Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dr. Gaither Loewenstein Appointed New Vice President of Academic Affairs at Long Beach City College

This is a controversial appointment.

The college's announcement is here: "LBCC Announces New VP of Academic Affairs."

But see the Long Beach Press-Telegram, "New Long Beach college official resigned from previous job over controversial songs":
LONG BEACH — Long Beach City College has hired a new vice president who resigned from his position as president of a Modesto junior college last year over controversial song lyrics that appeared on his personal website.

Gaither Loewenstein will assume duties as LBCC's vice president of academic affairs on March 1, according to a statement from LBCC President Eloy Oakley.

Loewenstein, who also is a singer-songwriter, resigned from his position as president of Modesto College in May after some of his provocative folk song lyrics became public knowledge, according to the Modesto Bee, which reported the story last year.

Loewenstein's music website, which has since been taken down, provided samples of more than 100 songs written during his 30 years as a musician. His stage name is Gaither Drake.

His lyrics range from traditional subjects, such as love and marriage, to more controversial topics including homosexuality, drug use, sexual infatuation and heavy drinking.

In a song entitled "Dear Amtrak," in which Loewenstein complains about a train trip to Portland, he writes, "Your railroad is the (expletive deleted) - they got better service on the way to Auschwitz." In another song entitled "Dysfunctional Family Christmas," he includes the line, "We'll go broke and snort some coke as the holiday grows near."

In the song entitled, "My Best Friends," Loewenstein sings about how all of his female friends are lesbians. He includes the verse, "Don't you know that my best friends are lesbians, it's true. And if I didn't have a (expletive deleted), than I'd probably be one too."
His self-published debut album was released in 2000. His music is available on and iTunes.

Loewenstein told the Modesto Bee last year that he understood why people would be offended by some of the lyrics and said the lyrics were inappropriate for someone in his position.

"I think that as long as you are flying below the radar in lower level administrative positions, you are free to pursue your private hobbies and endeavors," he said. "But once you are named president of a college, there is a responsibility not just to yourself but the college."
Loewenstein's getting hammered in the comments at the link.

For example, from Monica Blumenfield:
It's despicable our local community college hires an idiot who says Jews on the train to Auschwitz were given good service. Has he forgotten those trains sent millions of Jews to their deaths? Get rid of him, or does Supt. Oakley and the rest of LBCC Boards support Lowenstein's anti-Semitic views?
No, they don't support his views --- or at least there's no evidence of that.

The buzz among the faculty, however, is that Dr. Loewenstein was hired as a hatchet man for Eloy Oakley. Modesto cut whole departments under Dr. Loewenstein's leadership, including the journalism program. See: "Modesto College Cuts Journalism – 2011":
Modesto Junior College administration’s drastic cuts to several popular programs, including the elimination of the entire mass communications department, are at best driven by hopeless ignorance and at worst designed to silence student voices at the school.

In late February, MJC President Gaither Loewenstein proposed cutting the mass communications department, along with the faculty adviser to student government, as a solution to the college’s projected $8 million deficit for 2011-12 fiscal year.

Despite opposition from the entire college community and an offer from faculty to take pay cuts  to save their programs, Loewenstein and the school district’s board of trustees shirked shared governance and transparency laws and unilaterally approved the cuts.

“We feel that he’s deliberately handicapped any type of protest at the college,” MJC journalism instructor and newspaper advisor Laura Paull said.
So it's basically writing on the wall to me. The college overlooked a very controversial background to hire someone with experience in drastic downsizing (and it's more controversial than the Press-Telegram lets on --- Loewenstein's rapid employment turnover at his previous posts is simply astonishing, and normally there's good reason someone doesn't stay on a job for long, even administrative appointments).

More on this later, especially if the college announces layoffs!


onewhocares said...

Dr. Loewenstein worked to improve the offerings at MJC by asking difficult questions about the viability of programs. He did this using data provided by the academic departments.