Search This Blog

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

“To some extent this noise has to be considered constructive noise" -- lj


Anonymous said...

So judging from this, the most important thing to the faculty is the faculty...

Anonymous said...

On a previous note, "zoroxyz10" presented want I think was an accurate criticism of "post modernism." In view of that comment, I had reason to think about recent course of events in order to answer the questions of someone who is in an important position in government and who is very concerned with what is happening at the University of Toledo.

I have come to the conclusion that partisan politics is a big factor in what is happening at this university. The overwhelming majority of the Board of Trustees were appointed by Governors Voinovich and Taft. They were appointed for their conservative views which they are currently invoking in their oversight of the university. They appointed (note: not searched,) a President that was previously noted for his views that were consistent with conservatism. He was previously noted to be anti-union and anti-academic.

A cornerstone of conservative leadership philosophy is control information and to restrict the free flow of information, particularly when that information does not agree with conservative views. During the Bush Administration, I had the opportunity on two different occasions and in two very different venues to talk with his Secretary of Commerce and the Deputy Secretaries. In both cases, they indicated that they were forbidden by the Bush Administration from presenting certain information and that they need to get permission from the Bush Chief of Staff before further discussing the issues.

We see this same control of information at the University of Toledo. Faculty do not have a direct communication link to the Board of Trustees. Lines of communications go through President Jacobs.

A common theme in conservatism has been that campuses are too liberal and need to be reeled in. We see that as The President has failed to have relevant searches in both the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education. In both cases, he has appointed people that he believes has conservative views and has kept them in these positions for extended periods of time.

Another theme in conservatism is anti-unionism. There is absolutely no doubt that the Jacob's administrations have been anti-union, first in the previous Medical College of Ohio and now at the University of Toledo. He has violated the union contract regarding research active. His administration has actively interfered with absorbing the Nurses into AAUP to the point where the SERB upheld a complaint on those activities.

The interpretation of most recent faculty evaluation of President Jacobs by the Board of Trustees is consistent with the premise that they are trying to impose conservatism on the university. The negative evaluation would be seen by a conservation board are consistent with their views that the faculty are liberals and need to be controlled.

Therefore, I suspect that matters on this campus will get much worse before they better as the members of the Board of Trustees have a number of years to go before they are replaced. The faculty's only hope is through the political process. They need to bring information to our politicians showing the abuses of the university being perpetrated by this Board of Trustees. Faculty themselves need to be active in the political process.

Anonymous said...

No--I think it's "truth."

Anonymous said...

Indeed, the roots of this go way back. I remember when Voinovich became governor and embarked on his anti-university crusade. He decreed that hence-forth all faculty would increase their workloads by 10% with no increase in pay. When that failed, he embarked on his plan to starve universities by slashing and burning their budgets and by fattening up community colleges because they could be molded to their cause.

Although the follies of complete abandonment to corporate interests and profit motivation have become obvious by the destruction of the American middle class through globalization, the collapse of the economy due to the rollback to pre-Depression era economic philosophy, and by the recent Gulf disaster, Americans still have not put all the pieces together to understand what has been happening.

The boards seem to be lagging behind the current yet inchoate ideas forming to counter the Republican menace that has been destroying our nation. As of yet, no one has been able to articulate a better understanding of what has been happening and what needs to be done. Obama has been trying hard, but just like the faculty and other little people at UT, he and others like him are stymied by the well-paid conservative propaganda machine that continues to spew out platitudes and bromides that long-ago were proven false. On top of this, the public is either unable or unwilling to attempt to put these pieces together....the result of modern media and technology that keeps people from focusing and thinking at a higher level? I don't know, but in any event, what is happening at UT has to be viewed in the context of what has been happening in our nation since the time of Reagan and probably no sea change will occur until complete and utter collapse occurs.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but blaming our situation on W. and Karl Rove is just stupid logic that I would flunk an undergrad for.

EVERY state university in Ohio is governed by a board composed mostly of Republican appointees. If your story were correct, these boards should all have appointed nuts for presidents. But look around. Gordon Gee is pretty good, and so were the people in between his Grover Cleveland-like terms. Cincinnati has had several solid presidents (although I never liked Steger). BG had Sidney Ribeau, who was excellent, and his successor is pretty good too. Only Ohio U currently has a nut for president. Look around--is this a general problem or one specific to UT?

Our problem is not a general one of Republican appointed trustees. Our problem is OUR trustees, who have proven to be unbelievably gullible and biddable. They gave us not one but TWO nuts, Vik and Jake. And Jake without even a search. Talk about smoke-filled rooms!

In Vik's case they believed his promises to quadruple enrollment and grow money on trees. In Jake's case they believed that mimicking every other mediocre large public university, but with more syllables, would transform the human condition. Sorry, trustees, this is fodder for Dilbert.

I think this is simply a problem of public higher ed. You are right, the trustees are there for political reasons, and there's no reason to believe any of them knows much about higher ed. With luck we might get trustees in the future a little less entranced by the latest business buzzwords.

But for now I think all we can do is try to fight a rear guard action, bogging the administration down until they move on to greener pastures, like Rosemary did. And then we can get back to teaching and research.

Awful Analysis said...

I'm sorry, the faculty members who sit on the board of trustees committees are not direct faculty links to the board?

And Voinovich ended his term as governor in 1998 and trustees serve only 9-year terms. So none of Voinovich's appointees are on the board, and four of Strickland's are. (It's actually Strickland who insists universities align themselves with the state's economic development goals.)

You've already missed the Democratic primary to get someone more liberal than Strickland as the gubernatorial nominee and if Kasich wins, God help us all - he'll make the current board look like hippies.

Your political activity needs to start with learning basic facts like 9-year trustee terms and reaching out to your faculty board representatives to ask questions. Or, you know, going to the meetings.

Anonymous said...

Gee and Ribeau are good?!?!?!

Gee is leading an assault on faculty tenure and working to create the same sort of ASU model Jacobs is embracing.

Ribeau worked hard for 3 or 4 years then kicked back and collected a paycheck.

That you'd hold up these examples is bizarre to me.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain this graphic? Anonymous 12:00 drew a conclusion from it, but I can't, because it's not clear what it is.

John Kerry said...

You don’t need to lace your bowl with kif to see that this righteous word cloud resembles the University of Toledo in the shape … of … a … SWIFT BOAT! The campus conversation is obviously contained and controlled by well-financed onboard propagandists mouthing the rhetoric of BOT members, President Jacobs and College Young Republicans crowding the helm. Their intent, which the tag cloud implies, is the isolation and character assassination of a concerned “faculty” whose members choose to exercise their First Amendment freedoms by speaking “truth” against “power” and its excesses and abuses on the UT campus.

Anonymous said...

The graphic is a collection of the most-used words on this blog. The font size reflects the level of use - bigger words are used more. The same goes for the words in bold print.

As sometimes happens here, the first post is a bit snarky and contributes nothing to the discussion.

Anonymous said...

5:58 Anon. I think to address what we are going through we need to understand it and to understand it we need to put it in context relative to what has been happening across the country for the last twenty or so years. You have to understand the larger forces and attitudes that have gotten us to where we are now. For a starter look at this review of Lawrence Soley's _Leasing the Ivory Tower: The Corporate Takeover of Academia_(South End Press, 1995) and you can see that this is a much larger issue than just UT.

As far as the UT board of trustees, you can check out their web page to see the extreme business flavor of most of the board as well as the length of their terms. The vast majority were installed under Taft.

Voinovich was governor untill 1998, given that, his appointees would have been members up to 2007, well within the time frame for the formation of the "New UT"

Anonymous said...

It is true that no current serving Trustees were appointed by Governor Voinovich; however, the appointees of Voinovich and the remaining appointees of Taft are Conservative. Furthermore, the assault on the university started with the Voinovich appointees and was reinforced by the Taft appointees which continue to serve. It equally true that most of the public universities in Ohio have had problems with their Boards and their administrators. For example consider the University of Akron where its Faculty Senate was disbanded a few years ago. Bowling Green has not exactly been a pleasant place to be as of late, I am told.

The faculty selected to be at the table of the Board Committee Meetings have been hand selected by the administration. In no way can they be considered representative of the faculty constituency. Can they be considered links? Perhaps. But I have yet to hear a report from any of them back to the Faculty Senate. None of these appointees have asked questions of the faculty as to what issues that they should provide input for the faculty.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the true nature of the current administration's bile is slowly leaking out into the surrounding community and leaving a bad taste:

Anonymous said...

Why don't you ask those faculty for a report? Why don't you go to the meetings? If this is the most serious and destructive issue UT has faced in however long, why aren't you making time to seek out information?

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:49:

Exactly what meetings are you referring to?

Faculty Senate Meetings? I have nearly a perfect attendance record.

Board of Trustee Meetings? I have class on Mondays Afternoons. Previously, when I did not have a scheduled class during the BOT Meeting, I did attend them. But I do not ever recall the BOT turning to its audience to solicit input, comments or issues. What I generally heard at BOT Meetings was 80% of the time dedicated to HSC issues most of which were innocuous and wasted time, 10% on a budget report that rarely gave any usable information and the remainder of the time on MC events. There was very little relevant discussion of pros and cons of issues: rather it seemed that everything had been discussed and decided out of public. The only thing done in public was the vote which was prefaced usually by a BOT member or two giving a comment consistent with how the vote would turn out. It was very clear to me that despite the Sunshine laws of Ohio, members of the Board were meeting out of public to discuss the issues and determine what would happen. This is the way the President wanted it and apparently, also the BOT. So of what use is the BOT meeting other than to hear decisions?