So President Calhoun took a great risk and invited the two most notorious faculty (in the view of the #CSUclowncar) to a half day round table discussion about the future of the CSU. The attendees represented the administration, the student body, the community, local political leadership and the faculty. The discussion was candid and engaging and the process of trust building between some factions might have begun. Only time will tell.
Two state level politicians of note not just attended but stayed for the entire event. State Representative Elgie Sims and State Senator Donne Trotter were conspicuous for their active participation. Senator Trotter, a CSU alumnus, has been a long time supporter of the university and continued in that tradition yesterday. Representative Sims, whose district houses the university appeared curious and engaged in the discussions being held in small groups. I imagine that their support will continue as the President continues to maneuver through the minefield of financial exigency and the actions taken by the Management Action Committee.
Three of the four members of the MAC were in attendance. Curiously, the provost chose to disrespect the President by declining to attend an important university event. Apparently the person responsible for room assignments for the university, who has been doing that thankless job for several years, needed the supervision of a $225K/year administrator at the same time the university is discussing its future. Another act of disrespect to a highly qualified and competent subordinate. Maybe, the truth telling would have been too much for the disgraced office holder who has run up as many no-confidence votes as the disgraceful ex-president who appointed her. An example of the truth telling was, when asked how faculty relationships might be improved, the first answer was for the administration to "act like faculty matter." I am sure with the number of academic administrators present who would dutifully report back to their supervisor, that message would be delivered to the chief academic micro-manager.
At an earlier event for academic department chairs, the President invited them to be 'advocates' for the faculty. I invite the academic deans to do the same. Where was the outrage from the deans and chairs as my tenured and tenure track colleagues were summarily dismissed under very questionable circumstances this summer? Where was the advocacy? And why would the President of the university need to remind its academic leadership to advocate for the faculty? Because unlike functional universities that are faculty driven, this university is being driven by people with questionable credentials, no experience in the academy and self-serving motives as to their continued employment. ACT LIKE FACULTY MATTER!
And for those deans and chairs who continue to bury their heads in the sand, remain silent or ignore the deterioration of the university, you will bear some responsibility for where the university ends up on May 15th, 2017. For all of the happy-happy, joy-joy talk of yesterday, what action will you take to preserve not just your job but the university?