Alliant University's San Diego campus could be sold

Students fear that school could go for-profit

(image from www.collegetimes.tv)
  • (image from www.collegetimes.tv)

Students at the Scripps Ranch campus of Alliant International University (formerly United States Internatiional University) are worried that the school may go the for-profit route and their degrees will lose value sharply.

"God forbid that your degree doesn't mean anything," says Evelynn Jones, a representative of the Student Government Association (SGA). "SGA people are concerned this will be a for-profit university," and education officials across the country are concerned that graduates of for-profits are not able to get jobs.

Students are circulating online statements under the banner of "Save Our School: Alliance for Alliant." There are questions such as, "Do you want to go to a school that is under investigation by the U.S. Senate, Department of Education, Department of Justice, and state accreditation boards?"

For-profit universities, including San Diego's Bridgepoint Education, have been investigated thoroughly by various government bodies, partly because of poor job placement of graduates.

I have seen documents that suggest the students have reason to be worried. Alliant is now based in San Francisco as a result of a merger with the California School of Professional Psychology.

Geoffrey Cox, president of Alliant, told his staff in memos recently that Alliant is thinking of becoming a Benefits Corporation, or B-Corp, which would be a way to attract capital. He admits Alliant "is facing serious questions about its long term sustainablity." B-Corps, however, "can be financed by investors who hold shares and have an expectation of a return on their investment." B-Corps are "something of a hybrid between traditional for-profit and not-for-profit structures."

Specifically, Alliant is interested in possibly getting money from University Ventures Fund. Its founding partner is Ryan Craig, a longtime board member of Bridgepoint and a former executive with Wall Street's Warburg Pincus, which originally financed and still owns 64 percent of Bridgepoint.

Another of the top-five officials of the ventures fund was with Apollo, the largest for-profit university. (University of Phoenix is its major school.) The ventures fund has sent out studies talking favorably of for-profit colleges. When a Cleveland for-profit school, Chancellor University, run by San Diego for-profit entrepreneur Michael Clifford, closed down, students were transferred to Alliant (presumably for online education).

"We are only talking to University Ventures Fund about the Benefit Corporation idea," Cox wrote to his colleagues. And then came a line that frightened San Diego students: "The other strategic option we have been considering is to sell the San Diego campus as a way of raising capital."

This raises questions, because as the Reader's Susan Luzzaro has been reporting, Sweetwater school superintendent Ed Brand has been trying to line up a joint venture of Sweetwater with Alliant.

I spoke briefly with Cox this afternoon, October 16. He said, "We are involved in an exploratory conversation...there is no particular timeline [for a decision] and I don't anticipate one being made terribly soon."

There are about 1000 students at the San Diego campus — down from 3500 in better days.

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Graduates of not-for-profit schools have just as hard a time getting a job. I tell students to stay in school for as long as possible, because there are NO jobs out there, and the longer you stay in school, the less time you spend living on the sidewalk. Once you get to be 65 years old, you can retire, collect Social Security, and live on that sidewalk, using your 5 Doctorate degrees for a pillow, like I do. I also tell students to NEVER, EVER begin any sort of an education without first contacting the Godfather, or whoever regulates a specific profession, and get their PERMISSION to get a job in that. They will tell you exactly what school to go to, and what courses to take. They may even help pay for it, but they will certainly hire you when you get out.

John Kitchin: Probably the best schools for getting prestigious and high-paying jobs are the Ivy League institutions. Just look at the Supreme Court. Look at the Harvard MBAs -- many of them dolts and crooks -- with top roles in industry.

I definitely do not agree that it is as difficult to get a degree for graduates of nonprofits as it is for graduates of for-profits. The latter are likely to starve. Best, Don Bauder

There is no "Godfather" of a specific profession who gives out "their permission to get a job." That's sheer nonsense, and dumb advice. Actually there ARE jobs out there; people do get hired every day.

dwbat: People get fired every day, too. Overall the employment situation is grim. Best, Don Bauder

You just need to learn how it is all done. Per usual, I disagree with you, and think you need to learn certain things. Dr. John Kitchin, Chancellor, Milwaukee Free University (Not For Profit).

This should have said that it was for dwbat, not Bauder. Sorry if there was confusion.

viewer: The bottom line is that jobs are very hard to get, especially for young people, and especially for minorities and adults in their 50s. Having a degree from a nonprofit helps, but having a degree from most for-profit universities is no help getting a job. Best, Don Bauder

Oh, but just ask Ed Brand - he and 'certain' members of the board were/are willing to feed our students to Alliant - the plate he would use would be a paper plate vs silver.

Hope all of the Brand peeps are getting those resumes in order - soon we will be singing 'turn out the lights your party is O V E R!!!!!!!

anniej: Brand isn't popular, thanks greatly to Susan Luzzaro's excellent reporting. Best, Don Bauder

anniej: Apparently, Brand has a relationship with Alliant. How long will he cling to this dubious attempt to have a joint operation? Best, Don Bauder

According to the linked article, Sweetwater's district spokesperson, Manny Rubio, said 20 Sweetwater students are presently being transported to this campus. Talk about being worried. What are those students thinking now, and where will this leave all of the other Alliant students should the campus be sold?

johndewey: That's a distinguished education name you are using. It will be interesting to see what these 20 Sweetwater students do now. Best, Don Bauder

Will Sweetwater be financing the buses to transport the students to San Francisco?

I wonder if the Brandmeister is still working some angles or if he is ready to throw in the towel on this one...

Pretty sure the reason Brand and pals were trying so hard to muscle into the property in National City is that they knew things would be shutting down in North County. And while we don't know exactly what Brand's cut was/is, we can all rest assured that it was something, because Ed Brand doesn't do anything unless he gets paid.

eastlaker: Brand has had plenty of time to learn about Alliant's financial problems, the possibility of going for-profit, and the possible shutdown of the San Diego campus.

Those memos I alluded to began coming out in September. Brand's motives should be questioned -- and thanks greatly to Susan Luzzaro's reporting, they are being questioned. Best, Don Bauder

Remember that he was also promoting and trying to get a tie-in with Grand Canyon University, another questionable operation that had religious connections. Brand had more than one iron in the fire as far as these college-level connection schemes.

Superintendent Brand is a "snake oil salesman". (Apparently AG Kamala Harris is taking issue with the private for- profits popping up now, all over.) His adept at lieing attorney, helped him take a major portion of my inheritances. They don't teach morality and virtue at USIU, or he skipped it for what, 7-8 years?! And I agree there will be crazy debt without a working skill at the tail end for most people.

shirleyberan: If AG Kamala is fighting the for-profits popping up, more power to her. Best, Don Bauder

And Ms. Luzzaro is a real reporter. The Reader is very lucky to have the benefit of her valuable research and dedication to facts.

shirleyberan: Agreed. Luzzaro has done a terrific job covering this Sweetwater mess. Best, Don Bauder

And Ms. Luzzaro is a real reporter. The Reader is very lucky to have the benefit of her valuable research and dedication to uncovering.

Thought it hadn't been sent - no other reason (if a certain hater is reading something into it) this is discussion, not my job to teach.

shirleyberan: I understand why it was sent twice. It has happened to me. Best, Don Bauder

Its definitely troubling that Sweetwater and Ed Brand worked so hard to strike a deal with Alliant. We knew this school and its troubled past were not a good fit for our District. Luckily, all but the 20 or so students that were suckered into Alliant knew better. Now, more troubling news on Alliant. I wonder if that knucklehead Ed Brand will continue to work so hard for our district kids to attend Alliant!!

bvagency: What did Brand get out of shilling for Alliant? Best, Don Bauder

Don great question. Many of us are wondering the same. Why would he go to such extremes for this partnership? Is it really for the students, or is there some self serving (financial) reason behind this? We only hope Susan can untangle and report on that web!

bvagency: I thought I saw somewhere that he attended Alliant, perhaps when it was known as United States International University. Best, Don Bauder

My recall is that all of Brand's degrees are from the former "USIOU". That operation was spewing doctorates, usually in Education, all around the county two or three decades ago. All were questionable as to quality, even though the operation had been accredited.

I have no doubt in mind that Dr. Brand knew along that Alliant was failing and that they planned on selling their property and then sell out to become for profit. This is probably his master plan on getting a Sweetwater University on board in Chula Vista.

RE: "Apollo, the largest for-profit university. (Phoenix University is its major school.)" No, it's called University of Phoenix. Fact-checking is important.

dwbat: But if you compose as many items as I do, you would understand. I have time constraints. Best, Don Bauder

Knowing when to hold that runaway smugness in check is far more important, dwb.

Duhbya: I think he has too much time on his hands. Best, Don Bauder

No smugness here, so hold off on the personal attack. The University of Phoenix has been advertising constantly for years. So there is no excuse for any journalist/blogger to NOT know the correct name of that institution. It has nothing to do with "time constraints" as one can check something like that in 30 seconds on Google search. Remember, quality of reporting is just as important as quantity. Anyone anywhere can post lots of quickly written blogs. There are no prerequisites to become a blogger; you don't have to do fact checking. But even though news and commentary move extremely fast today, accuracy still counts, at least to this longtime professional journalist.

Yup, you're right.....no smugness there. Would "pretentious" work better?

No. It's a different "P" word: professional.

dwbat: "A" word: arrogance. Or "F" word: fussbudget. Let me give you some background. I write columns and I write blog items by the hundreds. These are checked carefully for accuracy and grammar.

But I have posted more than 24,000 responses to people who write in about the columns or blogs. I often look up things for these items, but they are composed quickly. You will find typos in them. Or the kinds of mistakes that you consider colossal -- like writing Phoenix University instead of University of Phoenix. Maybe you don't realize it, but 24,000 responses to readers, along with regular columns and blog items, are time-consuming. We appreciate when you write on important matters, such as Filner/intergovernmental lynching, but please stop fusspotting the wee things. Best, Don Bauder

DW Bat: You? A professional journalist? Last person I would suspect. I would like to further your education by pointing to one of my latest articles at www.NZ9F.com/intelligence. Most important thing you need to learn.

John Kitchin: That essay is wonderful. Do you know who wrote it? Best, Don Bauder

It is both amazing and appalling that about one thousand students still attend that campus, pay fat tuition, and think their Alliant degrees will be worth something. That school and its predecessor have always been highly questionable. But there are a plenty of local school administrators who pack the Ed.D. degree from old USIOU and later, Alliant. In fact, the founder and long time bossman of National Univ, Chigos, had a doctorate from . . . USIOU. The academic fraud and misrepresentation can form dynasties. And one of those bogus operations can spawn others, and in turn, it can happen again and again. If students, and those who pay the tuition and fees, were more skeptical, such schools would not exist.

Higher education is grossly oversold today. Having a degree will guarantee you nothing at all. The education lobby continues to tout the value of a degree in lifetime earnings, but the data upon which they base their assurances is historic, not forward looking. At best the trend has been down for many years. It is not that all degrees are worthless, it is that some schools don't deliver anything, while other schools do a wonderful job. And if you have to pay about the same to the best and the worst schools, why not insist upon the best?

Visduh: Both Alliant and its predecessor USIU have specialized in attracting foreign students. Best, Don Bauder

I need to add that in its heyday, USIOU had a student body heavy on rich Iranians with plenty of money to spend and a yen for the US good life. That ended with the fall of the Shah and the hostage crisis, and the ascendancy of the Ayatollah. In the early years of the operation, it might have actually been delivering a good, if a bit unorthodox, education to some of its full-fare students. One thing it tried out in the early 70's was a system of no letter grades, and hence no sort of grade point average. Instead they had narrative appraisals from the instructor that didn't cleanly fit into any sort of quantitative structure. I wonder how many of those students with the avant-garde grades have found them useless when job seeking. Gee whiz, why is there so much chicanery in academia (or what passes for academia) today?

Visduh: USIU/Alliant has had problems because of its emphasis on foreign students. The Iranian adventure was one that stood out.

In re chicanery in academia: how about those rising tuitions that seem to be closely related to higher administrative costs? Best, Don Bauder

Don Bauder - Alliant for sale, and who was there to help promote the future sale with the added entity of a satellite campus at the Natl City Adult School and the large demographic of unsuspecting, trusting student/parents of the South Bay? None other than 'lets make a deal' Ed Brand. I have no doubt there was/is financial gain for Brand.

Alas, his con game was headed off at the pass by an astute National City Planning Commission and those troublesome antagonists,

More and more are asking the question where is Jim Cartmill? Where is John McCann?
Why are they protecting Brand?????

anniej: Susan Luzzaro has covered this situation extremely well. She is very close to it. Put those questions to her. Best, Don Bauder

Wow. Don Bauder there is someone who knows his stuff. For those who have not been around this town a long time he was the voice of reason in the media about the snake oil that was sold by John Moores and the Padres to get Petco. Remember that payroll we were promised only if we had a new ballpark? How about all those public subsidies and who makes out like a bandit with the sale of the Padres and still is benefiting from his local real estate investments. Don predicted this little discussed fiasco in the media.

The poilnt here is that pay attention community to what he is saying and trust Susan Luzzaro. I have been around this District a long time and like Don I see what is happening. It is shameful. I just have to low key it as I thought the District might catch me. Like everybody I am paranoid. It is only a matter of time till Ed is caught. Try Section 54950-54963 of the Government Code Mr. Brand and read it.

WTFEd: I appreciate your comments, and I am sure Susan will, but what is shameful is that San Diegans get only one side of an issue from local media. The mainstream media have arrangements to swap news with one another and won't step on each others' toes or report something that goes against the downtown corporate welfare crowd. So there is only one point of view that gets to the public. You only get the other side from the Reader and some smaller publications. Best, Don Bauder

The television accounts are identical, word for word, all emailed in by the Godfather.

John Kitchin: When I was at the U-T 1973-2003, TV was swiping from us all the time. I was a regular on a couple of TV shows -- each for a couple of years -- and tried to steer clear of what we called "rip and read." Best, Don Bauder

After all we have seen and heard with regard to the frenzied machinations of Sweetwater Union High School District, and after many calls for forensic accounting going back 20 years or so...I really think it is high time for all of Sweetwater's books to be opened up.

If Alliant is so shaky that selling their property is being strongly considered, then they have probably been borrowing lots of money. For all we know, Sweetwater has been used as a source--because we just do not know where all our Mello-Roos funds are. We don't know where much of our money is.

We don't know why Sweetwater bought property that is now in private hands, and why Sweetwater is still $40 million in debt (at least) on real estate schemes brought on by our own Dr. Demento.

Sure would be nice if there were someone with the authority, intelligence and integrity to call Brand on his crazed schemes. Meanwhile, students and teachers get less and less to work with, and the sky seems to be the limit for what Brand gets.

Are we speaking to the void?

eastlaker: As always, you ask penetrating questions. Are there some sticky fingers in these pots? Why in the world did not Brand know of Alliant's woes? If he did know, why did he want to link Sweetwater with an ailing institution? Best, Don Bauder

So--maybe Fast Eddy is going to get a cut when the Alliant property is sold and redeveloped...that is probably what has been going on.

eastlaker: That is certainly a possibility. Real estate interests run San Diego, and they know how to hide transactions. Best, Don Bauder

If Alliant became a B-Corp, at least it would stand out from the sleazy, under-fire institutions like Bridgepoint, Apollo Group (University of Phoenix), Corinthian, etc., which are not B-Corps. By becoming a benefits corporation, Alliant would have to demonstrate a positive impact on society and the environment, rather than just make oodles of cash for its stockholders. A B-Corp must prove it's being socially conscious, or it can lose its legal status.

dwbat: Of course, the sleazy for-profits also claim they are working for the public good. Best, Don Bauder

If the Colorado-based blogger has information about local mainstream media that won't "report something that goes against the downtown corporate welfare crowd," it would be useful if we learned the names of such media outlets (besides the obvious U-T) and specific examples/dates when they have done so. Details instead of generalities, please!

dwbat: If you can't figure that out, I feel sorry for you. Best, Don Bauder

It is bad enough Bauder was forced to abandon San Diego because of these sleaze-balls. I cannot usually say what I know and can be proven without ending up dead in the Tijuana River. Get real!

John Kitchin: I appreciate your wisdom on many topics, but I was not forced to leave San Diego. Herb Klein and some others at the top of the Copley organization were trying to get me fired, but it never happened, and I never thought it would. My wife and I bought our acreage in Colorado in 1999 and I finally resigned from the U-T in March of 2003 when our house was complete. I immediately went to work for the Reader, which I had always admired.

U-T brass was delighted to see me go -- I wouldn't play their games -- but did not push me. Best, Don Bauder

Thanks. I thought all intelligent journalists were forced out of SD. I wrote about my encounter with police, twice, but it gets removed.

Don Bauder - yes, Ms. Luzzaro has done an outstanding job covering this story and many others that are important to the communities of the South Bay. True journalist, she is a master!!!

My question, not meant for you to answer; but was posed to the taxpayers.

Thanks for the story by the way, you taking the time to comment is quite unique - really opens up the communication.

anniej: Agreed: Luzzaro has done a great job on this and other stories.

As to my comments. Yes, I try to answer all comments. I have posted 24,258 such comments, in addition to writing columns and blog items. But nitpickers -- one in particular -- will write in if there is a minor error, such as saying Phoenix University instead of University of Phoenix. Such people have to get a life. Best, Don Bauder

Absolute technical details are usually used to obscure the truth. I once said that DuPont Chemical was part of General Motors. A webbie-file said that to be a lie. He read the histories of DuPont and GM online. I pointed out an article in Newsweek that Google refused to have a listing for that clearly indicated the two corps had exactly the same Board, met exactly the same place at the same time, had exactly the same stockholders, the same company policies, and the same Articles of Incorporation. But, of course, DuPont is completely separate, right?

John Kitchin: GM and duPont slept together for decade upon decade. Best, Don Bauder

Let's not forget the two high schools that were set up to feed students into Alliant at Brand's insistence, Olympian and Hilltop. These schools are being used to insure that upon graduation these students could be funneled into Alliant. Thank the National City Planning Commission and a few members of the City Council and the MTS for not allowing Brand to use the National City Adult School to expand this blight upon even more unsuspecting students. I wonder if Brand will attempt to start the program at Sweetwater High as previously planned at the semester. The answer is probably yes because the board follows this self serving egotistical cretin's every whim. Why? Because they believe that through Brand they will somehow get their legal fees paid. I believe this is why they continue to let him abuse our tax dollars to use ESI the investigation firm. Hopefully the teachers will wake up now that their benefits are being compromised and unify to prevent Brand from using the monies to purchase a new district office. Last week staff was asking why Russo was attending meetings at the district. Well it doesn't take genius to figure out why. She was the person in negotiations last year that made the blunder on the benefit package. This blunder can now be used by Brand and the board to secure a new district office. We are familiar with the money shell game he's so good at. Now he can hold the teachers hostage because SEA will not bring the attorneys needed to stop this. What's even more disconcerting is that Cartmill and McCann are on board with anything Brand does. Pearl blows with the wind. Ricasa is cautious but will probably side with Brand. That leaves one no for sure, Lopez. I believe Brand thinks his importance to the DA's office lends him some protection, but I believe that will end very soon. Things have a way of changing very quickly in this district. Just look where Gandara is now.

erupting: I would like to believe that the official admission that Alliant is in deep financial trouble, even to the extent that it may sell the San Diego campus, combined with Luzzaro's superb reporting, will get some of the Sweetwater officials to wise up. Maybe I am too optimistic. Best, Don Bauder

I'd like to bring out something you mentioned in the middle of your paragraph here...regarding why the board follows Brand's every whim.

You say "because they believe that through Brand they will somehow get their legal fees paid" and "Brand thinks his importance to the DA's office lends him some protection..."

My question is this, if Cartmill and Ricasa are going along with Brand simply because Brand promised to foot their legal bills if they continued to play his game, isn't that another illegal move? Couldn't Cartmill and Ricasa turn on Brand, turn state's witness and be in much better shape?

McCann's situation is unusual in that his alliance with Brand appears to be unshakable, although he did bail out last month prior to the vote on funding the private investigators. While health reasons were given, I'm wondering if there wasn't a little more to it than that.

Again I say, if Tri-City can fire Larry Anderson, anything can happen.

But if Brand were fired, it would still be only the beginning of the house-cleaning.

eastlaker: Sweetwater citizens must continue demanding answers to the questions you raise. Best, Don Bauder

"As Sweetwater Turns" yet another chapter to this joke of a school district. I wonder if Fast Eddie has any $$$$$$ invested in this other institution....he doesnt do anything for nothing

angrybirds: Brand's investments could be quite interesting. I would think the district could demand that he reveal them. Other public officials are required to reveal holdings. Best, Don Bauder

Mr. Bauder, excellent point!

Do you think that there would be any way that this board of trustees would ever be able to make this demand?

The real question is, why can't this board of trustees demand Ed Brand reveal his investments...and the answer is: the majority sold out so long ago that they have actually shut down the individual portion of the brain required for such an act.

They might at some future point become famous for being the only majority board who could be pronounced guilty in abstenia while being physically present!

Yes, the marvels we see on the Sweetwater Board!

Eastlaker, maybe we should do a PRQ on Ed Brands financial disclosure form he is required to fill out annually. The same one he forced the Bond Oversight Committee fill out.

bvagency: Generally, these financial disclosure forms give the person filling out the form a lot of latitude -- a wide range estimating what an investment is worth. Still, the forms can be helpful. Best, Don Bauder

eastlaker: I can't imagine that Brand has not been required to reveal his investments. If he has not, then Sweetwater is not doing things as other governmental bodies must do. Best, Don Bauder

Mr. Bauder, I can only say that I am not aware that Brand has ever made public his financial dealings. I think I would have remembered...cannot recall ever hearing, except his contract negotiations from a year ago.

Of course, there are the rumors about the failed bank and the educational "foundation" that was supposed to support students in need (funded by a $1,000,000 donation from a very nice North County couple), of which perhaps $20,000 ended up going for scholarships, and the rest?

So, yes, I am sure we could all learn a great deal from Fast Eddy's financial disclosures. At least it would be a starting point.

eastlaker: People should yell and scream at public meetings and demand revelation of this financial information. Best, Don Bauder

The uniformed police officers would haul away anyone who would do such a thing. The atmosphere in a Sweetwater Board Meeting is ugly in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. The slime fairly drips off the walls.

eastlaker: But revelation of an official's financial holdings should be a requirement. Best, Don Bauder

Once again to the unnamed blogger who called me a "nitpicker": fact checking is important as it shows one pays particular attention to details. Professional journalists, as a whole, do not get all huffy and offended when someone offers a correction to something they wrote. And they don't personally attack the person who saw the mistake. Instead, as professionals, they say: "Thanks for the correction." That's good behavior others should follow.

dwbat: I have answered this above. Best, Don Bauder

fact-checker - you reveal anger at something - maybe the facts - lead by example of nice

I'm a former magazine editor, and I edited several publications. I happen to be anal about accuracy. My boss was pleased with my attentiveness. I've sent corrections several times to LA TIMES reporters. In every case they wrote back and said thanks. Not once did they call it nitpicking, or say something snide. That's professionals acting professionally. If one cannot accept constructive criticism, he/she should get out of the profession. As for those who say I have two much time on my hands, read this ironic statement from the blogger: "I have posted 24,258 such comments, in addition to writing columns and blog items." Talk about a waste of time.

dwbat: I thought you had promised not to say anything more. Best, Don Bauder

Most everything one can read in magazines and newspapers is not true to begin with, and I did my first editing 45 years ago. It is changed from the truth to attract advertisers. Bauder has done even more editing than me. So, how do you check the "facts" about billions of things that are not true to begin with? An ouiji board?

John Kitchin: Having worked nine years with Business Week magazine, I can personally attest that a lot of things you read in magazines is simply not true. I was with Business Week from 1964 to 1973. During that period, the magazine was generally written and edited for the advertisers, not the readers. The puff cover story was routinely whored out to a big advertiser. In 1970, the magazine made an effort to change, but it was a slow process because McGraw-Hill management was not ready for this change. Whoring was very profitable.

Incidentally, from 1967 on, I was one of the few people on the editorial side who produced straight journalism. It wasn't easy. Also during that period, the magazine had some superb economists -- Len Silk, Bill Wolman, others -- who were given freedom to write the truth. Also, coverage of organized labor was balanced. By the 1980s, Business Week was an excellent, credible publication. Best, Don Bauder

McGraw-Hill is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, their Denver division. Hard to believe that a church that worships money instead of God eventually got closer to the truth.

dwbat: If you're anal about accuracy, then you need to see a doctor who can give your brain an enema. You're full of it. If Bauder wants any $#@t out of you, he'll squeeze your head.

Burwell: I think we have shown that at least 4 times, dwbat made errors on his own posts, despite his claim of being anal. Best, Don Bauder

shirleyberan: It's futile, I'm afraid. Best, Don Bauder

Here, point this error out to the "anal about accuracy" reporter and see if he thanks you: "As for those who say I have two much time on my hands......". Oh, the irony.

Speaking of that a-word, have the neighbors started complaining yet about those abhorrent odors of envy emanating from you?

"If one cannot accept constructive criticism, he/she should get out of the profession." Do let us know what you wind up doing.

hahaha, good catch! Thanks. See? I'm human, and I admit I make mistakes.

I will stay IN. And I will continue to write San Diego news stories (not blogs) from here in San Diego (rather than remotely from Colorado).

Duhbya: What magazine did dwbat edit? I'm curious. Best, Don Bauder

Me, too. I actually started a Grade School newspaper, went on to 4 college newspapers including "Take Over!" and "Off The Pigs!" of Vietnam Era fame at the University of Wisconsin, worked at the UW-Milwaukee Post, Published Milwaukee Street Sheet, Milwaukee Homeless News, and now I am Publisher (not Editor) of the San Diego Homeless News. Don Bauder has an even more impressive rap sheet. I wrote many editorials for famous editorial writers, published in the dailies, using the editorialist's name (me ghost). Oh, I also write for the San Diego Reader, but most of my stuff is not listed, and I use bunches of different names. The UT has used 4 different names for me.

John Kitchin: I would say you have a very impressive background -- and not just because you edited publications at the University of Wisconsin. I was editor-in-chief of the only newspaper when I was there; obviously, several other papers arose during the Vietnam protest era. I was long gone by then. Best, Don Bauder

Duhbya: We have caught "anal about accuracy" in a couple of errors. Best, Don Bauder

Ok, back to matters at hand, did anyone else get their property tax bill in the mail? Notice an increase? If you are in a Mello-Roos district, down here in Sweetwater country, you can thank Ed Brand for that. Because he increases it the maximum allowable every year, as a matter of course.

Speaking of courses, of course we do not get to know how that money is being spent, or where it is being "housed". For all we know, Fast Eddy could be visiting the casinos with it.

Is that why so much is unaccounted for? Of course, I jest! Imagine, why would anyone ever take public funds meant for schools and use them for purposes they were not intended for!

eastlaker: This is information you should get to Luzzaro, although she probably already knows. Best, Don Bauder

Do you think the board actually really makes a decision on anything? They have long since abdicated any thought process and simply go through the motions and do as they are told--except for Bertha Lopez and the occasional attempt by Pearl to make amends...but, I know my bill is bigger this year. If Mr. Alt claims Sweetwater didn't raise their portion of Mello-Roos funds, that is indeed something.

In an entirely unrelated matter, I did see that Tri-City's board fired CEO Anderson. So, dysfunctional boards do occasionally step up and do the right thing! Isn't it good to know!!!

eastlaker: If the board serves as a rubber stamp, that board should be removed. Best, Don Bauder

The Tri-City board is showing signs of functionality. I know, I know, I know. But, it really is doing things differently. There are now four new members on the board, and two had been on the Carlsbad city council for years. (I'll also admit that service in the governance of that city had its downside in that it allowed Big Bad Bud Lewis to reign as Mayor-for-Life. But they did get most things right, and better than the surrounding cities.) So, this move by that board might have been expected at some time. As to whether it will hire just another jerk in his place I cannot say. But I do finally see some light showing at the end of a decades-long tunnel of darkness at Tri-City. Stranger things could happen if the So County voters turn out all the bums at Sweetwater, Southwestern, and San Ysidro.

bvagency; It's up to you people, and Susan Luzzaro, to turn that bed upside down and dump the rascals on the floor. Best, Don Bauder

dwbat, As is said, "we all make mistakes". In your previous blog on line 7, I think you meant "too" not "two". Just an observation from an Engineer, who spells poorly, thank goodness for spell check. BBQ

Yes, Dubhya already told me. That means two told me to correct "two" to too! ;-) BTW, I was spelling bee champ of my school many moons ago. I can spot a typo a block away, but miss it in my own writing. And don't feel bad; I'm rather poor at engineering!

dwbat: You have already negated your own argument, thereby tainting the professionalism of which you boast. I hope you realize that. Best, Don Bauder

bbq: I have been trying to tell dwbat that I do not spend as much time fussing over responses to posters as I do writing and editing columns. So I do make mistakes. So does d-bat. Best, Don Bauder

Can his income tax records be subpoenaed?

shirleyberan: He says he doesn't make much money. Maybe he doesn't pay income taxes.

Let's get off nitpicking and get down to the subjects at hand: Alliant, for-profit universities, B-Corps, Ed Brand, Sweetwater officials, etc. Best, Don Bauder

The blogger was unable to locate the Reader staff pages apparently, and see the magazine I previously worked at. That section is very easy to find. Here's mine: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/staff/david-batterson/

dwbat: I had no time to check the Reader staff pages. Wow!! Palm Springs Life!! Impressive!! Gee whiz!! Somebody who worked on a magazine!! Best, Don Bauder

Palm Springs Life Magazine. That explains it. I want to read about the soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

John Kitchin: Ask dwbat. He boasts that he was a magazine editor. For Palm Springs Life, a mover and shaker -- probably the top mag in Palm Springs. Dwbat knows about the soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Best, Don Bauyder

I can hear it now.......

"LA Times City Desk."

Caller: "I'd like to report a typo, that's a printed misspelling, in case you didn't know."

Desk: (whispering with hand over phone) "Oh, happy day, it's that expert from the Palm Springs get a Life again.....whose turn is it?"

Duhbya: Yes, but this self-professed anal editor makes mistakes too, as we have noted herein. Best, Don Bauder

Duhbya: The punster comes through again. Best, Don Bauder

Prior to that I reported for many years for national and regional computer magazines, and I was self-syndicated in weekly newspapers in major cities across the country. These were all for pay (no writing for rags that don't pay anything, as most anyone can do that).

Did you ever read what I wrote about truth at www.NZ9F.com/intelligence? It is the information that you are lacking when you ask for proof.

Don - I was trying to talk about Brand's income taxes, and how to prove where the school money has gone. I probably should have posted that comment at Susan's new article. And I think it's true talent that you respond to us and put out as much insightful writing as you do.

shirleyberan: Brand's income taxes? I thought you were talking about dwbat's income taxes. You can write the IRS and give the name of someone like Brand and ask to know if there is any dispute over his taxes. The IRS should respond. At least you used to be able to do that. Best, Don Bauder

I am a current student at AIU and find it a bit odd how the conversation has shifted from the topic of this article to sweetwater. Although these students are people too, and have invested a decent amount of energy into preparing for college, we (current students) selected this school on the premise that we would complete our degree and it will mean something. These high school students have other options. They can select another school. We, however, are many who will leave several hundred thousand dollars in student loan debt. Our only option is to continue. Some of us are on our last semester, last class, or last week. What is the answer for those students? The whole things seems a bit fishy. The recent take over of Chancellor, entering a 90-day period to investigate the pros and cons, when the only pros are coming from the Dr. Cox and a whole slew of cons from the students and faculty. This sale would not only effect current students, but also alumni (who have not been notified of this change, and also make up just under half of the licensed clinicians in CA). It is the most barbaric sales pitch I've ever heard. "hey students, we are planning to sell your school to a group of investors, but it's not going to effect the stature of your education or tarnish your degree." So this is basically new math and we have located the only "investors" on the face of this earth who are not looking to turn a profit. Alliant always has been on the cutting edge, so i guess it is not odd that we have found these investors who care about the reputation of this institution and it's graduates (sarcasm). It should also be noted that Alliant is nestled into the scrips ranch community just off I-15 (the land was recently considered to be purchased by Kaiser Permanente). In other words, what would stop these investors from sucking the remaining money out of the school and those of us who have no choice but to continue paying $650-$1800 per unit/credit hour, and then selling the land once the school tanks. Ok, continue your talk about high school students who still have options.

You state your case and the case of your fellow students well.

There is a reason why those of us concerned with Sweetwater Union High School District are also concerned with what is going on with Alliant--the superintendent of Sweetwater, a certain Ed Brand, is up to his eyeballs in cahoots with your Mr. Cox, and it appears as if neither one of them is up to any good--except perhaps for themselves.

It looks to me as if Cox/Brand are trying to set up a west coast small string of class B (mid-range between for profit and not for profit) universities that they could use as cash cows with all the government money for education. You know, Pell grants, GI Bill, the whole shooting match.

The real estate deal for the property in North County would give them money to play with, and then some. I hope you students can get organized, get some attorneys and accountants on your side and put up a fuss. Bad publicity and photos in the news might get them to slow down a bit. Creating a stink is one of the few things that will work to slow Ed Brand down, but then he does always retreat to spin more schemes for his own benefit and the detriment of the school district he is supposed to be looking out for.

So, activate your campus and try to find out what is really going on. But I am sure there are developers salivating at the thought of all that acreage. You really do need to need to watch out for the opportunists like Ed Brand, and I guess his friend, Mr. Cox.

You nailed it. This is more about the personal gain of a few: Sacrificing the livelihood of so many. I have never seen so much greed and corruption. The founder of this institution would be spinning in his grave if he knew all his effort, hard work, and dedication to doing good in the field led to this. The student body is wide awake and have gone as far as discovering that one of the investors in this group also played a part in the recent teach out of Chancellor. In fact, it is believed that he was on the board of directors at Chancellor and later contributed to Alliant taking over the Chancellor courses. Is that by chance, or part of a scheme that has been in the works for some time now? The website for this group claims online diversity as a staple, yet, when asked, Dr. Cox assured the student body that online course will not be part of the transition. Ironically, Chancellor is 100% online. It seems odd to deny a focus of online courses with this new take-over. Mr. Cox has established student forums online that allow us to ask questions, which he selectively answers and dodges accordingly. He continues to label this as a 90-day investigation period where "we" check the facts, yet every response to a post is him pushing his agenda. In other words, he clearly has an intention of making it happen, but I guess it will help him to sleep better at night knowing that he opened this forum for us to make an informed decision.
In closing, we teach Management at this school, yet the behavior and choices of our president displays the worst management model that would cause any company to fail. We also teach psychology, yet any of our graduates (even those who barely made it) would violate so many ethical codes that effect the lives of so many as he plans to. I hope the money that you expect to steal by forcing this sale to go through is enough to blot out the guilt of ruining the lives of people who's only aim was to do good Mr. Cox.

When you speak of "the founder of th[e] institution" who would be "spinning in his grave" due to these goings-on, I hope you're not talking about Rust, the founder of Cal Western/USIU. This sort of thing would be right up his alley. He was, I recall, a clergyman, and used that "man of the cloth" cover to bamboozle many people. In reality, he was a wheeler-dealer of the worst kind, constantly looking for new gimmicks and new venues. It took about three decades of chicanery for it to catch up to him, and for his removal (and the name change.) During his time in charge, the operation was chronically short of funds, and may actually have had negative working capital. As a result it was also very slow to pay its bills. Many people there quickly learned that a purchase order from the university was useless out in the local economy, unless they had the money to pay up front. And that is how the nickname, "USIOU" arose. No, what you are seeing here is perhaps the final chapter of a book of pseudo-religious activity that constructed a very long running academic house of cards, a facade with little behind the screen.

A thoughtful plea, indeed. I'd be curious to know more about why you and many other "clinicians" elected to attend Alliant and pay those huge fees. What sort of thing are you studying? Did Alliant have something unique to offer? Is their program highly respected in the field (whatever that is?)

One thing that can be done at the bachelors degree level is to transfer to another four-year institution and graduate from that college or university. That is, if the courses you are attempting to transfer have equivalency with those of the accepting university. Could you head out to Montezuma Mesa and be accepted into a similar degree program at SDSU? Or is this just something that is in no way feasible?

Visduh, CSPP (California School of Professional Psychology) is one of the most reputable schools in the field. Our faculty have included such icons as Jay Haley, Viginia Satir, and and Carl Whitaker. CSPP offers undergrad psych degrees, as well as masters in MFT, and Ph.D. and Psy.D as well. I choose to attend Alliant because of the history and track record. It is not just an education, it is a live changing experience. It is a professional practice university, which is more geared toward preparing students for the work force. I can tell you that I am far more knowledgeable and experienced than peers from other universities. The sky is the limit at Alliant. There have been several cases were students from Alliant present at APA conferences as undergrads. The faculty are also a major draw. Many of them are leaders in the field and possess an unmatched ability to draw out the best in every student. The classroom size is significantly smaller than competitors (15-25). I wanted to know who my professors were and them to know me. I am getting exactly what I researched and expected to get (prior to enrolling). It was also important to me that the school be accredited and a non-profit.
Perhaps my statement of being "no options" was a bit extreme. Allow me to clarify, I am not out of options, as I believe I can over-come any challenge put in my path, but this was not a challenge that I anticipated encountering from an organization that I've paid more than $80,000. I more expected to be offered a helping hand rather than struggle to remove the hand forcing my head under water. There is simply no good that can come of this. Thousands stand to lose something, while this group of investors will likely celebrate at St. Andrews golf course.

As far as why students would choose to enroll for undergraduate degrees - I really don't know. However, the training for psychologists is outstanding. As others have mentioned, CSPP has trained about half of the licensed psychologists in California. The odds are that CSPP grads have touched the life of someone you know. Being a professional practice university, the emphasis of the doctoral programs is to either be a skilled consumer of research (PsyD) or to be able to conduct more original research (PhD) while emphasizing clinical competency more than a traditional scientist-practitioner model would. This means that the people who enter these programs are dedicated to providing the best empirically-supported treatments to populations in need (e.g. children with autism, veterans with PTSD, people in chronic pain, to name a few). Other programs, especially at public universities, are more heavily focused on creating original research. While this is a noble endeavor indeed, most enter CSPP's doctoral programs because they are particularly interested in being good clinicians. If this school goes in the way of the for-profits, it could vastly impact the mental health services and professionals throughout California.

Woodsman: Yes, Alliant is known for its training of psychologists. I don't know whether this training is held in high regard by the profession. Best, Don Bauder

Visduh: I do not know the transferability of Alliant courses, but that is a critical question. Best, Don Bauder

Currentstudent: Yours is a superb post, and I hope everybody reads it. If Alliant's San Diego campus is sold, or if the institution goes for-profit, it won't be just students who are affected. It will be alumni and faculty members, too. Best, Don Bauder

Currentstudent: These are superb questions that only Cox and the Alliant administration can answer. Best, Don Bauder

Back to school in America, from South Bay to Rancho to San Francisco and beyond. In addition to the vulnerable "South of 8" demographic, the ever-malignable Iranians, and children in the yoke of public education, let us add educators and other professionals to list of fodder for the diploma mills. That diploma doesn't mean you're done, it means you're had. To maintain the expected level of professional development (not to be confused with raw ambition) most professions require an endless course of Continuing Education Units. Hmmm, I wonder where I can buy some convenient CEU's? A quick bit of penciled arithmetic… outrageous fees for a useless, but accredited, online course with a payback in just a few months at my new payroll step or should I languish at my existing pay grade, an example of the sloth and indifference of established professionals? Education is an investment in the future, so let's all take out loans. The collateral will be, put down your arithmetic pencil now, the future. So the web of for-profit schools, financial institutions, and government subsidies (especially under the new rules that make repayment the surest bet in personal finance) make an offer you can't refuse.

rehftmann: As usual, yours is a perspicacious post, posing the right questions. I hope all read it, including administrators of Alliant. Best, Don Bauder

I would like to briefly say thank you for all the positive comments. In the best case scenario, news and news-within-news, that is to say high quality blogging, contributes to democracy. Bauder's journalism and in-depth responses are a rich vein of information and discussion.

rehftmann is right, it is time to circle back to Alliant and the potential dilemna of the students. rehftmann is also right to invite readers to look at Chancellor University--a failed institution in Ohio that has a teach out agreement with Alliant. The following article is worth the read--the question of property as well as profit status--offer a lens to look through.


Thanks, Susan. I have to educate myself on the concept of a teach out agreement.

The enormity of the collection of disastrous schemes of Ed Brand almost leaves me in a state of stupefaction. Perhaps that is what has happened with the County B of E and the State B of E. No one appears to quite know how to take on this brazen creature who never stops sucking the marrow out of workable, decent educational institutions, who grows fat on the destruction of Sweetwater Union High School District and all that he touches.

eastlaker: I can't imagine that nothing can be done. This is a democracy, after all. Best, Don Bauder

This is a democracy, but watch out: tonight the teachers and the public were removed from the monthly Sweetwater Board Meeting. Ed Brand apparently isn't familiar with some of the basic tenets of democracy--or if he has a passing familiarity with them, he certainly doesn't want the constituency of Sweetwater maintaining any sort of active control. Fast Eddy wants control.

Susan Luzzaro: You are the one who deserves the praise. After all, you tipped me to this story. I carried the ball because I had previously written so much on Bridgepoint and other for-profits, and had also done a column on Michael Clifford.

I did read that Plain Dealer piece on Chancellor as I prepared for this. It is a good piece, and raises questions that should concern Alliant students, graduates, and faculty members.

You can see, Susan, that an awful lot of people are counting on you to continue your excellent coverage of this mess. Best, Don Bauder

Susan and Don - thank you for your strength, it's empowering.

shirleyberan: Susan deserves more credit than I do. Best, Don Bauder

Currentstudent: Cox's essay is an academician's way of saying, "We're broke and we don't know what the hell to do about it." Best, Don Bauder

NOTE: COX WILL TALK TO STUDENTS. I am told that there is a student town hall meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 23 in Green Hall at 10455 Pomerado Road. Dr. Cox will be there to answer questions. Best, Don Bauder

Someone needs to seriously look into Dr. Cox. The man makes well over 450K in salary and benefits and he can't keep an employee at Alliant to save his life. He makes more money that most presidents of a university and Alliant can't even make ends meet. Who justifies this salary? Alliant is in constant financial crisis and he kisses the butt of faculty so they don't throw him out like they've done to past presidents. When are they going to wake up!?! Morgan Sammons may be the only sane person in their administration but deans have no power over their faculty.

Staff layoffs, increased workloads to those who are left, no salary increases (but decreases) in the past 6 years. Staff who were laid off were offered jobs with lower salaries and more work. Faculty can't get their crap together and unite across campuses and programs to put a stop to this madness. Students think the administration is a joke. I can go on and on.

Look into his past; he wasn't successful at the last place he worked either. He is getting in bed with other rich men who are corrupt and milking the money any way they can get it without a care in the world about the institutions they get it from.

CSPP is the only school this benefit corp is interested in. The rest of the programs who aren't making any money better watch out.

anonymous: 450k does sound high for a school the size of Alliant. Best, Don Bauder

"We are only talking to University Ventures Fund about the Benefit Corporation idea," Cox wrote to his colleagues. And then came a line that frightened San Diego students: "The other strategic option we have been considering is to sell the San Diego campus as a way of raising capital."

If they are only talking, then why is he using hard selling tactics on his students via his Moodle forum? It seems that the set-up for this sell has been building up for quite a while on his part. Furthermore, everyone I have spoken with re: selling the campus would give up the campus in a heartbeat if it meant maintaining our non-profit status and abolishing this outrageous b-corp proposal.

Woodsman: I would attend the forum Cox is holding and express your opinions. Best, Don Bauder

IANAL, just an art professor, but there may be an explicit contract in degree and certificate programs. The "awards" program and the Course Outlines (i-capped because it's seriously an official thing) and even individual syllabi for specific classes offered under a Course Outline are legal documents, according to any liability-averse administrator (redundant?). There should be some formal arrangement for an accredited institution that is bailing on an award program, regardless if it is bankruptcy or higher profits (which are the same and neatly combined, apparently, in Alliant/Chancellor deal). There is no way out of a student loan. The boys from Jersey look like pre-K teachers next to the government, because G-Men don't need no baseball bats, they'll just attach your savings and pay, as you agreed to in taking the loan. You can't borrow and bail like the owners of the school, since student loans are not discharged in bankruptcy. Where, oh where, is the Gloria Allred for the student body? They are getting F'd.

rehftmann: Government overreach is definitely a problem, as is government underreach. The letter is exemplified by the Secureities and Exchange Commission, which whimpers at the feet of the big Wall Street law firms. Things may be better under the new SEC head -- something I never expected. Best, Don Bauder

Thanks for the new text abbreviation. It's not a phrase I've ever used, but it is one that I've heard others use often. Only problem is that I had to look it up. Do the rest of you all know what IANAL stands for?

Visduh: Some of my critics on this blog this I should use the appellation I. ANAL. Best, Don Bauder

Did not know that you are Hawaiian: IANAL = LANAI in anagramspeak.

shirleyberan: I haven't been asked to use it. I suppose if I wait long enough..... Best, Don Bauder

Going from Nonprofit to Profit should change a student's chance of getting a good-paying job that requires their degree from a 0.001% chance to about half that. Never get any education in anything without first consulting the Godfather who controls that specific occupation. If you do not know who that is, you will not be told, but ask anybody who holds that job themselves and they will deliver a message for you to this unknown secret entity. Often he or she has a specific university and course instruction plan that they want from you, and they may even help fund it. And, above all, get the promise of a job once you complete the plan you were given, including what salary you will receive. I teach several college courses dealing with all this secret stuff. On Facebook I am John.Kitchin1.

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