Many are still perplexed by the vaunted opening of "Alliant International University at Sweetwater" in National City. A couple weeks ago (July 20), an Alliant sign was hung over an office door, and Alliant counselor Guadalupe Corona had hung her plaques on the office wall.
Fall semester is supposed to start in two weeks but the office has been vacated and only the sign is left.
On August 5, the National City Planning Commission postponed granting a conditional use permit to Sweetwater Union High School District. The land on which National City Adult School currently sits is owned by San Diego Metropolitan Transit. The lease for the adult school, which community advocates presented to the National City council on August 6, states, “The premises is leased to Sweetwater solely for the purpose of constructing, operating and maintaining a building and facilities to serve as an adult education facility, fast food restaurant, public restrooms and joint use parking.”
It has been reported that when the Alliant counselor decamped from the adult school, the counselor set up shop in the Living Room Coffeehouse, on Southwestern College’s property.
Humberto Peraza, a trustee at Southwestern College and district director for Lorena Gonzalez, is not happy about this. In an August 9 interview, Peraza said, “First we see literature from Alliant and Sweetwater that disparages Southwestern, then reportedly they set up on our property to recruit....
“No public institution should use taxpayer money to push students to a private university that charges the outrageous sum of $620 a unit when they have a better economical and educational alternative with Southwestern at $46 a unit —and SDSU and UCSD sitting next door."
Peraza recently told El Latino that students would be paying a Stanford-style debt without getting the Stanford experience.
A brochure on Alliant International University at Sweetwater states the cost for an academic year, including books and supplies, is $17,002. An Alliant scholarship is available for freshmen for $3,067. An additional $1000 is available to students with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Federal funding is also available. However, the scholarship and federal funding is conditional on being enrolled full-time.
The memorandum of understanding signed by Sweetwater superintendent Ed Brand contains this proviso: “Courses will be offered each semester based on student interest and enrollment numbers, minimum of 15 students per course. The course cancellation policy will be instituted if numbers are low.”
Peraza says the Alliant deal has been conducted without openness and transparency. He opines that “Brand was brought in to fix a bad situation, but he has helped make the situation progressively worse. In addition to problems with Alliant, Sweetwater is borrowing heavily from Mello-Roos funds and laying the debt on our children. Brand needs to go away — on a long vacation.”
(corrected 8/12, 8:35 a.m.)