Wednesday, April 9, 2014

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost..."

I always caution students about "if" history. It may be interesting to speculate about what might have been "if only such and such had happened...", but ultimately it is not productive. And yet it is seductive.

Returning late tonight from a discussion on administrative efforts to repress and suppress dissent on campus I am thinking about a lot of things --like how freedom of speech is a precious commodity. Two students' statements were made via surrogates at the meeting because they were too afraid to show up and risk being targeted for speaking publicly. How precious is the right to speak out and how fragile it is at CSU. So is freedom of assembly.  Ironically, the administration attempted to repress the discussion on repression by outlawing the use of a room the organizers had scheduled. They claimed a title and "content" change of the event merited rescinding the library room and posted law men outside of it to ensure that. The location changed, but the discussion took place anyway.

And home at last to find this article in my mailbox. Our former interim president is retiring from Grambling. I wonder: would we have had to have a discussion on repression of dissent at CSU if Frank Pogue had been president? Could Chicago's newspaper of record ever write a story like this on our current incumbent?

Ah, but there I go, succumbing to the siren sound of "if" history.

Our View: Grambling is better because of Frank Pogue
If you get to know Grambling State University President Frank Pogue, you find a lot to like about him.
It hasn’t been easy in tough fiscal times. And it hasn’t been without controversy, particularly in athletics.
But we would not want Pogue’s tenure to be remembered for a football controversy. Rather, we’d like to talk about this straight-shooting man who isn’t afraid to speak his mind and who has elevated interaction with all of the stakeholders of this historically black university.
Pogue was appointed Grambling’s eighth president in June 2010, after serving for seven months as interim president. And as he retires, this will actually be his second retirement as a university president.
When he was selected as president of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1996, he became the first African-American to serve as president of a historically white university in Pennsylvania.
When he retired from Edinboro in 2007, the university paid tribute to his extraordinary leadership by naming its newly constructed student center in his honor. His accomplishments also earned him the title of President Emeritus of Edinboro University.
After his retirement from Edinboro, Pogue also served as interim president of Chicago State University, in addition to serving in numerous prominent academic positions at institutions across the country.
At Grambling, Pogue is proud the university was able to improve operations while enduring severe budget cuts and receive a clean audit for the past three years. For several years before Pogue took over, Grambling was hit with serious audits that detailed a number of deficiencies related to finances. These infractions were so serious that this newspaper called for criminal investigations and a state takeover to protect taxpayer dollars.
Pogue, in a stroke of genius, hired the state auditor who was part of the negative audits to manage his books.
Pogue also is proud of the 12 percent increase in alumni support after university officials called on former students to help them during years of budget cuts.
Pogue and his wife, Dorothy, will move to their home in Delaware to be closer to their daughter and two grandsons.
Grambling is surviving in good shape, thanks to Frank Pogue. We thank the Pogues and wish them many well-deserved good days with their family.
The editorials in this column represent the opinions of The News-Star’s editorial board, composed of President and Publisher David B. Petty, Executive Editor Kathy Spurlock and community representatives Lionel Crowell, Nancy Inabnett and Jay Marx
“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”
--attributed to Benjamin Franklin

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