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Robert Frager Sensei – Aikido in action at troubled Sofia University

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What do you do if you are a direct student of O Sensei, a 7th dan, the Founder of one of the leading graduate school of Transpersonal and Spiritual Psychology in the world, and you suddenly find yourself with an unprecedented challenge—right in your own back yard.

How do you use your training in such a situation?

This is what is happening to Frager Sensei. The University that he founded, once called the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, now called Sofia University, now has a rogue president with a small cohort of cronies as Directors who are seem to be intent on rapidly destroying the institution.

Frager Sensei explained to me over lunch yesterday and this has building for some time. The president, Neal King, has moved imperially without consulting faculty or students. The school’s name was changed without notice. The school according to King now has a financial shortfall, the reserve and surplus that was there just a short time ago having vanished.

The story has already appeared in the Palo Alto "Daily Post." The link is here. You should note that the one student who commended asked that his or her name not be used for fear of reprisal from King. More media attention will no doubt focus on possible major financial irregularities that occurred during King's time at Sofia.

King received a 100% no-confidence vote from the faculty and an almost 80% plus vote of no-confidence from the staff. Seven of the Board Members have resigned. School email accounts for faculty and staff leading the call for King’s ouster were canceled over the weekend. Frager Sensei’s computer, as well as the computers of other senior faculty, was taken from their offices.

Frager Sensei has attempted to discuss this with King-- to blend with King regarding the situation at Sofia. Thus far all attempts have been rebuffed. When Frager Sensei and core faculty scheduled a school and community meeting at Sofia early this week to let all those affected by King’s actions speak, King took the draconian step of locking them out by closing the school down and hiring security guards to enforce the closure.

This action also forced students who were there before the scheduled meeting to leave the school library where they were writing papers and doing research. Crazy as it may sound King also removed the library’s computer too.

The meeting was held nearby with over 200 attending and 900 watching on-line. There was total unity that King and his board members had to go immediately.

Frager Sensei and the core faculty, including a number of yudansha, are all focusing on seeing this resolve harmoniously for all involved. But, at the same time, their waza includes powerful movements to right this great injustice including filing a formal complaint with the State Attorney General’s Office. Hopefully one or all these actions will bring this exceptional educational institution back from the precipice.

I will be providing additional information about this including a future interview with Frager Sensei. For more information, you can contact me here, or at paulrest@paulrest.com.

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