Transfers to UCSD down sharply

Correction: A previous version of this story referred to UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla as “Prapeet” Khosla. The Sun editorial board apologizes for this error. … A vocal group of Southwestern College educators have said applications to UCSD should come with a disclaimer—local students need not apply. Fewer students from SWC and other community colleges in San Diego County were accepted by UCSD this year.  SWC acceptances are down by nearly half. This marks another year of a decade-long trend of fewer transfers. UCSD Chancellor Dr. Pradeep Khosla attended a town hall meeting with SWC administrators and faculty recently and offered no viable reason for the low numbers. When questioned about the declining number of students from SWC transferring to UCSD, Khosla

Self-evalution report is due next summer

It was only three years ago that a federal accreditation agency had its hands around the throat of Southwestern College, threatening to close it down. SWC received a stay of execution after a reformist board majority took control in 2010 and swept out the corrupt Raj K. Chopra administration. Today, like a hard-to-kill zombie, the accreditation agency is back. SWC Accreditation Oversight Committee Co-Chair Dr. Rebecca Wolniewicz said the college should be in good shape this time around. “It’s quality assurance,” she said. “It just says that the programs we offer here are valuable, worthwhile programs that have been approved by the federal government and our accreditors.” The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) is looking at that …

GROUND TROOPS - Southwestern College ASO Senator Priscella Jimenez prepared her message.

Rick Flores/Staff

Students march for access

SACRAMENTO — “No cuts! No fees! Education should be free!” Voices of thousands of community college students thundered throughout the streets of Sacramento as they marched on the State Capitol to advocate for affordable higher education. Local Assembly Members Lorena Gonzalez, Marty Block and Ben Hueso heard the message. Michael Greenberg, a student at Santa Monica Community College, said students should not be shut out of the college by the costs. “Access to education should be equal,” he said. “Education …

SWC Bachelor’s under study

It will likely be years before a four-year university comes to Chula Vista, but Bachelor’s degrees may be here by 2016. California Senator Marty Block, a former SDSU dean, authored Senate Bill 850 which enables about 50 state community college districts to create one Bachelor’s degree program apiece. SWC Trustees Tim Nader and Humberto Peraza both said the bill is a step in the right direction. “The absence of these degrees right now is forcing many of our students into very high-cost for-profit private education institutions,” said Nader. “Those institutions are not in the best interest of our students. I think we should be offering a more affordable alternative for our community.” Academic Senate President Randy Beach said he has …

SWC embarks on water conservation

Southern California’s rainy season is once again slipping away without much rain, the third year in a row the drought-striken Golden State has come up dry. And the worst may be yet to come. As reservoirs up and down the state dry out and crack like a broken windshield, Southwestern College is bracing for a desiccated 2014. John Brown, SWC Director of Facilities, said the college is working to use water more efficiently. New construction projects will include superior design and technology, he said, such as low-flow and automated fixtures. Existing buildings are in the process of replacing outdated plumbing devices with more efficient water-saving alternatives. Landscaping and grounds personnel have modified irrigation techniques to manage water and minimize waste, …

FROM THE BOTTOM UP — DeVore Stadium is undergoing an extensive renovation project that includes a four-story field house and offices.
Pablo Gandara/Staff

Building plans emphasize community

Humberto Peraza is hoping the stakes in the ground in the notorious corner lot are a stake in the heart of the corruption that has plagued the jinxed chunk of empty land for nearly 15 years. “Corruption is dead,” said the reformist trustee. “Now something great can come to life.” New facilities funded by the 2008 Proposition R bond measure are beginning to take shape after five start-and-stop years marked by the South Bay Corruption Case. A Kafkaesque chain of …

College working hard to make financial aid easier

Financial aid fuels Southwestern College. Said differently, this campus would be a profoundly different place without it. About 75 percent of SWC students receive some form of financial aid. SWC‘s financial aid office receives more than 20,000 Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year. Students have 18 months to apply for FAFSA and the option to apply for two academic years. Not all students who apply for FAFSA intending to apply to SWC end up enrolling here, Larkin said. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, she said.  Students are ineligible if they already have a bachelor’s degree, more than 90 units or a GPA below 2.0. Most impressive, perhaps, is that most SWC students report that …

DrEdBrand

Trustee Peraza calls for resignation of SUHSD chief Ed Brand

As the Sweetwater Union High School District careens toward a possible March 18 teachers strike, Southwestern College Trustee Humberto Peraza called for the immediate resignation or termination of the district’s superintendent, Dr. Ed Brand. “This superintendent should be fired right away,” said Peraza. “We should not wait and just sit there for his contract to run out (in November)when he’s completely destroyed this district and continues to do damage to it on a daily basis.” Peraza said he is “disgusted” …

BIG ROLLOUT — Nicholas Alioto backs away from the Chula Vista Courthouse in a new Mercedes Benz following his guilty plea. He was represented by a public defender. 

Balkis Nasery/Staff

Alioto pleads guilty

A lawyer for former Southwestern College Vice President Nicholas Alioto convinced the judge in the South Bay Corruption Case to reduce his original guilty plea from a felony to a misdemeanor. Alioto, the last of the SWC defendants to be sentenced, escaped prison time in exchange for a $8,000 fine and community service. Alioto was originally indicted on 12 counts, including bribery and perjury. He pleaded guilty to one felony count, but his Public Defender Danesh Tandon asked Judge Ana …

Ricasa

Ricasa should go, poll shows

  Arlie Ricasa escaped a possible prison term when she pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor in the South Bay Corruption Case after originally facing 33 counts, including 16 felonies. Part of the deal included her resignation from her position as a trustee of the Sweetwater Union High School District.   Ricasa’s plea, however, did not require her to surrender her position as EOPS director at Southwestern College and she has indicated that she does not intend to resign. Now …