One of the intriguing questions about the unfolding horrors at the University of Akron is not whether President Scott Scarborough's confident predictions that the sun will again shine but rather how did a personal email conversation between Scarborough and Ted Curtis, the powerful veep of capital planning & facilities management, mysteriously turn up on a PDF on your computer.
The chummy insider tete-a-tete dealt exclusively with Scarborough's wish list for new UA projects in the midst of the school's $60 million debt. It also again revealed the president's obsession with tidiness as a critical path to rebranding. You may recall that he lectured the faculty that the profs couldn't possibly expect passing grades as educators if they didn't pick up trash. Disciplined behavior also is one of the beauty marks for the newly created student Corps of Cadets, which will even have a glee club.
Much as ex-president Luis Proenza placed high priority on bricks and mortar to recruit students, red ink notwithstanding, the current CEO advises Curtis that after driving around the campus, there are 30 items on his list that he would like to "cost" from the Grand Entrance - a rebirth of the Arc de Triomphe - to the campus that traverses the now-teamless baseball field; power washing the Polsky building and E.J. Thomas Hall; removal of the trees in the center of the circular drive at Buchtel Hall and adding plants; demolition of several big unused buildings; more signage everywhere.
Oh, how about painting the roof of the E.J., moving the track to Exchange and Spicer and adding lights on the tops of many buildings.
Did I mention power washing E.J. and Central Hower?
All of these things, of course, would sound good in better times. But these are not better times for UA.
Scarborough wrote: "Would you put a price tag on each of these projects and send it back to me when done? I realize that will be easier to price than others, I also realize that some (like resurfacing parking lots and resurfacing university roads)will need to be costed at greater levels of detail".
The confab goes on and on, but the question remains: How did it get on line? Who was the canary?
The best explanation I've heard is that is was a distressed former member of the hulled-out information services offices. He or she would have had access because with today's technology, every email can be easily accessed.
"Why didn't they know that?" my source asked. Well, maybe they should ask anybody they can still reach in information services.