Letters to the Editor

Lets Call a Spade a Spade!
From: Mike Adams
10/30/96

To: Eagle
Lets call a spade a spade. The "EAGLE Extra" is not a student newspaper produced by students, it is a rag published by a few disgruntled part time faculty who are Bruce Anderson wantabees. If this isn't true, then why did the author of all responses (King Collins) take Zack (the editor of the REAL Eagle) to the proverbial woodshed when Zack wrote a letter telling Mr. Collins NOT to publish the "EAGLE Extra"? In fact, letters addressed directly to Zack were respondedto by King Collins; generally I respond to my own mail.

Why was one of the student reporters on the Eagle summarily fired for dissenting against the actions of the so called, and self proclaimed, Eagle advisor. I was unaware that a student could be fired from a club; I'd like to see the bylaws that allow such an action. Could it be that, while dissent is prayed upon by the "EAGLE Extra" editor as news worthy, variance of opinion among "Eagle" student club members is subject to intimidating tactics. Clearly a double standard exists.

You can't have it both ways, open information except when the dissent is directed at you. If you believe in open information then let all the information be open, but require that the statements made be TRUE and be verified by a signature of the author. The publishing of the T*A*B in your recent paper reflects your real intent to CREATE controversy rather than REPORT news. The T*A*B is a parody containing untrue statements and defamatory remarks about individuals. It includes unprofessional language including inappropriate profanity that only makes a statement about the mentality of the author; IT IS NOT NEWS. To validate these untrue and defamatory papers is to further state the nature of the "EAGLE Extra" and unfortunately reflects negatively on the "EAGLE" as well.

Finally, the worst thing that has happened in the actions of the publishers of the "Eagle Extra", the T*A*B and the Process, is that students have been used as pawns, and innocent individuals have been made victims for a few individuals' personal agenda. Get a life.

Mike Adams


Response by Russ Emal for the EAGLE staff

My suggestion is that when you are calling a spade a spade, you make sure that you have a shovel in your hand. One is needed to shovel the crap you have dug up and included in this letter.

Why does everyone want to pigeon hole the Eagle as srictly a "student newspaper?" It is not. It's a newspaper. This newspaper is produced, in part, by students. But, over the life of the paper the Eagle has accepted many articles by any person supplying information that is newsworthy. Last month alone, both the Tutor of the Month article and the ongoing Ag news feature was written by college staff members. Letter's to the Editor are submitted to the Eagle by the whole community. Also, numerous articles appear in issues of the paper that were produced by students. I submit: the Eagle is a newspaper! Except for the support of a few of the college's administrators, the Eagle is at best an underfunded, alienated orphan of Mendocino College. The purpose of the school should be educating its students. The Eagle should be a part of that; both by its content and by teaching students how to produce a newspaper. The editor and staff have the responsibility to supply good content. Is that mission successful? The readership must decide. Does the school supply its part of the bargain by educating students interested in journalism? Not one bit.The only education comes by self teaching and from the Eagle's dedicated advisors. That education turns out to be damn good.

There have been several letters to the editor submitted and printed in the Extra. Many address the issue of confidentiality. The letter from editor Zack Darling to advisor King Collins was a letter expressing concerns about the Eagle Extra. This issue had already been discussed by the whole staff at a regular meeting. Zack is a "Big Boy" and does not need or respond well to the woodshed treatment. He was never taken to the "proverbial woodshed" by Collins or any other staff member.

Also, Darling does respond to his own mail. The letters addressed to him questioning the printing of the Extra (you supplied two of them) were correctly forwarded to Collins because Zack was busy coming out with the next issue of the Eagle (this one). Collins was asked by the whole staff to be the editor for the Extra. The names of staff who agreed to publishing the Extra appear in the staff box.

On the issue of the firing of a student staffer: no one was fired, Mike. First, no one is hired. But there is an ongoing issue of breach of trust being dealt with by the newspaper staff. That issue will be discussed, openly, at our next regular meeting. All sides of the issue will be presented and then a decision will be made. Will that individual still be a part of the staff? I and no one else (but, maybe you, Mike) knows. If there was a breach of trust, I hope that person will no longer be involved with decision making at the paper.

The decision to include the TAB in the Extra was discussed for a long time. It is a controversial issue. After the debate it was decided by everyone whose name appears under "concurring staff" in the staff box to include it. While the TABs are unsigned they are, as a whole, a statement supplied to the college community (not by the Eagle) to focus attention on college problems. That makes it both news and newsworthy. The newspapers goal was and is to supply the readership with the news. All of it. That was the only reason the TAB was included in the Extra.

You go on to say that the statements included in the TAB are untrue and defamatory. It might be called defamatory. I call it lampooning. Lampooning is the long standing American tradition that illuminates the role one plays in the whole story. What is the role you play, Mike, that brought you fame in the TAB? But, untrue? That is for the readership to decide. That is why these publications were included. Your statement that "unprofessional language. . . makes a statement about the mentality of the author" has merit. Hell, I'd never use profanity! I'm sure none of us ever do. We're all sweet goody, goody boys and girls around here. Want to come to our tea party? Don't you get it, Mike? There are people around here that are really pissed off (Gosh darnit, I mean upset!)

Finally, you accuse the Eagle of using the students of the college as pawns. The real issue is not if they are pawns. It's whether they are peons. That is what this whole issue is about. Are the issues brought forward by senior administrative staff and teachers not ultimately about supplying good education for the students? Are we, the students, not to be kept informed? Shouldn't the general public, who ultimately finance this school, also be kept apprised of the day to day happenings at the school? That was the purpose of the Eagle Extra and only time will tell if it accomplished that goal.

Sincerely,
Russ Emal
Former Eagle Editor,
Senior Staff member, Student



At Last! - A Pat On The Back

I would like to express my gratitude to the Eagle staff and especially to King Collins for having the courage and fortitude to publish the latest special edition of the Eagle. Your edition served the purpose of clarifying snd bring to light many issues and problems facing Mendocino College. Many staff members and students were unaware of the issues and the rumors were much worse than anything printed in the special edition of the Eagle newspaper.

I'm sorry the paper has felt a strong negative back-lash by people who were offended for various reasons. Please be assured that many support your effort to bring some sort of unbiased reporting to the staff and students.

Also, I encourage you to keep up yours efforts and applaud you for clearing the air."

Merie Holl


Your encouragement is very much appreciated.

Eagle Staff



Ms. West MisAttributed

In reference to the Oct. 30 article that appears in the Eagle Extra, "Dance Instructor Angry" I wish to clarify that I DID NOT MAKE THE COMMENTS IN THE ARTICLE NOR DID I WRITE THE ARTICLE. I believe that the information in the article came from a list of comments that were made by many faculty and staff members following Lael's hiring. Those of you who know me know that the contents of this article and how it is written is not my style. Although many of the comments in the article are feelings that I share with others on campus, they are not comments that I would ever make public and in such a crass and demeaning way. The only document that appears in this publication that I had anything to do with is the presentation letter that I presented to the Board of Trustees on Oct. 2 which lists 10 questions that I and other faculty members have asked be answered concerning this issue. This document appears on page 5.

I am offended and disappointed with the Eagle staff and advisors for publishing this highly unethical, unprofessional and inaccurate publication.

Leslie Saxon West


Editorial Reply:

To Whom It May Concern:

On page 2 of the first edition of the EAGLE Extra, a series of statements was mistakenly published under the byline of Leslie Saxon West rather than anonymous faculty and staff. To be precise, theway we presented the information gave the impression that the collection of statements, which were reproduced exactly as we received them, came directly from Ms. West. The confusion was unintended and we humbly apologize for any embarrassment our error may have caused Ms. West or anyone else.

The second printing of the Extra, included in this issue (Vol. 24, No. 3) of the EAGLE was revised to satisfy Ms. West's concerns.

For the EAGLE staff,
King Collins
Editor of the EAGLE Extra

P.S. Ms. West has acknowledged to us that her characterization of an "unprofessional and inaccurate publication" referred only to the article in question and that she is glad the Extra was published.



MC Needs Email!

Dear Editor,

My biggest concern at Mendocino College is my inability as a part-time instructor to communicate adequately with my students and colleagues. This inability could easily be solved by giving everyone at the College access to e-mail on terminals throughout the campus, but without student activism in this cause, the College will find myriad excuses for failing to make this simple provision.

Part-time instructors outnumber full-time instructors on our campus by almost four to one. We teach most of the classes offered in some departments, and there are probably very few students who do not have at least one part-time instructor on their schedules. Yet, because I share my office with about 30 other instructors, I have no place to consult privately with my students. Because the phone in this office is also shared by so many, my students cannot reach me in this way. My schedule brings me onto campus only once a week, so mail in my box can wait a significant amount of time before I see it.

This lack of availability limits my ability to effectively reach my students, and their ability to find me when they have questions or problems. Email could put us in easily communication with each other, but, to date, only full-time instructors, administrators and clerical staff have access to e-mail. My students and I are left to play tag with messages, wandering the hallways, pinning notes to doors and leaving forlorn messages in hopes of making a connection.

I have been fighting to change this for over two years. Without student outcries, I have little chance of being heard.

Students have many reasons to wish for e-mail addresses and internet access. Not only would it improve their communications with their part-time instructors, but it would connect them to other students. I, at least, have a mailbox, but if you want to leave a message for another student, you are truly out of luck. Email could solve that problem, too. It would also connect those at Mendocino College with students and student organizations at other campuses, creating an opportunity for students to form alliances that could give them some true power to direct campus policy for their own betterment.

Email also gives students access to a wide world of information which our small campus library can only hint at. I teach at Sonoma State University, where all students are given e-mail addresses, and I find that my students can research even the most obscure topics through the internet, without ever having to darken the library door. Given the limited collection and hours of our own library, this would be an enormous advantage at Mendocino College.

Students need not have their own computers to take advantage of e-mail or the internet. In a rationally organized world, every computer terminal in the computer lab would offer internet access, so anyone on campus could sit down and enter the information super-highway. This is the case both at Sonoma State and at Santa Rosa J.C. It should be the case at Mendocino College as well.

You, as students, have a great deal more power than you realize or exercise. The institution depends for its legitimacy on your participation in what they call shared governance. You have seats on some major college committees which currently you are not filling. Certainly life at Mendocino College cannot be so perfect for students that you have nothing to say, no issues to raise, no concerns which remain unvoiced. The Eagle is doing a fine job trying to rouse the College community to some sort of action. If that action fails to include a strong student voice, students will get what they have always gotten whatever the administration, faculty and clerical staff decide to give. Why settle for the leavings when you have the power to try for more?

Email access is my issue, and I've offered some reasons why students should embrace it, too. But in the final analysis, whether you want e-mail or more nighttime classes or more football games, raise your voices. Support your student government, write to and for the newspaper, sit on committees. The college needs to change; the current uproar provides ample evidence of that. Student voices need to join in to direct that change.

Sincerely,
Susan Keegan
Part-time Instructor



I need a Student Visa!

Editor:

I am an exchange student from Japan and I am attending Mendocino College to study English since the Fall 1996 semester. Although my major is business, my main studies focus on English. I went to Golden West College in Orange County for two semesters. Golden West College was a nice school to study at because it offered Student Visas to international students. Also the college had an organization for international students which gave us the opportunity to share one another's culture in order to better understand each other. Mendocino College does not offer Student Visas to international students so they cannot stay in the U.S.A. to study. It is necessary for a foreigner to have a Student Visa from his or her school. I am taking fourteen units at Mendocino College, I study hard and pay more money ($127 per semester unit) than California state residents. However, I am illegal because I do not have a Student Visa.

I like Mendocino College very much. People here are very friendly and kind. The mountains are beautiful. I think that is the best place to study.

Is there any way that I can study at Mendocino College the Spring 1997 semester as a legal resident?

I would appreciate your help.

Sincerely,

Sachiko Nagao


Editorial Reply:

Sachico just came into my office today, (Oct. 31st). She was crying and was obviously very upset for some reason. When I asked her why she was crying, she informed me that she had just come from Carl Ehmann's office where she was told that she cannot attend MC after this semester. My heart went out to her. I called Dr. Ehmann, and was informed that there was little hope for Sachico remaining at MC. Maybe Mendo should reevaluate their priorities when it comes to this issue. I welcome any more dialogue concerning this issue. Can we chance this policy?



Eiww! Thats my student newspaper?

To all Eagle staff,
As a new Mendocino College student, I was cha-grined by the quality of the Eagle. I read it for the first time last week and am embarrassed to be represented by such a carelessly-edited paper. I found many grammatical errors as well as dozens of errors in punctuation. Two or three of these errors would be acceptable and could be assumed to be "typos", but the enormous number of them indicates to me a lack of skill in using the English language. Is there no minimum standard of ability required before a student is allowed to represent our school in the Eagle?

There are many references in the paper to the use of computers and how important computer literacy is. No matter how computer-literate people are, if they are unable to communicate to other people clearly, using a common language, they have no business writing articles in a paper like the Eagle. The common language in the Eagle would appear to be English- learn it!

On a slightly different but related tack, there is some question in my mind about whether there are any news stories in the Eagle. While some articles LOOK like news stories, most contain editorial comments. Even when I agree with an opinion, I want it labeled "opinion" rather than "news". News stories must balance all sides of a story- not just the side with which the reporter happens to agree.

Finally, care should always be used not to appear bigoted in any article in the paper. In the October Eagle there is the phrase "women and other minority groups". Women are hardly a minority in the world's population! In another place the "fifth largest American banking collapse" and "American taxpayers' money" are referred to. This is a very common error- what was probably meant was "United States" rather than "American". Being a common error does not make it acceptable. A quick glance at any map of North, Central, and South America will show that there are many countries in the Americas, not just the United States.

Now I will get off my high horse and offer up this letter to you with the hope that there will be some improvement in future Eagles.

Sincerely,
Robyn Holden


Editorial Reply: I agree that there were an embarrassing amount of mistakes that were over-looked in the October issue of the paper, and am not surprised at your reaction. There are however some things that you and the readers are not aware of.

Some folks might have noticed that the last issue of the Eagle came out late. That was because the day before we were supposed to go to print, we had a computer crash that cost us two days of work. The editorial staff went into "crisis mode" and rebuilt the paper as quickly as possible. This dilemma had a lot to do with the mistakes you noticed.

You ask, "Is there no minimum standard of ability required before a student is allowed to represent our school in the Eagle?" It is obvious that you are new to Mendo. We don't "allow" or "not allow" people to write for the Eagle, WE BEG THEM TO!! Out of the four thousand students at this college, only a handful submit stories to the student paper. This paper is not a school program with classes and funding, it is a student club that has built this newspaper from the ground up.

I appreciate your input though, and would like to suggest some more productive ways to help the situation. Instead of trashing the paper, write for it or volunteer to help proofread. Whatever you do, keep in mind that harsh criticism is not very helpful.

Zack Darling
Editor

Copyright Mendocino College Eagle
Permission granted to excerpt or use this article if source is cited.


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