Monday, December 21, 2015

UA gets a boost,sort of, from some business people

Shortly after my Sunday ABJ arrived with a full page tribute  to the University of Akron, I received an email from a reader with the alert that "The Empire Strikes Back". It  was  satirically linked  to the current frenzy over a new episode of Star Wars, which is sort of how I feel about the belated reclamation project  for the school's reputation  by a relative handful of Akron business  people who signed the FirstEnergy-paid ad.

Unfortunately the ad repeated  the chestnuts that have been put out by  the beleaguered UA administration under President Scott Scarborough,  as in "accepting change is difficult" while his playbook is leading  the school into mediocrity  with fumbled cutbacks,  failed recognition by his new team of hometown loyalties to the downtown campus, dysfunctional   and incoherent initiatives (think: E.J.  Thomas hall et al) , and fattened salaries for  Scarborough's imported executives.

Scarborough's preacherly view  of the landscape has come across more as hubris than sensitivity to the climate hereabouts.    It was startling to hear him  explain  at  an Akron Press Club speech  that the reason the UA's  new rebranding title is "Ohio's Polytechnic University" (rather than  Akron's) was to tell people where Akron is.
So much for today's geography lesson.

So now the school's development department is said to have  reached into the  business column  for custodial  help to solve  Team Scarborough's image problem rather than the  school's debt. You would think that with his half-million  salary and perks he could have managed himself.

In  the ad's last breath, the text said:

"We recognize that the benefits of such change and natural evolution are critical to the growth of the University,  our businesses and our entire region.  In a quickly changing world  we either keep up with change  or risk  being left behind."  That's doubtless what was said at Chipotle's  latest board meeting.

Among the 'we' who signed the ad are companies  who do business with UA as well as other interests.

Nowhere does the ad mention Scarborough, nor, for that matter, the trustees - the gatekeepers who should  not have let the damage occur in the first place.

They should paste Yogi Berra's wisdom  on their office walls:  "We made too many wrong mistakes."

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