February 27, 2023
To the Southern California Public Radio Gala Committee,
I was disheartened to see that Miguel Santana has been selected as a “Guardian of Democracy” at your upcoming gala.
Mr. Santana is the Board Chair at Whittier College, my Alma mater. His recent actions poise him far from a guardian of democracy. At a recent virtual meeting of the Board, Mr. Santana blocked two long-time trustees who have donated well over a million dollars a piece to the college from attending the meeting. During the time that they were blocked, he allowed the board to vote to suspend these two board members without providing evidence as to any wrong-doing or allowing the two to ask questions. The board bylaws do not allow for a suspension. Mr. Santana has evaded answering any questions about his actions.
To excuse his actions and to hide behind closed doors and virtual meetings, Mr. Santana and the current leadership of the college have consistently lied about supposed threats to their safety and have indicated they have been working with local law enforcement. Even when provided with a response from Whittier Police Department and the City of Whittier to o a FOIA request that indicated no threats were reported, they still maintain this lie.
In addition to his bad faith board decision, he has been embroiled in the current leadership scandal at Whittier College. He has allowed the president of the college to lead by fear and intimidation. Faculty and Staff of the college are afraid to speak out for fear of reprisal. Alumni, former employees, and former trustees of the college have come together to express their concerns about the president’s leadership and Mr. Santana’s complicity in creating the crisis at the college. Almost 300 alumni have come together to sign a letter in support of faculty, staff and students. Inside Higher Ed has written about the college and the LA Times is currently investigating the college as well. I encourage you to review the articles and letters available online at savewhittiercollege.com.
Mr. Santana is in no position to be honored as a guardian of democracy while acting in a completely contrary manner in his professional life.
I encourage you to reconsider your decision to honor Mr. Santana.