Sunday, March 3, 2013

Change in the Forecast

So much like the weather in Chicago, which can change quickly, the forecast for returning to normalcy at CSU has changed. Weirdness will continue throughout the week, with possibly intense disturbances. Friday, brings us a 50% chance of returning to normalcy but only after much unsettled weirdness.
As already commented on by my distinguished colleagues, Friday's Board of Trustees meeting did nothing to resolve a situation that appears to many to be easily resolvable. Stand down a President who has generally failed and begin the process of preparing the university for the arrival of what the British would call a "proper president." There are many messes the infrequent visitors to campus who suddenly became higher education experts, would have no knowledge of or willfully chose to ignore. An interim with knowledge of the institution is the best option the university has to "move the institution forward" in a way that is devoid of the empty rhetoric that is usually attached to statements like that. 
The Board of Trustees appears to be playing the long game, which includes getting an expert to create the litigation proof strategy to excise the cancer of failed leadership that the Watson Administration has become. And when I speak of leadership, I am reminded of an excellent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education by Rob Jenkins dated February 19th, 2013. Jenkins identifies 14 qualities of good leadership in an academic setting. I take special note of honesty, collegiality, trustworthiness, morality, accountability, sincerity, and inclusiveness. If you work at CSU can you honestly ascribe any of these qualities to the leadership of CSU's former president? Any chief executive who would use taxpayer dollars to hire a law firm to handle legal matters of your humble narrator when I have filed no suits against the university I deem as untrustworthy. Any chief executive who manages an overwhelming no confidence vote from the faculty just prior to a university accreditation visit I deem as lacking collegiality. Any chief executive who launches scurrilous and defamatory attacks on faculty who dare criticize his numerous failings, I believe lacks moral character. Any chief executive who would participate in the Kabuki Theater of the last week I believe is intellectually dishonest and insincere. When the faculty cannot get answers to direct questions about the senior thesis, the elimination of the Graduate College, the rewrite of DACs or college re-organizations then clearly that president is not inclusive. 
So I say all of that to remind you loyal readers that there are not frivolous reasons to stand down a failed leader. There are substantive reasons that I am sure the Board is aware of. And if the reports are true of many raised voices during the Executive Session and the University Ethics Officer promising to "clear the name" of the former president, I encourage the community to weather the storm and attend the full Board Meeting on Friday March 8th, at 1PM. I am sure many of our infrequent visitors will return providing a cavalcade of cronies to sing the praises of the failed executive.

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