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New Chair, Vice Chair Picked for Santa Monica College Trustees Board

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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

January 21, 2015 -- Non-international students likely won’t face a tuition hike anytime soon, thanks to an improving economy, according to the Santa Monica College Board’s newly elected chair.

“I’d be surprised if there was (financial) pressure” to prompt a tuition hike, said Rob Rader, who was elected chair by his colleagues last month. “The economy is improving. We’re out of the real crisis.”

The board recently increased tuition for international students by about $10 per unit, or close to $300 a year, Rader said. Non-international students pay $46 a unit.

About 3,300 international students attend Santa Monica College. Its total student population is about 34,000.

Santa Monica College officials announced Rader’s selection as chair in a statement Tuesday, along with the choice of board member Louise Jaffe to serve as vice chair.

Rader – who previously held the post in 2008 -- succeeds Susan Aminoff and Jaffe succeeds Rader.  Rader, who has lived in Santa Monica 16 years, was elected to the Board of Trustees in November 2004.

In an interview with the Lookout, Rader said he is particularly encouraged by Santa Monica College’s selection Tuesday as one of 15 community colleges that can offer a bachelor’s degree.

He called SMC’s new offering in the emerging field of Interaction Design the perfect “marriage of creative design with technology. We were in the right place at the right time with the right idea.”

Jaffe, meanwhile, said she is looking forward to working closely with Rader. In an interview, she also said she will be “walking the walk” with “informative, thoughtful and forward-thinking dedication.”

Rader is currently General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Ovation TV, America’s only arts cable network and available in more than 50 million cable households.

Rader previously spent nine years at MGM, where he helped run business affairs and operations for numerous departments, including the $1.2 billion home entertainment division. He also spent seven years at the law firms Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp and Morrison & Foerster before joining his own digital media and entertainment firm as a name partner.

Rader graduated with top honors from Harvard College and Harvard Law School and holds a master’s degree in sociology from Stanford Graduate School.

Recently, both the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Association of Media & Entertainment Counsel have recognized him for his in-house accomplishments. Rader is invited often to speak at industry events, including Harvardwood, SAG-AFTRA, LA Business Today, and the Producers Guild of America. He also teaches entertainment law as an adjunct professor of law at Pepperdine Law School.

Rader serves as Secretary/Treasurer of Santa Monica’s Bayside District Corporation, which manages the Third Street Promenade. He is also on the board of the KCRW Foundation. Last year, he became a 50 x 50 Champion of the Women in Public Service Project at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC.

Jaffe, a 30-year resident of Santa Monica, was re-elected in November 2014 – the second-highest vote getter in a field of six candidates for four seats.  She was first elected to the board in November 2006, serving as Chair in 2009.

Jaffe is Chair of the Community College League of California, President of the California Community College Trustees and is a Director on the Board for the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association.

She first became involved in community and education issues through her two daughters. Jaffe has been a PTA leader since the early 1990s.

Founder of the Santa Monica Lifelong Learning Community Project, Jaffe is also a founding member of the political action committee Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS). She continues to serve on the PTA Council as liaison to SMC, is a member of the Santa Monica Cradle-to-Career Work Group, and the Santa Monica Child Care and Early Education Task Force.

Jaffe earned a doctorate in educational leadership from UCLA in 2012 with an award-winning dissertation on improving college readiness.

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