Thursday, June 5, 2008

Serious Talk/Action

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...

Ideas are nothing without action.

Anonymous said...

I have also posted this on future of Art Center, under "news."

On Nathan's first blog, we heard from Rachael. I am re-posting her statement here because I don't want it to be overlooked. It goes to the "culture of fear" and I think that a serious look at school employment policies is an important part of the transparency we all desire. Thank you Rachael for being brave and honest.

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.

6/5/08 11:24 AM

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

Ophelia Chong said...

Wait for the news first before assuming anything.

Ophelia Chong said...

In the Los Angeles Times 6-25-08

Pasadena Art Center won't renew president's contract
By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 25, 2008

After an intense grass-roots protest movement by students and alumni of Art Center College of Design, trustees of the elite Pasadena institution have decided not to renew Richard Koshalek's contract as president when it expires at the end of 2009.

To read the full article, use this link: