The last two issues of the Bohemian have featured a detailed article on the closure of New College of California (“School for Scandal,” March 5, by Leilani Clark), and a lengthy letter from a former New College Board member rebutting much of the content of that article and defending the school’s leadership (Letters, March 12). Both contained informative facts, but neither represents the perspective of the faculty and staff of the Santa Rosa campus of New College. We are the members of the North Bay community most affected by both the article and by the school’s closure.For years we were frustrated with the San Francisco campus’ incompetent leadership (which ultimately brought the school down), and did all we could to change the situation—unsuccessfully, as it turned out.Nevertheless, we are extremely proud of what we accomplished here in Santa Rosa over the past decade. Juxtaposing the article’s title, “School for Scandal,” with a photo of the North Bay campus gave the impression that something nefarious was happening here. Nothing could be further from the truth. The North Bay program on culture, ecology and sustainable community was a pioneering effort that graduated hundreds of brilliant students while serving as a hub within the region for environmental activism as well as musical and cultural events.
A change of leadership at the San Francisco campus was essential; unfortunately, the way this played out undermined the survival of the school as a whole. The last straw was the Department of Education’s withholding of over $2 million in student&–loan monies for tuition that would otherwise have paid financial aid and faculty and staff salaries. This government action caused immeasurable, unnecessary distress to all concerned.
Richard Heinberg, Kendall Dunnigan, Tina Field, Carol Venolia, Miriam Volat, Steve Beck, Richard Feather Anderson, Janet Barocco, Kendra McKenna
Faculty and Staff, New College of California, Santa Rosa Campus
I have been loosely associated with New College through acquaintances and friends and have attended events and other meetings there over the years. I have felt proud and fortunate to have this premier environmentally focused school in our community. Our own biofuels research cooperative was established on the campus because of the generosity of the faculty who loaned us the venue for meeting.
I am deeply saddened to hear of the fiscal problems facing the college. This school deserves everyone’s support, and perhaps a community effort to raise funds and hire legal council would be a partial solution.
Renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben said, “Our world is in terrible need of models.” New College is certainly such a model, with curricula that inspires its students to found solutions to environmental problems. What a profound and important role this school has to play at this critical time on our planet.
What a great article on immigrant workers and the circus (“The Show Won’t Go On,” Feb. 27). I work in the industry and can’t tell you the devastation we as taxpaying Americans are facing because of Congress’ failure to act on this bill. Why won’t they take action? What is their agenda?
I think we have to ask why millions of illegal aliens can come into this country to work, and the men and women who have done so in the past and are willing to do it again legally can’t. It’s that simple a question. Legal or illegal, which do you prefer? The answer is obvious.
I think this lack of action on this bill makes our Congressmen and women look really, really bad. They should be ashamed. They are in effect hurting so many people who want to play by the rules. They are actually empowering the illegals.