In a prominent editorial page headline, the Beacon Journal prepared the reader for a clearer grasp of the troubles at the University of Akron with the words, "Why so many oppose the direction at UA."
We soon got the answer from a feisty former common pleas judge, Jane Bond. who also has served on the UA Board of Trustees.
In a lengthy column examining the irregular shape of academic life on the downtown campus, Bond reached into her long experience in the trenches of justice and higher education. For President Scott Scarborough and Board of Trustees to remain indifferent to the chorus of critics around town will only invite further disaffection from those who see the school as hurtling itself into mediocrity under the team's mismanaged attempt to suck up all of the technology of the modern age.
It's called polytechnology, which is where Bond finds a ballyhooed plan going wildly astray.
"The humanities will be downsized and condensed as different departments are merged and as faculty members leave without being replaced," she writes. "Graduation requirements for English, history and social sciences will be reduced because they are not seen as having value in achieving technological proficiencies."
Tenured professors are leaving, replaced by graduate assistants. And as some witnesses have complained, students paying full-time tuition expect a higher graded faculty in the classroom. (I've heard that 50 tenured professors are gone with no effort to replace them.)
Clearly, Scarborough could not win an appreciative vote on campus because of his swashbuckling performance that ignored the culture of the campus and city. Who said, "Success relies on knowing the territory"? He didn't.
You can can expect the situation to fester. And there will be frustration that damage to the university's reputation has already happened, not only hereabouts but in national publications. In some quarters there is said to be talk that since the Board of Trustees, a proven non-entity, would not fire the president they hired, would he accept a buyout with money from off the campus?
I don't know where that might go. I do know that the worst thing that could happen would be to leave so many issues locked in its current state.
So that leaves Jane Bond to a reasonable appeal. As she writes: "We must reclaim our university and demand that the board of trustees stop what is happening. Students, alumni, donors and members of our community must 'come together' to preserve and protect one of the most important assets we have - our University of Akron."
Folks, a lot of wax has already drifted down the candle.