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Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I would like to point out that rearranging deck chairs does not constitute transformational change. The Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Act all were and are transformational. This is not. Ohio State puts together a College of Arts and Sciences; we take one apart. Whoopie. But, as they say, that train seems to have left the station. Understand what will now happen. Anything good that transpires over the next millenium will be credited to the change; anything bad that happens will be charged to laggards unwilling to accept change. That's PR folks.

Perhaps someone can explain this. I heard the BOT passed a resolution that allows them to toss cash into an employee's tax free account without really having to call it a raise or tell many of us that they're doing this. Sounds like a great way for someone to claim that they too are taking the financial hit the rest of us will be asked to take while the BOT tosses them some extra cash. I'm just asking for a little guidance here. Afterall, I am a taxpayer and would like to know how my money is being spent. Along those same lines, it would sure be nice if the budget were back in the library. Again, as a taxpayer, why do I not have the right to see the entire budget for a state institution? All I ask is a little guidance.


Anonymous said...

Yesterday, at the Faculty Senate Meeting, I was struck by the number of people who do not seem to understand the importance of the Faculty Senate Constitution, the significance of violating it, and the actions that must be taken when it is violated.

The Faculty Senate Constitution is the sole document that expresses why the Faculty Senate exists and by what authority it is given to exist. It is an agreement between the Faculty, the Administration and the Board of Trustees that clearly defines the Faculty, the roles of the Faculty and the processes by which these roles are expressed in university decision making. The Constitution is the expression that Faculty have far more important functions in a university beyond teaching classes and performing research. Furthermore, the Constitution is a definitive statement and agreement that the Faculty have a voice that must be heard before making decisions about the future of the University of Toledo.

A faculty senate could exist without a constitution. In such a case, that faculty senate only has the authority to act as it sees fit and as it is allowed to act by the senior campus leadership. At any time and for any reason, that faculty senate’s authority to act could be limited or withdrawn by the senior management. The senior leadership could impose membership restrictions, process restrictions and meeting restrictions including the ability of faculty to speak or vote, and meeting restrictions without explanation or reason.

Intentionally violating the Constitution corresponds to act of destroying the Faculty Senate and removing the Faculty Senate as a body of authority at the University of Toledo. A violation destroys the voice of the Faculty. If this were the Constitution of a nation, a violation could be a cause for war. A violation by the Administration and the Board of Trustees of the Faculty Senate Constitution is cause for serious action for it revokes the agreement that Faculty have a voice in the decisions made about the future of the university. If violations are ignored, then, the Constitution can be violated at will and is merely words on a paper that can be referred to in fits of pique.

Serious actions that need to be taken in the violation of the Faculty Senate Constitution include but are not limited to,

1. Making the violation known and requesting that the violation be corrected. If the violation were corrected, no further actions are necessary provided the violations do not continue.
2. Conduct a vote of censure. A censure is a reprimand or a condemnation by a body of authority of an individual for certain acts and behavior. In this case, both the President and the Chair of the Board of Trustees could be named. The object of censure is to make the violation known to the Board of Regents, The Governor and/or the taxpayers of Ohio and to gain their assistance in resolving the issues.
3. Conduct a vote of no confidence. A vote of no confidence by a body of authority is a demonstration that the body no longer supports the leadership. The vote of no confidence could against the Senior Administration and/or the Board of Trustees. Again the object would be to gain external help in resolving the issues.
4. Withdraw support. Withdrawing support is the execution of a vote of no confidence in that the body of authority no longer provides resources to any activities leading from the violation.

Our Faculty Senate Constitution has been violated. We have made the violation known and the violation continues to exist and neither been rectified or remedied. As a Faculty, the time for further action is on us. Either we take action or we give up our voice in the future of this university.

Anonymous said...

So far the only "transformational change" I see happening (or having happened) is the loss of faculty and staff. We've lost staff, of course, because they were forced out of their jobs. Call it furloughs, call it whatever you want: they were forced out. We've lost, are losing, and will continue to lose faculty--excellent faculty--to institutions that value a quality education or to retirement earlier than planned. Level I by 2015--or ever--with such losses? Under the new, restructured plan, UT will do well to stay at Level IV and not drop to Level V.
As for guidance about the budget etc.: Whatever happened to the (crazy) notion of transparency? Not on this administration's watch. If nothing else is clear, this is.

Bernie said...

Wouldn't the budget and all of the other on record shenanigans be covered under sunshine laws? More than a notion I think.

Anonymous said...

The problem is they are dodging FOIA requests by claiming they are not narrow enough and so forth.

Anonymous said...

I note that BGSU's faculty just organized into a union, despite heavy pressure from their administration not to do so. Union protection is about the only thing any of us have left when faced with upper-level folks who see us as disposable moving parts. I hope the ASC blog will send a congratulatory note, and our union will, too. Perhaps all of us can find a way to work together to strengthen our position.

sir lawrence said...

way back when UT faculty unionized, a colleague of mine argued that unionization made us disposable employees, rather than professional physicists, philosophers, or historians. there is some truth to that argument. but, without a union, only the faculty senate or collective faculty action can speak out. unfortunately, the UT "charter" gives no power to faculty without approval of the BOT and the president. the OSU charter is much more faculty oriented.

Anonymous said...

From the Toledo Blade, October 27, 2010, Section B, Page 3 in the article “Halt sought at UT to reorganization,” by Christopher D. Kirkpatrick:

In a statement issued last night, UT officials said, “It is unfortunate that some in the faculty bargaining unit would prefer to stall progress in favor of clinging to an antiquated system that has begun to place their students and peers at a competitive disadvantage. The status quo is not an option for today’s world.”

These are the words form the same people that get a new car every two years, tear down historic building because they need the space for a proposed factory (that often is not built) and refuse to hire anyone over the age of 55 years.

What they fail to realize is that things get old because they work! They are functional and more effective than the alternatives! There is nothing wrong with being antiquated.

Today’s world may be new but it certainly hasn’t functioned better in the past five years compared to the previous 25 years. If anything it is much worse: When I graduated from college, I could expect to be hired by a company that expected to for me to work with it until retirement. Today, our students struggle to find work and then expect to be with multiple companies and, if they are lucky, retire.

It is not the colleges and universities that caused this; it was precisely the kind of thinking that is now exhibited in the UT officials, who do not teach, response that has resulted in the world we are in. Not only do they not teach, they have not learned! Our world is not better off today than it was in the past.

The “antiquated system” worked. And now they want to destroy that for false efficiencies that have not been proven and can not be realized.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:03,

I think you are assuming that the administrators' and their mouthpieces actually believe their own bloviation. We might respond that we're trying to keep them from driving the bus off the cliff, but this isn't about progress, transformational change, or other administrative bullshit. It's about who runs the university. And for now, Jake and his cronies hold all the cards.

Yr humble and obt

John Dickinson.

Anonymous said...

I hear rumors of lawsuits and other remediations. The new staff of the Independent Collegian doesn't report on these matters anymore. The Blade is in the pocket of the president. And ASC Forum blog is silent. Would you guys mind helping those of us not in the know to figure out what's going on right now?

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Dickenson,

I would hope that your farm on the banks of the Delaware is in much better shape than the state of this institution, from antiquity according to some.

You wrote some time ago that “To divide, and thus destroy, is the first political maxim in attacking those who are powerful by their union.” You were quite right in stating those words. And so we find this institution besieged by a powerful appointee serving powerful appointees acting in the name of the Governor and the State of Ohio.

While I cannot be so elegant in stating the causes as you have done, I do agree with you that this seems to be about power and not efficiency. That the appointee was selected without the consent of the governed, that the governed should object, that the appointee should proclaim great efficiencies by radically changing a working structure despite the obvious imposition of more bureaucracy are shewen to be moot points by the actions that have progressed.

Instead, the actions that progressed shew great disregard for the governed as the appointee has ignored them in levying workloads, in imposing decisions and in his obdurate patronization that “faculty are most important at the University.” From what has transpired, we must uncontroversially conclude that appointee needs to to shew that he is all powerful to us poor souls. Thus, when an appointee takes such actions as we have here, as you have said, “we are the abject slaves, as France and Poland can shew in wooden shoes, and with uncombed hair.”

Again, I leave you with your words,

“Vox et praeterea nihil.”

Your humble and respectful,

Anonymous said...

This blog has gotten boring and increasingly self-indulgent.

Where's the conflict? What about the Jacob's comment in The Chronicle. Oddly, most responses are supportive...hmmm.

Ishi said...

"It's your job as President to find ways of solving problems that do not require the amputation of healthy limbs."

This memorable quote invoking the metaphor of surgery is from the following eloquent critique of another despotic public university president's mismanagement of his liberal arts curriculum: