Does it seem to you that Scott Scarborough, UA's relatively new ringmaster of the board of trustees et al, is marching to a different drummer? The latest word from the troubled downtown campus is that the school's marching band will be in new uniforms that have eliminated the name Akron and replaced it with a Z.
As one whose name begins with the 26th letter of the alphabet, I should be happy, I guess, that somebody has finally recognized that Z-people play a decent role in our culture. But in this instance, Team Scarborough has again affronted the hometown loyalties of the citizens who have contributed so much to the school's existence. That identity appears in the names of, say, the Akron Chamber of Commerce, Akron-
Canton Airport, Akron Public Schools and countless business and commercial enterprises that are not embarrassed by having their official names in the telephone book.
Larry Burns, the vice president of advancement who joined Scarborough from the University of (can I mention it?) Toledo, lamely explained the transition by supposing that Z is "more trendy, more active, more youthful." Take that, inactive Akron!
The past months have given us many clues to Scarborough's headstrong and bizarre attempts to sell his initiatives to eliminate the school's $60 million debt while at the same time piling up costly projects and six-figure salaries that would impress a blindfolded public that UA isn't really that bad off financially. (He even added a $1,000 stipend for each of the 250 band members. Do the math.) As I've written before, he's obsessed with tidiness and has even lectured the faculty that they must pick up trash to be considered an important educator.
About that: Scarborough, having eaten alone, was seen leaving Panera's restaurant the past week with an uncleared table even though it's an unwritten courtesy to take your leftovers to a dropoff point. But at his level, that apparently doesn't apply to qualify him as an important CEO.
How long will the public ignore his latest "rebranding" gambit of entirely erasing Akron from the school's band uniforms? If he's come this far, you can expect there will be other dark moments in UA's workaday world unless offended citizens and alums say "enough is enough" while the trustees remain comatose.