Monday, February 8, 2016

UA's code of silence

We still must wonder why University of Akron President Scott Scarborough chose to deliver his standard denial of  a churning  campus before the Faculty Senate, in a near unanimous vote, convincingly pointed him to the gallows. I've been told there was nothing new in the one-hour talk when  even he must have known that his fate was sealed in a 50-2 no-confidence resolution.  Was it no more than an  act of damage control?

Since then, several days have passed so quietly that you could have heard a diploma drop.  When I checked UA spokesman Wayne Hill, he emailed that the school's official position was stated by Board of Trustees Chairman Jonathan Pavloff shortly after the faculty meeting finished its work. He's the only privileged trustee  entitled to talk.

With incredible indifference to the outcome, Pavloff  sniffily released a prepared statement  that treated the faculty's dissent as a peasants' revolt.  The school, he said, needed a cooperative faculty to come together with Team Scarborough to  work out a  game plan for shared governance, an unfulfilled  matter that's been  at the heart of the faculty's goal all along.

Furthermore, he declared the trustees were fully in support of Scarborough and will remain so. Need I go further into the official deflecting posture that the vote was tied to the faculty's  anger over a standoff in  negotiating a union contract?

Since then, the administration and trustees have  remained  chained to a code of silence. You would think that these sheep were human adults  politically appointed because they were mature enough to think for themselves and be concerned about the future of the university - a public university.

For Pavloff, however, it appeared to b e another day at the office, behavior he doubtless honed  from his six years as the Summit County Republican  Party executive committee chairman with the blessings of the guy who put him there - chairman  Alex Arshinkoff.  (Pavloff has since been succeeded by Bryan Williams, ex of the Ohio Board of Education where things didn't go well for him).

The  only break in the code appeared today in a letter to the editor of  the Beacon Journal from Neil Sapienza, UA associate dean of fine arts,who extolled the virtues of how the arts are serving  the campus and  community.  I suspect there will be more names on the school's roster who will be telling about the goodies in letters and columns.

Meantime, we can also wonder whether the BJ's editorial page has accepted  the code. Not a word from the editors  in the four days following the faculty vote.  Perhaps they've simply decided to let Sapienza (Italian translation: "wisdom")  do the talking.

Over at Team Scarborough's headquarters, you can imagine the UA's CEO saying, as he once did about the need for professors to  pick up trash:  "Will somebody please pick up the diplomas?"



Ron said...

I see the UA marketing machine funded a full-page ad in the Sunday Plain Dealer (page 3, A section) celebrating the naming of the university’s Honors College.

Curiously, the ad never mentioned the grating and exaggerated phrase, “Ohio’s Polytechnic University.” Maybe even UA realizes that potential scholars who might be attracted to the Honors College do not want to be associated with a trade school image.

By the way, wonder how the academic standards are holding up for admission to Akron Poly, given the drop in enrollment? Is anybody out there?

lee woo said...

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