New College of California

As a New College of California alumnus and former editor at the New College Independent Alumni Association, I — along with many others — was dismayed when our alma mater was closed by the U.S. Department of Education in 2007. Given the level of fraud and mismanagement of federal funds by the trustees of the school, it was inevitable but still heartbreaking for those of us who contributed to its finer points.

In January 2008, I published Waco on Valencia: Distressing Truths About New College, a compilation of selected articles, letters, stories and reports about the demise of New College of California. The documents in this anthology, publicly unavailable anywhere else in published form, tell the inside story of how the cabal of trustees, that comprised a cult of mismanagement under Peter Gabel, slowly over a fourteen year period managed to destroy what the community of San Francisco had so painstakingly constructed as a labor of love since 1971.

While the story initially broke in the San Francisco Bay Guardian in the mid-1990s, it took a bit longer for the cronyism and corruption under Gabel and his sycophants to finally do the school in. For historians and former students and faculty, Waco on Valencia attests to both the noble dream and sordid reality of a once marvelous institution.