Saturday, May 23, 2009

This isn't over....

So is it all over now that the contract for the Board’s president has been signed? I can say quite confidently, NO! It is not over. This isn’t the venue to discuss what could or will happen next. It is the venue to remind us that faculty are the core of the university and tenured faculty the iron rod running down the center of the core. Now I am sure there will be those who will say, “Shouldn’t we give him a chance?” I say absolutely not! The board didn’t give the university and its students a chance when it selected this applicant. The applicant didn’t give the faculty a chance when he denigrated our teaching ability. When the applicant blamed the low graduation rate on the faculty, it was clear I was not giving him a chance. It is unmistakable the intention the applicant has for the faculty. I say no to giving anyone who attacks me a chance to do anything but retire from the field. It doesn’t make sense to me to turn the other cheek and forget that the process that brought this applicant to the university was not just flawed, but corrupt and possibly illegal. (Stay tuned!) The weaknesses of this candidate are evident and I do not hope that anybody fails. I simply recognize failure when I see it. This university needs a president who has worked at a doctoral degree granting university in a senior administrative capacity. Chicago State University is not the local high school that the ‘community’ gets to have any input on. We are not selecting a principal who will have contact with parents. It is a state university, just like other state universities. If we don’t treat it like a state university no one else will. When UIC was being built the effort was resisted by the ‘community.’ People were displaced and uprooted. We don’t give ourselves an opportunity to progress unless we decide what is best in the largest sense for this institution. We are the professionals after all. Our most important responsibility isn’t teaching our classes or conducting our research. It is being in service to something greater than ourselves. Our first responsibility is to protect the academic integrity of the institution and uphold the ideals and aspirations of the university. One thing we can do is resist any effort to undermine the academic integrity or destroy the ideals of our university. Tenure is not a gift. It is a responsibility. Responsibilities come with burdens and we are faced with carrying a huge burden for the next period of time. I know there are those who will become sycophants to the applicant when he arrives. They believe that by being cordial and deferential they will be rewarded. The truth is they will be rewarded, just not how they think. If we stand together, we will create the university that we envision in those quiet, hopeful moments. If we don’t we will endure a period despair and hopelessness and in the end it is our students who will suffer.

So that most recent rumor is that all vice presidents and deans are going to be replaced. What would happen if all the deans, chairs and the provost resigned on the first day. Oh, and it would be done in front of television cameras. If this applicant thinks he can manage this university without us then he would be surprised by how difficult running a university is. Of course, not all chairs would support this. There are some who believe they will be looked after by the new regime. Even if 90% of the chairs resigned that would be an enormous statement about who runs this university.

Finally, I have had a couple of days to think about this. I still don’t know what the end game is in this presidential search process. Why choose someone who is so obviously unqualified to be at a doctoral degree granting institution? Who benefits and how? If you have any ideas about what this is about, please let us know on the blog.

I will keep you posted with what is happening in this struggle.

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