strong as it seems, said Lopez.

"They have sort of created this tempest in a tea pot, which is way out of
proportion to the number of people they represent," said Lopez. "In reality what
we have is a very small number of people, six or eight, who don't want to pay
fair share union dues."
"They were trying to assassinate me," he
said. "I call it the five minute hate. You
ever read '1984'? It really upset me. I was
useless for the rest of the day. I wasn't
able to do anything else."
He said five SWC professors,
including SCEA President Janet
Mazzarella, confronted him in
front of the 400 building while
he was collecting signatures
for the decertification petition.
SCEA President
Janet Mazzarella
Frank Paiano
Professor of Business and Information Systems Frank Paiano said a
group that calls itself the Freedom Fighters has collected enough
signatures from faculty to force two votes in the fall.

Paiano said the California Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) would
oversee a ballot that would give faculty the choice to dissolve the
Southwestern College Education Association (SCEA) and discontinue the "fair
share" clause that requires faculty to pay union fees.
CTA mobbing of professor working to
decertify union
Maura Larkins note:  
This incident reminds me of the 60 minutes story about the Yusuf Bey family in Oakland,

"Over the years, the bakery had earned a reputation for intimidation.

"One incident, which they called a 'show of force,' was taped by San Francisco's CBS
station KPIX-TV. Members of the bakery could be seen outside an Oakland tow-yard,
demanding that a car be released."
Recent resignations and lawsuits, including sexual harrassment:
CVESD Reporter
December 2007 Board

7:00 PM Wednesday,
December 12, 2007



...Page 19...

Authorize Agreements
with law firms listed
below, for providing legal
advice to the District for
the period January 1 to
December 31, 2008,
inclusive, at various
hourly costs.

Best, Best & Krieger, LLP
Agreement Approval No.
A2281.07 At a cost of $235
per hour for work performed
by partners.

Atkinson, Adelson, Loya,
Ruud & Romo, APC –

Agreement Approval No.
A2282.07 at a cost of $225
per hour for work performed
by partners.

Stutz, Artiano,
Shinoff & Holtz
Agreement Approval
No. A2283.07 At a cost
of $225 per hour for
work performed by

Worley, Schwartz,
Garfield, & Prairie, LLP

Agreement Approval No.
A2284.07 At a cost of $170
per hour for work performed
by attorneys.

Rutan & Tucker, LLP –
Agreement Approval No.
A2285.07 At a cost of $265
per hour for work performed
by attorneys.

Garcia, Calderon & Ruiz –
Agreement Approval No.
A2286.07At a cost of $215
per hour for work performed
by Partners.

Parham & Rajcic –
Agreement Approval No.
A2287.07At a cost of $173
per hour for fact finding
performed by attorneys.

The District requires legal
advice on various
administrative, personnel,
and business matters
during the year. All legal
requests will be approved
through the Office of the
prior to requesting

SOURCE General Fund
Account No. 5730-664000-

[Blogger's note:
Taxpayers are paying
these lawyers. This
information shouldn't be
The information below
was erased by some
unknown person, and has
been replaced.
2006 Election
Board Member
Community College

Seat 2
Terri Valladolid
42895 votes 63.65%
G. Michael German
24493 votes 36.35%

Seat 4

Yolanda Salcido
43733 votes 64.58%
Rebecca R.
23988 votes 35.42%

Seat 5
Jorge Dominguez
34961 votes 52.97%
Christine Aranda
31039 votes 47.03%
Ex-official at
college files
suit to return

By Chris Moran
San Diego Union-Tribune
January 31, 2009

Southwestern College
administrator who
resigned last year amid
allegations of sexual
harassment has filed a
lawsuit against the college
to get his job back.

Arthur Lopez resigned
in June as director of
financial aid.

A student services
assistant claimed in a
complaint to the state
Department of Fair
Employment and Housing
that she had sex with
Lopez to keep her job.
Martha Jimenez
alleges that Lopez would
tell her during their sexual
encounters to remember
who got her the job and
that she soon faced a
performance evaluation.

Jimenez filed a lawsuit
against the college, Lopez
and two other
administrators last

Lopez's attorney said at
the time that the
allegations were false.

Lopez, who filed his
lawsuit last month, seeks
to be reinstated to his job,
with its annual salary of
$118,704. He also seeks
an unspecified amount for

The most recent lawsuit
paints a different picture of
the relationship between
Lopez and Jimenez. It
describes their eight-
month relationship as

In 2007, a year and a half
after the relationship
ended, the college
launched two
investigations – one to
determine whether
Jimenez had received
favorable treatment as a
result of the relationship,
and another to determine
whether she had been
sexually harassed.

Both investigations
cleared Lopez, according
to his lawsuit. The college
would not comment on the

Last April, college
President Raj Chopra sent
Lopez a letter informing
him that he was being
placed on administrative
leave and being
recommended for
termination, according to
the suit. The letter was
sent a week after the
college's governing board
renewed Lopez's contract
for the 2008-09 academic
Letter to Raj Chopra from ACLU
See SDER blog posts.
Raj Chopra |
The San Diego Union -
Tribune - San Diego,
Author:         Don
Date:         Mar 28,
Section:         OPINION
Raj Chopra arrived as
the new president of
Southwestern College
in August 2007 with an
unusual background.
He was from Pakistan  
and India and had
spent his career in
administration but
never at the
community college
level. At age 70, he
vowed that this would
be his final career stop
and welcomed an
initial 23-month
contract. Since then,
Chopra has cleaned
house in an
administration ravaged
by turmoil, has guided
the opening or
renovation of
campuses in Otay
Mesa and San Ysidro,
and won public
support for a $389
million bond issue.
Chopra proposes to
reorganize the
20,000-student college
for a second time. He
was interviewed by
Union-Tribune editorial
writer Don Sevrens.

Are you contemplating
some major changes
at Southwestern
College to take it to
the next level?

Yes. The changes are
really coming from two
situations. One is to
meet the challenge
presented by the
state's budget crisis
and the very extensive
cut for community
college budgets. The
other situation is that
our enrollment is
increasing. We have
an 8 percent
enrollment increase
compared with last
year at this time. We
cannot do business as
San Diego Education
ACLU Demand Letter: 8 Months Is Long Enough!
July 14, 2010

Since last November, the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego &
Imperial Counties has been working with the Foundation for Individual Rights
in Education to convince Southwestern College to fix constitutional problems
with its so-called "Freedom of Expression" policy. The policy illegally restricts
speech, expression and assembly by students and faculty. Chief among the
ACLU’s objections is the college’s declaration that most of the campus is not a
public forum, and that assembly and expression would be confined to a small
"free speech patio."

Over the course of the ensuing eight months, the ACLU and FIRE have
exchanged correspondence with SWC, which formed a committee to review
the school’s free speech policy. "We’ve seen some forward progress," said
David Blair-Loy, legal director of the San Diego ACLU. "But we remain
concerned that Southwestern just isn’t getting it. We still have serious
concerns that the college is scared of free expression on its campus. I look
forward to discussing this matter with the college’s counsel to see if imminent
litigation can be averted."

In a letter sent to SWC’s counsel today, the ACLU cited continuing concerns
with the SWC policy requiring the use of permits as a prior restraint on free
speech and with the college's recalcitrant communications. Both the ACLU
and FIRE have sent several letters to the college, but have not received a
written response from SWC since a letter dated May 25, 2010, in which the
school’s counsel indicated the school was continuing to revise its free speech
policies and would consider suggestions offered by the ACLU and FIRE.

As always, the ACLU strives to resolve matters without litigation. "For the past
several months I have been hoping to resolve these issues without litigation if
possible," Blair-Loy wrote in the letter. "If the relevant policies have been
formally revised, please let me know as soon as possible. But if SWC has not
taken and does not immediately take sufficient action to comply with the
relevant law protecting freedom of speech on campus…I have no alternative
but to initiate litigation."

The ACLU's demand letter offered continuing discussions on how to resolve
the issues and protect freedom of speech on campus, but noted that after
eight months and little to show for it, litigation is likely to result if the problem is
not solved soon.

Letter to Southwestern College
San Diego ACLU's David Blair-Loy on prior
PO Box 87131   San Diego, CA 92138-7131
T/ 619-232-2121   F/ 619-232-0036

November 9, 2009
Dr. Raj K. Chopra, President
Southwestern College
900 Otay Lakes Road
Chula Vista, CA 91910

Re: Southwestern College Actions and Policies Infringing Free Speech

Dear President Chopra:

...“A prior restraint exists when the enjoyment of protected expression is contingent upon
the approval of government officials.” Baby Tam & Co., Inc. v. City of Las Vegas, 154 F.3d
1097, 1100 (9th Cir.1998). A requirement to obtain a permit before engaging in speech
is a prior restraint. Forsyth County v. The Nationalist Movement, 505 U.S. 123, 130
(1992). Because prior restraints on college students’ speech are not authorized, the
college may not require a permit before a demonstration may occur.

3. The First Amendment narrowly circumscribes the college’s right to
require an advance permit for speech or assembly.
Even if the statute did authorize a permit requirement, the First Amendment
disfavors prior restraints, and the government bears a heavy burden to justify them.
NAACP Western Region v. City of Richmond, 743 F.2d 1346, 1355 (9th Cir. 1984);
Rosen v. Port of Portland, 641 F.2d 1243, 1247, 1249 (9th Cir. 1981)...
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