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California settles race, education discrimination case

Juvenile justice, legal ethics, admissions scandal round out roundup

In this photo taken on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, the Supreme Court Building is seen in Washington. A unanimous Supreme Court says religious hospitals don’t have to comply with federal laws protecting pension benefits for workers. The justices on Monday ruled in favor of three church-affiliated nonprofit hospital systems being sued for underfunding pension plans covering about 100,000 employees.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In this photo taken on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, the Supreme Court Building is seen in Washington.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Welcome to Monday, the 32nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Hustler Magazine Inc. v. Falwell that the First Amendment rights to free speech and press prevent public figures from collecting damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress based on parodies of them.

Here are some news items for the start of the week.

— California will settle claims it failed to teach low-income minority students reading skills.

— Virginia guarantees possibility of parole to juveniles serving sentences of at least 20 years.

— Lawyer gets three-year suspension for withdrawing money from his trust account — with an ATM card.

— Former University of Texas tennis coach gets six-month sentence in college admissions scandal.

To purchase a reprint of this article, contact reprints@thedailyrecord.com.

One comment

  1. “Cal Poly’s commitment to diversity informs our efforts in recruitment, hiring and retention. California Polytechnic State University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer”. This should imply that merit and diversity are being observed in the hiring, retention and promotion of instructional or teaching faculty. However, this is not the case in the BioResource and Agricultural Engineering (BRAE) department of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, as shown in Table 1.

    As stated in unit 3 faculty collective bargaining agreement that is page 70 c: “The performance of instructional responsibilities extends beyond duties in the classroom and includes such activities as: preparation for class, evaluation of student performance, syllabus preparation and revision, and review of current literature and research in the subject area, including instructional methodology. Research, scholarship and creative activity in the faculty member’s field of expertise are essential to effective teaching. Mentoring students and colleagues is another responsibility that faculty members are frequently expected to perform. Just as faculty members may teach online, they may perform other duties online, pursuant to campus policies”.

    Table 1: Hiring, Retention and Promotion of Engineering Survey Lecturer at BRAE

    Dr. Vincent de Paul Obade who taught engineering survey at BRAE

    “white person” recently hired to teach engineering survey

    Race

    Black African American (human being)

    White person (human being)

    Educational Qualification

    BSc (Engineering Surveying),

    MSc. (Physical Land Resources, Management option), PhD and postdoc

    thus has both merit and diversity = “Cal Poly’s commitment to diversity informs our efforts in recruitment, hiring and retention. California Polytechnic State University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer”.

    Only a Bachelor degree in geography or other, and MSc.

    Teaching Experience

    Taught engineering survey at Cal Poly for 2 years and received high student performance equivalent to an instructor (Tom Mastin) who had been in Cal Poly for over 25 years and since retired.
    As a graduate assistant assisted in teaching and field practical’s
    As a postdoc performed “state of the art research” published in international peer reviewed journals with high impact factor as a FIRST AUTHOR
    Dr Obade had the largest teaching workload load at BRAE (Monday to Friday, and all Saturdays). Strangely, the HOD wanted him to work from Monday to Sunday.

    Never taught Survey Engineering anywhere prior to his appointment at the BRAE department of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

    Survey Field Practical Experience

    Global /International experience. Has local (Kenya, and USA), expatriate (Belgium and Seychelles) and global survey engineering experience in public service and private sector. Completed numerous engineering projects. ALL Dr Vincent Obade’s work experience is survey engineering related and he has even started and managed thriving engineering survey companies

    No field survey experience.

    Work experience NOT survey engineering related.

    Scholarly Output

    Dr. Obade remains is the only instructor who is producing peer reviewed publications in high impact revered journals at the Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering (BRAE) department.

    Dr Obade’s research is unparalleled and even better than those of the “white” instructors promoted at the BRAE department as Professors. Dr Obade research publications are here (https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9197-3788) and accolades/publications here (https://vobade.wixsite.com/dr-vincent-obade/publications).

    Dr Obade is up-to date in his field and this is useful for enlightening students on how to apply their knowledge to solve societal challenges.

    Zero (0) research productivity

    Otherwise, concerning the misinformation being peddled by the concerned parties in this grievance, namely Dr Livingston, Dr Stuart Styles, Greg Schwartz and Samatha Gill concerning the termination in teaching contract of Dr Obade. Dr Obade was subjected to a flawed interview process, racially discriminated against in the rehiring process and now misleading subjective evidence, counter accusations that cannot be substantiated is being provided to sanitize this decision. Although Dr Obade received positive teaching feedback from students who enjoyed his teaching/classes, the departmental peer review committee (DPRC) focused on the few negative comments because they had a plan to ensure that my contract is terminated in the long-term (in favor of this white-candidate they had in mind).

    Despite the fact that Dr Obade had the largest teaching load that necessitated him to teach for over 8 hours from Monday to Friday, he came to assist all students over the weekend on Saturday, where he stayed in Campus the whole day teaching the able and needy students theory and field practical’s. Peter Livingston came to see Dr Obade as a workhorse and even tried to “arm twist” Dr Obade to teach nonstop from Monday to Sunday and even during the summer time.

    Dr Obade applied student centered learning to ensure NO STUDENT WAS LEFT BEHIND including “struggling students”, who were accommodated according to the guidelines provided by the disability resource center ( https://drc.calpoly.edu/) of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. This issue has been addressed several times by Dr Obade with documentary evidence on student performance (in comparison with Tom Mastin student class performance). Engineering Survey can only be compared with engineering survey (apples with apples, and oranges with oranges, NOT ALL FRUITS MIXED i.e., general education, music and surveying). Dr Obade is not only a superb teacher but an accomplished scholar with scholarly credentials not only better than that of the head of department (Dr Livingston), but most of the instructors at the Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering who may have been promoted to senior positions and thus owe Dr Livingston a favor for those Promotions. For instance, Dr Stuart Styles whom you rely upon as a neutral party in this grievance (favors Peter Livingston fully) and is Peter Livingston main mentor who provides Peter Livingston with reference letters when he (Dr Livingston is looking for other new jobs elsewhere or even promotions). Dr Stuart styles was one of the main recommenders for Dr Livingston for the advertised Associate Dean position at CAFES (Cal Poly), of which Dr Livingston failed to impress the committee composed of CAFES faculty and students. In this interview, I asked Dr Livingston a simple question about his vision for the BRAE department and CAFES as a whole, and he could not answer this question (Dr Livingston may have thought that my question made him fail to get this associate Dean job). Dr Stuart Styles was in my departmental peer review committee (DPRC) to evaluate my teaching, BUT NEVER SET FOOT IN MY CLASS AT ANYTIME TO OBSERVE MY TEACHING, YET HE ALWAYS HAD A REPORT TO WRITE. At one time I even asked if I could assist or work as a team with Dr Styles on research and he in dismay expressed open disgust at this suggestion. At no time did Dr Obade beg Stuart Styles for research funds (this is total non sensical thought by Dr Styles), neither did Dr Obade read Stuart Styles mind or thoughts as he purports. Dr Obade knows exactly well that research money is allocated after the budget has been designed. Dr Obade previously worked on a US $ 35 million USDA CAP project encompassing 9 states within the USA. Otherwise, Dr Obade credentials is openly available both in the Deans personnel files, here (https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9197-3788) and here (https://vobade.wixsite.com/dr-vincent-obade/publications) and can be compared with any faculty/instructor at BioResource and Agricultural Engineering (BRAE) who doubt this fact. Dr Vincent Obade had been working as a lecturer in engineering survey for 2 years, beginning September, 2018 to the 3rd of August, 2020 when he received an email from the head of department Dr Livingston stating that although he was a good teacher, they were not renewing his teaching contract. This was after a series of harassment, and racial discrimination meted on Dr Obade over his tenure at the BRAE department and because he did raise these issues with the concerned administrative authority in the college (Dean Thulin and then interim Provost Pedersen), a plan had been mooted by the departmental peer review committee (DPRC) and the departmental head Dr Livingston to use a flawed interview process managed by the same individuals Dr Obade had complained about. Thus definitely, Dr Obade’s ‘goose had been cooked’ because this same interview committee were the same individuals who Dr Obade had complained about regarding racial bias and thus this same interview committee were bound to retaliate by recommending the termination of Dr Obade’s contract, and they of course did so. Please allow me to point out some inaccuracies/untruths/falsehoods in attachment number 1:

    1) Dr Obade and Tom Mastin actually had similar number of students attending engineering survey classes and for some quarters, Dr Obade actually had more students. This evidence is available from the students who stayed to the end of the course and took final examinations in both Dr Vincent Obade and Tom Mastin’s classes.

    2) Students only switched between Mr Tom Mastin and Dr Obade’s classes because of the time-schedule and how this conflicted with the student’s other classes and for no other reason.

    3) In fact students actually loved Dr Vincent Obade’s class as evidenced by the fact that Dr Obade had FULL classes all the way to the final examination time, and these classes exceeded the class capacity as evidenced in the Bioresource and Agricultural Engineering (BRAE) and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo guidelines on student capacity for the class.

    4) Dr Obade and Tom Mastin gave similar quizzes and similar exams but taught different students individually. These examinations were all close book. Unless the committee wants to suggest that these students had some divine intervention, how can you explain the similar performance. Indeed, during Dr Vincent Obade 2nd academic year of teaching theory and practical’s, his (Dr Vincent Obade) had even MORE STUDENTS GETTING grade A than Tom Mastin engineering survey class for the same examinations. It is so strange that some individuals would like to believe their biased thoughts other than the clear evidence available and already submitted several times in writing and available in relevant offices of the head of department and Dean.

    5) During the spring semester 2020, e-learning was the University instruction mode because of COVID 19. I taught my classes and students all the material in the syllabus on ZOOM. Students also had relevant improvised practical exercises. Please note than unlike research (where new knowledge is created), most material taught in this ABET accredited engineering survey already exists in text-books and relevant references. Because education is light for all to see and should NOT be secretive or kept under the table (or in darkness ), we always coordinated with my colleague Tom Mastin for consistency in subject delivery. We discussed, prepared and agreed to design similar teaching material / resources with my colleague Tom Mastin. For the record, none of us created/built the engineering survey tools i.e., total stations or automatic levels. However, we apply/demonstrate the use of these tools using existing guidelines stated in engineering manuals (used in Industry).

    The field practical’s and theoretical methodologies used in this class were clearly stated in the Engineering Survey manual (USED IN THE INDUSTRY AND SIMPLY SUMMARIZED AND GIVEN TO STUDENTS AS A BOOK). Thus these methods/techniques as purported by Dr Peter Livingston and were NOT originally CREATED by Tom Mastin or Dr Vincent Obade. Although the tools have become advanced/electronic the scientific theory/mathematics for these introductory engineering survey techniques remains largely the same from time immemorial (Presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington may have used some of these techniques). The engineering survey manual and equipment manuals include details on how to use the equipment and guidelines on practical applications. Thus, to reiterate, Dr Vincent Obade or Tom Mastin DID NOT BUILD NEW SURVEY EQUIPMENT OR DEVELOP ANY NEW SURVEY TECHNIQUE AS PURPOTED BY Peter Livingston but only taught students The applications of surveying so that they could undertake engineering survey tasks professionally in the real world.

    AGAIN, EVEN IF DR LIVINGSTON DID NOT WANT ME TO SPEAK TO THE STUDENTS, THE STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS IN ALL THE MANUALS WE USED IN CLASS ARE IN ENGLISH AND CAN BE FOLLOWED BY ANYONE WHO UNDERSTANDS ENGLISH.

    All survey equipment was properly handled by Dr Obade and students were instructed on how to best handle the survey equipment in class and in the field. No survey equipment was lost or damaged. Thus, we never sought any funds for new survey equipment or to repair any equipment from Stuart Styles. If Stuart Styles spent any resources/money to repair any survey equipment during my time at Cal Poly, then he should avail the receipts for direct refund. Thus, the comment by Stuart Styles comment on mishandling of survey equipment might just be on his mind and is totally untrue.

    6) Dr Livingston states that I refused to grade students work which is totally false. I graded all the notebooks for all my students during my tenure as an instructor. How else would the students receive their final grades? Was it through “abra cadabra boom boom boom”?

    7) Inappropriate questions were asked before and during this interview on the demand that the survey instructor position was a “family position”. Even Dr Schwartz agrees that he repeatedly retorted that the survey instructor position was according to them (committee) a family position, but because he may finally have realized that this was wrong, decided to “twist” his words.

    ALL OF A SUDDEN GREGG. SCHWARTZ AND PETER LIVINGSTON STATE THAT DR VINCENT OBADE DOES NOT MAKE SENSE IN HIS RESPONSE TO INTERVIEW QUESTIONS IN THE YEAR 2020. Dr Peter Livingston, Dr Gregory Schwartz and Stuart Styles NOW purport that Dr Obade does not know English.

    HOW COME THE SAME DR OBADE MADE SENSE IN HIS COMMUNICATION IN THE FIRST INTERVIEW DONE IN THE YEAR 2018?

    DOES THIS ALSO IMPLY THAT DR OBADE WHO HAS MORE INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS written in English language THAN PETER LIVINGSTON (who has zero “0”) AND GREGORY SCHWARTZ (also “0” PUBLICATIONS as a first author) DOES NOT MAKE SENSE GLOBALLY? Dr Obade is actually the only instructor that recently published in a peer reviewed article with an impact factor more than 2.5 in the whole BRAE department in the year 2020. Please ask Dr Livingston and Dr Schwartz to produce their publications (even previous if they have any) to challenge Dr Obade (and to point out if the statement here is incorrect).

    7) Racial discrimination is clearly evident in this decision to hire a less qualified and less experienced candidate. Although Dr Livingston and the committee stated that my teaching demonstration during the interview was excellent, according to Dr Livingston, a “good candidate must be a “white” person even with lower experience and academic qualifications that has resulted into this grievance.

    Other than clear evidence of Dr Obade’s superb teaching skills evidenced by both the Head of Department who commented that Dr Obade teaching was excellent, Dr Obade was also a creative scholar evidenced from his peer review scholarly publication. Despite this fact, Dr Obade was overlooked when it came to any hiring retention (actually fired instead) and was denied promotions while white professors with inferior credentials were retained or promoted. Dr Obade is not only a superb teacher evidenced from comparative student performance with his colleague who taught the engineering survey course and retired after a 25 year stint but also a revered scholar with an established reputation world-wide, a stellar publication record, and has received major national/international awards (https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9197-3788). In the spirit of openness in knowledge dissemination, Dr Obade welcomes any BRAE, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo faculty/instructor who doubts Dr Obade research/scholarly accomplishments to produce their own resume of scholarly accomplishments for independent comparison (https://vobade.wixsite.com/dr-vincent-obade/publications). Although Dr Obade received positive teaching feedback from students who enjoyed his teaching/classes, the departmental peer review committee (DPRC) focused on the few negative comments because they had a plan to ensure that my contract is terminated in the long-term (in favor of this white-candidate they had in mind). Dr Obade was even threatened by the Dean (Dr Thulin) of the college not to give any rebuttal against the biased teaching evaluations from the DPRC, yet all instructors have a right to respond and clarify any comments on their teaching evaluations as per the regulations at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. As stated in the grievance submissions, a teaching colleague (Dr Samantha Gill) would often disrupt my students when they were even sitting for an exam, and during e-learning the Head of Department would literally disrupt my class as it was ongoing-i raised these complaints with the Dean and the then interim provost.

    8) Racial discrimination, deceit, hate and retaliation was the criteria used by the BioResource and Agricultural Engineering (BRAE)Department of California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) San Luis Obispo to terminate Dr Vincent Obade (a black African American) teaching contract, on the 3rd of August, 2020. Upon terminating his contract, the concerned parties (e.g., head of department, Dean) have now resorted to all manner of inaccurate information (misinformation), in an attempt to sanitize and justify this flawed decision, which is unfortunate because misinformation does not augur well especially when in an academic institution charged with nurturing honest (STUDENTS) to serve society. For instance, in the DPRC review the Dean claimed that Dr Obade disrespected students, though did NOT exactly state how the students were disrespected. However, in one of Dr Obade teaching evaluations there was a comment that he should not be asking any students academically related questions in class. This, Dr Obade already responded to in the departmental peer review file that questions were only asked in class to gauge student understanding of the topic being discussed. If a student cannot answer the question, then this allows Dr Obade to repeat either the material or ask another student (which is basically an approved teaching methodology). In class students were always encouraged to ask and answer questions. Please, is this what Dean (Dr Thulin) meant by disrespecting a student? Dr Thulin does not respond to the grievance, neither did he refer to the fact that he initially stated that I was dismissed following a flawed retaliatory constructed interview committee who viewed this survey instructor position as a family position (without stating this in the advert). The Dean as preplanned went ahead to recruit a less academically/inexperienced “white person” to replace Dr Obade (a black person). Other related issues were submitted previously. I will provide other details should they warrant your attention. Thanks.

    Sincerely,

    Vincent Obade, PhD