Monday, August 27, 2007

Cosmic Insignificance

Author Ray A. Young Bear once remarked that, "Because of the differences of the bilingual/bicultural worlds I live in, it sometimes seems as if what is actually published turns out to be a minute and insignificant fraction of one's perpetual metamorphosis."

This sense of cosmic insignificance still prevalent in modern tribal society, where "the divisions between dream and myth are never clear-cut," stands in stark contrast to mercantilist societies utterly devoid of functional mythologies.

In fact, institutionally dominant narratives of even avant-garde academia are indicative of such limited vision and pervasive bias as to render them essentially ignorant. As elites whose awareness is hampered by the illusion of inclusion fostered by the interdisciplinary assemblage of fields founded on this fundamental ignorance, the dominant perspectives become in practice knowledge systems of the unknowing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Do No Harm

Their deeply reasonable intention is to distribute power so it can do no harm, an idea implicit in the way they weave their clothes, mats and baskets and also in the design and dynamics of the constellations.

-- Ramon Vera

Sunday, August 12, 2007

New College Intervention

Research assistance provided to faculty and students attempting to democratize the small private college in San Francisco has rapidly developed into a model of investigative research applied in a netwar environment. Responding to the July 17 request for help in contextualizing the imminent conflict between faculty and trustees, Bay Area volunteers mentored activist scholars in the use of research as an organizing tool.

Operating on the principle of learning by doing, volunteers Alison Burek, Mark Gould, Holly Harwood, and Jay Taber demonstrated how opening lines of communication via electronic mail, telephone, and word-of-mouth could be used to accelerate information-sharing in order to generate spontaneous research and education, as well as to spawn highly creative network organizing and community action.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Fractious Fairy Tales

This article from Inside Higher Ed leaves us at a loss for words. New College's now ex-president Martin Hamilton purposely violating student immigration visa reporting requirements in order to obtain a $1million donation to the school from a Nepalese con artist puts the ongoing fiasco at the school into the Jay Ward realm of fantasy. But unlike Ward's amusing creations Rocky and Bullwinkle, Hamilton and his fellow New College of California trustees seem to be operating in the dark all the time.

If only we could change the channel and make them go away.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sociopathic Fantasy

In the WASC letter to New College dated July 5, 2007, they state:

Under CFR 1.9, institutions have a commitment to accreditation as follows: 'The institution is committed to honest and open communication with the accrediting commission...' The Commission found that New College does not meet this commitment...

The lack of honest and open communication is, unfortunately, a behavior the New College board of trustees is still practicing today. Other than the resignation of president Martin Hamilton, they have not publicly announced any changes in administrative or trustee membership, they have not responded to any of the alumni requests for information about payments to trustee relatives and family members, they have not responded to the faculty demand for an investigation into criminal wrongdoing, and they have yet to make public that the institution is very likely to close in the near future due to WASC and U.S. Department of Education sanctions.

Even holding open houses under these conditions for prospective students making plans for Fall semester is disingenuous at best. The fact of the matter is, the school as an entity of higher education is for all intents and purposes dead at this point in time. The sooner the trustees admit this and start making arrangements to compensate all those who have been grievously harmed by their malign neglect, the sooner truth and reconciliation -- and maybe a reorganized school -- can begin.

Continuing to participate in trustee Peter Gabel's sociopathic fantasy will get them nowhere fast.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Valencia La Mancha

As we were sitting around chatting about the New College implosion, now forcing the trustees to deal with a calamity beyond its control, we started thinking about pending criminal indictments and other fireworks sure to capture our attention on the way to Labor Day. One of those roadside attractions, of course, will be the already begun exodus of employees necessary to running the school, but another element looming on the near horizon is likely to be an absence of admissions for Fall semester, which in itself would bankrupt the college toot suite.

The other idea that crossed our minds was the fact New College doesn't really own anything. The buildings are leased, except for one that is probably mortgaged to the hilt, and the school has no financial reserves. So in the end, which we believe is very near, the narrative of its downfall is all that's left to fight over.

No wonder ex-president Hamilton has started quoting Don Quixote.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Think Again

With the resignation of New College president Martin Hamilton today, alumni are quick to remind the embattled board of trustees that this is only the beginning of cleaning their filthy house. If they think sacrificing Hamilton is the end of it, think again. No gag order condition they might have placed on a severance package is sufficient to quash a subpoena by the U.S. Attorney or California Attorney General.

Indeed, a golden parachute will only raise another red flag regarding their illicit activities.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Cult Leader

Recent remarks in the San Francisco Chronicle by New College autocrat Peter Gabel, reminded us of another infamous cult leader whose hypnotic rhetoric also led to disastrous consequences. We only hope Prophet Peter can be removed from his position of power before it's too late.