Monday, April 6, 2009

Who is leading whom???

So has anybody felt the rumbling of our students besides me? For the first time since I have been here (August 1991) students are expressing their discontent. Wow! Various folks around campus have asked me where the Factoids have come from, and what are the petitions about and who started the CSU Student Voice blog and what is SESOP. I shrug my shoulders and tell them that maybe we have done a good job teaching our students critical thinking and problem solving skills and instilled a sense of the history of student activism in this country. Maybe our students can see through the disingenuous protestations of board members about the transparency of the now concluded search process.

Like many folks on campus our students have grown tired of seeing the reputation of their university degraded by scandal and mismanagement. If I were a student planning on graduating I would want my degree to have value. The value of a degree is comprised of two elements; academic rigor and institutional reputation. By all accounts our rigor is comparable to similar institutions yet our reputation has been severely damaged in the past few years and recent events have done little to restore it. That means for our students their degrees a devalued because we faculty haven’t demonstrated the will to change the situation we find ourselves facing. If the rumblings are more than rumblings, then our students are leading us. They are doing what it takes to be heard. They are printing Factoids, which means they are doing their homework. I only wish all of my faculty colleagues would do the same.

As a graduate student many years ago a professor of mine explained tenure to me. I got that tenure imparts a special responsibility to the holder to become a servant leader in a university and speak to the best interests of the university and protect the values of the institution from assault from within and without. It is a gross dereliction for a tenured faculty member at this university not to know anything about the two political insiders selected by the board to lead this university. I believe it is unconscionable for faculty not to participate in the life of this university beyond teaching their classes. To put self interest above the common good speaks to a selfishness that degrades our university and its reputation. How dare we abdicate our responsibility for being the core of this institution. It is time to stand up, do whatever takes to protect this institution, its academic reputation and get the leadership we need. Our students seem to be leading the way.

Now is the time for faculty to lead!


  1. I, too, would like to see some faculty action, and it looks like we are starting to get some. However, I don't think it's a bad thing if students take the lead, or at least share the lead with the faculty. A faculty-student alliance is what the foundation of the university should be, not just for the presidential search but in order for the university to become a democratically-run institution. That's my "vision" for the university, going back to one of the posts from a few days ago (which is right on). For those who have not seen it, the actions of students and faculty were discussed in Laura Washington's column the Sun-Times:,CST-EDT-laura06.article

  2. What is it going to take for students to care and commit to their future? Will you want to commit to change after you get rejected and pushed to the side time after time? Many students want to follow a cause and sign a petition, but do not want to commit to the action that comes with it. Signing the petition is just the first step. If you stop there then you are being afraid and you want the board of trustees and other to continue indent their foot prints in your back. If you don’t want to be a leader right now, or do not know exactly how to help, just ask! Your fellow students are encouraging you to get up and be heard! You do not see many of the faculty or administration standing up for you openly. So do it yourself!!

    If you can take time out to stand in line for a party or the club, make sure you attend Greek functions, or socialize in the cafe; then you can wake up early one day and have your opinion heard and concerns addressed. Complaining about something to friends is the first step, but complaining and challenging those that are controlling your future and damaging your university’ reputation goes a long way. How can you make sure you vote in the 2008 presidential election and not think your university’s election is not imperative?
    The various excuses I’ve received for not participating are DISGUSTING: “It takes too much time out for me to pull my ID out my purse”, “I don’t feel like waking up that early”, “Well I’m not going to be here next year, so why should I care.” This is the reason why nothing will change and the administration does not take you seriously. You will never have school pride and better opportunities if you do not fight for improvements. Settling seems to be a tradition at this University, and it is one that needs to be FORGOTTEN!! You can make all those excuse of why your presence can not be seen this week, but when you are mad because you did not see a specific change…Remember you were too busy to stop at the Cougar Hut and you were TOO LAZY to show up at 7:15am!!!