The issues I document are not really "dated" or "old school" in that they chronicle the kinds of campus struggles that can and do still
happen today and will likely continue in the future. The technology has changed faster than the attitudes and
mentality behind our education programs, policies, and practices.
Addressing unprofessional behavior requires a strategy based on so many variables there is no single approach for all situations. Behavior severity or injury, past history and intent, one's responsibilities and goals in life, as well as motivational factors, including personal ability and available support are among the many variables that will determine a plan of action.
I serve primarily as a healer and innovator in the field of transpersonal psychology. My current role remains essentially nonpolitical and nonacademic except for my literary and documentary work, such as on this website. I offer the visitor to this site a description of some serious obstacles I encountered while participating in current educational programs in my hometown of San Diego, California.
As a multi-entry student, I have received fresh scars from the education industry, and have felt that to discuss them is in the best interest of the majority that may be concerned, even if it necessarily reflects critically on certain individuals. I feel that problems with professional managers need to be aired in whatever public way possible when the channels they provide are either inadequate or unfairly administered.
Public education is in it's current crisis in part due to chronic instituationlized denial, including the sweeping of injustices under a bureaucratic or political rug. In the shadow of the power struggles between District and site management and faculty unions, students who do not pose a lawsuit threat are largely ignored or discouraged regarding many of the concerns raised on this website. It's is time for many more student-generated websites to raise concerns that have been long-ignored or denied, and in my case, brought retaliation by the "professionals" involved.
Please note that the "edutrue disclaimer" emphasizes that my story is my version of events, one that I do not feel was fairly heard when I pursued my conncerns and grievances through institutional channels.
Verbal Abuse/Disrespect: A strong case can be made for the need for San Diego Community College District's managers to act as role models both on campus and off. Particularly on campus, instructors, staff, and students can be influenced in profound and lasting ways by the way top site administrators conduct themselves.
While physical actions and inactions perhaps send the loudest messages, LANGUAGE can also be considered a potent medium, having either a constructive or negative effect on the academic climate and the lives touched by words of support and encouragement compared to words of disdain or derision. While educational environments may not be free of hype and hypocrisy, it would be difficult to conceive of any school district sanctioning comments from top adminiistrators such as those coming from a long-time manager (Associate Dean) at one of SDCCD's Centers for Education & Technology. The following comments were heard within a 6-month period, and were of such concern that I immediately wrote them down verbatim, to better address such UNPROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOR.
Detailed written statements of fact (noting time place, and circumstance) were submitted that included the harassing and retaliative context for the "BULLYING" quoted. My written responses to the hurtful and damaging statements below were dismissed without comment by higher management. Official indifference by senior management and the Board of Trustees has had the effect of emboldening this particular manager's thoughtless actions.
San Diego, California
(Notes from grievance documentation)
As a student leader, can you imagine trying to present any ideas
for improvements on campus while hearing such things as . . .
"If you don't like it here don't come!"
"If you speak to anyone who works here
you will be immediately removed."
"You are completely in the wrong."
"Get your shit out of here!"
"I don't have to do anything."
"Nothing you say to me matters."
"I don't have to be courteous to you."
"I don't give a God damn what you think"
"Nothing you say to me has any validity."
Spoken by a long-time manager within the
San Diego Community College District
(130,000 students countywide, 780 Million Annual Budget)
Clearly, there's a lot that can be done from an organization's perspective to assure that these kinds of oppressive people aren't allowed to continue abusing others in the workplace . . . . If you simply ignore the negative behavior going on, you/re condoning it. You're perpetuating it.
Dr. Joel H. Neuman
Associate Professor of Management at the State University of New York at New Paltz
Joel H. Neuman, Ph.D. is a nationally recognized expert in the area of workplace aggression and violence. His work appears in such texts as Antisocial Behavior in Organizations, and the journals Aggressive Behavior, Public Administration Quarterly, and the Journal of Management.
"Workplace bullying is a form of occupational violence which involves the 'repeated less favorable treatment of a person by another or others in the workplace, which may be considered unreasonable and inappropriate workplace practice.' It includes both direct and indirect behavior that intimidates, offends, degrades or humiliates a staff member, either in front of other staff or clients, including students or in isolation."
(See USC Policy on Workplace Bullying)
Students and the public-at-large need to be aware that administrators, even those in charge of student services, may be prone to act with impunity when they feel that they will never be fired or even disciplined for this type of unprofessional treatment of students.