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."