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
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