Motivational seminar leads to gridlock and cancelled classes at Fresno State

FRESNO, California

Not everybody could get in one of the key motivational speakers didn't show up. Traffic was so bad students and professors couldn't get to their classes.

Selena Alvarado and her friends all came from Visalia to see the event and were unable to find a seat. "Well we're just looking for a seat we're pretty excited to see this motivated seminar but parking was a pain, the freeway traffic, we literally left Visalia at 7 o'clock and we've been looking for a seat."

The crowds came to see the big name speakers, like Colin Powell, and Rudy Giuliani. After each speech they got a pitch for investment products, and a chance to go out in the lobby and buy.

Lyndy Rice of Fresno thought it was great. "I think it's been very motivating." She also said she bought a package of online investment classes.

But Tom Dominguez of Coalinga was a little leery of the packages they were selling. He said he was suspicious of the stock buying program, and didn't buy. "No, no substitute for hard work."

But this event held on the Fresno State Campus kept a lot of professors and instructors from getting to work. English Professor Lisa Weston describes what it was like to get on campus. "Chaos, shambles. It was frankly quite hellacious."

It was also tough on students like Richard Kramer. "I couldn't even drive down the street."

And once he managed to get to class. "We just sat there and waited and the teacher never showed up."

Several classes were cancelled. It was a big setback for many students, and Professor Weston believes, a setback for education. "The message somehow that your ability to get onto campus to teach a class, your ability to get onto campus to take a class a less important than a motivational speakers conference or whatever it is."

Professor Weston says she hopes the administration learns from this and doesn't schedule another big event on a school day.

The sponsors of "Get Motivated" say it was a success even though Joe Montana was not able to come. They believe they attracted twice as many people as they did when they brought this seminar to Fresno five years ago. They say the troubled economy always has more people interested in getting motivated.

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