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No. 7: It was just a matter of time

April 16, 2017

A list of the top 10 memorable issues of student publications during my teaching career.

I got hired at Cerritos College one week before Christmas and started work the spring semester just a few weeks later. My then dean of Fine Arts and Communications Dr. Larry Brady used to refer to me not so much as new as “slightly used” because of my 21 years part-time and full-time teaching experience by that point.

The second week of school the first edition of the student newspaper came out with an opinion column asking “Why Black History Month?” Later that week I got called into the president’s office for a meeting. When I got there, the president, vice president of instruction, faculty senate president, and an attorney with human resources were there. It was like an inquisition. A “new” instructor would be intimidated. I was not.

Apparently, there had been some racial issues at the college before I got there. I explained that this was just an opinion column that rolls around every few years. Opinions are opinions and the First Amendment protects them. We left with all okay.

A week or so later the second issue under me came out with an opinion column criticizing the counselors and someone complained. I got invited back to the president’s office. This time it was just him. He said he understood that it was an opinion, but he hoped that this was not going to become a pattern.

A couple weeks later the third issue under me came out. I went and sit in the waiting room outside the president’s office. When he came out and saw me he asked, “Do we have an appointment?”

“No,” I said. “But the paper came out today and it was just a matter of time.” He buckled over laughing and never bothered me again.

Well, there was that student who had so many grievances filed against me –“Since I have been here I have had FOUR journalism instructors,” she once told me, “and only one of them was worth a damn; you ain’t him”– that one of them actually made it to the president’s office, but that is another story, one that did not make the top 10.

PREVIOUSLY: 10: The execution, 9: We don’t need no headlines, 8: The student who died

NEXT UP: Daddy come home

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