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Wednesday January 29, 2014, 1:22 p.m.
By Brian Hews and Brian Hews
Robert “Bob” Chester has resigned his position as President of the Cerritos College Faculty Senate as well as the Coordinator of Judicial Affairs for the campus in a stunning email to members of the Board of Trustees and other campus officials on Wednesday morning.
Chester has been a controversial and divisive figure at the Norwalk based campus for the past several years.
Chester in his letter, obtained by HMG-CN, stated: “Colleagues, friends, and others: It has become absolutely clear to me that because of the continued personal attacks against me – some you know about, and some you do not – that it is no longer possible for me to effectively represent faculty members in the senate or to handle matters in Judicial Affairs.”
“I am stepping down from both positions as of today,” Chester wrote. He went on to state: “Thank you to everyone who has supported me, and I sincerely wish you all the best. As always, Bob.”
Chester will maintain his position as a Professor in the English Department.
Currently, Chester is one of the key players in a criminal probe of former Marine veteran Daniel Beckham who is now facing 12 felony counts in a grade rigging scheme. Beckham has maintained his innocence in the matter in several past interviews with Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper.
Chester has been a lightning rod on the campus during the past years.
Last year, HMG-CN reported that Chester went on a public rant during a meeting when he called Cerritos College a “homophobic institution.” His comments were quickly denounced by several students, and many called for him resignation.
On Tuesday, Chester apparently went on another “vulgar” rant during a meeting of the Faculty Senate and his remarks were immediately denounced by Philosophy professor Ted Stoltz.
Stoltz wrote Chester after the meeting the following email, that was obtained by HMG-CN.
“At today’s faculty senate meeting I was deeply offended by your vulgar attempt to explain why there would be no cookies available (I won’t relate the “joke”),” Stoltz wrote.
“I don’t care how you speak in private, but I do care as a colleague how my senate president addresses a public meeting. Sexist humor in such a forum is not acceptable,” Stolze continued.
“Moreover, near the end of the meeting you expressed your view that the current Board of Trustees is threatening the very existence of our school. This is at least the third time I have heard you publicly engage in such polemics, and, frankly, I am tired of them,” Stolze wrote.
“Although I do not make a habit of uncritically supporting anyone in a position of authority, I cannot for the life of me understand why you are so threatened by the new Board of Trustees. This Board, like any, has its flaws, but it is more diverse and representative of the communities that our college serves than any I have seen since I’ve taught here (ten years). Clearly we have a difference of judgment. But that’s not the issue,” Stolze said.
“I don’t care as a colleague whether or not you criticize board members in private, but I do care how my senate president addresses a public meeting. Trashing duly elected officials in a public meeting over which you preside is not acceptable,” Stoltze stated in his letter.
“I shall unfailingly support you or any other colleague who exercises his or her academic freedom in any campus forum. But I shall not hesitate to exercise my own when I believe that a colleague has overstepped the bounds of responsible speech,” Stolze concluded.
HMG-CN will be publishing an audio version of Chester’s remarks from the Faculty Senate Meeting as soon as it becomes available from Cerritos College officials.
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