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Voice: No aquatics classes at IVC because of personal differences?

July 10, 2001

A letter to my students, colleagues and friends:

First, I would like to thank all of you for your support in the form of letters and phone calls concerning my differences with the Imperial Valley College administration in several areas.

Next, I would like to bring you up to date on the disposition of expenses for an information-gathering trip to the Red Cross office in San Diego concerning changes in aquatic programs.

As many of you will recall, college officials requested I reimburse the college for the expense of a rental car and gasoline for that trip. I paid the bill for several reasons, one of which was to protect my credit rating in case it was turned over to a collection agency.

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This was accomplished in early November, within 10 days of my receiving an invoice. After paying the bill, I embarked on a campaign to have this unfair situation resolved. When the situation was not resolved by Jan. 5, 2001, I opted to not teach during the spring semester. I informed Mr. Hunt on Jan. 5 that I would not be teaching the spring semester. Since swimming classes were not scheduled to begin until Feb. 12, this gave the administration a 35-day opportunity to fill the position. This was not accomplished and all aquatic classes were canceled.

On March 12, I received a call from Mr. Carlos Fletes, vice president for business services, to stop by the office as soon as possible. I met with him on March 14 and was given a check to reimburse me for my expenses for the trip.

Shortly thereafter, I told the health and wellness department chair that if they needed an aquatics instructor I would be available for both the summer and the fall. I do not feel students and their programs should be punished by the lack of course offerings due to personal disagreements, so I was willing to help the college and students in this way.

About a week after my chat with the health and wellness chairman, I made a special trip to discuss the issue with President Dominguez and informed him of my availability for both summer and next fall. His response was, "I will discuss the matter with Mr. Hunt." Evidently they decided the students had no need for aquatic classes such as lifesaving, water-safety instructor training, basic aquatic skills and a program for the disabled students.

Neither the summer schedule nor the fall schedule had been sent for publishing at the time the department chair spoke with Mr. Hunt and my conference with President Dominguez. Therefore, seemingly aquatic classes could have been included on both the summer and fall schedules if the administration had been so inclined.

Since summer school classes are being held, no students are able to participate this summer in aquatic classes. With no aquatic course listings for the fall semester schedule, this probably means no classes in aquatics will be offered in the fall semester either, and students will again be denied access to various swimming classes. This is especially concerning since the college spent over $48,000 in the renovation of the two pools December 2000 and January 2001.

HAROLD J. RICHWINE

Professor emeritus

Imperial Valley College

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