Many people were surprised to see Sweetwater superintendent Ed Brand appear at the August 19 National City Planning Commission. Brand left a regularly scheduled Sweetwater board meeting shortly after it convened to attend the meeting and promote his pet project – Alliant International University@Sweetwater (as the joint venture has been dubbed.)
Earlier this month, on August 6, Sweetwater/Alliant came before the commission to ask for a conditional use permit, which would have allowed the National City Adult School Facility to be partially used for Alliant classes. At that time, the planning commission tabled a decision on the permit until September 16 to provide the community and the proponents time to delve into the proposal.
Recently, at the behest of Brand and National City Chamber of Commerce CEO Jacqueline Reynoso, the planning commission was obliged to take up the question of calling an emergency meeting so that Alliant’s conditional use permit could be put on a faster track.
Brand told the commissioners August 19 that if the emergency meeting did not take place, it would be a hardship for students who wished to attend Alliant. He said the district had done its part—had ascertained that the adult facility would not be negatively impacted, and had made certain there was adequate parking.
A question presented by several speakers at the August 19 planning commission was: Why doesn’t Alliant go out and rent their own property and solicit their own students like other private universities located in the South Bay, why is a private institution being supported and promoted by public monies?
Some worried that Alliant will ultimately expand its campus requirements on Sweetwater campuses and drain district’s resources.
Only two years ago, in August 2012, Alliant International attempted to sell their 60-acre Scripps Ranch campus to Kaiser Permanente. The deal ultimately fell through; however, a Union Tribune article from that time states: “ At one time USIU had more than 3,500 students before encountering financial and accreditation problems. It merged with the California School of Professional Psychology in 2001 to become Alliant.”
None of the commissioners agreed with Brand and chamber of commerce head Reynoso; they found no compelling reason to hold an emergency meeting and voted unanimously to stick with the September 16 date.
The UT reported August 20 that Sweetwater/Alliant students will be transported on a university shuttle to Alliant’s main campus in Scripps Ranch for the fall semester.
A query sent by the Reader early August 20 to Manny Rubio, director of Sweetwater’s grants and communications director, asked how many student would be bused and who would pay for the busing. The query has remained unanswered.