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LAVC Full-Time Faculty Running Off Students – Preventing Graduation

by Anonymous
For nearly two decades Eric Swelstad, Department Chair of Los Angeles Valley College has used his position to run off students, sabotage their education and prevent graduation – all with the former Campus Omsbudsman Annie G Reed's collusion.
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Starting in May 2023, multiple articles and original source documents have been published on IndyBay during the past nine months putting a spotlight on the scams, scandals and racketeering schemes at Los Angeles Valley College – a junior college in the Los Angeles Community College District nestled in Valley Glen, between Van Nuys, Studio City, Valley Village and North Hollywood Neighborhoods.

‘Erika Endrijonas Faces New Questions in LACCD Fraud’ | May 2, 2023

‘Dozen LAVC Cinema Student Narratives Challenges Erika Endrijonas’s Success Story’ | May 5, 2023

‘L.A. City College Presidential Hopeful Fostered Retaliation Culture as LAVC President’ | May 8, 2023

Articles detailing student grievances about the mis-management of the LAVC Media Arts Department that were brought to both the Accrediting Commission and the LACCD Board of Trustees. These articles detail how Department Chair Eric Swelstad failed to provide the education advertised and engaged in retaliation towards students with the Administration’s cooperation.

New documents – emails, messages, etc . . . also show that while refusing to provide the education LAVC advertised, he also alternatively encouraged students to take courses at other colleges, while simultaneously refusing to award credit for courses taken at other colleges – including Santa Monica College.

He also allowed full-time Broadcasting Professor Jason Beaton and L.A. City College Cinema Professor Dylan Shields (formerly an adjunct at Los Angeles Valley College) to refuse to award credit for courses already taken at SMC, forcing students to retake curriculum, they’d already completed, at LAVC – while also being unable to take many of these classes as they were often not available. Prior to this, despite receiving a lucrative grant from the State of California to provide Post-Production classes, Eric Swelstad repeatedly scheduled classes on days that students couldn’t attend and told them to go take the class at Pierce College – while also blocking students who did so from counting curriculum from other campuses at LAVC.

Worse, Annie G. Reed aka Annie Goldman aka Annie Reed, the then Campus Omsbudsman was aware of these accreditation violations and refused to report them to the Vice-President of Academic Affairs, or the President of the College. Reed’s deranged behavior was extensively covered in several articles last year.

LAVC Omsbudsman Stalked Whistleblowers | August 8, 2023

Update: LAVC Administrator Retaliated Against Student Whistleblowers She Stalked | August 16, 2023

Finally, messages between students show that after sabotaging student completion of the Post-Production and Broadcasting Tracks, Dept Chair Eric Swelstad attempted to completely derail the Cinema Program Graduation.

Between 2011 – 2017, LAVC never offered the full Advanced Motion Picture Production Workshop required for graduation. Spring 2017, Eric Swelstad finally put the class on the schedule in response to no less than two accreditation complaints, complaints to the LACCD Board of Trustees and a petition of over twenty students to the President of Los Angeles Valley College.

But then, in trademark fashion, Swelstad attempted to sabotage the class enrollment as well. Multiple students emailed Swelstad due to declining student enrollment asking for verification that the class would still go on receiving no answer. A non-existent prequisite class that had been archived in 2013, was “mistakenly” added to the Spring schedule preventing student enrollment.
Finally out of frustration, multiple students quit LAVC and went to L.A. City College to try and take the needed class only to be told by Eric Swelstad they should graduate there.

This behavior by Eric Swelstad was documented years prior in a lawsuit filed in 2008, as well as in multiple student complaints to Los Angeles Valley College, apparently without result.
Last year another prospective cinema student ‘Brandon T’ left this review on Yelp, attesting that Eric Swelstad is continuing to play the same games of running off students and sabotaging student completion.

Yelp Review


"So I reached out to admissions to ask about availability of these classes, & after long hold times, I was transferred to a counselor who said that I could schedule an appointment for like 2 weeks from now, or come in as a walk-in. I pointed out that in 2 weeks, these courses could be full (assuming they were even on the calendar?). Still no help, or attempt on her part to search these 2 classes by name/keyword.

“At this point, I use the convoluted site to find the name/contact info for the Dept Chair for the area of study those courses fell under (and since I don't want to call anyone out by name here, their name rhymed with Carrick Hellglad). I call the number listed for him & I leave a polite VM asking about these courses, would I be eligible to take them if I'm not a FT student, are they still even offered?

I have to make a followup call a week later, then finally send a polite email so I have a paper trail. No reply a week later, 2 weeks later, 3 weeks later, even after I've since edited my subject line to ask if he's on leave/vacay? (and even if he was, there's no out-of-office reply/refer to other people who can help me etc).

To this day, no reply. No answers. Just getting my hopes up only to end up completely wasting of my time seeking answers to what I'd like to think are relatively simple/direct questions. And while that review was probably a lot to read-- hell, the original a lot more so, just outlining my attempts to reason w/ these admissions officers, or give this dept. chair an out (he could've simply said that those 2 courses aren't offered next semester & you'd have to be a FT junior/senior to take them, and I would've moved on)-- consider this a necessary disclaimer/warning.

Seriously, if they can be so indifferent to a prospective student, do you REALLY want to find yourself investing in a program only to potentially face such lack of help/effort from multiple people over several semesters/years??”

Branton T – August 19 2023

The goal of this behavior appears to have been a combo of petty sqaubling and department infighting, as well hamstringing students to delay completion forcing continuous enrollment to keep up retention.

Some of this was covered previously;

visible linked text'Two Los Angeles Film Professors Bilked Taxpayers Over $3.5 Million Dollar' May 21, 2023 i

Meanwhile, Full-Time Professor Jason Beaton has spent the past two months pushing a PR narrative non-reflective of actual LAVC student experiences, with puff pieces in the L.A. Valley Star – Los Angeles Valley College's school newspaper also controlled by the Media Arts Department.

Former rock ‘n’ roller James Morris hits all the right notes at Valley College | January 31, 2024

Valley College sees double digit enrollment increase | Dec 7, 2023



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