Sunday, December 14, 2014

Thoughts of Cicero and Cataline

So our year end Board of Trustees meeting on Friday was not without incident. No, there were no arrests of students for wearing baseball caps. And no, there were no accusations of rigged searches or plagiarism. I did learn a few things though.
I learned that at most colleges, the nursing program drives enrollment and that the reason that enrollment is down at CSU is the need for improvement in academic program quality. After 23 years in higher education I was shocked to find out that a program that admits only 40 students is the driver for enrollment for a university of 5,000 students. Who knew? And after the successful accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission I found out that we have problems with academic program quality and those problems are leading to the unabated decline in our enrollment. The bump bump sound you heard was the faculty once again being thrown under the bus by this failed regime.  I learned that there was a successful town hall meeting. As a political scientist, I am always fascinated by political events like town hall meetings and in my professional career have never seen an unsuccessful town hall meeting. What would that look like? No one shows up? Fist fights break out? Why report on something that could have been communicated via email. Those who will loose their jobs in the upcoming weeks are probably no more comforted by that reality because of a town hall meeting.
I also learned that the CSU Foundation was responsible for the poor fund raising efforts seen since the failed Watson administration bumbled and stumbled onto campus. Yes, loyal readers, the CSU Foundation which was chartered in 1967 and incorporated in 1968, has apparently failed in raising money for the university and the BOT has decided to serve a 90 day notice that the contract with the Foundation is to end. There is a line in one of the Matrix movies that says, “everything that has a beginning has an end.” Unfortunately the wrong contract was terminated. This community was told in 2009 that hiring the current president would bring largesse to the university because of his many political connections. Obviously that was a lie as evidenced by the paucity of contributions and dollars attributable to this president. His fund raising has been an epic failure, an embarrassment to presidents around the country and most certainly an embarrassment to this university. Now the Board of Trustees has seen fit to place the blame of this epic failure on the CSU Foundation instead of where it belongs, firmly on the shoulders of this failed president. As I stated to the then board members in 2009 when they made the horrible decision to hire a president with no publications, no scholarship and no university experience, the results of that decision would be theirs alone. So joining the president in his abject failure (substantially documented on this blog and in the publications of record) is the Board of Trustees. This decision is likely going to make the 2014 Top Ten Worst Board Decisions list to be published at the end of the month in this venue. Not only will the formation of a new fund raising body take time, what happens in the interim while this new mega fund raising machine gets built? The reality is that our students, who are typically in the bottom quartile in median household income will be put at risk. But fear not loyal readers, for in the words of the intrepid associate vice president for enrollment decline, hope will save the day. Yes, you did read that correctly. When asked by the BOT Chairman will enrollment be below 5,000 in the spring, her response was “we hope not.” Hope was the guiding element for the future of the university. I didn’t see hope as a core principle or goal in the much touted strategic plan, though I did hear meaningless jargon spewed by an obviously incompetent administrator. This of course, sets up those who have demonstrably failed the university to blame those who weren’t hopeful enough for the condition of a university that probably should be shut down before it is burned to the ground by the inept and feckless management. The common thread running through these statements is the absolute absence of accountability so frequently demonstrated. It is always someone else’s fault for the condition of the university. Never once has this president stood up and said he was responsible. He is obviously incapable of such a basic act of leadership which is why the university hasn’t been led in nearly six years. No fund raising, blame the foundation. Enrollment decline, blame the faculty. Triple digit audit findings, blame the previous administrations. A spiraling negative institutional reputation, blame the unfair media.
Have you no shame, no shred of dignity, no scintilla of respect? Haven’t you done enough damage to this university, this student body, this faculty, this staff? Haven’t your incompetent cronies slopped at the public trough long enough? The Crowley case alone will likely cost $4 million dollars. Didn’t you learn anything for the Moore case? Obviously not.
I am reminded of Cicero’s Oration against Cataline that I learned in third year Latin in high school. Its opening translated to English begins “How long, at last Catiline, will you abuse our patience? And for how long will that madness of yours mock us? To what end will your unbridled audacity hurl itself? Do not the nightly fires of the Palatine alarm you? ”Two thousand years later these words could just as easily apply to the conspiracy of incompetence foisted upon the university by board members long gone and continued by board members still in place.

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