Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Lesson in How Not to Leave Gracefully

On Thursday, when one of my colleagues told me about our ridiculous Board granting tenure (apparently in the College of Education) to our outgoing president, I laughed. Can you imagine Watson as a member of the faculty? Can you imagine him serving on a committee? Doing any kind of research? How about teaching? What does the title President Emeritus really mean? What does tenure really mean?

This old guy is one step away from irrelevance. His time in the spotlight is ending and apparently no one is going to give him another chance to damage an institution of higher learning. In a desperate effort to cling to his last institutional affiliation, he likely had the Board in 2014 add a provision to his contract guaranteeing him Emeritus status upon retirement. Thursday, he likely staged the “spontaneous” motion for his tenure by Nikki Zollar, a long-time crony. Pitiful.

On Tuesday, he must be out of the presidential mansion. On January 4, a new president takes over. Rather than bowing out gracefully, with dignity, this modern Gollum will continue the unseemly pursuit of his “precious,” not realizing that it has slipped through his fingers and that the power he so craves is now out of reach.


  1. What is tenure? How do you get it? What is the advantage of having it?

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  2. On most jobs there is a probationary period when you can be let go without cause. On teaching jobs the probationary period is typically longer, a matter of years. In college teaching the probationary period for beginning faculty is typically six years. During the sixth year a faculty member will apply for tenure. There is then a tenure review process at the end of which the faculty member will either be awarded tenure or issued a one-year terminal contract for the following academic year (essentially a one+ year notice of termination). A faculty member with tenure cannot be terminated without cause. That is my understanding of tenure.

  3. Watson announced his retirement effective 01/04/2016 for reason or reasons unknown prior to the term of his contract. Therefore, why is he not in breach of his contract? His contract was until July 2016. I would think that since he opted out of his contract before the contract expired, all provisions in that contract would be nullified. “Breach of contract is a legal cause of action in which a binding agreement or bargained-for exchange is not honored by one or more of the parties to the contract by nonperformance or interference with the other party's performance. If the party does not fulfill his contractual promise, or has given information to the other party that he will not perform his duty as mentioned in the contract or if by his action and conduct he seems to be unable to perform the contract, he is said to breach the contract.”

    Did or did not Watson’s contract call for him to remain as CSU president until July of 2016? If it did, the BOT does not owe him any provisions in his contract and for sure they do not owe him tenure. The BOT needs to be held to accountable for their actions and an apology given to the new president. In addition, the Faculty’s Senate needs to explore the legality of the BOT’S action regarding this latest episodes with Watson.