SWC Professors Won't Face Charges Over Campus Rally

Criminal charges will not be filed against three Southwestern College professors involved in a recent on-campus rally, 10News reported.

  • Nick Alioto Letter To College

    On Friday, about 300 students and faculty members rallied in protest of the school's free speech rules.

    "I think we're all here because we love this college," said Rep. Bob Filner, who joined the rally against Southwestern College's rules regarding when and where students can gather to protest.

    "Apparently, the district feels we need to ask permission to voice our opinions," said faculty union president Phil Lopez.

    Friday's rally was a reaction to a rally three weeks ago about school budget cuts that turned into a march on school President Raj Chopra's office. The administration suspended three professors with pay after the rally, including Lopez. The administrators said the professors incited the students, and the school opened an investigation to consider criminal charges.

    The administration announced they would call off the investigation and not file criminal charges. In a letter sent to the college community, it said the administration "has agreed to demonstrate its desire to move forward together and the college police have agreed to discontinue the investigation."

    Lopez said the faculty union will not file a lawsuit because the faculty members -- who have been reinstated -- were paid during their suspensions, and convincing a jury of any damages would be too difficult.

    Instead, they will continue to rally to save more than 400 class offerings that are the latest victim of sweeping state budget cuts.

    "That's 15,000 to 16,000 students who will be denied a place here at Southwestern College," said Lopez.

    The administration said there will likely be more cuts before all is said and done.

    "We believe it will be a lot worse in the coming couple of years," said Southwestern College official Nick Alioto.

    School administrators said they are also reconsidering campus policies regarding when and where rallies can be held.