Saturday, October 3, 2015

Lie Back and Think of England. The failure is more than statistics

 One would think that the dispassionate statistics piling up semester after semester would have convinced our legislators and even the local pols, Trustees, and our faculty colleagues on campus that something should have been done about the Watson administration long before the Fall of 2015. Oh wait, I guess Gary Rozier’s board of Trustees thought to do so and had Watson part way out the door in 2013, but Gov Quinn overrode them and kept Watson in via changing the CSU board appointees. The current Board of Trustees has unswervingly supported Watson in spite of the statistics, in spite of the votes of no confidence, in spite of the Cassandras bitching at them at board meeting after board meeting.

But Watson has not only been propped up by his buddy Anthony Young and a complicit Board of Trustees. They have been aided by the complacency of administrators and faculty who buried their heads in the sand as Watson meted out affront after affront to faculty roles in hiring, curriculum, and the accepted practices of university administration. Where was the concern when it became clear after Watson’s year I that administrative positions would be permanent interims, that good people would be replaced in a revolving door of jobs for FOW [friends of Wayne] with 6-figure salaries—all across campus? Watson and his crony team were given a wide berth by many on campus who privately criticized but would not stick their necks out publicly. You heard the murmuring across campus from maintenance workers, to secretaries to administrative assistants who feared to speak out, feared retaliation. Why did “we” who have the privilege of tenure fail to come forward?

Failure is more than statistical. 

Now EVERYONE on campus is jumping up and down in department meetings and college meetings about what "we" can do to solve the enrollment crisis. Where have you been for the past 3, 4, 5 years? How did “we” let it get to this point in the first place?

I think I had my answer at my college’s most recent “all college” meeting. 

Since everyone knows (rather, hopes) Watson is out of power perhaps as early as January, there was from my hearing a rather smug tone to the view expressed and applauded that administrations at CSU come and go but we faculty have only to endure them for 5-7 years. They will be gone, we will remain, so just keep doing all the good things we do... 

There it was: complacency and disengagement from university governance. 

The words at that meeting reminded me of the line Edwardian mothers supposedly gave to fearful virginal daughters on the eve of their wedding night: just “lie back and think of England.”  

Pretty much sums it up at CSU.

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