Sections open for waitlisted SWC students

Being on the waitlist is no longer a war of attrition for students trying to hang on as new sections gradually open. High demand classes with full waitlists are being cloned in order to accommodate more students and their needs. Cloning courses would allow students to keep the same time frame for which they enrolled. Dr. Mink Stavenga, Dean of Instructional Support Services, said it started about a year ago. “We had planned and anticipated that Proposition 30 would not pass,” he said. “Fortunately it did, but we had planned that we would not have many courses in the spring and no courses in the summer. By this time we had already prepared our spring schedule, so we needed to …

Voters will decide how transparent their government will be

America’s strongest transparency law, the California Public Records Act, is the envy of states across the country and nations around the world. Some lawmakers in the Golden State, however, were ready to gut CPRA to save some money. Their move caused an uproar and other elected officials are pushing back in an effort to protect CPRA in perpetuity. Senate Constitutional Amendment Three (SCA-3) is a response to Assembly Bill 76 and Senate Bill 71, legislation with the stated purpose of saving money for the state and local governments. When a local government or government agency incurs a cost due to compliance with CPRA, the state government has to reimburse it. AB 76 and SB 71 proposed halting reimbursements to local …

Pepper-sprayed biology instructor nabs burglar

This is an update of a previously reported story available here. … A woman who broke into several gym lockers and at least two faculty offices was wrestled to the ground by a biology instructor whom the intruder had pepper sprayed. Campus police arrested Mary Carter, 39, and charged her with five criminal counts related to a series of campus break-ins that culminated when she was detained by biology instructor Nira Clark. Carter is charged with two felonies and three misdemeanors, including robbery, burglary, possession of burglary tools and assault on a school employee, according to the San Diego County Sheriffs. Carter pepper sprayed Clark when the instructor returned to her office after class, according to Campus Police Sergeant Robert Sanchez.

PREPARE, DECLARE, TRANSFER — Vice President of Academic Affairs Kathy Tyner tells the governing board about college strategies to improve transfer rates and speed students through SWC in two years.
Kristina Saunders

College joins state push to improve student success

More than ever before in American history, college is essential to economic success and a chance to live in the middle class. Well-paying careers for people with high school educations have all but vanished in the United States. A college degree is more critical than ever. Students at Southwestern College who enroll with the intention of earning degrees are struggling big time. Though the college lacks reliable data, the most optimist estimates for successful transfer is less than 30 percent. …

CONTINUING SERVICE — U.S. Army veteran and SWC student Megan Navarro still helps at the Chula Vista Veterans Home, which she considers her second family, even though she is no longer paid. Bruce Link, a U.S. Navy veteran, said he enjoys Navarro’s company.
Karen Tome/Staff

Student workers at vet center lose pay

Chaos in Congress has hit home, specifically the Veteran’s Home in Chula Vista. Suspension of the Veterans Affairs Work-Study Program means the loss of funding to pay 80 student veterans who worked with the residents of the retirement home. Many have stayed on as volunteers, but most left in search of a paying job. Students in the work-study are veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The program is designed to help transition returning soldiers back …

College celebrates phone app

Move over Facebook and Twitter, Southwestern College now has its own app. Prospective students, faculty and — well, everyone online — can now access SWC’s Web Advisor on smartphones and tablets. Public Information Officer Lillian Leopold and technology chief Dr. Ben Seaberry have been working on the application since summer, Leopold said, in hope of pushing the college into the 21st century world of hand-held devices. “The college is moving to a more enterprise system where it is going to integrate the information available on Web Advisor,” she said. “It is going to be a wonderful resource for students. They will have everything they need accessible 24/7.” SWC’s app is called Ellucian GO. Leopold called it a “mobile Web Advisor …

ALUMNA NOW ON BOARD — Nora Vargas said it will take time to change SWC’s culture and image  Serina Duarte/Staff

Newest trustee enjoys providing opportunities

If opening doors for others is a sign of politeness, Nora Vargas should be voted Miss Congeniality every year. Southwestern College’s newest governing board member has been opening doors for her community since childhood. Though she attended Montgomery High School, SWC and the University of San Francisco, Vargas was born and raised in Tijuana. That is where she said her passion for volunteering began. “My family and I would help raise money for the (Mexican) Red Cross, paint schools and …

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Sun Editorial Board: Letter to Superintendent/ President Dr. Nish

Correction, 11/21/13 2:14pm: A previous version of this story and the original document turned into Superintendent/President Melinda Nish states we respectfully request the documents in question by 4:30pm 11/14/14. This date and time are incorrect. The letter was given to the superintendent’s office on 11/20/13 and we request the report be given to us within 24 hours, by 4:30pm on 11/21/13. … Dear Dr. Nish, As you certainly know, the recent events surrounding Southwestern College Police Chief Michael Cash are of

Photo by Marshall Murphy

Chopra down to one charge

Updated 12/3/13 here … Former Southwestern College Superintendent Raj K. Chopra pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor this afternoon in South Bay Superior Court and will avoid prison in the on-going South Bay Corruption case. Chopra’s attorney Michael Attanasio pleaded guilty on Chopra’s behalf to one misdemeanor in return for the court dropping the four remaining charges he faced. Chopra had originally faced 13 charges — nine of them felonies — including perjury, receiving a bribe and conflict of interest. Judge

bungled-burglary

Biology instructor captures campus burglary suspect

This story is outdated. Updated 12/3/13 here … Campus police on Thursday arrested Mary Carter, 39, and charged her with five criminal counts related to a series of campus break-ins that culminated when she was wrestled to the ground and detained by biology instructor Nira Clark. Carter is being held in the Las Colinas Detention Facility in Santee on $100,000 bail, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. She is charged with two felonies and three misdemeanors, including robbery, burglary,