Monday, February 02, 2009

Former director Arthur Lopez sues Southwestern College

Ex-official at college files suit to return
By Chris Moran
San Diego Union-Tribune
January 31, 2009

CHULA VISTA — A Southwestern College administrator who resigned last year amid allegations of sexual harassment has filed a lawsuit against the college to get his job back.

Arthur Lopez resigned in June as director of financial aid.

A student services assistant claimed in a complaint to the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing that she had sex with Lopez to keep her job. Martha Jimenez alleges that Lopez would tell her during their sexual encounters to remember who got her the job and that she soon faced a performance evaluation.

Jimenez filed a lawsuit against the college, Lopez and two other administrators last summer.

Lopez's attorney said at the time that the allegations were false.

Lopez, who filed his lawsuit last month, seeks to be reinstated to his job, with its annual salary of $118,704. He also seeks an unspecified amount for damages.

The most recent lawsuit paints a different picture of the relationship between Lopez and Jimenez. It describes their eight-month relationship as consensual.

In 2007, a year and a half after the relationship ended, the college launched two investigations – one to determine whether Jimenez had received favorable treatment as a result of the relationship, and another to determine whether she had been sexually harassed.

Both investigations cleared Lopez, according to his lawsuit. The college would not comment on the suit.

Last April, college President Raj Chopra sent Lopez a letter informing him that he was being placed on administrative leave and being recommended for termination, according to the suit. The letter was sent a week after the college's governing board renewed Lopez's contract for the 2008-09 academic year.


Sherrie said...

There was never a question as to whether or not the "relationship" was consensual. The facts surrounding what Lopez's actions were when Ms. Jimenez tried to end the relationship are what Mr. Lopez would like to divert everyone's attention from. When Ms. Jimenez tried to end the relationship, Mr. Lopez, in a desperate, mid-life crisis attempt threatened Ms. Jimenez with his statement: "Remember why it is you have your job". The implication is clear. Mr. Lopez should never be allowed to return to SWCC. Nor should Mr. Sandoval. Their behavior was and remains reprehensible, unethical, and illegal. For SWCC to reinstate these men sends a clear message to other institutions that they do, in fact, and in deed, support this kind of behavior.

SWCC's hiring practices are in serious need of investigation. It's not what you know, or how qualified you are that gets you hired, or that helps you to retain your job; it's who you know and what you've done for them that keeps you employed, and keeps you employed "comfortably" there.

Maura Larkins said...

I substituted the words "Miss X" for the name of the woman discussed in the following comment that was left anonymously:

Arthur Lopez had another sexual relationship with a subordinate employee, Miss X. He had "evaluated" her over a period of time and then promoted her from Technician to Specialist. Miss X is a lonely single mother and was a willing sexual partner for Arthur Lopez. Arthur Lopez had Miss X promoted without her even having to apply and interview for her "position". Arthur Lopez had arranged for the "position" to not be advertised internally to the current Southwestern College employees or to be advertised externally to the general public. Miss X is still in her same "position" with Southwestern College to this day.

There is a difference between a willing female sexual partner like Miss X who gives everything she can to please her boss to get what she wants versus an unwilling female employee who has become trapped as a victim of sexual harassment.

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Maura Larkins said...

The following comment seems to be an honest evaluation of a public entity's hiring practices. In a society where blacks are shamefully deprived of so much, it seems believable that their are small pockets where blacks receive some advantages. I would like to see fairness in all public entities, but I suspect that whites will continue to receive the lion's share of the advantages in this country.

I, too, am troubled by the fact that US-born people of Mexican descent are so often left out of the American dream. It's a disgrace that only 19% of young Latino males graduate from Los Angeles Unified School District (according to statistics released a couple of years ago).

I would like to see Mexico treat its own people better. If Lopez and Sandoval really cared about Mexicans, they would use their position to work for change in Mexcio.

I removed the name of one minor employee from the following comment.

Anonymous said...

On Sat, Jul 24, 2010 at 7:55 AM, Anonymous wrote:

One positive area about Southwestern College is that the Faculty is very good to exceptional in what they do. But I agree with the comments that Sherrie said... above that the hiring decisions by Southwestern College need to be investigated. I am someone who has was asked to serve on SWC hiring committees and I won't do it anymore. I will tell you the truth about what goes on in the SWC hiring committees and understand that if SWC employees ever complain or talk about the hiring committee decisions made at SWC - they will be fired!

First, Greg Sandoval and Arthur Lopez both used to have a major influence over hiring decisions. They ran the SWC personnel office with hiring decisions -promotions - salaries - and how good or how bad the employees are treated and intimidated by the current mean SWC personnel office director. Unbelievably to the public now, Greg Sandoval and Arthur Lopez were always serving on hiring committees too.

Second, if any SWC employees are from Tijuana they will get special treatment over other SWC employees from the U.S. SWC considers itself a college to serve Mexico and that SWC should be entitiled to receive US state and federal dollars for operating expenses. SWC considers mexicans from Tijuana as better success stories for their students over the US mexicans from California. It doesn't even matter to SWC that the SWC mexican employees from Tijuana only have high school educations from Mexico while the SWC mexican employees from California have more experience and more education.

Third, the SWC administration is scared of the SWC black employees. A few years ago the SWC black employees made a complaint to the NAACP about SWC and the NAACP audited SWC. After that audit the SWC black employees began to get big salary increases and promotions and new black applicants were hired too whether they were qualified or not. This special treatment for SWC black employees still goes on to this day. It is well known too that the SWC black employees cannot be approached for any inappropriate behavior or for poor work performance. The NAACP threatened SWC so badly that a fallacy began that SWC black employees are somehow more ethnic because of skin color than SWC spanish employees. Even though the SWC black employees speak only one language and aren't immigrants...

Fourth, during the hiring committee process of interviewing job applicants I have seen firsthand where the fix was in on who was going to get hired or promoted from inside Southwestern College. It didn't matter that the outside applicants performed better in their interviews and had better background experience and higher educations. It is disgusting and that is what goes on at SWC.

SWC also has phony hiring compliance officers who sometimes sit in with the SWC hiring committees. Usually they are elderly retired Ex-SWC employees from the past who have nothing more to do. They are just elderly figureheads that have no true direction over what is occurring in front of them.

For example they are like the elderly figurehead boss Uncle Junior Soprano on the television show or just like the elderly figurehead SWC college president - Raj K. Chopra. Chopra is about eighty years old and was a retired senior citizen who never worked at a college before SWC hired him to be the college president. That should tell the public something about SWC and about how all the hiring decisions at SWC should be investigated.

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