Behind the accreditation jargon: real goals for learning
Evidence. Performance indicators. “The prize.” It’s not CSI: Chico, but rather the launching of a new accreditation process for Chico State University, with the emphasis on the new.

Chico State officials, led by Vice Provost Arno Rethans, are starting work on the first stage of the process needed to win re-accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Chico State must have its “institutional proposal” in to the WASC by October to start the process for the “educational effectiveness review” set for 2006-07.

The last time the WASC visited and accredited Chico State was in 1995, and the process and philosophy have changed since then. “This process is far, far better than the other one,” said President Manuel Esteban. Essentially, said Rethans, the accreditation people don’t want to know just what the school has in place for students to learn. They also want to know that it’s working.

As Provost Scott McNall put it: “How are we structuring the environment to help students learn?” “The prize” is educational effectiveness.

Some professors at the Feb. 4 Academic Senate meeting wondered whether the university shouldn’t just go through the motions to make the WASC happy, but Rethans felt strongly that what the university tells WASC it’s doing should be what it really wants to do. Getting accredited and making for better learning “should not be mutually exclusive,” he said. “I would rather spend the effort on doing something right rather than just complying.”

Rethans said that, whatever one calls it, Chico State will “look good like we should in the year 2007.”

Long-dormant NAACP back in action
The Butte County office of the NAACP is hoping to revive and rejuvenate its membership after a long period of inactivity, an association spokesman said. The group will hold a meeting Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m., at the Southside Oroville Community Center to lay out its strategic goals and talk about how to attract new members.

“We really have not been doing much of anything lately,” Secretary Derrick Booth said. “We’ve already identified our strategic points; now we’re looking for some community involvement.”

The branch, designated as a “unit” rather than a chapter because of its relatively small size, hopes to concentrate its future efforts on education, economic development and legal redress, Booth said. Local expansion efforts come at a time when the national organization is attempting to broaden its agenda to include more international concerns, a move leaders hope may earn the NAACP special “consultative status” with the United Nations.

Glue you
Several downtown business owners found themselves locked out of their shops Sunday morning after vandals used epoxy and pennies to glue their locks shut. Deborah Cannon, co-owner of Gigi and Lulu’s, both of which were affected, said perhaps 20 businesses were hit during the night.

“They put Krazy Glue or some kind of epoxy in the locks and then put a penny over [the keyholes],” she said. “They got everybody on my side of the street.”

Cannon said it appeared the perpetrators hit several businesses on both Second and Main streets. Damage to her doors set her back about $60 per lock.

“The girl from Subway [sandwiches] was practically in tears,” Cannon said, adding that she tried to call both the police non-emergency line and 911 but got no response from either number.

An employee at Johnny’s Lock & Safe confirmed the damage, saying, “Monday morning was very busy for us.”

Donna Bristol, owner of Johnny’s, said glued locks have to be drilled, removed and replaced. She suggests businesses install surveillance cameras, as there is no way to protect locks from being damaged by glue.

Chico police said they had no knowledge of the incident but are familiar with the prank, which occurs often on high-school campuses.