Outraged by the Board’s treatment of Oscar winner and PCC alumnus Dustin Lance Black, a long-time dean and professor at UCLA sent a scathing letter to Board President Anthony Fellow expressing his anger and disbelief.

Robert Rosen Dean Emeritus and Professor, of Film, TV and Digital Media UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television
Photo Courtesy of Robert Rosen,
Dean Emeritus and Professor, of Film, TV and Digital Media
UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television

“Shame on you for turning the victim of an illegal and immoral transgression into its perpetrator,” Dean Emeritus and Professor at UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television Robert Rosen wrote.

Black, who is also an alumnus from UCLA, first was invited to be the spring commencement speaker at PCC, but said he was later disinvited by the Board.

The college disinvited Black citing intimate photographs of Black with a former boyfriend which surfaced on the internet in 2009.

Black used the power of the word as his weapon to strike back at the Board by releasing an open letter addressed to PCC students. The Courier ran the letter on Thursday and it garnered global attention in the media.

Rosen explains why he felt he had to write the letter to the Board President.

“I was compelled to write the letter to Fellow because I was outraged and embarrassed for PCC, what a black eye this is for that school,” Rosen said in an interview.

“We are very proud of Dustin being one of our graduates and I don’t understand why PCC’s Board is not proud of Dustin’s association with PCC,” he said.

Rosen makes it clear that he is speaking for himself not UCLA. Rosen was a dean and chair for twenty years and a faculty member for 35 years at UCLA and has worked extensively with Black.

“Dustin reflects the wealth of talent we hope to continue to attract from California’s fine community colleges and Dustin represents that,” Rosen said.

The college released a statement on Friday which said that they will issue an official response on Monday to the commencement speaker controversy.

“Pasadena City College is busy today assembling facts on the chain of events connected with the choice by the College of a commencement speaker. The College will provide a statement on Monday of what it has learned. It would be inappropriate to comment further on this subject until this review has been conducted. Thank you,” the statement read.

The Courier obtained Rosen’s letter to Fellow and can be read in full below.


Dear Mr. Fellow:

Shame on you!

Shame on you for turning the victim of an illegal and immoral transgression into its perpetrator. Shame on you for undermining the reputation of Pasadena City College as a place for free and open discourse. Shame on you for embarrassing your faculty, students and staff and all those at your school who stand for free speech, cultural diversity and the importance of social engagement. They deserve better.

Based on my experience of thirty-five years as Professor, Department Chair or Dean at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television I fully concur in the overwhelming admiration of our School for Dustin Lance Black’s artistry, moral integrity and principled social advocacy. Professionally, personally and as an engaged citizen he represents the best of what we hope for in our program and, I might add, he also reflects the wealth of talent we hope to continue to attract from California’s fine community colleges.

Through your insensitivity you have damaged the reputation of your school, misrepresented your students and faculty, and betrayed the trust of the people of Pasadena. Moral cowardice, political expediency and shoddy reasoning are not the hallmarks of any leader, let alone the leader of an institution of higher learning, and least of all the leader of an institution committed to serving the public.


Robert Rosen

Dean Emeritus and Professor, of Film, TV and Digital Media

UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television


10 Replies to “Former UCLA Dean to PCC: ‘Shame on you!’”

  1. Why are college decisions made by a board anyway? They need no qualifications to serve other than getting their names on a ballot. Theoretically, candidates for Pasadena City College’s board could be randomly picked from any local phonebook and could do as good a job as the current board in ruining the school’s reputation. Case in point: fossilized trustee Jeanette Mann defended Eric Walsh when he was harshly criticized for his retrograde views of gays and his ignorance of Evolution.

    Leave major decisions up to faculty, most of whom will serve for 30 years or more in teaching and managerial positions and, therefore, will have a vested interest in the college’s reputation.

    This board should be voted out, and the president should resign.

  2. Shame on all of us for allowing a clueless, out-of-touch BOT and a caustic, destructive administration to continue to ru(i)n PCC. They’ve made the whole school look foolish on a national level and they’re squandering the good-will (and tax revenues) of the community.

  3. Students first: Please, take a moment to breathe. Now, gather your composure and let’s have a conversation.

    If I am to believe your statements, you believe that intimate sexual actions between two people that love each other transform us in to fodder for voyeurs and constitutes the loss of our right to privacy?

    DLB is a victim because a crime was committed against him. This is not an issue of gay or straight or, no matter how strongly you feel, opinion on his actions. His actions were in his bedroom with someone he trusted. Are you saying that we are not supposed to have any expectation of privacy in our love life?

    What about when I was deployed to Iraq for 9 months at a time and my partner decided to share an intimate picture with me? Is she “asking for it” because she was looking in to the camera? Is it any of your business?

    DLB’s private property was stolen. This is a crime. He was a victim. By reintroducing this incident as though it were some naughty act of promiscuity, as Fellows did, WE have revictimized Dustin. By the gall of you to write such words with no consideration to the feelings of a man that is fighting for the progress of humanity while contributing to its artistic history, WE have revictimized Dustin.

    I support Dustin Lance Black because he has shown himself to be a great man.

    1. What does DLB’s battle to suppress his turgid penis pictures (which he voluntarily posed for and voluntarily allowed a 3rd party to control) have to do with me and my commencement?

      DLB is a gay man advocating for gay men. How brave and noble…not.

      He is a jackass for drawing all this media attention to PCC over something he had 100% ability to prevent by simply not posing for the porn pics.

      Is he here to give us a speech on avoiding personal responsibility and blaming others for your bad choices?

      So his privacy was invaded (he claims)? Why is he invading my commencement?

      1. Your comments speak multitudes about you. Instead of participating in a conversation, you turn to hate and shame speech.

        I am sorry you feel this way, however, please understand that this is not your commencement – it is our commencement. Also, he did not draw media attention, it was drawn to him in a spiral that started with news articles.

        I am also sorry that you are not understanding of diverse communities, such as the LGBTQ community, and I hope that you open yourself to more reasonable conversations in the future that will help you gain perspective on issues. These issues have a ripple effect on your life and, while you may not agree with the lifestyle of others, it behooves us all to respect the choices of others.

        This is also not an issue of being gay. This is an issue of re-victimization. Regardless of your opinions on nudity in photos, a crime was committed against him.

        Just remember one thing: Today it may be him, but tomorrow it could be you.

      2. Students First,

        Please stop commenting.

        It does not seem like you fully understand the core issue being argued by Marshall Lewis; it is not about gay rights, it is about the public humiliation of retracting an invitation to an individual to be a guest speaker during the commencement ceremony simply because they were victims of a crime. The Board felt that regardless of the ruling by the court, which ruled in favor of Mr. Black and named him victim, the past images would still damage PCC’s image.

        First, Dustin Lance Black is a Pasadena City College alumni and one of its most accomplished graduates. The very thought of being afraid over the negative image having DLB as a guest speaker may portray on the school tells us that the Board is unaware of its large LGBTQ community on campus, several people are victims of similar invasions of privacy but it is not beneficial to anyone, especially the victims, to publicly ostracize them.

        Second, the Board of Trustees failed its purpose as representatives of the college, faculty and staff, and of the students who attend PCC to provide a safe and open environment because it chose to put its own self-centered opinions over the alumni’s personal feelings. Instead of addressing the issue in a more professional manner, the Board chose to reopen an old and painful wound for Mr. Black by withdrawing his invitation to be a guest speaker without any reasonable justification. The Boards reason for withdrawing its invitation to DLB was pathetic and instead added insult to injury. This embarrassing event will have tremendously more damage to the schools image as a pose to any, if any, had DLB been a a guest speaker.

        Students First do not be blind to see you are doing the same thing the Board is doing, you are further damaging the schools image due to your continued ignorance of the situation and you are also failing to make any coherent argument as to why the decision to withdraw the invitation was justified or fair.

        I ask you again, please stop continuing to damage PCC’s image and that of past, current, and future Lancers because you want to troll a comment section on the Courier website to seek attention.

        Marshall Lewis was more than willing to debate you, if you so decided to accept his challenge, but arguing with an ignorant person whose only only makes the arguer more ignorant.

        As a fellow Lancer alumni like Mr. Black, I hope that the college can move forward from this unfortunate and embarrassing event and emerge as a more accepting institution and unified college that embraces all of its students, past and present, regardless of their race, gender, beliefs, religion, ethnicity, and sexual preference.

        Thank you for your time.

        Omar V.

  4. go on the internet. search for naked dustin lance black and then simply look at the photos.

    Black is posing and staring directly into the camera. He fully participated in the taking of the photos.

    And we are supposed to believe that he is a 100% little innocent lamb that was “victimized”.

    please. pose for naked porn pics that someone else physically controls and you don’t expect them to get out?

    this commencement is about the STUDENTS…not shrieking self-centered GAY RIGHTS ACTIVISTS

    1. Have you read any of the articles? He’s not claiming that the photos were taken without his knowledge or that was not a willing participant in them. He’s claiming that the photos were distributed without his knowledge. Those are two very different things.

    2. Thanks for your comment–I had to change my safe-search settings on Bing to see the pics–good grief! Black admits that it was a mistake to do the photos but why can’t he just sue the college and move on? Deals get broken in Hollywood all the time so why is this one any different? I doubt if all of this outrage against PCC will accomplish anything–from now on PCC will be very careful in any dealings with openly gay people to avoid another mess like this one.

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