A man who has made a series of angry accusations about access to college facilities has become the subject of a campus police investigation.
Larry Kelly purchased display advertisements in the Chula Vista Star News and San Diego Reader that called Southwestern College a cancer to the community.
“Southwestern is the worst f***ing college in the whole goddamn world,” Kelly told journalism students after barging into the newspaper lab one evening. “This place is going down.”
Kelly’s latest ad warned that if his demands were not met he would pursue legal action. Kelly has demanded full public access to all tennis courts, the dismissal of tennis coach Susan Reasons and a three-year $5,000 contract for him to run the Southwestern College tennis program.
“We will become and continue to be a public relations nightmare,” read the paper.
“We pay taxes and enough is enough, we’re ready for the media we’re ready to picket.”
College officials met with Kelly, but did not acquiesce.
After meeting with Vice President of Academic Affairs Kathy Tyner and Dean of Athletics Terry Davis, Kelly has made a series of appearances on campus and has issued a number of threats.
Reasons said she was offended by what was published in the Star News and that Kelly was “flat out wrong” about the tennis courts.
“First and foremost you should have the common courtesy to come to somebody and schedule a meeting with them,” she said. “I don’t know who this man is. I’ve never seen him before. I think what he did was self serving and instead of handling it in an appropriate procedure, he just tried to bully people to get attention.”
John Moreno, publisher of the Star News, said the ad was reviewed before it was published, but did not disclose the amount of money Kelly paid.
“I was fine with the first one,” he said. “He did change the copy on the ad and I did not realize that. I do think the language was much more direct and stronger the second time. It was an oversight on my part.”
SWC officials sent the Star News a letter to the editor and Moreno said he was sensitive to the relationship with the college.
“Part of what we do as a community newspaper is create a forum for the exchange of ideas,” he said. “Mr. Larry Kelly is expressing his thoughts.”
Kelly said SWC’s access was unacceptable and that he is a man who knows how to get things done.
“Any time anyone’s went against me, I might have lost, but I brought them down, too,” he said. “I always bring people down and I’m in the right this time.”
Tyner said that Kelly’s claims were not accurate.
“At this point, a number of his complaints having to do with access turned out to be not correct,” she said. “In other words, we have courts that are open on the weekends, they are open on the holidays and they have been, from what I understand.”
Reasons said SWC has always welcomed community players and that the courts are perpetually open to the public.
“Monday through Friday they are all open all day long,” she said. “On the weekend we don’t have any school activities, so there are two courts open for the public. There are 23 courts within a 5-mile radius of here that are open for play.”
Reasons said people need to realize the courts are primarily for the benefit of SWC students.
“People look at our sports fields and think of them as just a game but it’s not,” she said. “It’s a learning environment and it’s a classroom first and foremost.”
Kelly said he is ready to go to war with the school over the situation.
“My impression of Southwestern and the tennis situation is laziness, passing the buck and being selfish,” he said. “They just don’t give a darn. I just don’t believe it.”