Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Serious Trash

[UPDATE: June 7, 2008. I have started posting on the Future of Art Center blog, and encourage the dialogue to shift over there. For those joining the conversation, there is a post summarizing events so far]

Serious Play was the latest in a series of bi-annual conferences hosted by Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, around the theme ‘Stories from the Source.’ It is part of an initiative from the top brass to position Art Center as a forward thinking school in competition with schools like Carnegie Mellon, Stanford D and others, equipping students with cross-disciplinary tool kits for the world of tomorrow.

As stated by Richard Koshalek, President of Art Center, Serious Play is an important event that strategically places Art Center within the global community of design and education. And as he quoted Erica Clark (the other person responsible for the ‘Stories from the Source’ Series), “isolation breeds irrelevance.”

Well, as a student of Art Center, and as a participant in the conference, I have a story, from the source. Art Center is in danger of becoming highly irrelevant to the very world it is trying to influence. This conference, along with Art Center’s ‘Sustainability Summit,’ is an example of Art Center continuing to present two separate faces to the world. While touting its desire to be a leader that prepares students for the world tomorrow, Art Center lacks any understanding of what that world will be. Or at least, lacks the legs to walk the path it loves to talk about.

Anyone who attended the Sustainability Summit was lucky enough to drink from glass cups and eat off ceramic plates for the dinners and snacks provided throughout. They also had the option of some recycling bins to place recyclable trash accumulated over the few days. Unfortunately, the people attending the three-day summit had more options to recycle and be responsible than the students who attend Art Center on a daily basis. The Art Center Cafeteria still uses Styrofoam plates, in spite of numerous efforts by select faculty and students for two years to change this. We know how to change this. We also know how to reduce the amount of waste we generate. And we know how to substantially improve our recycling rate beyond the standard 50%. Money has been cited as the limiting factor to this, but I can respect that only so much.

Student tuition has been raised 5% consistently over these past two years so that Art Center can “remain competitive,” or so the little letter I receive in the mail states. Well, I’m glad someone in Art Center was able to find the $385,068 in 2005 to pay Gehry Partners to design our new “advanced technical center.” A facility that has yet to break ground, and will not be finished before any attending student graduates. With a net loss of $128,955 reported in 2005, it’s not surprising that the 2008 Car Classic got cancelled. For that much money, we could hire an entry level Senior Officer who advises solely on Sustainability, and one-day work their way up to our President’s $439,950 2005 compensation. I haven’t seen the latest Form 990 from Art Center I’ll be naively optimistic and hope that these prices have been adjusted to remain “competitive.”

I’m not saying that it is as simple as cutting our president’s salary in half. I respect that he was worked hard to get where he is, and this is his earned compensation. I could simply not pay my tuition, as the popular thing to do now is “vote with my wallet.” That would take me out of their conversation completely (though one in which I feel I am already ignored to a serious degree). That option is comparable to walking away from the negotiation table before everyone has been invited. We have to affect change in our immediate spheres of influence. We have to be willing to make an effort. And I would very much like a return on my investment so far.

I want a degree, I want it to come from a place I respect, and will continue to respect in the future. I fell in love with Art Center before knowing its problems. The face that I fell in love with still exists, there’s just a bit more to her than I first realized. True to that love, I want to help out, if only my partner would admit to the problem and make an effort her self. Art Center is infamous for being demanding and destroying the relationships of its student body, but I think this is one relationship I can do something about. I just need a little help myself figuring out how to do so. And then maybe together walk the talk, hand in hand.

Information from:

Art Center Waste Stream Analysis 2007

Art Center 2005 Tax Form 990

Art Center Tuition Raise Information Letter


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Anonymous said...

thanks, ophelia.

we appreciate your efforts as a neutral agent and information-seeker.

what is the time/location of the june 10 event?

Anonymous said...

"But I think there’s also a very interesting seismic shift happening, and I think that is because
of the new technology—like MySpace and YouTube and so forth and the Internet. What’s happening now is that the individual is becoming more important than ever before, and we are going to depend less on government organizations and political leadership, and even corporate leadership to a certain degree, and we’re going to be depending more on individuals to make their own decisions and provide leadership."
- Quote Richard Koshalek 2007

Anonymous said...

Richard Koshalek is a visionary, and he's the best fundraiser around.

shoji said...

re: 7:35p: My understanding is that they apologized to Nathan in person about that.

Ophelia Chong said...

thank you shoji.

FugitiveColors said...

7:30pm said:
There is no way to please you because you know that he cannot sign the petition, which states that education has been "compromised" because of one man. If he signs it, he is condemning himself.

Thank you, 7:30, for giving me the opportunity to clarify that. According to reports here, Koshalek has been listening to the students lately. The Tuesday meeting was for them to express their priorities, to reveal their desires for things to be different -- one might say, to tell him about how the educational environment they desire has been compromised by his past priorities. And, the good news is, he's listening!

He's apparently ready to take the students seriously and make changes. He said in his June 3 email that he's had productive meetings with ACSG, Faculty Council, and Chairs. PRODUCTIVE! That means he's willing to change some things. That means "do things differently." Which is the same as admitting that in the past, certain things he now embraces were compromised by his earlier policies.

So, that "compromised" part of the petition, if he is really willing to change his ways, should be easy for Koshalek to admit to. As to the rest of it, all he has to do is join 500 other Art Center Patriots, current students, faculty, staff, and a bundle of our most successful alums, in signing the true Document of Change for the future of the college we all so love.

Anonymous said...

As an alum far removed geographically from ACCD, I've only known about the school's troubles through former students of mine whom I've directed to Art Center for further study. Over the last few years, I've received increasingly disturbing reports about core curriculum being gutted, faculty politicized, and tuition diverted to conferences and building projects. Last week, I received an e-mail from Koshalek's office regarding concerns "you may be hearing about", and after speaking with some colleagues who are also ACCD alumni, I found myself here. It's been enlightening to read your post, Nathan, and the comments of others here.

Art Center is a school that truly changes lives, and through its legacy of excellence has literally helped shape the world we live in. That people feel passionately about its future is a testament to that past, and to the disciplined focus on educational achievement it has always strived for. Like so many of the students here, the alumni, too, feel a strong emotional attachment to this extraordinary institution. To expect us to continue to support the school, however, ACCD will need to rely on more than sentimental bonds: it needs to make a renewed commitment to its educational legacy.

It seems clear that under Richard Koshalek's leadership, that legacy has begun to unravel, and with Nate Young's departure the educational focus is even murkier. It's my hope that the board is listening, and that Koshalek's tenure with Art Center comes to a close at the end of this contract. Students should know they have the support of alumni, and that we'll be watching developments closely.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, 9:34. Have you signed the petition yet? It's at

Anne Burdick said...

Please do not assume that the comments disparaging the school are felt by all or apply to all areas of activity. While there are many educational successes on campus, I will only speak about the Media Design Program, for which I am Chair. Our program just received the highest number of applicants of the highest quality in our history for the Fall 2008 incoming class. Our most recent grads (8 total) received or accepted offers from Microsoft, IDEO, Ford Motor Company (to *start* their first-ever in-house interactive division), Intel Research, Kaiser Innovation Center, and Frog Design. We have two students on internships this summer--one at the U.N. and one at T-Mobile (he turned down an offer from the Institute for the Future). I just returned from the SEGD national conference last weekend where our recent graduate Jiyeon Song received an Honour Award for her thesis--the only student project in a field of professionals. Our department's scholarship funds were recently increased by almost 200%.

So, please, make no mistake: education is currently thriving. But it won't be for much longer if we fail to build a foundation that prepares us for a highly competitive, global future. I can see that the students themselves sense the urgency of this.

The Media Design Program will soon be moving to the South Campus where we will have a state-of-the-art facility (not perfect but pretty damn cool) that has been outfitted to support our forays into design research and experimentation. We have been tasked with building a future-oriented reputation for the school with new approaches to graduate education and research. This is a strategy for growth that is not based upon loosening admissions standards but on diversifying the school's offerings. The emphasis on growth at the graduate level is to help us stay competitive and retain our place at the forefront of new developments in design--this is one of Richard's key initiatives and we have benefitted from his support. Nate was also a believer in this strategy and was instrumental in making this initiative a reality. In addition, the faculty and students within my department have worked incredibly hard, and we all continue to, with great results.

For the record, I'm not only an alumni, so is my sister and my father (who attended Third St., was a teacher then a Chair, was on the committee overseeing the development of the Elwood Building, and he still vacations with the Kublys). I've been teaching here since 1997 and have been a Chair for the last 2 years--so I've got at least as much at stake here as the rest of my fellow alums.

Nevertheless, I have no nostalgia for the "old" Art Center as I believe that institutions and education need to be responsive to the realities of their current context--that's simply good design. I for one am excited about working with my faculty and students to develop the kind of cutting-edge content that will make the built expansion thrive.

I've taught many places; this school is not perfect but it's better than most. I do believe that infrastructure in terms of faculty, facilities, technology, and student scholarships has not been a top priority but your voices are getting through and a much needed dialogue has begun between admin and education. For my part, I will continue to be an advocate for education every chance I get.

Anonymous said...

"When he first arrived at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 1980, Los Angeles had the second largest population of artists in the United States, but there was no institution that offered a continuous exposure to contemporary art, and no forum for younger artists. Mr. Koshalek developed MOCA from a fledgling outpost with borrowed offices, no collection, a staff of three and an operating budget of $50,000 into a mature institution with a $50 million endowment, a collection of some 4,000 works worth approximately $260 million, a full-time staff of 75 and two debt-free buildings (one by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and the other by Frank Gehry), with 100,000 square feet of exhibition space."

It took vision and commitment to accomplish what Richard Koshalek did at MOCA.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:01PM - thanks for quoting that April, 2001 NY Times article out of context. It goes on to say:

Buildings by Mr. Siza and especially Mr. Gehry, the poet of architectural turbulence, will move the school away from Ellwood's cool, industrial modernism. (And it will diversify Pasadena's image as a time-warped architectural enclave interested only in preservation.) For Art Center students, the new designs promise to open an on-the-spot dialogue between the rational and irrational hemispheres of the architectural brain. But the new buildings, scheduled for completion by Art Center's 75th anniversary, in 2005, also promise to be object lessons.

As noted here previously, Koshalek is unable to repeat his MOCA successes at Art Center - an institution distinctly different from a museum - and his envisioned buildings are three years behind schedule, inappropriate to the site, underfunded, and poorly planned.

Future of Art Center said...

Folks, this little pissing match is really getting boring. Nate did this, Richard did that, blah blah blah. There's plenty of mistakes to go around, frankly. Nate did not always understand education and put too much of a business management approach into the mix. Richard has only sporadically paid attention to education or the negative impact his other actions have had on it, and yet at other times has indeed mettled more directly (Ophelia, Richard may have a certain perspective on what he's done, but that doesn't discount what others have seen him do).

But this discussion it is not going to get the school anywhere new. Can we agree that the burst of speaking out these last few weeks is an indicator that there is something wrong at Art Center, and that as a community we need to make some changes? Not that it's a bad school - or that nothing good comes out of it. But that there are some pretty serious problems that need to be resolved if the school is going to continue to be a great institution for the education of art and design?

There really has been enough dissecting of things, and it is now time for constructive proposals. The Board of Trustees, Richard, the Chairs, the faculty, students, staff, and alumni need something to evaluate. Change in policies and priorities are needed, and based on that, the community can decide on what kind of leadership we need to achieve the goals we come up with. Perhaps Richard can adapt, perhaps not. But lets look at the future and define it. Make your proposals!

Future of Art Center said...
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Future of Art Center said...
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FugitiveColors said...

Ok, you're right, it's time for solutions -- or, at least the beginning of a solution-based process.

I propose a six-month moratorium on all new construction plans and construction-related fundraising, as more-or-less called for in the petition. During that time, a team of representatives from faculty, alumni, and students will work with administration and a consultant/facilitator to analyze the college's evolving needs and prorities. At the end of this dialogue, a multilateral report will be prepared and presented as a series of recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

I fear, however, the outcome of dialogue that is sought by Mr. Koshalek is to convince everyone else to join his existing unilateral plan for the future -- and so he would likely resist a plan such as that above. Maybe I'm wrong...

Anonymous said...

From 10:30's post:
...the new buildings, scheduled for completion by Art Center's 75th anniversary, in 2005...

Actually,the hillside buildings fantasized by Koshalek and hyped to the NY Times for 2005 completion are SEVEN years behind schedule. If you consider it was 2001 when he gave that quote, and that we are now still just trying the raise some money, much less break ground, we're essentially right back in '01 where we started.

Sort of makes you wonder -- if such projects can take many many years to accomplish, as his apologists here continually remind us, why did Koshalek the recognized EXPERT in such matters, declare in 2001 that it would all be wrapped up within a few years?

Nathan said...

Since the original post, there have been many issues that have come to the surface. It is important that people stay focused, and remain careful to not blur boundaries. For myself, that is to focus on Sustainability, as that was the spark that set me off. In pursuit of that at Art Center, I found a need for greater accountability and transparency. I have sat down with various Administrators, staff, and faculty to discuss this issue (previous to the Serious Trash post). Many conversations happened behind closed doors, and ended without roadmaps or follow up action. Now the dialogue is in the open, and I hope the roadmaps are public, and the action visible.

The Administration has seen fit to remove Styrofoam from the cafeteria within the next few weeks. And implement the follow up phase of the 2007 Waste Stream Analysis so that the school can improve its recycling rates. I am happy with the start, and caution those in charge of this. Take a moment to consider this step, I hope it to be more than reactionary. Ecocouncil has been asking about the details of possible Styrofoam replacements for some time now (months if not years), in hopes to assist the school in doing due diligence. We want to do the greatest good we can, rather than less bad.

I want everyone to feel free to voice their opinion. I ask everyone who joins this dialogue, to take a moment, and breathe seven breathes before posting. As a community, take the time to consider what you hope to accomplish in voicing your opinion(s). What is the goal in what you are about to write? How do you envision it moving the conversation forward?

To that, I do believe that the main problems I encountered with the school (accountability and transparency), are symptomatic to concerns and issues that others have raised. Watching tuition rise, while the day to day suffers (increased class sizes, crowded computer labs, crowded parking lots, cut back in lab hours, crowded shop, difficult bureaucracy) has a very significant impact on students and our perception of what state the school is in. When the cafeteria raised prices in the beginning of 2008, there was a little note attributing this to gas prices. While still upsetting to some, the ability to connect the reason for the action was valuable.

As a community, we can see problems or we can see opportunities. The Administration is talking to students and faculty. Lets use that. Erica Clark did apologize to me in person about the phone conversation we had after my initial post. Iris Gelt has apologized for the removal of Nate Young’s photo from the Legacy Circle. Yes, I agree, this along with other recent incidents, is unsettling. She apologized though, she’s human, she made a mistake. Let’s push forward. It is an issue, its not the issue though.

Opportunities are now ahead of us. The dialogue should be in the open. Questions should be asked with purpose (and answered with honesty). Talk is a start, it has to be followed by visible change.

Anonymous said...

Nathan C, thanks for all that you have done to bring this discussion out in the open. Sorry to have had to force the schools dirty laundry onto your valuable and important educational years.

Everyone please remember that it is 'actions' that speak louder than words. This is especially critical when it come to the master of verbal manipulation. Richard K is the master at swaying small groups through his charm and charisma. Usually around a dinner table paid for by your tuition dollar.

Nathan is right that the Eco-C has tried many times in the past to get even small changes to happen in the cafeteria. Students have tried this for many years, and no action.

When it comes to faculty council, Richard himself said he has met with them now many times in the last week. Probably the only times in the last several years? Prior to all this, when was the last time he met with FC during their weekly FC meetings? Once in 4 years? This is fact. Did he also forget to mention that about 5 years ago, he tried to disband them due to a dissenting opinion they presented at a board meeting? Hmm more action by Richard.

Be careful to weigh action vs. talk. Talk may get you a job. But it is actions that keep your job and move you forward through your career.

Ophelia Chong said...

Thank you Nathan. Thank you everyone. And I took eight deep breaths (small lungs).

Futureofartcenter, you summed it up with this "Can we agree that the burst of speaking out these last few weeks is an indicator that there is something wrong at Art Center, and that as a community we need to make some changes?"

Painful as it seems and it was, this whole process will only lead to good if we stay on top of it.
I will not fade away, I will not disappear. And I know the most passionate commenters on this blog will neither.


FugitiveColors said...

Ophelia and Future said:
"Can we agree that the burst of speaking out these last few weeks is an indicator that there is something wrong at Art Center, and that as a community we need to make some changes?"

So, how do we get started with change? Of course, we can switch out the styrofoam in the cafeteria, and put a student and faculty rep into the Board meetings -- those are important things, no question, and their achievement would be a clear sign of progress.

But I think there are deeper divisions here, differences between the fundamental priorities of the administration and the priorities of the students and educators. Cafeteria cups and seats at the table aren't going to sufficiently address those core differences.

I propose that we adopt the Future Of ArtCenter petition, already signed by over 500 students, faculty, and alums, as our "Constitution of Change," and that our overarching demand to the trustees be that this document prevail in their deliberations over Richard Koshalek's contract extension on June 19.

The simple fact is, that petition is irreconcilable with Koshalek's continued presidency of Art Center -- unless of course he were to fully embrace and sign it himself. Short of that, even as we win smaller battles over cups in the cafeteria, the petition -- OUR "Constitution of Change," should be our rallying point in all discussions, meetings, and townhalls with the administration We should certainly ask respectfully that it be endorsed, but in the absence of a clear acknowledgement of its priority, our posture should be that of a demand, not a plea. There is strength in our numbers, and strength in the dollars and resources we as a group bring to the college. It is time to leverage our strength.

If you haven't read the full, brief, clear and articulate text of the petition, please do so. It is found at

Ophelia Chong said...

Fugitive Colors

You will have that forum to present the petition yourself to the students on June 10th.
I plan on being there to listen to the students and the administration.


Incoming student said...

Here is a good question:

Who would replace RK? An ACCD alum or someone from within the industry? Promote from within?

That seems to be the only way to get the education aspect back on track. Kinda hard to know the value and condition of a piece of equipment if you have never used it or have no idea what goes into creating or learning about design disciplines.

Replacing styrofoam plates and erecting pretty buildings is nothing compared to a dysfunctional admin and faculty relation because this impacts the very people the school relies most on: the students and future students.

Anonymous said...

Are our demands basically no new buildings (since we are under utilizing the ones we have).
and No increased enrollment which waters down our level of talent and reputation over time? The goal being more money and fundraising effort focused on educational programs and current facilities.

Anonymous said...

I like the "Constitution of Change" idea. I just went over to the petition site and read it. All our basic demands are there.

shoji said...

I have a request.

To anyone who wish to remain anon and post here: Could you take a moment to sign up for an OpenID or Gmail 'anonymous' account (much like FutureofArtCenter)? You can remain unknown and your comments won't be washed away with the slew or other anonymous posts in here. It's also easier to track when you establish yourselves as someone with something pertinent to contribute to the discussion.

I'd suggest just filling out the Name/URL option, but that can always be impersonated.

Anonymous said...

Does everyone have the facts to make these decisions? Are you all expert space designers and planners too?

The now-seemingly beloved Annex buildings has to go away soon as mandated by the city. It was a temporary buildng and that space will be gone.

Meanwhile, new equipment does not fit (!) into the Ellwood buildng. Why? The existing space is not large enough. Also, students want more workspace and better technology and equipment. Where will this go? How about the department chairs and their hopes and desires to implement new programs and teaching and technology into their departments? And staff too need office space.

I hope the trustees realize that, to move forward,
plans need to continue for new, upgraded and yes, expanded facilities.

To help recruit the best and most talented students AND faculty, don't we need to have better facilities, technology and equipment? As designers and artists, don't you want the right tools?

astrid said...


okay. i just saw your post after i sent my last post at 10 a.m. it's good idea.

Ophelia Chong said...

Forum Details
The forum is on Tuesday, June 10 from 12:00-2:00 pm., Ahmanson Theatre.

see you there.


Ophelia Chong said...

Astrid read Anne Burdick's comments
on June 4, 2008 9:56 PM

Rachael Tiede said...

To all who are concerned with the future of Art Center:

I have always planned on setting the record straight concerning my dismissal from Art Center last week, however I needed to take care of a few things before that was possible.

Over the last 10 years I have worked for three different departments at Art Center (my last position being the Executive Assistant to the Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer), through this I have come to know and respect many of the students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I have a great love for this school and never imagined this is how I would leave. The current administration would have you believe I left on my own accord to pursue other career goals. THIS IS NOT TRUE. In my final meeting with Human Resources I was told I could not work in any other department on campus and my only option was to leave. This happened less than 24 hours after I stood up in the student meeting in the cafeteria and explained why Nate Young resigned from his position as Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer.

In the ACSG meeting last Friday, Richard Koshalek stated that Human Resources asked me to come work for them and wanted me to stay at Art Center. Again I emphatically state that THIS IS NOT TRUE. Human Resources did ask that the temp (Francis) working in our office at the time stay on and work, but I was not given that as an option. Though I have been told by legal council and others that I have serious grounds for a law suit, I have decided against this course of action at this time as the only ones who would suffer and pay are the students.

I wish you all the best, you have my full support to make education the top priority at Art Center.

Yours Truly,

Rachael Tiede

Anonymous said...

wow... I am speechless and dumbfounded.

shoji said...

Thanks Rachael and I'm sorry for what you're going through. It's very telling of the type of ship that's being run at Art Center.

I'm curious if Koshalek blatantly lied during that meeting or if it's a case of Jean Ford keeping him in the dark for some amount of plausible deniability for him.

Regardless, that's not how an institution of higher learning should EVER be run. This isn't 'Cut-throat Corporate Center for Learning,' it's an NPO educational school that shouldn't be permanently silencing the staff that's put in the time and dedication to make it the best it can be!

It's quite sick.

Anonymous said...

Shoji--the "I've been told," which Koshalek repeated several times, was pretty much the giveaway. That was the semantic signal that if the news about the true circumstances of Rachael's departure was to get out, he could claim to have no knowledge because 'he'd been told.' Also, I am sure they were betting on Rachael accepting a severance package which would have a confidentiality clause attached. I am sure that is also why they are saying that Nate has declined to state his reasons for leaving.

or perhaps it was all an error like the photoshop incident.

and yes, i did take some deep breaths.

Robert Quintero said...

Thank you for being so brave Rachael. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Rachael's story is not at all surprising (and at the very least I hope it explains why we are not eager to stand up and sign our names).

This is how RK operates. He squashes his non-supporters, and then fills those remaining with hope and flattery until it's their heads on the chopping block. He keeps everyone in a constant state of chaos. They don't know if they're on daddy's good side or bad side, so they're always nervous and willing to do whatever he asks (regardless of how immoral) to make sure it's not their head next.

This includes his inner circle. Iris, Erica, Rich, Jean... they're all just as scared (if not more so) than everyone else that they're the next ones on the chopping block. They'll do anything he asks (rather it's Photoshopping Nate out of a picture, bullying a student blogger, or cooking the books) in order to stay in his good graces. Voldemort and the Death Eaters.

For those of you who are wondering about "cooking the books," we're not necessarily saying that they're lying to the IRS, which is what the auditors are looking for. However, someone should ask the CFO about the education budget numbers that he showed the board at last February's meeting, versus the budget that surfaced 3 days after the meeting. Rich reported to the board that for the 2007 fiscal year Nate was over budget by the millions, as opposed to the true budget that surfaced three days later that showed him only over budget by $600,000. And of that, the major offender was International Initiatives, which Nate had no jurisdiction over (yes... RK make Nate accountable for II's budget, but gave him NO power to manage it... again how RK works). This was an obvious move by RK to make Nate look bad to the Board.

For those of you blaming Nate for his extravagant travel, I can say that I've heard with my own ears, Nate trying to talk Richard OUT of having to take trips (he has a lovely wife, who he'd much rather be at home with). Richard insisted.

And for those of you blaming Nate for the failed education reorg, Richard and the Board approved the plan and then offered no support of it. The structure itself wasn't flawed. The speed-bumps and random directives from RK, which Nate was constantly having to work around was.

And for those of you who wondered why Nate left quietly, it was to avoid this. It was to keep from hurting Art Center and its students who he dearly loved and cared for. He left with dignity, and RK is abusing that. He's literally attacking a man who can't and won't defend himself. When King Solomon asked if he should cut the baby in half, Nate was the one who said, "no."

And for those of you who think that RK only wants what's best for the school... RK doesn't care about Rachael, a new mother, who has given 10 years of service to this school. Do you really think he cares about you?

And for you who are chanting "Reinstate Nate," I can say with confidence, that he'd rather you chant, "Education First." Nate doesn't want revenge. He wants the students at Art Center to get the best possible education. He did all he could to ensure that while he was at Art Center, even at the cost of his job. Now it's up to all of you.

And on a personal note to Nik, Mark, and everyone else who bought into the flattery... "Et tu, Brute?" You not only turned your backs on Nate, you turned your backs on the students who needed you to stand up for them.

discovolante said...

Is this a tipping point? Because it damn looks like one.

Talk is done with Richard in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

12:46 pm -

when will you get it into your head that this is bigger than richard vs. nate?!!

how can you say "You not only turned your backs on Nate, you turned your backs on the students who needed you to stand up for them." to people like nik and mark?

just because they don't agree with you doesn't mean that they don't care about the students. or that they are being FORCED to say that by some dictator. don't be absurd! actually, i'm pretty sure everything they were saying should tell you just the opposite. sometimes people won't always have the same opinion as you - get used to it!

it's time to grow up. we have moved on. this is a bigger issue. if you actually WANT to make art center a better place, you need to get on the right page. otherwise you're not helping ANY of us - that means YOU aren't helping the students either.

Anonymous said...


i'm glad you found a new metaphor (voldemort & the death eaters) for art center. that one's a lot less offensive than hitler and the gestapo.

keep working though. maybe at some point you'll actually say something productive.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I see the phrase "international hires" (see future artcenter blog), I know that yet again, the school has no intention of attending to the actual problems that it faces. Why bring up hiring (often proceeded by firing) at this point in the discussion? It certainly isn't a strategy of confidence building, now is it? I'm not saying anything against the idea of initiating "international hires" - who wouldn't be for a globally diverse faculty - but it seems simply wrong-headed or even cruel to send out such a message now. Are we to surmise from this announcement that the administration thus has no plans to ever recognize/support its own faculty? (I was hoping to make a living wage before I hit retirement but I quess that any $ that could be used for just compensation will apparently be diverted, yet again, to some "new" initiative"). As has been said, we have serious problems with infrastructure, and as such, the health of the school will not be returned to us through more shiny PR if we can't even take care of what we have here. Pumped up on the adrenaline of appearances, it seems that the administration has no clue of how to refrain from insulting, disregarding and even abusing its faculty and by extension, its community. Signs of support for education at ACCD? Well, evidently not for the ones doing the actual educating.

Anonymous said...

I agree. It is bigger than Nate vs. Richard. It's Education at Art Center (which Nate represented) vs. Richard (who has his own agenda). I understand that it doesn't SEEM reasonable that it should be this black and white, but it really is.

I've followed this blog since its inception and watched quietly as people have shredded Nate's good name. I've finally decided to speak out and give specific details of things I've seen with my own eyes or heard with my own ears, and your response is to "grow up."

The only way to help students is to put education first. The only way to do that is to remove RK and his corrupt administration. Supporting RK is NOT helping Art Center. Neither is berating people for speaking out.

Anonymous said...

dude, 2:22:

do you recognize that your argument was "you're right it's not richard v. nate, but it's richard v. nate." somehow i don't follow your logic. if you honestly believe that the issues are bigger that (and i do!) then it's time to move past the names and get to the real issues.

Anonymous said...

Now to get serious and grow up.
Agree with 1:33 that it does not serve any of us to start disparaging others around us. And for good reason too. Yes discovolante, we have reached the tipping point, and it was likely Rachael’s post--for which I commend her—that did so. As the dust settles—and it will—we all need to plan to “get along” after Richard is gone.

Richard Koshalek is in trouble, potentially in a legal way (get to this soon). His administration has acted recklessly throughout this period of crisis, with little regard for consequence. I mean seriously, if an organization can not properly vet amongst themselves, first whether it makes sense to airbrush a photo or not, then second how to properly respond. Seriously did you expect the community to believe Nate was accidentally airbrushed. But before I am told to “Move On” I will agree the airbrush incident is minor, and only indicative of a pattern of behavior by Richard Koshalek. More importantly, this type of behavior without consequence might possibly have violated legal employment statutes of this State, with the forced resignations of Art Center staff. It is this blatant disregard for consequence, also on a fiduciary level, that has led to poorly managed funds and expansion plans, which quite possibly indicts not only RK, but each and every Board of Trustee.

Getting a touch more serious. Board of Trustees—each individual of the board—have legal and binding responsibilities towards the entity (Art Center College of Design, a non-profit). Excerpted below:
[[In virtually every common law jurisdiction, trustees have certain duties, some of which are fiduciary. These include the duty to carry out the express terms of the trust instrument, the duty to defend the trust, the duty to prudently invest trust assets, the duty of impartiality among the beneficiaries, the duty to account for their actions and to keep the beneficiaries informed about the trust, the duty of loyalty, the duty not to delegate, the duty not to profit, the duty not to be in a conflict of interest position and the duty to administer the trust in the best interest of the beneficiaries. These duties may be expanded or narrowed by the terms of the instrument creating the trust, but in most instances cannot be eliminated completely.

Benjamin Cardozo once described the standard for fiduciary behavior this way: "Not honesty alone, but the punctilio of an honor the most sensitive, is then the standard of behavior." Meinhard v. Salmon, 249 N.Y. 458, 164 N.E. 545 (1928).

A trustee carries the fiduciary responsibility and liability to use the trust assets according to the provisions of the trust instrument (and often regardless of their own or the beneficiaries' wishes). The trustee may find himself liable to claimants, prospective beneficiaries, or third parties. In the event that a trustee incurs a liability (for example, in litigation, or for taxes, or under the terms of a lease) in excess of the trust property they hold, they may find themselves personally liable for the excess.]]

I applaud the Board of Trustees for their hard work, and difficult job ahead. There are difficult decisions, and legal obligations to uphold. I can not confirm, but assume Richard Koshalek is in touch with Board Members. I suggest we all try to do the same, and let them know just how important education is to you. As posted in the Art Center Website the Trustees are listed below. We are working on contact information and opening a line of communication with the Board prior to the June 19 meeting where they will decide upon an additional 5 years for RK’s contract…

Or Richard, you can do the honorable thing and spare this community the continued pain, and disruption of what it is really here to do, before things dissolve even further. By you leaving Richard, Art Center can begin rebuilding. I am afraid if you stick around this is not possible.

Board of Trustees
Mr. John Puerner, Chairman
Mr. Robert C. Davidson, Jr.
Mr. William T. Gross
Mr. Raymond Hemann
Mr. Kit Hinrichs
Mr. William Horsfall
Mr. Cleon T. "Bud" Knapp, Chairman Emeritus
Mr. Timothy Kobe
Mr. Richard Koshalek
Mr. Samuel Mann
Mr. Fred Nicholas
Mr. Michael Reese
Mr. Dean A. Scarborough
Mr. Paul A. Violich
Mrs. Judy C. Webb
Mrs. Alyce de Roulet Williamson

Emeritus Trustees

Mr. Richard Frank
Mr. Edward Hanak
Mr. Donald Kubly
Mr. Kyhl Smeby
Mr. Warren Williamson

Honorary Trustees

Ms. Wallis Annenberg
Dr. David Baltimore
Mr. Heinrich Baumann
Mrs. Bettina Chandler
Mr. Otis Chandler
Mr. Leland Clow
Mr. Robert B. Egelston
Mr. Kenji Ekuan
Mrs. Mary E. Goodan
Mrs. Adelaide Hixon
Mr. Jerry Johnson
Mr. Nobuhiko Kawamoto
Mr. Jon Lovelace
Mrs. Lillian Lovelace
Dr. Akihiko Saito
Mr. Morgan Sinclaire (posthumously)

Connie Wong said...

Rachael, I'm horrified to learn about the truth of the circumstances of your dismissal. It is completely unconscionable. This exposes the current dialogue with RK and his administration as a complete farce.

John Henry said...

ACSG will be holding Q&A this Tuesday in the Ahmanson Auditorium (6/10) from 12-2PM.

Richard Koshalek and Administration will be present to answer student, faculty, and staff questions.

This is an open even to everyone.

John Henry Baliton

Anonymous said...

thanks, john. i'm looking forward to it!

Anonymous said...

John Henry, thank you for your invitation. I believe what people are saying here, is that they are uncomfortable with the meetings as they are called by Richard and his staff. Fear is reasonable, as evidenced by Rachael's dismissal, after appearing at a similar event.

A more appropriate venue might be to allow students, faculty, and alumni to have a town hall meeting WITH the Board of Trustees present. This ensures that they can present their concerns directly to an arbitrary panel that has the interests of ACCD in sight. Otherwise, RK gets to tell his side of the story to the Board.

Perhaps we can invite the Board to the Tuesday meeting.

Anonymous said...

Bloggers, I'm a faculty member who cares deeply about the future of this college and havebeen following the blog closely so here's a word of caution. If you want to be taken seriously you really need to stop the name-calling. Nathan, as editor of this blog it's your responsibility to delete any insulting entries like these that could be considered defamation, which could have a legal bite right back at ya. Watch it guys, cause if you act and sound like babies you'll never get anywhere. Believe me, I care what happens.

Anonymous said...

"confused staff"

Wow for people spitting out alot of legal precedence you all sure don’t show any inclination of understanding it.

In any organization HR has a responsibility to current, former, and prespective employees to protect thier records. so you really think the school is going to comment on someone leaving and open themselves up to possible lawsuits. I think Rachels leaving is between her and HR and really shouldn’t be apart of this discussion.

And to anon 12:46 and 2:31

Im glad to see that you are so bold as to spew opinions after opinions about people and their responsibilities and identifying them while you hide under the guise of anonymous. Seriously since you’re a legal wiz, stop and think about it. I mean if you come out do you really think the school can dismiss you after all the things that you have said are true. Why would they open themselves up to legal possibility? You can identify yourself and actually stand behind your words and show the students that you are a true leader and not just stirring the pot. Because right now your just pushing what is sounding like a personal vendetta.

I think a tide has turned also but it wasn’t when you thought. I think the tide turned when Ophelia called for anonymous posters to identify themselves.

Anonymous said...

The tone of this blog is really serious and really absurd at the same time.

Anyone who knows Richard Koshalek knows that he leads with positivity and optimism. Fear is not part of it. The accusation of instigating "fear" was leveled at David Brown, as well, by many or at least one of the same people who is doing it on this blog.

Recent actions of the adminstration, it is true, have been far from perfect. Slow, then sloppy. Richard did not do them. He did not order them. If you knew him, you would know that he entrusts people to do their work in the right way. Most of the time it is fine, but right now, you're right, they were caught off guard. This blog forum is new for them.

But anyone can ask the people cited above who are trying to work productively -- Nik, Mark, Rich, Erica, Iris, Jean, and more -- and I truly believe, but go ahead and see for yourself, they would say that Richard is not scary. He does not instill fear. If anything, Richard encourages. He is human, just like you and me, and this kind of trash talk is plain wrong.

Richard has given his staff -- including Nate -- and others a lot of leeway to do their work. So when you make it sound like he's issued these edicts and bidden people to do these dirty jobs, we know it's not true.

I am really sorry to hear those words from Rachael, and I hope it was really Rachael, and not someone posing as "Rachael Tiede." But you can never know these days.

All of you who are upset and discouraged, you are not alone. The Richard Koshalek whose reputation is being trashed here is not the Richard Koshalek I know. He has done so much for this school. Look at the real numbers of the money that has been raised over the past 9 years. It's gone to the endowment and to scholarships and will be there long after all of us are gone.

Anonymous said...

i dont know who posted this earlier but i just read it and it is a really good article. so i wanted to post it again. does anyone have any other articles or interviews that richard has done.

Anonymous said...

"confused staff"

Thank you anon 3:33

I feel the same way. I believe in the way the school is going and that is why I am here. It just gets frustrating to see people blatantly diss RK and knowing that there is nothing you can do on this blog to refute the allocations because people dont have to own up to their words.

As a supportive staff person who believes in the school, the admin, the students and faculty it hurts when people talk all of this trash. Especially when you have worked with the people who you know is posting this stuff and you know they are not telling the whole story or misconstruing the facts to get their agenda thru. But what can I do these people are above me in the rank of things and I still have to work with them. I mean my role is to support the school and it not to partake in the ideological discussion of education. Its just frustrating.

With that said I apologize to the poster I attacked earlier and will try to be more constructive in the future.

Anonymous said...

STOP THIS INSANITY! You are making a grave mistake that will damage the future of Art Center. Are you really willing to destroy the work by experienced and dedicated individuals who have given their hard work and energy supporting Art Center-developing its reputation and relationships with some of the top people around the world? Are you really thinking long term about your impact on the school and those who have been working on its behalf?

Or are you just interested in being some warped celebrity? Or a sucker for mob thinking and cynical rebellion because MTV and Hollywood told you it’s cool -it are what hipsters do. I think you should all be ashamed for being so misinformed and mislead.

Really think hard about what you are doing to the future of this school and really start thinking for yourself. Do you really understand the consequences and the people you will be hurting? If you are so concerned with getting on with your education then why are you wasting everyone’s energy with this drama?

STOP THE PETITION! I can testify that Art Center’s staff -some of the best professionals a school could have. What are you doing this for? In exchange for what? Do you really think the grass in greener on the other side? I am confident it is not because I am familiar with the facts. If you sign that petition you are making a terrible misinformed mistake for Art Center. Here are the facts:

Absolutely no tuition money is being used to finance the DRC or new facilities

Art Center needs new facilities to improve the quality of our education and be competitive for the future. It’s in our benefit.

All money donated for the DRC came from generous individuals in the private sector who believe in the benefits of this project for Art Center’s growth.

Richard Koshalek has single handedly raised 80 million in the last 7 years more than was raised in the previous 70!

Scholarship money is a 30 million endowment and expected to grow to 50 million under Koshalek’s leadership

The Education department, under Nate Young, was 1 million over budget. Talk about wasting your tuition dollars. This is why he resigned.

This blog and the petition and those you run it and support it are deceiving and misleading you.

Anonymous said...

I love the people who blog anonymously, who then complain about others who blog anonymously.

Robert Quintero said...

Hello Art Center Community,
I have just spoke with Iris Gelt concerning Nate Young's picture removal and Rachael's response. I needed more clarification as I could see many of you needed clarification before I could move on from this issue. Ms. Gelt infromed me that this was the action of a certain individual (who she takes responsibility for) being overzealous who removed Nate from the image. When I asked if this person acted solely on their own accord with no directions from anyone else, I was told that I knew everything I needed to know, and that conversations were had with Ramone Munoz and Stan Kong, and that they were satisfied and okay with the answers they had received regarding the matter. I then thought to ask Ms. Gelt concerning Rachael Tiedi's letter from this morning. Ms. Gelt informed me that this was a matter between the HR department, and that they would be making a statement regarding this publicly very soon, so I will all be waiting anxiously to hear from them. If anyone else has further questions in order to put the Nate issue behind them, I encourage you to contact Ms. Gelt who was very willing to speak with me. Her number is on her post.

Future of Art Center said...

To 3:23:
I think the tide turned when Ophelia called for anonymous posters to identify themselves

Um, then why didn't you post with your name?

To: 3:33
I am really sorry to hear those words from Rachael, and I hope it was really Rachael, and not someone posing as "Rachael Tiede."

We've communicated directly with her and can confirm the post is real. BTW, good example of FUD: "But you can never know these days."

To: 3:58
my role is to support the school and it not to partake in the ideological discussion of education.

I can appreciate you want may not want to personally participate in these discussions, but at least for faculty, the ideological discussion of education is our job! We're professional educators, and many of us have seen things going in a direction that makes it harder to teach and learn. So as is common in academic institutions, we are speaking up and exercising the long tradition of academic freedom. The difference here at Art Center is we have no tenure, only "at will" contracts, a faculty organization that has little power, no union, etc. So it becomes very hard for the people in the classroom to speak freely, and without fear of retribution. Hence the use of anonymous.

To: 4:16

No, we won't. It is not insane. We want the school to be better and the school has ignored real problems for so long that this situation is the natural outcome.

Anonymous said...

troll oh come on. sometimes you need a little humor to aleviate tensions. laugh and enjoy it for the few minutes its up.

discovolante said...

Anon 4:15

It's funny that an anonymous source is telling people that we are being mislead and manipulated.

So dissenting with status quo is a hipster thing now?

Ohhhh I feel trendy already.

Anonymous said...

i think it is funny that we are trying to have serious converstation in this format (blog). especially when the only filter is the author of the original blog. It just means we have to sift thru all of the junk that gets posted because there is no filtering device to keep the posts relevate.

Dont get me wrong i am not saying we should limit access or filter out points of view, Its just an observation on how open blogs arent really usable or usefull format for serious discussions.

Just a thought. enjoy your day.

Anonymous said...

to "future of art center"

how do we know that you've talked to rachael? lol - anything can be said posted on this blog!

if you are faculty and care about the school, why aren't you then involved with the faculty council? why aren't you meeting with them now?

--"past of art center"

Anonymous said...

seriously nathan if your are asked to clean this up whenever the trolls are out how do u keep up with the things you have to do. i mean you cant be online all the time.

btw, nice post earlier. i hope we can bring it back to real issues.

Anonymous said...

hey nathan. i dont know alot about blogs so i have a couple of questions. do you get any stats out of how many people are viewing it, or where its being viewed from, like a map of the world or something.

Future of Art Center said...

to: past of art center

Funny! Actually, I've been trying to get in touch with the faculty council and haven't heard back (one problem - their website is very out of date and the contact listings are old). If any faculty council people are out there reading this, please get in touch: We'd like to hear and report what happened in your meetings with Koshalek. Sorry I couldn't make the meeting today.

juliethouston said...

well said. btw: it's been far more than two years that the student body of accd have tried to rid the styrofoam cafeware... it is embarrassing when I mention Art Center in the world and people look up and say "oh they're really big on sustainability, that's so great!" I am rendered speechless... I don't want to discredit the school I want people to respect and so on... just another lie in this country of a million lies... I hope we can make a damn difference.

Eric Hollings said...

I AGREE! I signed the petition, with this to say:

During my time at ACCD, it was blatantly clear that the budgetary allotment was horrible at best. Students' tuition would seldom be seen coming back to the facilities at the hillside campus, to say nothing of the parking debacle that is an embarrassment to an institution that positions itself as an epicenter of progressive design. The south campus and public image seemed to be where most of the money went. Don't even get me started on Ko$halek's exorbitant salary. Distributing the millions back into the student body, and to the acquisition of the best faculty as a long term investment into the integrity and overall name of the school is a much better idea than a building with Gehry's name on it, another "pat ourselves on the back" event, or any other wasteful action of the like. Come on people.

Anonymous said...

For those staff, faculty and students who support the President, please show your names when you write. It would help the others who are concerned about doing so in this tide of anti-Richard, anti-upper administration talk. Seriously, it would be good for people to see who supports the current President. Otherwise, it appears as though no one supports him. And, with the notion of people fearing repercussions for blogging, those supporting the President would surely not fall into that category. Who would dismiss you from school, take away your job or stop you from teaching if you are in favor of the current vision? So, as mentioned before, please indicate who you are if you support Richard Koshalek and his vision - you have nothing to lose and will be of help to others who support him. Thank you.

Lee Bolton said...

Dear Richard:

I hope you understand I do not hate you, and it is a matter of personal opinion regarding the school's current direction that caused me to be tense with you the other evening. I look forward to speaking to you again in a similar setting.

Richard, if you could please, I would like you to have your staff research the questions we discussed during the potluck meeting on Tuesday. If you have a pen available, I can briefly go over them so that you can give me the figures I seek that I will be asking about at the meeting coming up this next Tuesday.

1) How much over the past 5 years have you compensated Frank Gehry for his services? (This question doesn't pertain to the plans that he completed for $351,000.)

2) How much has money has gone out to students in scholarships over the last 5 years? (This does not pertain to endowments, and monies not doled out to students.)

3) Have you put more thought to matching scholarship dollar for dollar to the architecture funding? What are your ideas and solutions?

4) What thought have you put to fixing faculty morale other than thinking about the possibility of tenure? What are your ideas and solutions?

Could you also make sure that your staff presents these numbers in a numerical fashion in concurrent years on say.. a chart for us on Tuesday? (I am not looking for percentages.) I would like cold, hard numbers, that way I can understand it much better.

I will certainly be asking these questions at the meeting, and want you to be prepared with solutions and ideas for my questions.

I promise not to be so rude and I look forward again to our debate Tuesday.

Lee Bolton

FugitiveColors said...

Lee -- would you please email me, at -- thanks.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:23 pm:

as you have read the comments on this blog, you will see that anyone who states anything positive about richard koshalek or art center is attacked. thus the blog has generated its own "culture of fear."

in the end, we still need to coexist side by side with each other, and it's unfortunate that a reasonable dialogue is not really possible in this format. it would be really telling to find out who the main bloggers are, and know what are the sources of their discontent, which often seems deeply personal.

i definitely support richard koshalek, AND i understand that there is discontent at the school. i understand that he is learning a lot from these discussions and truly believe, from talking with him, that he will be responsive to the students AND faculty and will be working to make art center a better place.

it is my hope that others who support him will come forward as well.

Robert Quintero said...

Anonymous 9:23 and 11:22-
would you please come out of the cloak of anonymity in showing your support for koshalek? I do not understand why you would choose to remain disguised. Maybe you could explain your reasons. Most of us here would like to support all voices at the table, at least those of us that are trying to move forward and be constructive.
Thank you kindly,
Robert Quintero

Robert Quintero said...

Sorry, I also forgot to add~Art Center was the best thing that happened in my life. I made life long friends, made my biggest mistakes and successes while there, and therefore learned a lot. I don't think that anyone here is attacking people for saying anything good about Art Center, we simply want what is best for what we love the most.
-Robert Quintero

Ophelia Chong said...

I moved to Los Angeles from Toronto Canada, and instantly I felt like I had entered the twilight zone. The teeming metropolis of Los Angeles was so foreign to me, I felt like a speck of dust floating aimlessly.

Then I landed at the Art Center College of Design. The moment I stepped onto ACCD grounds, I wanted to hug the building. I found my new home.

I soon discovered that to succeed at ACCD you had to work hard, really hard. And you had to take advantage of every free moment your instructor had to give you. I had the best, Judy Crook, Sabina Ott, Mike Kelley, Tony Zapeda, actually everyone was the best. Even today I can, not that I would but I can whip up 250 shades of gray using Gouache.

Lunches would be spent laying on the grass complaining about the work load, trading tips on watercolor, crying about breakups; what we were doing was building life long friendships out there on that lawn.

Since graduating in 1989, I took those skills and the work ethic out to the world and never looked back. Until 1999, when I decided it was time to come
back. Walking those hallways after such a long absence felt like I never left. The lockers smelled the same, a mix of paint, chemicals and rotting lunches. I think the same toilets were there. I came back to give back to a school that gave me so much. And I haven't stopped since.

Now I am here to give you the student the support I got from my friends when we were all there on that lawn under the smoggy Pasadena sky.

Ophelia Chong

Future of Art Center said...

Robert, thanks for a good set of questions. We've set up a post announcing the event on Tuesday, and we'd like everyone who has questions they would like answered to post them in the comment section of this post. Please, keep them short and to the point, and without vitriol. Just questions, no commentary.

Post your questions here: Tuesday Event

FugitiveColors said...

To all -- as we move forward, please keep in mind our
Declaration of Change, the petition at

It is not too late to restore Art Center's reputation as a global-leader in tweny-first century design education, and to leave behind the growing impression that we are all about PR, slogans, buzzwords, and marketing over substance.

At the meeting on Tuesday, take charge of the agenda. Ask the tough questions, and then further question the answers you're given. Don't be too polite -- your passion is real, trust it.

Anonymous said...

something to keep in mind:

all of these posts talking about how terrible the education has gotten here, and how poorly the students and faculty are being treated, and how we are run by a hitler/voldemort dictator, etc. DO actually play a large role in damaging art center's reputation. there are a number of posts on here from incoming students who are totally FREAKED OUT by what they're reading on here.

BEFORE YOU ATTACK ME!!! don't get me wrong. i'm not saying that this place is perfect. there are absolutely things to work on and i think it's great that we've started this dialogue. but really do think about what you're writing and what impact that has.

art center is a GREAT institution. and we love being here - that's why we care enough to be on this blog asking for change.

Future of Art Center said...

Here are some questions for the Tuesday 12-2 meeting with administration:

What do you think is the cause of the recent dissent?

What specific changes are you considering to improve education?

What can you do to immediately improve the classroom experience?

How should education change to adapt to the new needs of the 21st century?

Why isn't the restoration of the Ellwood building the first building priority?

Post your own at: Tuesday Event

Anonymous said...

FAC 10:31

i dont know what richard thinks but here is how i would answer your questions

Q#1 I think it stems from personal vendettas and agendas of faculty.

q#2 infusion of new technology. which is an expansion of the tool base for future designers

q#3 discuss the implecations of technology and the dismination of information for designers in a new technological world culture and how as designers we can use future technologies to help influence design

q#4 thats the conversation we should be having and not this current one

q#5 where do you propose classes be held if half the school had to be closed off for construction/restoration.

just my thoughts. have a good day.

Anonymous said...

Agendas of faculty? should faculty not have agendas?

new ACCD student -fall 08 said...

Anon 10:31am -

I am one of the new students that is FREAKED OUT about what I am reading on this blog.

I will spend $100-150K on this education. I am looking at an income once I am done that is not all that spectacular in comparison to the debt. The ROI (return on investment) is not adding up.

When the administration is closed minded and the president is seeking to do things that stroke his own ego instead of what's best for the students is a bleak outlook.

Please reassure me that my money will be well spent. I do realize it is the student more than the school, but no one buys a Rolls Royce just to go to the grocery store.

discovolante said...

Anon 10:50

Personal vendettas of the faculty? I mean teachers are asked to be the best and paid a meager salary in exchange with little or no job security and we're talking about vendettas?

Please let's not be naive.

Anonymous said...

no way faculty shouldnt be aloud to think or have any thoughts of their own,let alone agendas

lol......seriously come on.

here i will elaborate on what i ment by "personal vendettas and agendas of faculty". I think that some faculty have personal problems with RK and the Admin that have more to do with personality conflicts rather then ideological ideas of the future of education. And i think these faculty have an agenda to undermind RK and the admin by any means necessary.

so before you blast me for being a supporter of the president just remember that this is just the way i see things and my interpretation of what is going on. and yes my views are different from yours and we dont agree. but you know what thats ok we dont all have to agree.

the thing is can we discuss the differences like rational educated people or do we just keep peeing on each other, because i am thirsty and can drink alot.

Anonymous said...

hold on when did people become teachers to get rich. i think that is a bigger cultural problem. besides isnt what they make relative to each teacher. i mean to some it might be fine and to others we could never pay them enough.

Anonymous said...

what does an instructor make? I would like to be able to define meager.

Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that at most colleges there is a published salary schedule attached to ranking and therefore this question would not even have to be asked.

Anonymous said...

ya but why would i go look for something like that when you all have all the answers.

discovolante said...

Is there such a thing at Art Center, that is the question then. I've heard figures lower than PCC teachers but that is pure guesstimation. In any case, just because they are not in it to make money it does not mean they should not be duly compensated for their efforts. That kind of twisted thinking is detrimental to education. "oh they're teachers they are doing it for the love of education". Sure but the same thing applies to any other job then, even design and art jobs: "Oh they're doing it for the love of art. They don't need compensation."

Anonymous said...


i don't think anyone is arguing that teachers SHOULDN'T get paid. i think the point they are trying to make is that it is not a problem that is unique to art center.

Anonymous said...

there is a lot of "truthiness" in the comments on this blog.

remember that.

Anonymous said...

my point about what teachers make was really to call attention to something that gets conflicted when we talk about teaching and design. as a designer and married to a teacher i know how extra time goes into each. time that is not recouped in monetaries means. The thing is teachers and designers often throw their heart and sole into their work and how do you put a price on tht kind of dedication, fairly. when it can take one person a different amount of time to acheive the same thing as another.

So what im saying is that teachers chose to teach and i assume, because i dont know if there is a set salary schedule, that the teachers here negotiated the terms of their contracts to a point where they were satisfied enough to say yes i can teach here. so its a comprise of what you will take and what you think your time is worth and what you want to give back to the community.

Future of Art Center said...

On the issue of faculty pay - from what I know:

>>> part time faculty get around $2500 per class - varies somewhat depending on their background and the class. this is generally less than community colleges pay for similar situations (more like $3K). something like 90% of faculty are part time

>>> full time faculty pay is harder to judge because those numbers are likely to vary widely. probably full time are paid better than many places? hard to tell.

>>> faculty pay is lagging inflation. most faculty get a 2.5% "merit" increase each year and nothing else. inflation generally runs 3% or more.

>>> faculty contracts provide very little in the way of security, and there is no tenure.

>>> faculty have no offices, phone numbers, etc. and no real place to meet with students

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

ya but why would i go look for something like that when you all have all the answers.

My point is, I don't! I don't know what anyone makes besides me! There may be a way to search IRS figures online--or you can ask HR and see if they will let you look at figures, with or without names. This is a valid question in terms of seeing how our faculty compensation stacks up against other schools. Remember to look at hourly wages as well as salaries since so many faculty are part time, and keep in mind that a full-time teaching load at Art Center is a work load is anywhere from a third to twice what it is at other schools (classes taught per year for the money.) To compare you must adjust for this.

Anonymous said...

as far a community college pay. it is actually more then most state universities and colleges. so saying that AC faculty is payed less then them is like comparing bananas and apples. why dont you compare it to school similair in statue.

Anonymous said...

in response to FAC,

i'm not trying to argue anything. but to be more complete, i thought i should point out that the 2.5% increase is universal at art center - that goes for faculty and staff.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to Theodore Geisel,

Here follows very hopeful parody about a great place that is unwell:

At the far end of town
where Art Center grows
and the wind smells slow-and-sour when it blows
and no birds ever sing excepting old crows...

is the Street of the Lifted Provost.

And deep in Art Center,

some people say,
if you look deep enough you can still see, today,
where Nate Young once stood
just as long as he could
before somebody lifted Nate Young away.

Who was Nate Young?
Any why was he there?
And why was he lifted and taken somewhere
from the far end of town where Art Center grows?
The old Koshalek still lives here.
Ask him. He knows.

You won't see Koshalek.
Don't knock at his door.
He stays in his Office on top of the bridge.
He stays in his Office, cold under the roof,
where he wears fancy clothes
made of silk – what a spoof!
And on special dank midnights in August,

he peeks out of the shutters and sometimes he speaks

and tells how Nate Young was lifted away.
He'll tell you, perhaps...if you're willing to pay.

On the end of a rope
he lets down a tin pail
and you have to toss in fifteen grand, and a nail
and the shell of a great-great-great-grandfather snail.

Then he pulls up the pail, makes a most careful count
to see if you've paid him the proper amount.

Then he hides what you paid him
away in his Snuvv, his secret strange hole
in his gruvvulous glove.
Then he grunts, I will call you by Whisper-ma-Phone,
for the secrets I tell you are for your ears alone.

Down slupps the Whisper-ma-Phone to your ear

and old Koshalek's whispers are not very clear,
since they have to come down through a snergelly hose,
and he sounds as if he had smallish bees up his nose.
Now I'll tell you, he says, with his teeth sounding gray,
how Nate Young got lifted and taken away...
It all started way back...such a long, long time back...

Way back in the days when the grass was still green
and the paint was still wet and the staff were still clean,
and the song of the Faculty rang out in space...
one morning, I came to this glorious place.
And I first saw the students!
Under Education First Trees!
The bright-colored faces of Student Designers!

Happy for mile after mile in the fresh morning breeze.

And along with the students, I saw Tradition tried and true
as they worked and played and knew Education First ruled.
But those students! Those students! Those Student Designers!
All my life I'd been searching for students such as these.

I felt a great leaping of joy in my heart.
I knew just what I'd do! I unloaded my cart.

In no time at all, I had built a small shop.
Then I chopped down an Education First Tree with one chop.
And with great skillful skill I was now very greedy,
I took the soft tuft. And I wished for Frank Gehry

The instant I'd finished, I heard a ga-Zump! I looked.
I saw something pop out of the stump of the tree I'd chopped down.

It was a great and kind man.
Describe him?...That's hard. I don't know if I can.

He was smartish. And wise.
And with tradition he knew.
And he spoke with a voice
that was clear – yes, he knew.

Mister! he said with a firm but clear voice,
I am Nate Young. I speak for the students.
I speak for the students, for the students have no tongues.
And I'm asking you, sir, at the top of my lungs--
he was very upset as he shouted and puffed--
What's that THING you've made out of my Education First Tree tuft?

Look, Provost, I said. There's no cause for alarm.
I chopped just one tree. I am doing no harm.
I'm being quite useful. This thing is for Frank Gehry.
A Gehry’s-a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need!
It's an icon. It's a room. It's a library. Hell, it's a hat.
But it has other uses. Yes, far beyond that.
You can use it for meetings with donors we fleece!

Or maybe show it to your sweet, lovely niece.
Nate Young said, Sir! You are crazy with greed.
There is no one on earth who would buy that fool Gehry!

But the very next minute I proved he was wrong.
For, just at that minute, a chap came along,
and he thought that the Gehry I had dreamed for Art Center was great.
He happily bought it for three ninety-eight.
I laughed at Nate Young, You poor stupid guy!
You never can tell what some people will buy.

I repeat, cried Nate Young,
I speak for the students!

I'm busy, I told him. Shut up, if you please.
I rushed 'cross the room, and in no time at all,
built a radio-phone. I put in a quick call.
I called all my cronies, wannabe's with class
and I said, Listen here! Here's a wonderful chance
for the whole Koshalek clan to get mighty rich!
Get over here fast! Take the road to North Nitch.
Turn left at the Rose Bowl. Sharp right at South Stich.

And, in no time at all, in a building I built,
the whole Koshalek clan was working full tilt.
We were all wooing Gehry just as busy as bees,
to the sound of the chopping of Education First trees.

Oh! Baby! Oh!
How my business did grow!
Now, chopping one tree at a time was too slow.

So I quickly invented my Super-Axe-Hacker
which whacked off four Education First Trees at one smacker.
We were working with Gehry
four times as fast as before!
And that Provost?... He didn't show up any more.

But the next week he knocked on my new office door.
He snapped, I'm Nate Young who speaks for the students

and Education First trees,
which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please.
But I'm also in charge of Tradition, for which you have no respect.
NOW...thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground,
there's not enough Education First Fruit to go 'round.
And my poor students are all getting the crummies
because they have gas, and no food, in their tummies!

They loved living here. But I can't let them stay.
They'll have to find food. And I hope that they may.
Good luck, men and women, he cried.

And he sent them away.

I, Koshalek, felt sad
as I watched them all go.
business is business!
And business must grow
regardless of crummies in tummies, you know.

I meant no harm. I most truly did not.
But I had to grow bigger. So bigger I got.
I biggered my building. I biggered my roads.
I biggered my donors. I went forth to the South!

To the East! To the West! To the North!
I went right on biggering...wooing in Barcelona, doing good deeds.
And I biggered my money, which everyone needs.

Then again he came back!

That old nuisance Provost came back with more gripes.
I am Nate Young, he coughed and he whiffed.
He sneezed and he snuffled. He snarggled. He sniffed.
Koshalek! he cried with a tear that clearly shone,

Koshalek! You're making such rot of our great students home!
My poor Faculty Members...why, they can't teach near here!
No one can teach who is living in fear.

And so, said Nate Young,
--please pardon this truth --
they cannot live here. So I'm sending them off.
Where will they go?...I don't hopefully know.
They may have to fly for a month...or a year...
To escape from the mess you've made around here.

What's more, snapped Nate Young. (His dander was up.)
Let me say a few words about Sustainability.
Your spending chugs on, day and night without stop
taking no care for the environment with every wasteful drop.

And what do you do with your leftover trash?...
I'll show you. You dirty old Koshalek man, you!

And then I got mad. I got terribly mad.
I yelled at Nate Young, Now listen here, Dad!
All you do is yap-yap and say, Bad! Bad! Bad! Bad!
Well, I have my rights, sir, and I'm telling you
I intend to go on doing just what I do!
And, for your information, you Provost, I'm figgering
on biggering
and Biggering
chopping MORE Education First Trees
which everyone, EVERYONE, EVERYONE needs!

And at that very moment, we heard a loud whack!
From outside on the lawn came a sickening smack
of an axe on a tree. Then we heard the tree fall.
The very last Education First Tree of them all!

No more students. No more dreams. No more work to be done.
So, in no time, my cronies, pals and yes-men,

every one, all waved me good-bye. They jumped into my cars
and drove away under the smoke-smuggered stars.

Now all that was left 'neath the bad-smelling sky
was my big empty bridge...
Nate Young...and I.

Nate Young said nothing. Just gave me a glance...
just gave me a very sad, sad backward glance...
as he lifted himself by the seat of his pants.
And I'll never forget the grim look on his face
when he hoisted himself and took leave of this place,
through a hole in the roof, without leaving a trace.

And all that Nate Young left here in this mess
was a small pile of rocks, with one word...
Whatever that meant, well, I just couldn't guess.

That was long, long ago.
But each day since that day
I've sat here and worried
and worried away.
Through the years, while my buildings
have fallen apart,
I've worried about it
with all of my heart.

But now, says Koshalek,
Now that you're here,
the word of Nate Young seems perfectly clear.
UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It's not.

Catch! calls Koshalek.
He lets something fall.
It's a Education First Seed.
It's the last one of all!

You're in charge of the last of the Education First Seeds.
And Eager Student Designers are what everyone needs.
Plant a new Education First Tree. Treat it with care.

Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then, hopefully, Nate Young and all of his friends
may come back.

Thanks for reading - comments to thricevheissu @

shoji said...

fyi: Andy Ogden, dean of Industrial Design at ACCD, signed the petition at #586.

Future of Art Center said...

more regarding teacher pay:

as far a community college pay. it is actually more then most state universities and colleges. so saying that AC faculty is payed less then them is like comparing bananas and apples. why dont you compare it to school similair in statue.

Someone earlier mentioned PCC, so I was responding to that. If you have numbers for other design schools, please post them. I don't have them.

I'm not trying to argue anything. but to be more complete, i thought i should point out that the 2.5% increase is universal at art center - that goes for faculty and staff.

Fair enough. Wasn't trying to say staff were getting more.

The point was simply to post some facts. To be honest, faculty pay is probably lower down on list of things that need to change right away. Teaching conditions, security, greater voice are all probably higher on the list of direct faculty issues. But highest I hope is putting the focus back on education, and ensuring the long term health of Art Center as a leading institution of Art and Design.

Anonymous said...

Everyone, please read this about previous Art Center student protests. Will history repeat itself?!!!

Anonymous said...

As part of Art Center's non-profit status is it required to publicly disclose the top 10 salaries. Please ask Richard to share these next Tuesday as part of his new 'transparency' pledge including the raises given between 06-07 an 07-08. See if any favorites were played, and if all of his senior staff followed the 2.5-3% 'across the board' pay raise rate. In fairness please include Mr. Young's numbers as well.

Anonymous said...

Great article 6:51.
Shoji, I read Andy's statement, which he clearly put a lot of time and effort into. I applaud his candor.

It clarified for me an issue which has been of concern in reading the various reasons for adding ones voice of protest. Sometimes, there is a tendency when criticizing the current administration, to point the finger at "museum culture" and link Fine Art and cultural criticism along with that. I have serious criticisms of the current state of the school which Senior Administration must be held responsible for. But please everyone, lets us not divide each other into camps, each with a narrow definition of what the school should be. The diversity of departments, does not seem to me to be the problem. Their is room here for various departments and approaches, some less commercial than others. To attack other disciplines is to discount the possibility of all kinds of wonderful hybrids and interactions. Please, lets keep the focus on education for our students--all of them--recognizing that there is room here for different approaches and disciplines as long as excellence within and across our fields is the goal.

Transparency and accountability!!!!

Anonymous said...

The old article about student protests is revealing on so many ways. Not the least of which is that students in 2001 found $11K a year too expensive and yet it is still higher now.

Art Center’s tuition at $15K now and its annual rate of increase at ~6% is in range with other top schools including design schools. Even though its seems very expensive it is competitive. So let’s not get fixated on tuition alone.

While Art Center has kept pace with the high cost tuition of its competitors it has been slipping in its priority and financial commitment to education in favor of spinning up the Master Plan and doing other special projects. We are paying more and getting less of what we all came for: an Art Center education. The leadership team should be doing SO much more for us if the dollars that they were spent were directed towards the core experience of education.

The key issue for this discussion and blog is about the Master Plan and how what has occurred in the last six or seven years is just a warm up for the expanding costs for the college if the Master Plan is implemented. If that occurs, the college will have escalating costs and difficulties within the tenure of many of the current students. If we try to get the trustees to directly reduce tuition we will repeat the history of the 2001 protest. There will be no change. We have to first get them to refocus on fewer projects and reducing non educational costs. Then build up endowment. Not just to $60M. it needs to be many times that. Between reducing costs and growing the endowment tuition can come down.

Anonymous said...

Fundraising Efficiency is the measure of how well a nonprofit spends money to raise money. If you spend $20 and raise $100 you have a 20% fundraising efficiency.

There are organizations that measure and rate various non-profits and establish guidelines for non-profit performance so that donors can make informed decisions.

It’s the view of Charity Navigator that an efficiency ratio of 10% is excellent, 20% good, and 35% and beyond is the top of their scoring range

Using Art Centers own 990 tax records from 2000 - 2006:

Fundraising Expense $27,800,000
Related Contributions $66,000,000
Fundraising Efficiency 42%

This is NOT a high performance fundraising efficiency number.
It indicates that our team is either not being effective or that donors aren’t really buying what Koshalek is primarily selling (Master Plan). So he’s having to spend a lot of money to make a sale. Is it this fundamental challenge that has drive so many good people from the senior development (fundraising) ranks?

This is another subtle but important point about where the money goes, why these things matter and why this isn’t simple but is easy to obscure.
If Art Center had an efficiency ratio of say 25% (middle of good range) and spent the same amount of fundraising expense the results would look like:
Fundraising Expense $27,800,000
Related Contributions $111,200,000
Fundraising Efficiency 25%

That difference is a meaningful contribution to endowment. Now maybe we can’t get people to donate to endowment at those levels. How hard are we trying?
Part of Koshalek’s strategy is that once he has great conferences, a Gehry building, and a cultural movement going with a lot of buzz, then a good fundraising efficiency might be more easily achievable. That may be true but it will take another 10 years to find out. By then tuition will be $28,000 per term (6% increase/yr). On the bright side this makes our current tuition seem like a bargain!

990 records

Anonymous said...

so, rk and crew have insinuated that nate was over budget by $1m and in the mean time they are missing their own numbers at these kinds of levels? all the while bragging about how well they done. that sucks.

here’s a question for the board – how are you measuring this guy? If he’s making $500K like we’ve heard he should be producing top results.

FugitiveColors said...

RE the 2001 tuition protest --
Responding to the tuition increase in an email (Sept. 21, 2001) to senior administration, student Emanuell Goldstein said:

It is probably time to apologize for my rude style. I wanted to give you an impression on how angry students -- and I am one of them -- are. I do not mean to insult or attack you personally. All I want are some straight answers without thos darn PR-bullshit-tricks.

In 2003, the L.A. Times made this observation in an article on Art Center's expansion:

As recently as two years ago, students protesting tuition hikes seemed in no mood for a costly building program. But Koshalek persevered. As he recently put it, "I want to bring the institution out of its cocoon, to allow it to play a more aggressive role in the life of the city."

This was always part of K's scam -- to portray Art Center as timid and provincial, and then cast himself as the liberating Knight in Shining Armor.

Problem is, that was never true. And as these above texts show, we have made little progress during the intervening five years of Koshalek leadership. A new generation of students are recognizing and protesting the same issues, and getting the same PR answers.

The difference between 2001 and 2008 is that we have this medium to organize us. We have the petition, our Declaration of Change, with over 600 signatures and counting. We have collective power, and we need to use it.

At Tuesday's meeting, ask tough questions, then question again the answers you get. Speak up, speak out of turn if you have to, and speak your mind. Take charge of the agenda -- it's your meeting!

Anonymous said...

I don't think that anybody has mentioned this yet, but I have a gripe about Summer terms. Apparently, not as many people attend for the Summer, therefore, there are less classes offered, and less sections for the offered classes. This leads to overcrowded classrooms, and having to compromise over which classes to take since some of the classes you need to take aren't offered. However, you still have pay the same amount of tuition even though you're getting so much less.

I wanted to share what really stands out in my mind when I recall the discussion held at the Potluck, which is about the Gehry building and the supposed lower quality of students.

When discussing the Gehry building, Koshalek said that the reason it's Gehry and not some unknown design firm is that he wants the name Gehry attached to it. He mentioned the Disney Concert Hall. The opera house apparently wasn't doing well, but due to Gehry, many people became interested and invested in it. So he thinks that the same interest will develop with the planned Gehry building. He also mentioned that the top three reasons why students choose to come to Art Center is the student work in the gallery, the architecture, and.. I forget the third reason, sorry.

Stan Kong had said that he works closely with high school students in the high school program, and the top tier of those students do not come to Art Center because they're whisked away with full-ride scholarships from other art schools.

When Stan said that, I cringed and slightly regretted that I was at Art Center. And I don't like that I regretted me being at Art Center. I really like it here, yet what other schools seem to offer is so enticing, and I wonder at times why I'm still here. What Art Center offers in terms of scholarships pales in comparison to what other schools offer. Yes, other prestigious colleges are just as expensive as Art Center, but their superior financial aid makes up for that. Koshalek was saying how enrollment was consistently down for many consecutive years, and I couldn't help but think that it must almost solely be because of Art Center's meager scholarship packages coupled with high tuition costs and the costs to live in LA.

Something that I hoped would get discussed further at the Potluck, but wasn't since it was presented in a joking manner at the end of the discussion, was that some classes that are beneficial to students aren't being offered anymore. Koshalek said that those matters are all up to the deans, but the deans' excuse for the cut classes is that there isn't enough money. So I'd really like to know what's going on there..

Anyways, hope to see you guys next Tuesday!

Anonymous said...

If you are interested in the publicly disclosed finances of the school, you can find them by searching with ein 95-1921340

Anonymous said...

Is it true that this school has become a Christian college? There has become comments about this on the petition and on campus and the recent hires of some of the upper level leadership in Education. The fact that Roland Young is no longer at Art Center... The witch hunt that has a feeling of crusade...

Does anyone feel this too?

Anonymous said...

Regarding petition post #618 by Rosa Maria Zaldivar Farrrer, California

Rosa, if you are reading the blog we just want to say thank you for everything you’ve done and all you have contributed over the decades. Your “old school” friends in administration, staff and alumni love you and Joe so much for all the years and all the things you both did directly for students. You both added much value into the lives and experiences of students by putting the immediate education experience first. It’s the thousands of small, hand crafted acts by people like you and Joe that make a huge difference and create a very intimate and caring institution. Many happy memories of you both.

Anonymous said...

"Concerned Alumni"
If anyone can answer these questions it would be appreciated.

In a May 28 email Richard Koshalek stated: "that each task force will be comprised of a leader and 3-5 members of the Art Center community."

Leaders are specified below.

a.) Can anyone name the 3-5 members of each of the groups below
b.) What was the criteria for choosing the leaders and members of each group.

Thank you in advance for any answers, or these questions can be raised Tuesday.

- Enrollment Task Force / Leader: Mark Breitenberg

- Educational Task Force / Leader: Nik Hafermaas

-Technology Task Force / Leader: Rich Haluschak

- Educational, Administrative, Trustee Leadership Task Force / Leader: Jean Ford

shoji said...

Created a domain to more concisely redirect to the current petition:

Pass it on.

Anonymous said...

Getting reports of hard numbers of the money spent and how it's spent is a good idea--that should be made transparent at a meeting. But who, may I ask, would be the person to check and make sure the numbers presented are The Truth, and not some version of playing around with numbers to make things look good? That's very easy to do. Just ask the people at Enron.

If a President and Human Resources can fire someone immediately who doesn't go along with them 100 percent, then that puts a lot of pressure on the Finance guy. Do you think he wants to be without a job? Do you think he isn't thinking about Rachael getting fired one day after she spoke out at a meeting?

I could see where the person in charge of finances would find it hard not to go along with bending numbers to please the big boss. Again, just ask the people at Enron.

If you can, have someone from the outside come in, audit the finances, and confirm what's going on. Don't just take people at their word. That's the only way to really know.

Anonymous said...

June 7, 10:49 said:
Is it true that this school has become a Christian college?

As an avowed atheist member of the staff who works with education faculty, chairs, and deans on a regular basis, I can tell you that in my experience religious belief/affiliation/dogma has never been an issue at Art Center.

These are basically all fine, creative, worldly people, and while they may disagree on issues of the college's future, their concerns and actions come from beliefs about education, art, and design -- not beliefs about God.

Nathan said...

I have made my first post over at Future of Art Center, and highly encourage everyone to move the conversation there, as we move into the next phase and try to organize thoughts and concerns more.

Anonymous said...

June 7, 2008 11:45 asked about the new task force leaders so I was doing a little research and trying to keep an open mind about how these folks were put in charge and who they are.

Googling Nik Hafermaas I found this link -

I’m reading along thinking this is an intense but creative guy when I hit this point:

“At the same time, being only a designer instead of having mastered the “highest of all arts — architecture,” was a source of personal discontent to me at those times. But returning to University soon proved to be a wrong decision: I was used to a professional environment, and just couldn’t fit into the role of a student anymore. Which meant a hard decision — letting go of my dream of becoming a full-fledged architect.”

Oh shit. This is the guy now in charge of the educational task force at Art Center? At a time when I’m reading all this stuff about our president’s love of architecture and how that’s causing problems I come to find out our new guy is a frustrated architect. May be that’s the qualification for leading a task force.. We don’t even have architecture at Art Center right? What does it mean that he’s “only a designer”. That’s what I’m here to become - a designer – that is my dream not architecture. I left state university because it was dominated by architecture posers.

Anonymous said...

this was just posted on the Future/AC site:

a Question directed primarily towards the Educational Task Force (Nik Hafermaas, David Mocarski and other task members):

* It appears dangerous for an educational institution to function without a chief Academic officer (CAO), and could be worrisome to incoming students. Can you elaborate upon the current focus and plan of the task force.

* Please be specific about when and how many times you have met as a group, and if there might be a transcript of those meetings available.

* For example, is there a search for a new CAO, and if so how is the search progressing? Is there a plan for an interim (CAO) in the meantime?

* What do you see as the core job requirements and experience level of the new CAO

(I know Jean Ford is part of another Educational, Adminstrative task force. If she or members of her task force also have answers that would be great.)

thank you.

Anonymous said...

Just looking at Niks blog at

Yeh weird comments about architecture aspirations. Weirder still is the similarity of intense style and odd repeating use of themes and terms on "mediocrity" with the post on MAY 19, 2008 11:10 AM that was railing on Nate Young. Not saying it was Nik that wrote that, just saying its odd.

Anonymous said...

Odder still that seems to have disappeared. Hmm.

Anonymous said...


Paste this all together in one long string. 2002 - 2006
Tax information for ACCD

Anonymous said...

Richard Koshalek

Year/Compensation/Benefit Plan Contribution

2002 - 304,770/69,376

2003 - 532,301/91,289

2004 - 356,717/84,030

2005 - 439,950/101,189
*Car Classic Net Loss -128,955 in 2005

2006 - 453,371/104,278

Anonymous said...

Is someone getting video at the next meeting w/ RK? I think it is helpful to have the questions and the given answers on tape so that they can be looked into/verified after the fact. Otherwise there is so much info that gets missed. Anyone attending that can do this?

Anonymous said...


The Board is to do the following:

(iv) To support the President and assess his or her performance.

Are you out there Board of Directors?

The lack of support by so many individuals both outside the school and within (regarding the current vision and more specifically, Richard Koshalek's legacy agenda) must send a red flag.

Please do not re-instate the current President for another term. The school needs someone new. 10 years is long enough for a vision that so few support. The current vision is taking away from the very essence of what Art Center represents. Help Koshalek get back to the museum world or apply his architecture degree elsewhere- he is not needed at Art Center. Nothing truly noteworthy has happened under his guidance over the last 10 years. The Board is responsible for the demise of this school therefore, do everyone a favor (including yourselves and the school's reputation) and let Koshalek finish out this year and leave it at that. The reputation of a 75 year old institution rests in your hands.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The Chronicle of Higher Education
May 28 2008
Guest Blogger - Lawrence Speck, Professor of architecture at University of Texas at Austin
"The Campus as Petting Zoo for Starchitects' Designs"

Lawrence Speck, one of May’s Buildings & Grounds guest bloggers, is professor of architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was dean of architecture from 1992 to 2001. He is also a principal in the architecture firm Page Southerland Page.

Should university buildings be showpieces for the individual style of a particular star architect? Can a fine campus be built of a series of iconic, idiosyncratic buildings that focus attention on themselves, becoming landmarks or even logos? In a world often driven by hype and attention grabbing, should universities join the fray and seek to create buildings that will become controversial and grab media attention?

Top universities are frequently drawn these days to star architects—“starchitects,” they’re sometimes called—because their names can bring visibility to emerging projects. Like some museums or theatres, a university may seek to gain prominence and a sense of high aspirations in early stages of planning a new facility by linking itself to an architect with an impressive client list and a track record of attracting big donors. In these early stages it is often hard to get people excited about something that is not visible or tangible. Once the name of a well-known architect is attached, an image can be conjured in one’s head—especially if the architect has a clear signature to his or her buildings that might be reliably replicated: Have you seen the Gehry at Minnesota, or MIT, or Case Western Reserve, or Cincinnati?

I should make a distinction between the contemporary star or signature architect and someone who is just a very fine architect with a reputation for doing excellent buildings. The former must be a brand. One must know what to expect, and the product in each case must be a clear reflection of its author. That is what a signature is all about. This group includes architects like Michael Graves, Daniel Libeskind, and Zaha Hadid, as well as others who have a strong personal style from which they seldom stray.

Someone who is just a very fine architect may produce a wide range of buildings with no singular style, no overwhelming personal signature. His or her work might respond more to site, climate, program, and economic situation to produce buildings that vary widely from instance to instance. This group includes architects like Peter Zumthor and Herzog & de Meuron, as well as countless architects who are less well known—in part because their buildings do not make a very marketable package in terms of consistent image.

What is the impact of a building that is a clear expression of its architect’s personal signature on a campus? In the case of Frank Gehry’s Stata Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the impact may not be so bad. That part of the MIT campus was drab and characterless. It was filled with pretty banal buildings, save one by Lawrence Anderson from the 1930s. The Gehry building sucks up all the attention and shuns its context in a fairly effective way.

But in most good campus settings, these prima-donna buildings can strike a crushing blow. A campus with a whole series of strutting divas could become just a petting zoo for famous architects’ personal statements. Is that really what institutions of higher education should be communicating about themselves?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Gehry's work has its detractors. Among the criticisms:
The buildings waste structural resources by creating functionless forms
The buildings are apparently designed without researching the local climate
The spectacle of a building often overwhelms its intended use (especially in the case of museums and arenas)
The buildings do not seem to belong in their surroundings "organically"

Seattle's EMP Museum represents this phenomenon at its most extreme.[citation needed] Microsoft's Paul Allen chose Gehry as the architect of the urban structure to house his public collection of music history artifacts. While the result is undeniably unique, critical reaction came in the form of withering attacks. The bizarre color choices, the total disregard for architectural harmony with built and natural surroundings, and the mammoth scale led to accusations that Gehry had simply "got it wrong." Admirers of the building remind critics that similar attacks were leveled against the Eiffel Tower in the late 19th century, and that only historical perspective would allow a fair evaluation of the building's merits. However, practical criticisms have continued.

Gehry's works have also raised concerns about possible environmental hazards. According to the Los Angeles Times, Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles has "roasted the sidewalk to" 140 °F (60 °C) "enough to melt plastic and cause serious sunburn to people standing on the street." Later computer modeling of the structure revealed that several surfaces were acting as parabolic mirrors, concentrating sunlight and heat into small areas on the pavement. The city paid for the offending panels to be sanded in order to reduce the glare. Gehry, commenting on the incident at a fundraiser, remarked"I had some bum rap at Disney Hall because of glare. That was 2% of the building had reflective stuff, and some pissed off lady (complained). So the County had to respond. (It took) A couple guys with steel wool and in about an hour and a half they fixed it. But it did appear as one of the 10 engineering disasters in the last ten years---talk about exaggerating. The county did a study of downtown LA that found 5 other buildings that were more reflective, but no one complained about them. So, we got to get more pissed off ladies.[4] ”
According to CNN, Case Western Reserve University "takes precautions with Gehry's sloping roof" on its Weatherhead School of Management building:
“ The shiny, swirling US$62 million building that houses the business school at Case Western Reserve University is a marvel to behold. But it is sometimes best admired from afar. In its first winter, snow and ice have been sliding off the long, sloping, stainless-steel roof, bombarding the sidewalk below. And in bright sun, the glint off the steel tiles is so powerful that standing next to the building is like lying on a beach with a tanning mirror.[5] ”
Gehry's projects have also been criticized for ballooning budgets. The Gehry-designed building for Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University was originally planned to cost $25 million, then was raised to $40 million after Gehry was hired. The cost of the building eventually went up to more than $60 million. Kim Cameron, a former dean of the business school, quoted in an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, said the complexity of the project led to rising construction costs. "Everyone expected people to line up to build a Frank Gehry building," Mr. Cameron said. "Instead, we got comments like the one we got from a steel contractor, who said, 'Look, we can build a bunch of square boxes and earn the same $20-million that it will cost to build your building. But we can do those in six months, and it will take two years to do your building.'"[6]
Recent criticism of Gehry suggests he is repeating himself. Critics claim the use of disjointed metal panoply (often titanium) that has become Gehry's trademark is overused, and that almost all of his recent work seems derivative of his landmark Bilbao Guggenheim. Defenders respond that these criticisms ignore the subtleties that have emerged as his style has progressed. Although many of his buildings have maintained the vocabulary of rolling metallic forms, they argue, specific forms have never been repeated, and that within this motif is incredible variety and innovation. Some say Gehry would find it difficult not to rehash Bilbao or Disney even if he wanted not to, because his "signature style" is so widely recognized that potential clients approach him expecting it. Gehry's defenders respond that this ignores the unprecedented amount of power Gehry holds in negotiations with clients, and the artistic integrity he must possess in order to achieve what he has. They argue that the similarities in his latest masterpieces are more akin to an artist fleshing out the frontier of a stylistic universe than a hack stamping out product for demanding clients.
Another criticism extends from the notion that Gehry's buildings ignore good urban design practice by turning their back on pedestrians (citing stark, limestone streetwalls of Disney Hall), and do not adequately respond to their physical context. Interestingly, Gehry is currently developing the urban design for a neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles, under the working title Grand Avenue Project. Given the criticism he has faced regarding his lack of consideration for good urban design, it remains to be seen how he will approach this design, and how it will interact with the Disney Hall.
Academically, one of Gehry's most consistent critics is Hal Foster, an art critic who has taught art and art history at Princeton University and Cornell University. Foster feels that much of Gehry's acclaim has been the result of attention and spectacle surrounding the buildings, rather than from an objective view.[citation needed]
In November, 2007, MIT sued Gehry, citing negligent design in the $300M Stata Center.[7]

Anonymous said...

Nik Hafermaas’ Blog at is online here.
You can also try
That site can't be taken down.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Earlier I thought i saw some posts talking about a pro-Koshalek, pro-international visionary petition, of some kind. Where can I find it? I would like to add to it and direct other supporters there.

Anonymous said...

Re: June 7, 2008 8:18 PM
About the NY times article from 2001

“When Mr. Koshalek arrived at the Art Center College of Design, he found a school operating short of its potential. ''As opposed to the 1950's, today's designer is marginalized,'' Mr. Koshalek says. ''And Art Center was hiding behind a wall, isolating all its expertise.''

- How was it hiding? Many students had been coming from all over the world and nation for decades.
The board and admin had just tried to expand to Art Center Europe and then Art Center Japan. Millions had been spent on these expansion initiatives. The school was extraordinarily well known around the world in the design community. It just wasn’t well known in Koshalek’s community. Rather than learning from the past with two failed international expansion efforts in the previous 15 years we blew another 8 chasing more expensive vision rather than focusing on the basic blocking and tackling of running the best design school in the world and raising endowment.

May be the school is supposed to be small, hard to find, hard to get into, hard to finish. May be the expertise is supposed to stay within the walls. Like oh… unfair competitive advantage or trade secrets. Outsiders with fresh thinking always think they are going to improve on a winning formula.

Mr Koshalek how have you un-marginalized designers since 2001? Certainly the student loan companies now know who we are.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, dudes. An open forum is great, but those who say they love Art Center are doing a great job of tearing it down.

The comments on this blog just go on and on attacking high-ranking individuals, the performance of the school and education, design experimentation and Frank Gehry.

Art Center: love it or leave it?

If y'all get your way, what will you have achieved? In recent terms, enrollment has sucked. Do you think new people are going to be excited to come here when you have trashed everyone in sight? Is this place so insular that no one can see beyond to the value of investing in the future?

The voices in these comments are so hypercritical it's amazing that anything ever gets done.

Jason said...

Hello Everyone
I thought that some remedial math would be a nice exercise in my 7th term of Art Center.
The following numbers are from tax form 990 from 2000-05
//////The schools growth rates from 2000 to 2005 look like this: Total assets up 84%, Total Revenues up 69%, Expenses growth rate up 38% Total liabilities up 96%, Land and Buildings up 121%, Investments and securities up 60% ,Program functioning expenses up only 37% (WTF!), Tuition Revenue up 41%, Salaries not including management up 44%. I would like to know if there is a initiative to get the numbers officially recognized as correct and present policy changes that will keep things growing in a sustainable way. The way these percentages are going I'm not too sure you'll find design leaders into this kind of charity... I mean teaching. Take a look at you will find a 70% acceptance rate for Art Center with a average debt of 70K as opposed to RISD that is 30% with 4 times as many applicants and a average of 22K debt. Richard talks about increasing awareness but I think he needs to focus on accessibility we are only 16% international.\\\\\\\My biggest complaint out of all of this is that the career services office and financial aid office although doing a good job could be given some money and staff to assist with our inevitable money worries which are simply not going to go away and stifle and disrupt creative experiences.\\\\\\
Thanks for the blog Nathan we all owe you!!!!!
Sincerely, Jason Hill (the student)
Please keep others informed and motivated!!!!!
The person who wrote this has it right:

"Replacing styrofoam plates and erecting pretty buildings is nothing compared to a dysfunctional admin and faculty relationship because this impacts the very people the school relies most on: the students and future students."

Anonymous said...

To the contrary, those who love Art Center are not tearing it down. Those who want to re-create it are.

I've been out of Art Center for a few decades now. I've found that there are only two reactions from people everywhere in the world when an alum says "I went to Art Center".

Far and away, the vast majority say "Huh...where??"

Just a very, very select few nod or raise their eyebrows and say, "Awesome. That's a GREAT school -- the BEST."

In my experience, telling someone you're an Art Center grad is the quickest way to appraise the listener's greater understanding of the design world. So, I never gave a shit about the first reaction nor the people who expressed it.

The people who had the second reaction, though -- they were always ones who went on to make a difference in my life (gave me jobs, contracts, contacts, respect, opportunities, etc.)....

This time around, let's make sure the next leadership team at Art Center is headed by alumni. Because...THEY get it.

FugitiveColors said...

9:42 said:
If y'all get your way, what will you have achieved?

The dirty-laundry that's being aired is not the doings of this blog. It is the outcome of nine years of mismanagement by the Koshalek administration.

The apologists for the status-quo who are posting here have been bamboozled -- they've bought into Koshalek's hype and suspended their critical thinking. As 9:33 pointed out above, Koshalek's spin about Art Center "hiding behind a wall" was completely made-up, revisionist history. It was a lie, a slogan meant to position himself as an enlightened visionary that rich donors should give money. A very few fell for it, most did not.

The simple fact is, Koshalek's ability to lead Art Center is now compromised beyond repair. The divisions that exist within the institution can only be healed by new leadership. Whether you are among the few who support him or the many who do not, the fact that he cannot unify a deeply factionlized community is independent reason, by itself, to let him go.

Anonymous said...

10:10 pm --

Exactly my point.

Here is the central question of these comments, as I read it:

Should Art Center remain small and unknown except to "design" insiders or make itself better known to the world?

It is the hippest thing in the world to know about a great obscure film, car or designer that no one else has heard of, but isn't making more of an impact when EVERYONE knows about it?

I don't think anyone at Harvard or RISD or Stanford would argue for returning back to a time when it was unknown.

But maybe that's just me.

Anonymous said...

Harvard or Stanford - MASSIVE, centuries-old institutions schooling leaders of government and industry. Hardly reasonable to compare them to Art Center.

RISD on the other hand: even less well-known and respected than Art Center, I'd venture to say.

Anonymous said...

June 7, 2008 10:26 PM asks:
"Should Art Center remain small and unknown except to "design" insiders or make itself better known to the world?"

That's part of the question. But its too simple. The rest is - How well known do we need to be and at what cost?

The overwhelming response on the petition is that the current plan is too costly, sacrifices core education, and is unclear about what quality and quantity of awareness it delivers.

Once built, there will be pictures of the new Gehry fortress of solitude on architecture magazines and a stream of architectural tourists coming to campus for a look.
At the end of the design conferences RK, Erica Clark, and Chee Perlman will be more famous as curators and the already famous presenters (who are almost all NOT from Art Center) will be have more money in their bank accounts.

My opinion is that at the end of the master plan the school will be no more well known for things that matter to students and alumni than it is now. The frightening trend so far in RKs tenure is that we are becoming less well known for the things that truly matter and benefit students and alumni.

Anonymous said...

To the above post- Do we want ACCD to be a tourist attraction or a top notch school?

I agree that the Gehry building would put the wrong spotlight on the school. We want the focus to be what the students produce and become instead of the ornaments put in place by some egotistical people who only have their own self gratifying agenda at hand.

One has to earn their name to be on an educational building. Koshalek has not earned this distinction because it will be a permanent reminder of his legacy, which is obviously not a very good one.

Future of Art Center said...

Just posted at the Future of Art Center website:

Roadmap: 10 Ways to Move Forward

10 proposals to reorient the school for better education. Comments, criticisms, suggestions welcomed.

Anonymous said...

We are hearing that Mr Koshalek, with the help of his new educational task force lead Nik Hafermaas, is asking deans and chairs to sign a private letter of support for Richard Koshalek.

We vigorously defend any party’s rights and privileges to petition or dialog regardless of that party’s position. It is desirable to have an open petition to collect and measure support for Koshalek or the Master Plan and wish to point out that the open web tools of are quite easy to use. We are concerned about a situation where a boss asks a subordinate in-person to sign a private, closely circulated letter of support where declining would be very conspicuous.

We hope that there is no pressure being applied by the administration onto teachers or staff to sign this internal letter if indeed they do not support or are neutral. We invite any staff that feel pressured to speak up by posting anonymously on this blog or emailing

Can anyone further clarify this situation?

Anonymous said...

Dear “Education First” friends,

We are entering the final week before all comments and materials need to be consolidated (starting June 13) to prepare their delivery for the Art Center Board of Trustees meeting on June 19.

Below is a letter that you may wish to email to as many of your Art Center contacts as possible for a final push before next weekend. Please personalize this where you can, because there is no substitute for the personal trust that comes with this sort of communication. Best efforts have been made to consolidate the many points that have been raised on the blog.

It’s clear that not everyone feels the same about all points and that there are some who strongly support Mr. Koshalek and the Master Plan. Those supporters enjoy strong representation at the board level. While this institution is not a democracy, it is important that the opinions of the community are better represented in the strategic planning dialog at the board level—that’s the purpose of these communications: to ensure our side is heard.

Dear Art Center friend,

If you do not have time to read this email, please review then SIGN the petition at:

This is a grassroots, unofficial letter composed by concerned alumni, students, and staff. It is our personal relationships that allowed many of us to find the school, get through the program, and navigate our careers. Together we have an enormous effect on each other’s lives and the future of the school.

The school is poised at a turning point, culminating at the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, June 19, 2008. At this meeting, the board will vote to either renew or let expire Richard Koshalek’s contract as the president of the school.

Additionally, at this meeting the board will have to address a petition currently signed by over 640 prominent alumni, students, faculty and staff requesting that Mr. Koshalek’s Master Plan be stopped and that non-educational projects be reduced. This Master Plan includes financing and building a Frank Gehry designed library on the hillside campus next to the existing Ellwood building. The Master Plan as well as other “special projects” run by the executive team have come under fierce criticism and scrutiny because they have competed for financial resources and mindshare with the core Art Center educational experience.

For the past three years there has been growing rumors of fear and intimidation by the leadership towards staff who oppose the Master Plan. Many key personnel who have disagreed with Mr. Koshalek’s vision have left under various conditions. There is now evidence of that pattern during the few weeks that the blogging opposition has interacted with the leadership team. This entire set of conditions has crystallized an Education First movement to help the school.

How can you help?
1) Review then SIGN the petition at:
- Include a short statement about your background, year graduated, and what points most strongly resonate with you.
- This petition will close June 13 in order to get that material prepared and delivered to the board, so please do this TODAY

2) Send a personal email to the three executives of the Board of Trustees. (email addresses are noted below). The board has a fiduciary responsibility for the stewardship of the school.
- Prominent alumni that do a lot of hiring, teaching, donation, or sponsor projects will carry great weight. It is recognized that many alumni with executive title may be cautious about representing their opinion or their company’s perspective on a public petition. A private letter is a great alternative or addition.

3) Please forward this email to your network of Art Center friends and ask them to help sustain the school.

Below are the key points you may want to consider in personalizing a response to the board or on the petition. This is a summarization of the more than 700 blog posts and 640 petition signings. There is considerable detail and debate available for your review on the blog (links below)

Points that ARE included in petition:

1) Stop the Master Plan including the potentially ruinous financial burden that the Gehry building will place on the school through an expensive capital campaign and through permanent carrying costs for a structure that is not suited to the schools needs.

2) Make education the top priority and reduce administrative and non-education overhead expenses to reduce the cost structure of the school.
- The current structure of the school has a large and growing permanent staff of approximately 250 people, with many of those people committed to supporting non-essential special projects rather than the classroom or curriculum.
- Stated, argued, and referenced in detail on the blog, these expenses include a large staff dedicated to marketing the master plan, fundraising the master plan, and transforming Art Center into a cultural institution through elite conferences and international initiatives. ALL potentially worthy goals--but not at the expense of the core Art Center educational experience for current and future students.

3) Increase fundraising priorities for scholarship.
- Art Center’s tuition costs have ballooned to $15,000 a term. These prices are not out of alignment with other elite degrees including other design schools. However, Art Center’s financial aid through tuition discount and scholarships lags behind.

4) Keep Alumni on the senior leadership team of school.
Nate Young’s recent resignation and Mr. Koshalek’s current plans for the senior leadership have left no alumni voice on the team to ensure that valuable traditions are represented at the highest levels.

Below are additional important points that the petition does NOT cover that you are invited to comment on in a separate letter to the board:

5) Keep admission quality standards high and do not lower standards to balance the budget without first reducing other expenses. As obvious as this sounds, there are real risks that this activity is occurring for the upcoming terms.

6) Don’t renew Richard Koshalek’s contract. At the end of his contract in 2009, this president will have had 10 years to accomplish his goals. Its time to thank Mr Koshalek for his service and bring in fresh leadership.

7) Reinstate Nate Young as Chief Academic Officer
Nate graduated from Art Center with great distinction (alumni understand the level of excellence and commitment that that achievement represents). He had a successful professional design career, served on the board of trustees and was in the middle of rolling out a board-approved education plan when he resigned in protest.

Board contact information:

The Art Center board is all volunteer, unpaid, and members give both money and time as a labor of love for the school.

For those students, staff and alumni wishing to send a personal email to the board it is recommended that you send just to the Chair and two Vice Chairs of Art Center's board and let them handle the consolidations and distribution to the greater board. Below are their email addresses. Note that the “@” and “.” have been replaced so that these addresses are not machine readable by spam scrapers while posted here online. You will have to retype these with the correct symbols in an email.

These are the personal email addresses for these gentlemen so please be respectful and careful. They have done many wonderful things for Art Center. Mr. Hinrichs and Mr. Reese are also Art Center alumni.

- Mr. John Puerner / Chairman Art Center Board of Trustees - johnpuerner(at)yahoo(dot)com

- Mr. Kit Hinrichs / Vice Chair Art Center Board of Trustees - hinrichs(at)sf(dot)pentagram(dot)com

- Mr. Mike Reese / Vice Chair Art Center Board of Trustees - mike(at)reeseint(dot)com

The Art Center community for Education First thanks you.

Links and references:
- Petition:
- Student Nathan Cooke’s blog:
- Additional, forming blog:


Anonymous said...

IN 2003, a review of the book Symphony: Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall, focused on an included essay by Richard Koshalek and architectural historian Dana Hutt, by saying:

Most interesting among them is the account of the project by Richard Koshalek, a former director of MoCA and another member of the architecture subcommittee, and Dana Hutt, an architectural historian. Koshalek and Hutt tell cautionary tales of ballooning budgets, economic crises, conflicting constituencies—reflecting, among others, the different interests of the Disney family, competitive donors, and local politicians— and attempts to interfere with Gehry's conceptions. Their account ought to be mandatory reading for civic groups in search of an architect. It confirms how all-important the aesthetic perception of a selection committee can be in the sponsorship of great architecture."

Besides further illustrating that Koshalek's obsession with Frank Gehry predated his arrival at Art Center, it brings up the question -- who is his co-writer Dana Hutt?

Well it turns out she's a fulltime employee of Art Center, brought along with Koshalek when he arrived from MOCA.

By all accounts a lovely person and a talented and thoughtful writer about architecture, one wonders nonetheless why Koshalek has needed a personal fulltime architectural historian on staff for the past nine years.

Anonymous said...

And how many others did he drag out of the chaos of his final hours at Moca only to burden the costs at Art Center? How many students have ever heard of or worked with Dana Hutt on anything related to their education?

Audrey! said...

Hey Everyone,

The Education First Petition is closing this Friday so PLEASE take the next couple of days to forward this link to all that you think would be interested in what's going on.



Anonymous said...

Hey JUNE 7, 2008 11:45 AM

Since no one is answering your request for more info we’re left with the option of Googling these people. All these people may be nice folks and talented at what they do but a quick bit of poking around reveals a lack of interest or experience with the things we DO at Art Center.

- Koshalek. Obsessed with architecture (the post above about him keeping an architectural historian on staff has put me over the edge)
- Hafermaas. Frustrated architect.
- Brietenberg. Nice guy. Phd and published book was on gender issues in early English literature (that’s relevant to my major)
- Haluschak and Ford. Administrators

We have some of the best design teachers in the world here. But where the HELL are the people on the task forces that have a history of being obsessed with design, advertising, film photography, illustration and the stuff we came to Art Center for!! Have they ever had the Art Center student experience themselves?

Anonymous said...

Everyone has mentioned what RK makes in salary, but no one has asked what he also makes in bonuses ( which are not included on the 990 form ). Its in the hundreds of thousands. He is making even more than you think. Not to mention the rest of his life is basically expensed out. The travel, the fine dining, the hotels...

He has no conscience.

Anonymous said...

"Yesterday Nate Young, Art Center's Executive Vice President for Education, was forced to resign in a stand-off with the college's president, Richard Koshalek, over the latter's preference for spending Art Center money on conferences, travel, and celebrity architects. Young lost his job fighting to keep education as Art Center's priority."

So sad how history repeats itself at Art Center. All you have to do is change the names and the dates and you have the same sad situation. In the past, anytime an instructor expressed such opinions publicly, his career at Art Center was finished. The road is also littered with the "academic career corpses" of several student activists who have done the same. It's very hard to be successful at Art Center while getting caught up in this mess of a problem.

Unfortunately, Koshalek (himself) is NOT the sole root of the problem. I wish it were that easy for you guys. The problem lies with the institution itself, and the board that enables him (or, arguably requires him) to behave in such a vile way. You see, history repeats itself.

This same exact scenario has FULLY played itself out before in a prior administration. The school was brought to such a "low-point" in morale, that an outside consulting firm was contracted to come in and interview a bunch of people. The board itself went through an ugly power-struggle over the issue and as a result, they purged themselves of those dissenters who did not adhere to the "hoity-toity" mindset. Two of the casualties? Virginia Legakes-Adams (the wife of Tink Adams) and Don Kubly (The school's second president).

It was an ugly carnage. Intimidation of dissenting students was extremely high. Faculty members who seemed to support the dissent were terminated. Others quietly changed careers.

One of the current top administrators at the school was also a victim of this past carnage, but out of sincere, deep respect for him, I will not name him. I imagine that he likes his job and needs his income, and now that I'm a little older (and wiser), I will not jeopardize it.

Art Center is an institution that now has (unfortunately) rigidly institutionalized thinking in its legacy at the board level.

The architecturally significant building that was comissioned in the 1970s, unfortunately, was the worst thing that ever happened to the school. Art Center now finds itself 100% addicted to maintaining the lavish lifestyle and image of itself. All the while ignoring your true educational needs. You have never come first, and until the school gets torn apart at its very seams, you never will

Anonymous said...


At least when I knew this name, he was the school's controller (head accountant), one step below that of Ron Jernigan, the CFO. He was the defender of the financal data that students always sought. He's a career "yes man" (as should be expected). In other words, he's the guy that tells the prez how much the tuition needs to be jacked-up to support the current way of doing business. I had several encounters with him. It was obvious that he was instructed to handle those who sought quality financial data with disdain.

Anonymous said...

WOW.... ok so i just caught up with comments from friday morning and i just have to say WOW....

i mean WOW....this has just turned into nothing but a mud slinging contest. I mean seriously. do you really all beleive that everyone that works for art center this evil.......WOW

I mean mean are you going to get......

after all this, i am done. I wish you all well but this has just gotten insane. Im not reading anymore of this crap, oh yes it is all crap coming from everywhere.

Anonymous said...


There is a rumor that Nick Hafermaas is personally circulating a letter of support for Richard Koshalek and is coercing Faculty, Department Chairs and Deans to sign. If this is true, it is disgusting unethical behavior and puts those that have opposing views or wish to abstain in a precarious situation. If it is Nick Hafermaas’ intention to support Richard Koshalek and his vision, please do it in and honest and democratic way; create your online petition at -

Don’t worry Nick, Richard likes you. You won’t be fired for creating a petition in support of him or his vision. This will help your cause. Come out in the open!

Anonymous said...

Dear June 9, 2008 3:04 PM :

Its not all crap. Most of the material since Friday is referenced. There is a LOT of fact on this blog and on the petition and there is more coming.

Almost everyone employed at Art Center are fabulous people. You are engaging in innacurrate hyperbole to paint everyone with the same brush. There are very very few people at AC behaving badly. Even those people believe in what they are doing. Evil? no. Committed to their own passions and ideology at all costs including core educational principles? They are. Absolutely yes.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 2:42,

who is it that you're quoting? just because you put something's in quotes doesn't make it factual. especially if you don't even bother to mention where the quote came from. or are you just quoting yourself?

if you want to have a REAL discussion, be an adult about it. this could be great if we could all be smart about it.

Anonymous said...

June 9, 2008 3:22 PM about a lettr of support for Koshalek:

Not a rumor. A group of chairs and deans were called to assembly in a meeting this morning an asked to sign a letter of support.

It was also urgent. Because Koshalek needs the document for his interview with the LA Times.

Hear that Mr Boehm? Dig please dig. Ask about the conditions under which a private letter for support is circulated by a superior to subordinates. The conditions of peer pressure. Certainly some signatures are valid and those individuals support Mr Koshalek. But if you need evidence of the kind of ship the captain is running, here is one more data point.

Anonymous said...

Maybe nik can address this at the Town Hall Meeting tomorrow at 12 noon. These are good questions above.

Also, as concerned alumni, students, faculty and others, we have not been addressed or heard any status report from the Educational Task force that nik leads. In fact we do not even know the members of his group, we are in the dark. Do we not at least deserve as members of this community to here from our current educational leader? It would be great if nik can step up and address the situation, and in the very least tell us who is on his team and what they are up to.

I have signed the current petition asking not to approve the Master Development Plan. But in the spirit of fairness I do agree that starting a petition is the right approach for those that are pro- development plan/ pro Koshalek contract renewal. Doing it online provides an anonymous and named way for them to do so.

It troubles me to think that faculty and chairs might be put on the spot to sign a pro-MDev Plan petition. this seems like a "Conflict of Interest". The current petition has close to 700+ supporters, all done online, without any pressure. hopefully they will start there.

Hoping for answers tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

is it just me, or does it seem a little strange that all of a sudden the blog is bombarded with intense, somewhat crazed personal attacks? and is it a coincidence that this happens to be the day before the forum?

give the dialogue a chance. shouldn't we see if some of our questions get answers? it seems to me that if we really care about this place, the meeting tomorrow is a excellent way to voice our concerns and see what can be done about it. give it a chance.

don't be fooled by all the political propaganda and slander that's being thrown around on this blog right now. we are old enough to think for ourselves.

before youo go attacking me for being a part of this being one of the president's "cronies", let me just say that i want to post as anonymous right now because of the way the blog has turned. and i don't want to bee attacked in the way that everyone else has been for presenting any sort of opinion that is not "off with their heads."

go to the meeting tomorrow. ask your questions. listen to the answers (that doesn't mean you have to agree with everything, but you do have to give everyone a chance to talk). have a real conversation. THINK FOR YOURSELF!

Anonymous said...

3:42 pm,

nik posted on here and said that if you had questions, you should get in touch with him. did you send him an email? that seems like a pretty efficient way to get your question answered.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous - June 7, 2008 10:49 AM
About your comment:

“Is it true that this school has become a Christian college? There has become comments about this on the petition and on campus and the recent hires of some of the upper level leadership in Education. The fact that Roland Young is no longer at Art Center... The witch hunt that has a feeling of crusade...

Does anyone feel this too?”

I’m a staff member and have heard this in coffee chatter from a number of people long before Nate Young’s resignation. Is his upstanding moral character your reason for concern or was he or upper level leadership planning on implementing religious services on campus? What is it that you and others hope to gain with this?

There are many people of all faiths in the Art Center Community and your post is unprofessional, uncalled for and dangerous.
Jean Ford, please take note.

As for Roland Young, why don’t you ask him why he’s no longer teaching at Art Center. He's not the victim of a witch hunt, he's the victim of himself.

Mark Breitenberg said...

to the 3:22 blogger today:

I was in some of the department chair meetings referred to and I can assure you there was no coercion whatsoever. In fact they were open, healthy and constructive conversations about the future of the College. The idea that the chairs even could be coerced demeans their intelligence and strength of character.

Anonymous said...

to anon 3:41, did you say there was an LA Times interview happening? how do you know this? does this mean YOU were interviewed (or you called the press) and comments on this blog are going to show up in the paper?

Anne Burdick said...

I am the Chair of Media Design. Those of you out there who know me know that I am outspoken, unafraid, and opinionated. I want to dispel the rumors of any kind of coercion. Every day we continue to act on behalf of the students by upholding the quality of the education and by paying close attention to the future needs of the school.

Anonymous said...

to the Chair of Media Design. Thank you for confirming there are not cases of coercion. Are you able to verify the existence of the petition, and did you sign it?

Anonymous said...

The same question is valid to Marc Brietenberg. Does a petition exist, and if so, did you sign it?

thank you.

Anonymous said...

to paraphrase a quote from 3:51 today, many of the posts today have been "unprofessional, uncalled for and dangerous." Slander is a dangerous thing and calling peoople names is highly unprofessional and juvenille. this blog is just getting more ridiculous by the minute. we're not dealing with issues anymore but petty personal feuds

Ophelia Chong said...

"Don't mind anything any one tells you about any one else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself." henry james

I do not take well to innuendo, rumor, speculation, or slander. It does nothing but veer us from the issues at hand. If this was how a court of law was run, we would all be behind bars.

Come to the open forum tomorrow and listen to the students take a stand.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anne Burdick and Mark Breitenberg for clarifying Nik's activities.

Although your two perspectives are of healthy discussion, this doesn't speak for all those that were asked to sign. Healthy discussion doesn't remove the element of peer group pressure.

We will argue that Nik Hafermaas' approach is still highly suspicious and we discount the letter of support. Please take the advice of blogger June 9, 2008 3:22 PM and launch a petition in support of RK. Let his supporters sign of their own free will in privacy.

Furthermore, Nik Hafermaas is part of the task force team that is suppose to be impartial??? Looking for questions to answer??? Are all the other task force leaders as impartial??? Where is fair representation from any other point of view???

We suggest "NO CONFIDENCE" in Nik Hafermaas' leadership and judgments as a task force leader.

We suggest "NO CONFIDENCE" in the task force leaders (all appointed by RK???)

Anonymous said...

4:45, don't get upset about the prospect of Richard Koshalek being interviewed by the LA Times. Boehm writes small articles for the art and museum beat, and so probably can be counted on to not rock the boat. Maybe he's been called in to write a feel-good piece to prop up Richard's reputation before the board meeting? Who knows. The loyalty oath, I mean "letter of support" might help also.

FugitiveColors said...

Hmmm... Mike Boehm has written a number of investigative articles with Jason Felch. See:

Felch wrote many of the Getty stories that helped bring down Barry Munitz...

Anonymous said...


Please join us in the Ahmanson Auditorium (overflow locations with live feed will be available in the LA Times Auditorium and the Faculty Dining Room):

Tuesday, June 10th, from 12:00-2:00pm

In addition, the event will be webcast at: . (QuickTime 7.0 is required. For a free upgrade visit .) Note, this link is only accessible from the Art Center network. You must be on campus or connected to the virtual private network (VPN) in order to view the Community Forum online. Following the event, a recording of the forum will be available on the Art Center website.

Anonymous said...

i have recently caught up on reading this... It is entirely unconscionable to think that a McCarthy-like loyalty oath is being placed before our faculty at educational meetings. The "subtext" of a few people that attended this meeting, is that there was "something" put in front of faculty members to sign, but it was not coercive. This not a time, or place for a "secret" petition to be circulated to an already weary faculty. SHAME on the task member--acting as lofty judge and jury--that smugly deflects the question as an indictment of faculty intelligence and strength of character. No, this is about an improper, SECRET, loyalty oath being circulated by nik hafermas. That is the question we want answered. This would not be a problem if the your petition was public and posted at,

To those (like 5:13) that think hard questions like these are name calling, unprofessional, and slanderous-- I believe you mean LIBEL: An untruthful statement about a person, published in writing or through broadcast media, that injures the person's reputation or standing in the community. Libel is a form of defamation , as is slander (an untruthful statement that is spoken, but not published in writing or broadcast through the media).

Anonymous said...

News Flash!

Word through the grapevine is that RK & Co. believe that they are winning and that they just have to hold out a little longer and this will all go away.

FugitiveColors said...

Regarding the so-called petition to the faculty:

It is my understanding that the petition was presented to the Department Chairs, not the faculty council or faculty in general.

I have heard that the petition had to do, at least in part, with eliminating the Dean structure put into place by Nate Young.

HOWEVER, IF the Chairs are going to speak out on anything, it should ONLY be to take a unified position either in support of or against the "Education First" petition signed by over 700 students, faculty, and alums at

You Chairs need to TAKE THE LEAD, and come out one way or the other. If you cannot speak in a UNANIMOUS unified voice for or against the Education First petition, then you should NOT attempt to speak as a group. If you are divided, then speak separately.

And, you should NOT bring up the Deans structure, if that is in fact what your discussions have been about. That's an important issue, but it is NOT the issue anyone cares about at this moment. For the chairs to be taking a stand on anything other than the overarching issue of Koshalek's contract extension and expansion plans at this moment is ridiculous. You are supposed to be our leaders -- so if you agree as a group, take a stand on Koshalek! THAT's what we want to hear about from you. Leave anything else for later.

If you disagree as a group, and are divided, consider this: When an institution is so deeply divided and factionalized, that dysfunction becomes reason in itself, independent of any other issues, for seeking new institutional leadership that can heal the wounds. If Koshalek receives his extended contract, those divisions are not going away. 700 signatures on the petition gaurantee it. Art Center is damaged, and it is broken. Whether you agree with Koshalek or not, his continued leadership is compromised.

A Department Chairs petition calling for Koshalek to leave when his contract ends in Sept. '09 could be supported by both sides, and threatens neither. Things have deteriorated to the extent that this path is the ONLY way to begin to heal the divisions and move forward.

Anonymous said...

I will be watching all this very closely. I still have to send my deposit for the fall, but am holding off to see what happens.

$120K+ is alot of money and I am starting to seriously question the value of this school under the current leadership.

Anonymous said...

wow. there sure is a lot of hearsay. secret petition? has anyone seen it? how quick some of the people on this blog are to jump on a rumor and run with it!

just a reminder: Nate Young put Nik Hafermaas, Mark Breitenberg, and Andy Ogden in place as Deans, not RK. he unilaterally put them in place to micromanage the rest of the chairs. whether we agree with that choice or not, having 2 of 3 of these guys run task forces is really a Nate legacy, nothing else.

Ophelia Chong said...

The issue is Education. When you are handed that degree, wrapped in it is a bill for $120K. How long does it take to pay that off? At $200 a month, it will take 50 years.
How can ACCD give the client, the Student the best education? And can they give them the value of a $120K education?

From today's Los Angeles Times an op ed piece on why we need to help with the debt load of the underprivileged student.

A quote from the article "A Learning Disability" by Ted Mitchell and Jonathan Schorr:
"We pride ourselves as a nation on the opportunity to climb the economic strata through education, but we've been offering less and less to poor kids with college aspirations. A 2006 Education Trust report notes that the maximum federal grant for low-income college students in 1975 covered 84% of a public university education; now, it covers a third.

And even as the cost of college continues to grow faster than financial aid, states and universities increasingly have shifted focus from helping the lowest-income students toward helping the middle class. So perhaps it should be no surprise to see the number of poor kids in college plummeting. In 1995, students whose families made less than $40,000 made up 38% of enrollment in public four-year colleges; by 2003, that number had dropped to 28%"

Here is the link to the article
LA Times Article

Ophelia Chong

Anonymous said...

The most effective way to ensure the future of Art Center College of Design is to close it’s doors. This would also be the fastest way solve the school’s money problems; increase it’s presence on the world stage and the value of it’s diploma.

Across town, a hundred years ago +/-, Amos G Throop established Throop Polytechnic Institute, a vocational school, much like Art Center today, concerned with the arts and the sciences. Ernest Bachelder, whose tiles are highly prized today, taught ceramics there. Much later, Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate of high energy physics, whom loved to paint and draw, taught there. Throop eventually evolved into The California Institute of Technology or CalTech and left the vocational attributes of the school behind... or did they? The motto at Art Center has always been “Teaching professionals not Professional Teachers,” that’s not far from the CalTech model. Excepting that CalTech has the endowment or financial horsepower to build the big telescopes that their “teaching professional” astronomers need to discover new planets. This horsepower that allows their professional space scientists to design and build space craft capable of traveling billions of miles over decades on just a tablespoon of atomic energy. Seems it just may be the way we spin this idea of teaching professionals.

Art Center’s endowment problems are rooted in the idea that we look too much like a business to the outside world. Not unlike the many for profit vocational schools. Philanthropists and corporations do not like to donate to businesses, it’s bad form. This is the mistake that the current administration has made and continues to make. Our NGO status is part of an attempt to make us look less like a business.

The time has come to give Art Center and CalTech the shot in arm each school richly deserves. Merge them. Other schools have successfully made this move. This would double the respective schools pools of talent. Bring CalTech closer to it’s creative roots. Give Art Center access to lucrative research grants and cutting edge technology. Most importantly, improve their respective images in the world view; and with the stroke of a pen, Art Center would become part of CalTech’s billion dollar endowment. The down side is that it would reduce the per student value of the current endowment; but would greatly improve the combined school’s ability to raise funds in the future. With a few minor additions of curricula the Merged School could offer exciting new programs... Applied Cybernetic Media Design, Applied Mobility Design, Molecularly Embedded Graphics...

Folks this solution is staring right at us. Art Center’s lack of endowment will consume us it is only a question of time. Art Center is not financially sustainable in it’s current form, “we cannot compete in a world of mega endowments” (from another post). If the tuition is free at Harvard or Stanford, where do we the think the best and the brightest will study?--Harvard and Stanford offer graduate studies in Industrial Design. Art Center must attain financial sustainability if it is to survive the next century; we must embrace the very essence of change that we profess and seek out the answers that are bigger than we are and more far reaching than the ones we are currently considering.

Regrettably, much of the current Art Center administration would be made redundant by administration that already exists at CalTech. This truth could be leveraged to reduce the strain on student tuition and free up our faculty to focus on education and design research. Maybe the Merged School would want hire someone with design education leadership experience to head up the improved Art Center College of Design, since there might not be a need for a president.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous June 10, 2008 6:22 AM

hearsay? secret petition?

Mark Breithenberg and Anne Burdick have acknowledged its existence.

Mark Breitenberg (June 9, 2008 4:12 PM) states:

"In fact they were open, healthy and constructive conversations about the future of the College".

Was Andy Ogden invited, as a Dean or Chair, to participate in this "open, healthy and constructive conversation about the future of the College"?

Have any of you that are his peers asked him directly why he takes the position that he does?

Your discussions seem to be "open, healthy and constructive" only if you agree with Richard Koshalek's views.

This is outrageous!

Anonymous said...

Let's be real. You are drinking the Kool-aid if you think the current administration is not tinged with cronyism and nepotism.

Anonymous said...

i don't think it works to automatically discredit everyone who doesn't agree with you 100%. did you like nik until you decided that he was evil?

we really need to get rid of this "us v. them," "either your with us or against us" mentality.

how do you expect to get anywhere if anytime someone presents a different possibility, you assume that the are being coerced or are one of the "terrorists" themselves. thanks, george w, but i don't need anymore of that going on around here.

the only way this will work is to listen to what everyone has to say. then you make your own decisions about it. but it WON'T work if you refuse to accept that some people who are not "evil" may think differently than you. welcome to real life.

Anonymous said...

10:01. Welcome to real life. We're things get politicized and cronyism prevails.

I did a quick search on this blog (command-F) to find that the word "evil" was used only 4 times, 2 of those times in your post. The other 2 were in a similar vain to your usage. Not a SINGLE blogger here has referred to nik being evil.

The emphasis of previous posts was the potential conflict of interest a "closed" petition might cause. A pro-master dev. plan petition IS fair and reasonable. Posters in the hallway, or a website, of a pro-master dev plan ARE fair and reasonable. Distributing or announcing news of such plan, even in context of an educational meeting, IS fair and reasonable. BUT, asking a member of faculty, Dean, or Chair to either sign or support, within the context of that meeting, or while under duress is NOT acceptable.

The current petition has garnered strength with faculty, alumni, and students strictly by word of mouth on this blog; a testament to how strongly people feel about the issue. Some faculty have risked their standing by signing and speaking up. They have LISTENED to the dialog and made their own decisions. Never was there a meeting, or a request to review and support this petition. About 750 people have signed this petition, all on their own will. Alumni, many from great distances, have also LISTENED and decided to support the petition.

So 10:01 we agree, welcome to real life, where we are allowed to have differences of opinion. And, I am not being mean, this is not insanity, and I don't need to grow up.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear at least a few people discussing the concept of merging with a more established and stable institution. Art Center could retain its own identity within it much like USC's film school does.

Someone mentioned that "sustainability" is his biggest issue. But that dude is talking about recycable drinking cups. Art Center has REAL issues facing it in terms of its OWN sustainability.

In 1990, tuition at Art Center was 1/3 of today's cost. But were salaries 1/3 of those paid-out today? No.

Art Center is a small school with out-of-control costs and out-of-control leadership that still thinks that it can afford such current luxuries as international design conferences, auto shows and the like. One day, walk into the public relations office. How much of their current work involves work related to your actual education? Probably not very much. But I'll bet there is another conference right around the corner, complete with shiny posters to help promote it.

The board and current leadership has taken a school with a population of 1,500, increased enrollment a bit, tripled the cost of tuition and barely moved beyond where it was 20 years ago. Badly needed curriculum changes at the end of the last decade were the most revolutionary changes the school has seen in 30 years. So, big deal, you got yourselves a new, cavernous hollow building to show off. But what the hell did it do for your education and the prospects of making your way in the world?

For once, Art Center should learn a few lessons from the modern corporate world. In a climate where it most certainly faces nothing but almost certain mediocrity against a growing tide of competition from new and revamped schools, Art Center needs to seriously explore partnering with someone that can compliment its fine talents.

Dead weight needs to be ditched and the core focus of an Art center education needs to be made priority number one.

With the current "master plan", Koshalek is seeking to add new "architectural stuff" to eventually help impress donors into coming to cocktail parties and perhaps writing a check or two to help grow the endowment.

With the current plan, I suppose this will come to fruition in, say, about 30 years or so. Most of us will be in pine boxes by that point. That's if the plan even works. I seriously doubt that it will.

Look at Yahoo. They seek to cozy-up and partner with a Microsoft because they KNOW that their days are numbered. Their relevance in the marketplace is decreasing. They can either inject a new life-blood into themselves, or they can die on the vine.

Art Center. I suggest you throw one last really damn big party for some very important people. Invite the presidents of Cal Tech, Occidental, USC, UCLA, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, CSLA, CSUN, etc. In the williamson gallery, hang the work of the most pretigious Art Center alumni and show them the awesome contributions that this school has historically made to the design world. And then mention to them you'd like to talk about wanting a new partner.

But I doubt that the board or Koshalek will ever discuss such a thing. Do you know why? Ego. Their egos will prevent them from doing it.

Anonymous said...

I'm an alumni and have been following what has been going on for the past day or so. Funny how it does not take long for word to get out (see, the internet IS good for something I suppose).

The amazing thing is that this seems like a virtual carbon copy of what went on back when I was a student. Students complain, they quickly get ostracized or intimidated by administrators, etc. Someone in the faculty then inevitably expresses public sympathy for the student concerns and their own career is quickly destroyed. This intimidates everyone else, and the smart people quietly stick their heads in the sand.

In this case, it looks like Koshalek has wasted no time in purging his opposition. He even tossed the assiatnt TO the disloyal minion. I'm surprised he did not then hang the corpses over the bridge to serve as a warning to all others.

Brown liked to let his victims sufffer for a while first. Perhaps he is coaching koshalek.

Here is agood question for your meeting: Hey Riacherd, have you been consulting with David Brown on how to best handle your opposition? I'll bet he has lots to say.

Anonymous said...

Art Center has bleak prospects for the future.

Fifteen years ago, when tuition began to exceed the maximum amount available through student loans, the school began it's shift towards being accessible only to those with their own benefactor to back them (such as "well-off" parents).

Fifteen years ago, a 100% independent student could literally max-out the available grants and loans that were available and actually get a refund check back from the school. That refund check was usually almost enough to make things work. Perhaps some periodic freelance work would help make up the difference.

A student would emerge from Art Center with a total debt-load of around $45,000. That meant they had 6 months to secure a job that would afford them to start paying back about $550 per month for 10 years.

Net monthly pay ($35k/year)for most new grads averaged about $2500 after taxes (presuming they found a decent job). Almost a quarter of their check went to pay back their ACCD bills.

Now, I'm not sure how much the government is willing to loan you students these days. Is it anywhere near $15k per semester? I highly doubt it.

If you are coming out of ACCD with $120k in personal debt, the only way I see any of you earning enough to support the loan payment would probably involve stealing credit card numbers or perhaps tunneling drugs under the border fence.

So back to who CAN afford Art Center: An (increasingly) smaller pool of people each progressive year.

Not to pick on those of any certain nationality, but let's look at a few other things. Why has the school taken on this heavy outreach towards "international students"? Because of a kind, moral heart? The right thing to do? No. It's because if the school was not heavily targeting the wealthy parents of overseas kids, there would be a lot of empty stools.

Art Center is trying very hard to build brand equity for itself abroad. Why? Seat meat. Every ass that occupies a stool is helping pay the bills. There are no longer enough American asses to fill the stools anymore. $15k is a lot of money. The cool architecture goes into the promotional literature and the teenage child of a toy factory owner in China starts dreaming of attending Art Center. This is the target audience. American students: You are not the target audience. If you show up and have the money, hey, welcome to Art Center. Just out of high school? No problem.

American parents might pay $120k to send their kid to Princeton, but not to go to some art school. They're more willing to blow $65k to send them to some hack school they see advertised on TV (you know the ones). Daughter Kristy will probably end up meeting some guy and get married anyway. Why bother?

The only way to get it back on track and to save things is to ditch the champaign tastes and start working with the beer budget that you actually have access to.

Anonymous said...

Someone posted the names of the board of trustees. I found the "emeritus" names to be of interest:

Mr. Richard Frank
Mr. Edward Hanak
Mr. Donald Kubly
Mr. Kyhl Smeby
Mr. Warren Williamson

You see, of this list, at least two of them (Kubly and Smeby) were PURGED from the board (by their fellow board members) for being too sympathetic to the opinions of past student activists over a decade ago.

Curiously missing from the list of Emeritus names published on the ACCD website (and in the previous post) is another "Emeritus" board member. Her name was Virginia Legakes-Adams. Yes, "Adams", as in "Tink Adams". She was tink's wife. She was one of the first 10 students to ever attend Art Center. She was also one of the first employees of the school.

Virginia (who has since passed-away) herself was very like-minded with this kind of dialogue and if she were alive today, she would be supporting the current sentiment.

Virginia was forcefully purged from her seat as a board member by the same cronies that purged the others I mention. She was vehemently opposed to the lavish lifestyle that the leadership had become accustomed to. She felt that the true direction of the school was almost hopelessly lost. Several of those cronies that cruelly ousted her are still seated on the board today.

Do not think that the sitting president is where the blame ends. Look higher. The board enables everythingt that he does.

Anonymous said...

google nate young and you will find this page:

very interesting....

Anonymous said...

To June 10, 2008 2:26 PM:

The site doesn't seem at all interesting or related to Nate Young.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anne Burdick,

Thank you for being so "unafraid" and coming forward to assert that there is no coercion going on in the Koshalek administration.

I can see what you must have risked by doing so. You may have risked being patted on the back. You may have risked an "Atta girl!". You may have risked serious questions concerning your devoted loyalty to President Koshalek. When the heads begin to roll, rest assured that you will still have a job.

How on earth would you know if other people have been coerced or intimidated?

Anne Burdick said...

I am the Chair of Media Design. Those of you out there who know me know that I am outspoken, unafraid, and opinionated. I want to dispel the rumors of any kind of coercion. Every day we continue to act on behalf of the students by upholding the quality of the education and by paying close attention to the future needs of the school.

Anonymous said...

Switching out the foam in the cafeteria will do the following:

You will be left with paper cups, which when disposed of, will be headed for the dumpster and (eventually) the landfill. They can't be "recycled" as they will be tainted with biologically active food waste. They will biodegrade in a landfill, which, after a thousand years or so will be uncovered to expose the non-biodegradable material that was buried along with it. But thankfully, the paper will all be worm food by then.

This issue was studied previously long ago by a dedicated group of environmentally conscious students and the use of foam was re-affirmed. The rationale was that foam cups and plates CAN be recycled and at least turned into something useful again.

They gave you this concession because by simply changing cup suppliers, they got a bunch of students off their backs. They could give a shit about landfills.

I remember how things used to go. Among those who wanted to shake things up and raise hell, there was always a group that cared only about singular issues such as these. They yelled louder than the others, and piggy-backed upon the backs of those who really cared about substantive educational issues regarding the longevity of Art Center. As soon as they got their damn paper cups, they abandoned, happy as can be.

If we could get Art Center to lease a few dozen Toyota Prius' for you can we get you to just abandon now?

Anonymous said...

total witch hunt.

does anyone remember who was involved in the big protest during the last administration?

don't a lot of the criticisms seem EXACTLY the same?

who left art center and then came back again? hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

Over 800 signatures now at the petition:

Anonymous said...

with an letter worth reading by Errol Gerson, California at #792.

Anonymous said...

It feels like the forum was just empty pandering to the students until the meeting with the Board on the 19th.. in which more empty pandering will ensue. I suppose it's all up to the Board of Trustees now, let's hope that they don't fail us. Would there be a course of action if they do?

Anonymous said...

Just out in the LA Times:,0,7266639.story

Anonymous said...

Being a legacy kid, I have been lucky enough to grow up in an atmosphere of amazing work and talented guests. The results of an Art Center education have both guided and inspired me since I learned to finger paint and I attribute my decision to attend this school based on the merits of the various alumni I grew up around.
However, now that I'm here I feel completely duped. Every single class I've had has been completely overcrowded and, except for two, has taken place in that shack we call the annex. I have classmates who show up to finals with literally nothing and progress to the next terms--and the one teacher who did rebuke them was himself rebuked by our chair.
I did not sign up to pay 14k+ a term for this, nor to pay for fad architecture. I also did not sign up for hypocritical design events that I can't afford to attend and the indecent treatment of those who care about my future.
I find this unacceptable. I am here for the education Art Center gave my mother and promised me, I am here to be inspired by classmates and faculty, and I am here to inspire them.
I agree with and have signed the petition. The growth of this school should forever be on the merits of our teachers, alumni, and students--not on the imperialism of our administrators.

Anonymous said...

"does anyone remember who was involved in the big protest during the last administration?"

Yes ;-)

"don't a lot of the criticisms seem EXACTLY the same?"

It makes me feel good about my past, because I now know that I was not crazy. This many years later, essentially the same thing has happened, and it has happened without the seeds of the past to propogate it. This means the same problems exist within the board.

"who left art center and then came back again? hmmmm."

You mean, "Who was intimidated and forced-out for speaking his mind...?"

I've been out of the loop for so long, I was amazed to learn that he had even returned. A year ago I would have discovered that development and thought that good change was afoot at Art Center. I'm sad to have learned of his return while also reading about the underhanded ouster of other outspoken people. History repeats itself.

Anonymous said...

check out this on the petition:

# 506:
Jun 4, 2008, Anonymous, California
PLEASE READ: I'd like to remind that RICHARD KOSHALEK is NOT ALONE running ACCD. He is just the tip of the iceberg. NATE YOUNG, who many of you paint as 'the good man fignthing for the students' was in fact his closest buddy. NATE YOUNG is one of them, he was just let go for WANTING RICHARD'S JOB, NOT FOR FIGHTING FOR STUDENTS, KEEP THAT IN MIND.

What a bunch of crap! Now the Kool Aid Kids are messing with the petition. Of course they didn't sign it. Talk about b.s.

Anonymous said...

Art Center's leadership has seen similar "uprisings" before. Several, in-fact. They know from past uprisings that eventually, you'll get busy with finals, or you'll start fearing for your scholarship. They usually toss a "troublemaker: student or faculty member to the wolves and then watch you run away. Those kinds of things.

They know that none of you will ever have the guts to REALLY show them what you feel and how you think.

Or do they?

Anonymous said...

the los angeles times article got it exactly right: the crucial decisions that art center faces are short-term vs. long-term.

it's much the same way in government. it's much more savory for politicians to take care of the short-term problems. those are achievable and you see the results and everyone goes home happy.

the long-term, however, is much more difficult. people question the expenditures. the results are not so easy to see. then a levy fails. a freeway bridge collapses. why do you think the u.s. faces a major infrastructure crisis in coming years? long-term is not sexy. neither is the truth. we need to plan for the long-term, people!

optimally, we can do both: short- and long-term. it's a balance, and fiscally, we can't please everyone. that's a fact.

Anonymous said...,0,7266639.story

Oh brother! Koshalek must have burst a blood vessel when he saw that. I'd hate to be his director of PR. Her head will probably roll next for not containing this mess.

Anonymous said...

An Open Letter to the ACCD Board of Trustees: Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my note. I recognize your volunteer status as a Trustee leader of Art Center and do appreciate your service to the College. I am neither student, faculty, staff nor alumni of Art Center, however I consider myself a very good friend of Art Center and do have quite a few people that are very close to me who do work in various capacities there. Obviously the intensity of scrutiny of the leadership of ACCD has increased the past couple of weeks, but I'd like to point out that the problems began long before the storm arrived. Although there are several points that can and have been made about the state of ACCD at this date in time, I'd like to focus on 2 that seem to be very high priority and cannot be ignored. First, the culture of fear that exists where the faculty and staff are unwilling to share their most valuable asset, their knowledge and voice, at the risk of losing any number of things up to and including their jobs is unconscionable. I say this in particular to the environment at Art Center which was built on the shoulders of and should foster free thought among colleagues and peers without fear of retribution. It has long been a standard of higher education to promote, rather than neuter, this type of open, honest, legal and challenging discourse. Second, it is clear that the Board of Trustees felt strongly enough about Nate Young's role as the Chief Academic Officer of ACCD, to the point of making it clear to both Nate and President Koshalek that it was imperative to the successful operation of the College under Mr. Koshalek that they work in harmony together. If that was a condition of Mr. Koshalek's future tenure as President of ACCD as stated by the Board last month, then he has failed the critical final exam. The fact in this matter is very clear - Nate did try to make it work, despite repeated circumventing of the agreed upon processes by Mr. Koshalek to the point where one of the most valued and trusted employees, alumni and servants of ACCD saw fit to remove himself from the dysfunction immediately. Art Center is an institution - it will, except in the most undesirable of circumstances, survive and outlive all of us. But how it survives depends on our actions today. The integrity of the institution is in your hands; the future and reputation of Art Center rests heavily on these facts. I urge you to act swiftly and clearly to repair the damage that has been done, and enact measures that will change and upgrade the Presidency at Art Center now.

Anonymous said...

dear board of trustees,

as you know, the problems of art center were here long before the current administration.

communication has long been a problem at center. the person who was in charge of education for the past five years failed to foster communication with the faculty. the person in change of education has left a legacy of unhappiness, of lowered standards, of complaints even about our transportation students (!).

asap -- it's time to find the right academic officer!

Andy said...

An articulate statement. In my day, such concise expression would have been the exception We were an arrogant lot, knowing that our training would get us hired most anywhere we desired to search. Outside of Art Center School, Institute of Design, Pratt and Rhode Island School of Design were the only schools we ever heard of. We thought of those schools as pretentious ourselves as professional. I think that "Tink" Adams looked at education that way-give people the tools and the training and they will succeed. Others stressed theory while we stressed presentation. Still, we had graduates like Syd Mead. No-that's not quite right. We had one graduate like Syd and he was it. Still, what we may have lacked in the academics, we made up for in our intuition and our solutions to design problems. The school was expensive, but manageable. We knew that it wasn't a university, but that we would learn very marketable skills that would enable us to communicate our ideas clearly and with flair. "Don't waste money on cheap brushes. You need every advantage you can get!" was the mantra. The tools have evolved but the tools can't think and we were always given credit for the ability to think.
The school should provide as close to a professional environment as is possible. Our instructors were "practicing professionals" and always brought to the classroom professional attitudes and expectations. The dropout rate resulted in about 30% carrying on to graduation, hopefully, two years and eight months ahead. The degree, Bachelor of Professional Arts. GM and Ford gobbled us up hungrily.
Despite advances in technology, Art Center should stick to what it's good at. If programs are being short changed, if too much financial burden is being placed on the student, then priorities need to be re-examined. I don't know if Los Angeles is big enough for another Gehry spectacular, but I'm sure that Art Center doesn't need to be in a pissing contest with MIT. Andy Graybeal Trans '60

Anonymous said...

ophelia --

were you at the forum today?

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