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Trial date set for former GCC teacher

History professor says college officials conspired against his application for tenured position.

September 27, 2010|By Max Zimbert,

A former Glendale Community College professor's civil lawsuit alleging his professionalism was tainted by a prejudiced hiring committee is scheduled for a March trial date, officials said.

Leon Waszak said his roughly 15 years teaching history at Glendale Community College made him the ideal choice for a vacant tenured position responsible for world and Western history in the social sciences department.

But college officials conspired against his application in a prejudiced hiring process that favored a younger female candidate, according to the civil complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.


"They were tailoring this position for this one outcome," Waszak said. "It's a procedural way of, sort of, poisoning the pool."

College President/Supt. Dawn Lindsay declined to comment on personnel issues. College officials denied any wrongdoing, and lawyers for both sides are scheduling depositions, said Waszak's attorney, Kevin Lacey.

Waszak, now 55 and an instructor at Cerritos College, said the case is meant to restore his professionalism that was tainted in the allegedly rigged hiring process.

"I prefer just getting the job, if the truth be known; that would be the satisfactory thing for me," he said. "The ultimate goal was to get a full-time position because by all indications, everyone thought I'd get it, except for these people who had a different agenda in mind."

Several college instructors in the social sciences and faculty union conspired to lose Waszak's application and dismiss his presentation to the hiring committee, according to the civil complaint.

The hiring committee, Waszak argues, turned on him after he presented a research paper in the United Kingdom. The social sciences department approved his $4,300 in travel and expenses, but then reneged, he alleges. According to the complaint, college officials wanted the money back, and Waszak's refusal created division and discord.

"This was something built up to, they gave me bad hours, all these things, to get me out of the picture," Waszak said. "They always say they have a process; they always speak in generalities, but they never come clean about what it is."

He reapplied, getting all 10 of his references to resubmit their recommendations. He said he felt like his presentation to the hiring committee, on 19th century imperialism, was a home run. The committee did not, and ultimately favored a candidate with a background in women's studies for the position teaching history.

"My professional reputation is, in a way, being undermined by what these people were doing," Waszak said.

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