Tuesday, August 4, 2015

President house rebranded into catbird seat

About that house: The University of Akron's obsession to rebrand itself  leads me   to rename the president's home as the Catbird Seat. It is a dream of wish fulfillment accorded more and more to university presidents these days.   With so much money - nearly a million dollars -  spent on  renovating the UA property,   you'd think the president of the United States  was moving in with his family.  UA President Scott Scarborough walked away from his job interview with a colossal deal, from spiffy quarters for his inlaws to a  $556.40 olive jar while the UA leaders were pleading poverty.

Along with other questionable payouts, the school's spending spree exposed the servile Board  of Trustees not only as rubbery stamps but also as a a useless cancelled  postage stamp, serving at the will of a president that it somehow decided to hire, despite a rickety track record .

Some faculty people say it was either Scarborough or Jim  Tressel,  so there really wasn't an option   But it does raise another question as to how a campus that was so free to offer a new president  $450,000 and endless perks failed to draw a standing- room-only  crowd of applicants from academia.  Was it because UA ranked so low  on the collegiate scale that folks simply wanted to enhance  their careers elsewhere?

So Scarborough got what he wanted, even if the generous trustees  with a  top-heavy Republican majority blindly acted as if their school's destiny lay solely in his hands.

You don't hear that very much  from the brain trusts on the Beacon Journal's editorial page  It has become an apologist for the new regime and its latest editorial to that effect appeared under a  pleading headline:  UA has a good plan.  It really does.    The "really does" part weakly suggested that it needed a bracing modifier to support the "good plan".

Although some articles in the paper, along with Bob Dyer's column, have pointed out   the gaps in the regime's armor back at the catbird seat, the ed page  advises the readers that there are good things going to happen now that Team Scarborough is on the scene with a plan  for the "university moving forward in a credible and promising way."

It's unkind and nitpicking, I know, but I keep thinking of that olive vase adorning the House of Scarborough.  Good luck on that, campus.  But first you must behave yourself.


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