By Marya Legrand, Editor
This is the KICKOFF issue of the Eagle and we invite you to join the Eagle at the first football game on Saturday, September, 13. Kickoff is at 2 PM. Rumor has it that the Eagle will be there, in the form of a puppet wearing a bandaged beak and a patched eye, reminding everyone of the recent attempts by the President to shut down the newspaper. Still the Eagle lives. The Eagle staff supports our athletic teams and your right to say it like it is. So if you have any questions or comments for the Eagle, you can tell the mascot whenever you see it.
In the next issue we will be printing the results of the survey that the Eagle generated with last May's issue. We have about 70 responses that will be published. They are the minds and feelings of our community speaking to all of us. For those of you who would like to contribute your thoughts but were too busy at that time with finals, we have the yellow survey forms (large and small are both the same), and May Eagles out on the white Eagle news stands. Look for our stands in the Ad building lobby, and in the Eagle's Nest by the coffee machine.
Read the article on page 6, "This is What the Controversy is about..." if you have questions about what the survey is asking . Drop the forms in the suggestion boxes on the side of the stands.
Contribute to the survey and have your voice be heard.
Business as usual: Administration does it again.
The August Board of Trustees meeting gave us a fascinating insight into the inner machinations of the Administrative Style here at Mendo.
An administrative memo sent during the summer stated that the funds for publishing costs and advisors stipends had been suspended pending their decision on the McClelland proposal for the establishment of a journalism department. We were never told directly that we couldn't publish, only that Mendo wouldn't pay for it. Hmmm... Next we heard that the proposal was accepted and would be implemented in the spring.
At the meeting when faculty advisor King Collins raised the question of why the Eagle was to be shut down by administrative fiat this semester while the "operational question" of its disposal is under consideration, Vasconcellos twice stated that the proposal called for suspending the Eagle until spring.
We know that he must have read the proposal since he has been the principal negotiator in their "process". Yet he says -TWICE- that it calls for the Eagle to be shut down this semester. However the proposal says nothing of the sort. Really. In fact, what the proposal says in regard to the Eagle is reprinted on page 11.
So what we observe from this performance by Vasconcellos, with the nodded approval of Ehmann, is that the Administration told their own Board of Trustees a deliberate inaccuracy. It appears that this was done in order to further their agenda of silencing the Eagle because over the past year it has taken seriously its journalistic responsibility to comment on this kind of arrogant administrative behavior. Their official comment now is that "it was all a misunderstanding". On whose part?
The administration of this college works for the people of the State of California. WE pay their very generous salaries - and we deserve honesty and responsible effort from them, not this kind of behind-the-scenes, self-serving nonsense. We the people are not interested in seeing you administrators protect your jobs. We are interested in seeing youdo your jobs.
"We, the people". This is an important concept. One of the world's most important documents starts out that way - and it set the stage for the freedom and independence that we all enjoy today. Don't forget this one. It's a biggy in your life. You, each one of you individually, and the powerful collective you, you are "The People".
And the Eagle believes that it has a duty to serve as the forum and voice of the people of our college community and that this duty includes comment on the unjust, the unfair, the untrue if they should raise their pernicious little heads within purview or bowshot.
Do we think we're going to change anything? Maybe. If you, and we, are indeed "the People", then yes, we can change the world in a positive direction, help move our little corner of it in the direction of truth and honorable behavior.
Margret Meade said it so well.
" Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world: indeed it's the only thing that ever has."
Marya Legrand,, Editor,
Mendocino College Eagle
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For Those Who Like to See for Themselves:
The video tape of this meeting will be (was) aired on MVTV, Cable channel 3 in the Ukiah area at 7:00 PM on September 16,18, and 19th.
The video of the September Board Meeting, attended by the Eagle puppet and Scott B. Smith, was aired the following week. Look for it at 7:00 PM on September 23, 25, and 26th.
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K.C. Meadow's supportive editorial of the Eagle's plight broughtthe spotlight of a more public notice to bear on this administrative buck-and -wing. We here reprint her insights:
By K.C. Meadows, Editor, The Ukiah Daily Journal
There are times when something goes so wrong, you can't possibly understand how it happened and yet you witnessed it.
That's how I felt watching the videotape of this weeks Mendocino College board of trustees meeting when the college administration, without blinking an eye, shut down the school newspaper. The Eagle.
It is my firm belief that they - and by "they" I mean college president Carl Ehmann and executive vice president Don Vasconcellos - squashed the Eagle simply because they don't like the flow of criticism coming from it by the Eagle's student editor Marya LeGrand, its faculty advisors King Collins and Dale Glaser and others, many of whom are rallying around Dean Susan Bell and her charges of administration wrong-doing.
The administration has glommed onto (actually I suspect they germinated the seed) a plan by English teacher Nancy McLelland to bring the Eagle into the English Department, thereby yanking it out of the hands of the dissidents and back onto safe ground where the only articles to see the light of day will be those about how wonderful the College; of Oz really is, accompanied by the sort of navel gazing parodies of modern literature which can be found in free magazines crowding bed and breakfasts throughout the county.
The administration's excuse for stifling the Eagle's voice is that McLelland's proposal is now on paper and needs to be studied. Mr. V. also said at the meeting that halting the production of the Eagle now is in that proposal.
I've looked at the proposal and I don't see any thing in it that suggests the Eagle should stop publishing until the shiny new Eagle is ready.
In fact, I don't see anything in the proposal that could be used right now to establish anything. The proposal is an incomplete attempt at organization weighted down with a sheaf of papers, a good third of which are copies of other colleges' course catalogues of journalism courses.
The actual "proposal" is only five pages long and consists of such phrases as "The Eagle Proposal: A Holistic Approach." It makes no reference to how a newspaper would be produced and published only about how a writing teacher can adequately produce journalists.
Interestingly enough the majority of the pages included in the "proposal" are given over to an analysis of how many students versus staff or others are writing in the Eagle.
This is where the administration shows its hand. It is the administration's contention that not enough students are writing for the Eagle and therefore the paper is no longer viable.
McLelland's numbers show a college paper where somewhere between 50 and 90 percent of the writing was done by students over the past four years. Then it shows only 33 percent of the 1997 Spring issue was written by students. Some people would say that part of the reason is that students were being discouraged from participating in the Eagle by members of the staff opposed to it.
The inadequacy of McLelland's proposal only makes it more incredible that the board of trustees allowed the administration to use it as an excuse to shut down the student newspaper.
I have nothing against Nancy McLelland and she may be a wonderful English teacher. And I'm not opposed to the college having a regular journalism course of study. I think it's a dandy idea.
What I object to is the board of trustees sitting in glassy-eyed submission as Mssrs. E. &V. muscle the Eagle out of existence. Mssrs. E.&V. shuffled papers and refused to answer direct questions with the excuse that "a meeting has been scheduled" on the matter. That meeting which took place Thursday - and another that will take place Monday does not include any member of the Eagle staff, either student or faculty.
The board of trustees should be ashamed of themselves. Time and again they were asked directly whether it wouldn't be better to allow the Eagle to publish its annual "back to school" issue while McLelland's proposal is fleshed out in meetings. Time and again they mumbled about "operational" decisions and how they couldn't interfere with "operational" decisions. Poppycock!
No matter what the adversity or controversy on campus, the school newspaper should continue to be published. It's a very bad precedent to set and a terrible message to send to students: "If we don't like what you're printing, we'll eliminate you."
Since the college administration has cut off funding to the newspaper, as it stands the Eagle will not publish again until the sanitized version with the administration's blessing is published, probably not until spring of 1998. It should be noted that this also means the Eagle will not be around to report on the Mendocino College board of trustees elections either.
But we will.
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Thank you, K.C. We feel that your comments were a definite factor in the administration's change of position. -M.L.
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