Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Darling you've got to let me know..."

...will we stay or will we go?...

Apologies to the Clash.

Late this week Dr. Watson announced a "town hall" meeting for faculty on Thursday, February 4th. During the reign of Elnora Daniel these became fossilized performances --think the Sun King at Versailles--that revealed very little significant information but were very high on "look-how-great-I'm-doing" with courtiers making their own perfunctory obeisance. Dr. Watson needs to address the rumors and dribs and drabs of information that no one on campus can (or will) clarify. A "town hall" meeting stuffed with inconsequential powerpoint statistics just won't cut it.

Here are some of the things I want to know about at the Town Hall:

  1. Is it true CSU is cutting 125 staff and Administrative jobs by March? How will these be determined?
  2. Is it true that the President's office is using flimsy excuses (e.g. ignoring various colleges' DACs) to deny untenured faculty retention as a way to get rid of faculty jobs? Or, is this a way to hire some City College cronies?
  3. What is happening with the accreditation visit scheduled for March? What happened to all those accreditation preparation committees that faculty & staff signed up for in November? And I really really want to know, what are you going to tell the accreditation committee about campus governance and faculty's role in it?
  4. What is the status of CSU's College of Education merger with Daley College (formerly under Dr Watson's jurisdiction)? This news came out late last semester with the promise of a public announcement in January, so please explain how this merger is supposed to work. And when will it be applied to the rest of CSU? And, explain again how this is supposed to be to our advantage? And while you're at it, does the IBHE know about this plan? Does Senator Maloney?

  5. What is the great overhaul of the university college system that we are hearing about? Collapsing departments, closing departments, doing away with CUEs for chairs? Is this going to be the typical top-down directive or will you and the administration take seriously faculty input on this situation? The notion that faculty are simply "advisory" has become very old and very tedious. Quote us all you want about the "corporate model" --it does-not-work for academia. See the most recent discussions on this in the Chronicle and other places. Please, put it to rest already. The corporate model that has been allowed to flourish at CSU has put us into this terrible situation. "Management", not the worker bees, dropped the ball at CSU.
  6. Since all sabbaticals were cancelled outright this year in an effort at saving money explain why those who applied for full-year sabbaticals were denied. Don't these actually save the university some money because professors take half-salary? Are PAI raises also cancelled? Why cancel one and not the other? These are contractural issues, aren't they?

  7. And if we have no money for sabbaticals, let alone student scholarships, let alone money for upgrading the disgusting toilet facilities in most of the buildings on campus, where did we get $145,000 to put flat screen tvs all over our broken down classroom buildings? What exactly is the purpose of these? I've heard that they are supposed to broadcast security messages (can't those obscenely loud fire alarms to do that for now?) What I do know is that some of these tvs turned on so loud that they disturb lectures and classroom activities and faculty who are trying to teach have already been complaining about them. Really, were these things a necessity? What "discretionary" moneys were used for this frivolity?
  8. One of my fears last year about hiring an ex-community college president to head our university was that we would be turned into a community college that grants doctoral degrees. I'm now beginning to wonder how much more the President's Office is going to treat faculty like we are at a high school? So please comment on whether the President's Office is going to continue to take seriously anonymous (unsigned) student complaints against individual faculty members? What kind of Court of Star Chamber is going to be instituted on campus? Faculty have a right to know who their accusers are and the administration (those people who determine our retentions, promotions, and tenure) has a responsibility to act with integrity and stand up for faculty on this matter, not believe anonymous letters at face value. Other forms of faculty harrassment by the administration have been happening as well in these past few weeks, no doubt other faculty could list some of that here. CSU is still not a community college, not a high school, officially, at least.
So, Dr. Watson, you gotta let us know...

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