Dear Campus Community:
I write to inform you that I have decided to retire at the end of this academic year. I have enjoyed my years serving you and believe that we have made real progress at the university over my years of leadership, despite the state's economic struggles.
Over the last eleven years, together we have made substantial improvements in our curricula, shared governance and physical facilities. All of these changes have resulted in better experiences for our students, faculty and staff. Our service to our community is widely recognized as a most important contribution.
Formal announcement of my retirement will be made at the CSU Board of Trustees later today and a public announcement will be issued shortly after. In coming weeks, the Chancellor and Board of Trustees will share information about the process for selecting a new president.
I believe this university presents a unique opportunity for individuals interested in academic administration. I am confident that our Trustees and Chancellor will be able to attract a new President who will appreciate the successful initiatives created by our students, staff and faculty and be anxious to help you mold the next century for Humboldt State University.
Rollin C. Richmond
After nearly an hour of tense — and at times downright chaotic — comments about a plagiarized graduation speech and its subsequent handling, Northern Humboldt Union High School District trustees voted 3-1 this evening to ask Dan Johnson to resign.
Johnson sat calmly as his fellow trustees voted, and said nothing afterward about whether he would take their advice.While unable to force Johnson, an elected official, from his seat, the board’s vote was a harsh condemnation of his actions — or, as some board members put it, inactions.
The decision came during a tense, sometimes raucous evening. Roughly 100 people jammed into the McKinleyville High School multi-purpose room, sometimes shouting at each other and over each other.
School district trustees may have broken the state's public meeting law by exchanging e-mails about how to handle a plagiarized graduation speech by one of their own, the Arcata Eye and McKinleyville Press reported last week.
The emails reveal a group of school board members eager to make the problem go away as quickly as possible, and some who suggested that fellow board member Dan Johnson's speech at Arcata High wasn't really all that bad, even though it lifted passages from a well-known speech that some students sitting in his audience had studied.
The article by the Eye's Kevin Hoover, based on public records requests for the emails, is full of fascinating nuggets and raises more questions about how the Northern Humboldt Union High School District conducts its business. References are made to Johnson consulting a lawyer and to communications that were not released.
Interestingly, the trustees' long silence during public complaints about Johnson's speech appears to have been endorsed or encouraged by Humboldt County Superintendent of Schools Garry Eagles. When board member Colleen Toste wrote him on June 28 asking how to handle media coverage, he replied that "absolutely no statement from anyone is appropriate under the circumstances" except from Johnson, if he chooses.
Some of the exchanges included enough board members or were passed along to enough board members to constitute "a virtual quorum," Hoover wrote, which could run afoul of the Brown Act's ban on most secret meetings by school boards and other public bodies.
Through the entire affair, school board members e-mailed a lot about damage control but nothing about what Hoover called "the glaring double standard in the way Johnson has been coddled and excused for his plagiarism, undermining teachers' ability to credibly teach students that cheating is unacceptable and punishable."
Humboldt State University professor Monica Stephens and her undergraduate students just released an interactive map showing where hate speech pops up on Twitter around the U.S.
Students searched a year’s worth of geocoded tweets — more than 150,000 — that contained certain “hate words” and individually ranked them positive, negative or neutral, depending on context. Counties with more negative comments than the national average were marked on the map with a color gradient — pale blue for fewer tweets to bright red for higher concentrations.
“We’re really looking at these ways that the Internet relates to material space, how data online reflects material conditions,” Stephens said. “There have been a lot of conversations about the impacts of online bullying and the use of these words on the Internet to target specific groups.”
Local Native American tribe leaders have organized a protest at the Humboldt State University quad today, and they accuse the school's president, Rollin Richmond, of trying to eliminate key support services for their community. In a press release issued this morning, Yurok Chairman Thomas O'Rourke Sr. said Richmond is ignoring recommendations from a working group that spent more than a thousand hours trying to improve and reorganize programs that serve Native Americans.
“HSU President Richmond flat out ignored the work group’s reorganizational plan and recommendations,” O’Rourke said in the release. “This plan would have greatly increased our students’ ability to succeed, at a time when Native American enrollment at the University is in a freefall because of how it treats indigenous people."
In response, HSU spokesman Paul Mann pointed out that the work group failed to reach a consensus recommendation on how best to reorganize the school's Native American programs. And he said that HSU leaders are still reviewing the matter.
The full press releases are below.
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