Former Southwestern College Superintendent Raj Kumar Chopra died November 2 in Houston, Texas. He was 78.
Friends and family were invited to “join in the celebration of the joy he brought to the world” on November 7 and asked to make contributions to the Dr. Raj Chopra Scholarship fund at Bowling Green State University, Ohio.
Chopra resigned from his position at SWC weeks after the November 2010 governing board elections ushered in a new majority. He had been criticized over fundraising activities for board incumbents, soliciting funds from Proposition R contract hopefuls and misappropriating college monies. Chopra was later prosecuted by the San Diego District Attorney’s office for 13 felony and misdemeanor charges, including perjury, accepting a bribe and conflict of interest. He claimed he was in poor health and accepted a plea bargain. He did three months of community service for pleading guilty to one misdemeanor.
During the last year of Chopra’s tenure at SWC, the college was placed on probation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges for having “a climate of fear and mistrust.” Under his leadership, classes were cut despite sufficient funding, freedom of speech on campus was attacked and three faculty members were suspended for two weeks for their participation in a student demonstration.
The cause of Chopra’s death has not been released.