Chronology of Controversy at Mendocino College

1989
State Assembly passes shared governance bill,"AB 1725"

1990
Carl Ehmann assumes presidency of Mendocino College.

1990
Seiji Sugawara's posters removed by College administration
"It was around 1990...I put up a number of political posters ...supporting Diane Feinstein...each morning the posters would be gone...it was the administation who were having them removed."
(Eagle issue 24.4, p. 23)

1994
President Ehmann blocks video-taping of Sugawara interview critical of Gov. Wilson
"As we arrived at the gates of the college, much to my surprise,
there stood President Carl Ehmann requesting that we not enter the campus."
(Eagle issue 24.4, p. 23)

1994
Institutional Master Plan process set in motion

1995
Kathy Hoffman resigns after serving 10 years as Public Relations Director of Mendocino College.

1995-1996
B.G. Hefflefinger assumes PR position as temporary replacement.

Spring, 1996
Rumors circulate that Lael Morrison, Carl Ehmann's personal secretary, will be installed as new PR person.
Ehmann convenes committee to revise job description for PR person and picks members of the Selection Committee.
Kathy Shearn, College staff graphic artist, requests to serve on Selection Committee.
Ehmann refuses.
Many highly qualified people apply, including various employees of the College, and in some cases were not even interviewed.

Summer, 1996
Lael Morrison is installed as the new Public Relations Officer amidst rumors that the job description was tailored for her.

August,1996
Many returning faculty members were shocked, angered by this appointment, which occurred over the summer while they were gone.

September 18, 1996
Letter from Susan Bell to Board of Trustees charging administrative misconduct.

October 2,1996
Board of Trustees meeting. Linda Myers, Leslie Saxon West present letters to Board
requesting postponement of Morrison's appointment while faculty concerns are
explored and addressed.·

Board denies request, confirms Morrison's appointment.

October 4,1996
Academic Senate meets, agrees to begin process of resolution and faculty forums to address hiring issues.

October 16,1996
Memo from President Ehmann stating that students or faculty who are concerned,
dissatisfied, or discouraged with campus issues should initiate open dialogue with
the administration either directly or through their constituent groups.

November 5,1996
The Mendocino College Eagle publishes the first "Extra" edition in its history,raising serious questions of executive conduct. and attempting to initiate dialogue with President Ehmann. It also contained Susan Bell's letter, underground publications, comments from faculty angry with the administration, and interview with the President.

November 8, 1996
Eagle web site disconnected from the official school web site.

November 19, 1996
Forum on hiring practices sponsored by Academic Senate "prompted by concerns over hiring, by the President, of his secretary as the new Public Relations Officer" (Eagle 24.4, p.8)

December 12, 1996
Follow-up Forum
"The first forum promised to be 'a beginning not an end...many thought the
follow-up forum was cancelled..." (Eagle 24.4, p.12)

January - March, 1997
Senate passes Hiring Resolutions aimed at limiting the president's power. See Senate resolutions posted in Eagle (24.4, p.13)

January - February 1997
Rumors about proposal by Nancy McLelland to take over management of the Eagle.

February 4,1997
Eagle staff attends Academic Senate meeting to discuss the fate of the Eagle web site and the role of the Senate in the Hiring Forum and the Bell controversy.Student editor and advisors discover that the administration had effectively undercut the Forum by cancelling the scheduled inservice day.

February 18,1997
Eagle submits draft of article for Senate review.

March, 1997
Eagle publishes Vol.24, no.4
Includes dialogue with several Senate members, Supervisor Sugawara's experiences with censorship at Mendo, (see Chronology, 1990), administration's web site policy, and related comments.

March 4, 1997
Public forum convened in Ukiah Council Chambers in support of Susan Bell by citizens' action group, The Community of Concern for Mendocino College (CCMC), which also publishes a 32 page report, "Mendocino College and Susan Bell"·

Senate votes to support re-establishment of link from Eagle web site to the College web site.

March 17, 1997
Eagle staff and administration adopt "Principles of Operation" and Canons of
Community College Journalism. Agreed to by VP Vasconcellos, Dean Susan Bell,
Senate President Sue Blundell, and Eagle advisors.

March 26, 1997
Eagle sends letters to all members of the Board of Trustees, to Carl Ehmann, the Academic Senate, Classified Association, Part time Faculty Association Associated Students and the CCMC, to request their views.

March - April 1997
Ehmann contacts an investigator to report on Bell's charges. Public comment about this causes Board to set up an Advisory Committee to select an investigator.

John Spanbauer, CCMC member, participates in Advisory Committee to set up investigation.

April 9, 1997
Trustee Wade Koeninger responds to request for dialogue: (he is the only trustee to do so)
"The Eagle is an important part of the communication component of the college and it will be a factor in resolving the current controversy, as well as in furthering the mission of the college." Eagle (24.5 p.4)

April 1997
Eagle places newstands and suggestion boxes on Ukiah campus in order to facilitate feedback from the community.

Eagle initiates survey regarding controversy.
4 questions are asked to encourage community dialog.

· Administration disregards customary process in hiring new Athletic Director. Many faculty angered.

April 22, 1997
Senate asks requests the Board of Trustees appoint a subcommittee to investigate the process and proceedures used in the hiring of the Athletic Director.
"Administration again did not consult with faculty" Eagle (24.5 p.21)

May,1997
Eagle publishes Vol 24, no. 5, including articles on "shared governance", AB1725, faculty and community dialog and administrative malfeasance.·

Spanbauer, member of CCMC, withdraws from Advisory committee:
"Trustees are cooperating with administration to cover up mismanagement." Eagle (24.5 p.21)

·Board decides to use Chancellor's office for investigation. See MacLeitch comments in Eagle (24.5 p 11)

· On going non-dialogue with the English department and Mclelland about the disposition of the Eagle (while they engage in a lively chitchat with Ukiah High School, which we are told about)

May15
MPFA brings Alan Frey Financial consultant fromCommunity College Association to campus to discuss college finances ·
Senate-sponsored forum on the Eagle delayed until next semester due to end of year pressures.

June, 1997
Meeting with Eagle staff, Susan Bell, and McLelland, who is invited to work with us on the paper. She refuses.

July, 1997
Eagle staff begins work on the next edition.·
We are informed by e-mail that there will be no money to publish the paper.
Neither of our advisors have their contracts renewed.

August 6, 1997
At a Board of Directors meeting, Carl Ehmann and Don Vasconcellos lied directly to the Board, as well as to the public, and the Eagle staff, who were asking why they were intending to eliminate the Eagle in Fall Semester. (Refer to editorial for more infformation)

August 7, 1997
A videotape of this meeting went to K.C. Meadows, editor of the Ukiah Daily Journal.

August 10, 1997
K.C. Meadows writes a blistering editorial: " It is my firm belief that they - and by "they" I mean colllege 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...What I object to is the Board sitting in glassy-eyed submission as Mssrs. E. & V. muscle the Eagle out of existence..."

August 18, 1997
School begins. We are informed that we "may" go ahead and publish. "It was all a misunderstanding."

September 1997
Eagle publishes back to school issue, including a view of the college as role model, "Re-visioning Mendocino College", comments on the administrations' latest shenanigans, and the relevant page of the McLelland proposal,for those who like to see for themselves.·

The Senate declines now to host a forum on the Eagle, passes it over to the ASMC.

·Our advisors still have no contracts.

October, 1997
Campaigns for Board of Trustees elections growing lively.

·Chancellor's Office issues preliminary letter finding no mismanagement

October 8, 1997
At a Board of Trustees, part time instructor Hans Delyser called for a legally justified investigation into the blatent behaviors of Ehmann and Vasconcellos at the August 6th Board meeting. Mr. Delyser feels that they should be held accountable to at least the same standards that apply to our students.

October 9,1997
Spanbauer/Pauli forum on campus.

·All-candidates forum sponsored by AAUW in the Civic Center.
John Spanbauer and Lynda McClure received the endorsements of the AAUW after the debate.

October 16, 1997
Lemke, McClure and Fortin have forum on campus.

October 23-27, 1997
Mountain Valley TV, cable channel 3 in the Ukiah Valley will play tapes of the following events:

The October 8 Board Meeting
will show at 4:00-6:00 pm and noon on Saturday

the October 9 AAUW candidates forum will show 9:00-10:30 pm and noon on Sunday.

November 4, 1997
THE ELECTION. Results of the election for the Mendocino College Board of Turstees.


Return to Index for This Issue

Return to Eagle Home Page