...Turns out that the Governing Board of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is a haven for anti-freedom and anti-education mischief-makers.
First, there was this New Times piece about attempts by the Board to take over direct control of the content of the student newspapers on the various campuses of the system. Their rationalization? They found that a cartoon published in the newspaper for Scottsdale Community College was offensive.
From the New Times article -
Controversy over an editorial cartoon that some say makes President Obama look like a monkey is blowing up into a fight over control of student newspapers at local community colleges.
At a Tuesday meeting of the Maricopa Community College District Governing Board, "all but one" member of the five-person panel "decided that all student newspapers in the district needed to allow the board to control content in the future," says an e-mail...by the journalism director of Scottsdale Community College.
The article goes on to print the email from Julie Knapp, faculty advisor to the Scottsdale Chronicle, that described a discussion at the Board's interest in the District and College administrations taking a more direct and controlling position regarding the student-published newspapers of the various campuses.
The New Times' follow-up piece has responses from a couple of members of the Board, Randolph Lumm, a substance abuse counselor and Bible study teacher, and Debra Pearson, the apparent ringleader of the anti-free press group of board members. Mrs. Pearson may be better known to some readers the name Debra Brimhall, former Republican legislator. In the lege, she was best known for her proposal to limit public employees and journalists to 12 years in their careers.
A takeover of the newspapers doesn't seem to be on the agenda for the next Board meeting on March 24, but that is subject to change. And there is a vague section on the agenda about an Executive Session starting at 5:30 p.m.
Stay tuned on this one.
Then, in Sunday's East Valley Tribune, there was a feature highlighting the, ummmm..."people skills" of a third member of the Board, Jerry Walker.
From the article -
Jerry Walker felt he was defending Arizona’s voters one day early last month as he heckled a college student through the halls of the U.S. Congress.
The Maricopa County Community College District student receiving his scorn felt threatened.
She broke into tears after Walker, a member of the district’s governing board, incessantly ridiculed her during her attempts to lobby for federal legislation to help illegal immigrant students.
Walker is a Baptist minister-in-training who is active in East Valley politics, particularly in Republican circles.
Social issues, particularly his disapproval of homosexuality and illegal immigration, have caused him to clash with college employees and some board colleagues.
The incident in the Hart Senate Office Building was Walker’s first involving students.
The female victim of Walker's harassing behavior has filed a formal complaint about Walker's behavior, but because Walker is an elected official there may not be much that the Board can do about it.
However, the voters *can* do something about it - Walker's spot on the Board is up for election next year.
He represents Supervisor District 2, which includes much of Scottsdale and Mesa. I'd look into running against him, but I live in SD1.
I'm sure someone will be motivated to challenge Walker next year (perhaps someone from SCC's Journalism program??? Hmmm??? Wouldn't that be ironic??).
Regardless of the politics involved, Walkers' behavior is totally unacceptable from *any* public official.