A part-time professor at Miramar College is suing the school for retaliating against him after he complained that several guns used for police training courses were unregistered, not stored properly, and in some cases turned up missing.
Adjunct professor Jim Soeten, who taught courses in the Administration of Justice Department since 2002, says problems began in October 2014 when his colleague Jordan Omens brought a loaded gun to a faculty meeting.
Omens, says the lawsuit, was upset with Soeten and other department members over accusations that he had fudged his time cards. College administrators placed Omens on leave for bringing the firearm to the meeting. He was later reinstated.
Soeten worried that Omens was a loose canon. He complained to the dean of public safety, George Beitey, that he believed Omens possessed guns that were meant for police-training courses.
Beitey, according to the lawsuit, "ordered Soeten to stop making complaints about the missing, stolen, and unregistered firearms as neither he nor his superiors at Miramar wanted to know of any missing firearms because they just wanted it to quietly go away, in other words, sweep it under the rug. Beitey also ordered Soeten to not speak with the media regarding any problems at Miramar or [the San Diego Community College District], including but not limited to, the missing, stolen, and unregistered firearms."
In May 2015, Soeten applied for a full-time teaching position at Miramar College, one that Beitey and others assured him he was a top candidate for. Despite his high ranking, Soeten was passed up for the job, a decision that he believes is retaliation for his complaints of a lack of gun safety on campus.
In October 2015, Soeten discovered yet another unregistered gun in Omen's office.
"...Beitey and campus police were notified. Soeten once again reiterated how the college is missing firearms and was again ordered to keep quiet. Upon information and belief, in excess of 30 firearms have been found throughout Omens' work space."
In February 2016, as reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Soeten filed a claim with the San Diego Community College District, a precursor to a lawsuit.
Two months later, in April 2016, Soeten interviewed for another full-time teaching position. He again was passed up. Soeten filed his lawsuit less than a week later.