A Publication for the faculty, staff, administrators and friends of California State University, Chico
November 11, 2004 Volume 35/Number 3

Academic Senate

Once, I was in a play called Rumors. It was about a dinner party where the attending couples exchanged truths, half-truths, and non-truths. Hilarity ensued.

We are all familiar with rumors at the campus level. Some recent ones are far from hilarious. I believe in getting rumors out into the sunlight as soon as possible, and treating them with a healthy dose of truth. Sometimes the truth kills the rumor; sometimes it helps an important issue grow and receive the attention it deserves.

Two classes of rumors I’ve been hearing lately are “reorganization” and “program elimination.” I’ve heard the rumor that the colleges of Natural Sciences and Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology will be merging. I know that that rumor is false, because of the other rumor that ECT will be merging with the colleges of Business and Agriculture. But wait, isn’t Agriculture being eliminated? It’s so hard to keep track of these things.

We have protective processes on this campus. Administrators cannot restructure academic organizations by fiat. Programs cannot be eliminated simply by starving them of funding. Executive memoranda outline campus procedures for handling program cuts and reorganizations. Such memoranda serve as the administration’s pledge to shared governance in such matters.

The Academic Senate, as well as the appropriate collective bargaining groups, serves to monitor these activities and perform our end of the agreement. If you hear a rumor of dastardly activities, let us know. Maybe it’s something that we can cure with a dose of truth. Maybe it’s something about which we need to engage the administration. Contact your local representative, or give the office a call at x6201. Sometimes, sadly, the budgetary push comes to the programmatic shove. We work to protect the rights of faculty, staff, students, and the programs themselves when the unthinkable has to be thought about.

I also want to say something about the role of trust. I know that sometimes it’s hard, but I hope that, unless it’s proven otherwise, we can trust that the right thing will be done. I believe that most people here are folks of good will. Naturally, there will be times when people of good will disagree. The Academic Senate is a forum for hearing those disagreements and, through such discussions, helping to inform the administration in its decision making.

When you see something go wrong in an organization, the two basic causes are stupidity and evil. (By the way, those are the same two reasons why organizations have to have rules.) When I hear about something happening that I think is atrocious, I try to remind myself that, until I know better, I should chalk it up to stupidity rather than evil. Stupid things can be fixed. Evil is a hard force to fight. When you hear a rumor of something bad happening, I hope that you rule out evil until you know for sure.

– Marc Siegall, chair, Academic Senate



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