by Vladimir Petrovic
My impression of the recent revocation of Jane Fernandes’s contract is that it is a step well-taken, and a decision well-made. Maybe the IrvingBoTs gave the wrong reasons for their decision, but let’s be grateful that the decision was made when it was made, not after an already untenable situation had deteriorated beyond human redemption.
Even though the IrvingBoTs eventually made the right decision, it was made grudgingly and with a measure of mean-spiritedness coming out in the words of its statement announcing the decision. The second statement concerning “reprisals” was therefore not a surprise.
I speculate that the second statement was a sop to assuage the angst of hardliners in the IrvingBots who experienced misplaced emotional and psychological responses to recent events: they saw the protests as a challenge to their authority. These people need help, and they don’t belong on our Board of Trustees.
In any case, to obviate a recurrence of the recent manipulation, a new presidential search must not happen during Irving Jordan’s tenure.
Sometime down the road, when we have selected a new president after a proper presidential search that embraces diversity, respects both the letter and spirit of the governing rules, and gives the various campus constituencies control of their representation as distinct from the charade that took place last Spring, I see these events taking place:
1. amendments to the rule on communication with the board of trustees –the President’s Office “information filter” should be done away with.
2. community involvement in the selection of board of trustees members –no longer should they be selected by the president to serve the president (and serve at the whim of the president … un-starstruck people like John Yeh were let go at the end of their tenures, whilst individuals who did his nibs’ bidding received an additional term).
3. composition of the board of trustees should recognize/include the panoply of our publics and our constituencies — Congress, sundry stakeholders, students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and notable, accomplished individuals.
We’ve won one battle, but the war isn’t over yet. I have a sneaking feeling that we can begin anew in 2007… a new (acting) president will give everyone on all sides the chance to heal from what’s frankly been an ordeal. Then we can rededicate our energies to establishing an ideal order of things.
Meantime, I was puzzled by Margaret Vitullo‘s take on the “rule of law” as a victim of the protest. I don’t know what she’s on, but I can tell her this:
laws were made for the peace, order and good government of people. people were not made for the laws. When the spirit of the law is abused in the execution of a pre-determined outcome, the law needs the people to rectify that abuse and engineer a return to the proper lawful order. The protest accomplished this.
a scenario: the law stipulates that an arbiter shall establish a panel to be composed of individuals of impeccable character to probe a public officer accused of graft. The arbiter empanels 8 people, all of whom are either friends or relatives of the public officer. The arbiter has followed the letter of the law, but not the spirit. Are we to sit and watch helplessly as justice is parodied? I think not.
Kudos to the protesters.