Once again we have been approached by another faculty member who is secretly looking to abandon the self-inflicted sinking ship known as WLCC (as some profs are now calling the place. That didn’t take long). We were told that the place is declining rapidly and that the new administration has no discernible clue what to do about it. Furthermore, we were told that the faculty senate has now abandoned all the “principles” they “stood for” when they publicly “attacked the college and tried to interfere with Capehart’s contract.” Finally, and this is no shocker, the college has a systemic distaste for people of certain religious persuasions, and discriminates based on it. This is a serious charge of course, and this person makes it with some relevant evidence that relates to hiring and promotion.
As we have already noted in this series, the anti-religious bigotry was just one reason the faculty lined up against Capehart and attacked his daughter for her “shitty Christian movie.” So now that another faculty member has indeed experienced the same, it just goes to show that, again, we told you so.
You just cannot write a novel this good, though we’d like Tom Wolfe to try, please.
Speaking of Tom Wolfe, we have a candidate who should star in the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The faculty, it’s senate, and its BOG representative have abandoned all their pledges and principles for which they publicly stated they would stand in their gnashing of teeth to attempt to oust Capehart. The most recent Board of Governor’s meeting (BOG) was recently concluded February 10 and the faculty BOG Representative published a review that counters everything he said he would do (or fight for and against) upon taking the office.
In his April 19 letter to the faculty his first sentence is: “As Mick Jagger said so eloquently a few decades ago, ‘You can’t always get what you want.'” Now, i never expected to hear that the Stones are eloquent, but apparently, this person thinks so, and if that’s eloquent, it makes one wonder what adjective is left for, say, Winston Churchill. But, for an official faculty representative to write letters like this–and that to begin by quoting the high minded and eminently thoughtful Socrates figure named Mick Jagger, and these examples are legion–is tantamount to being a poor reflection on a alleged learned community. If recall is an option, it should be exercised.
There are many things that we could quibble with the public letter but a few notables stand out. Let’s unpack this fabrication:
During the past week I attended the bi-monthly BOG meeting, met with the President, the Provost, the Athletic Director, the Chief Technical Officer, 4 out of 6 deans, and a full-time faculty member whose contract will not be renewed next year. I have been asking questions and seeking answers to be able to provide you with as objective and thorough an analysis as I can of the present situation.
After much discussion I am more convinced than ever that the faculty of West Liberty are true gems. Despite no raises for four years, operating budgets trimmed to the bone, and a bit of a ‘Hunger Games’ foreboding about who will get THE LETTER, I find the faculty to be as engaged as ever, good humored, caring about the success of our students, doing quality work day in and day out. Our faculty need to be continually celebrated, honored, respected, and protected.
First, it is quite a different tone he strikes when he was railing against Capehart and those associated with him for closing buildings and laying off staff and faculty. Now, he thinks that those who are being let go are “gems.” Isn’t that sweet? No vitriol, no slander or libel, no tortious interference. No, those who still have contracts are quite happy thank you, and all that railing we did to save jobs, and buildings, well, that was a propaganda ploy top get rid of the Christian Conservative president we hated because we cannot tolerate different opinions. With all due respect, we already know you are not “objective.”
Second, it is just a pure fabrication of the truth, and an untruth, that the faculty have not received raises in four years. In fact, Capehart secured one in 2013, and it was in December of 2013, so applied to 2014. So unless the BOG representative can’t count…. Further, under Capehart the faculty received raises almost every year. That was unprecedented before he came to the college.
The BOG Rep then goes on to list 9 points why he voted to object to the budget presented by the BOG. Most of those reasons were reasons he opposed and wanted Capehart gone. Is he going to call for the resignation of the new president then? Or the new CFO? How about the Eternal Second?
Among the objections he lists here is one: “1. Personnel Cuts – First and foremost of my objections is the call for 13 faculty and 6 staff cuts. I wanted to be absolutely certain that everything has been done to avoid making personnel cuts, especially faculty cuts. That involves close scrutiny of the proposed budget. Unfortunately, the summary budget we received lacked many specifics…” So here we have a diminutive acceptance of something serious and real that was a call for “burning down” the college symbollically last year by the same person.
Is this true? No it is not without evidence. What is evident is that the student default rate is increasing BECAUSE students cannot find a job after graduating from the college. Some colleges do better than others, but WL is on an upward trend because of the failures of the prior administration to convince the faculty to do real education (the only thing that may decrease the number is WL is bleeding enrollment, down by double digits two years in a row). In other words, the faculty stood in the way of serious reform years ago. The business community figured this out, and looked elsewhere for employees so I have been told by some Ohio Valley employers. What can you say when a university prioritizes comic books over the liberal arts? Businesses are not stupid, and those who run them are looking for highly qualified workers. Default rates are driven by the ability to pay. nearly 20% of WL students do not have the ability to pay after graduation.
Next: “4. Voodoo Differentials – Bear with me here. You may need to read the following two paragraphs twice. It is a little bit complicated. Differentials are the extra charges that are attached to a program to make up for the extra expenses of the program. For example, a student studying in a particular program might be assessed $200 each semester because the expenses to operate the program are perceived to be higher than other programs. The operative word is perceived.”
How do i word this without seeming to be condescending; that’s just plain uninformed. No, the “operative word” is not a word, it’s a phrase. Here it is: some programs COST more to run than OTHERS. That’s not perception, that’s just a fact, a fact lost on the BOG representative who wants to say that art and pottery classes cost just as much to run as say, a class on Ancient Political Thought. Memo to our dear BOGger, Capehart had a system of reliable measurement in place to decipher the cost of departments and that was no mystery as you state–it was actually known and public and done with the assistance of a now departed major economic scholar. Sorry to inform you but, the Arts & Com folks gobble up a lot of resources in real money terms and do so more than other departments and schools. This is why Arts & Com should be eliminated from the college because, well, making a pot is not as important as other majors, and to think it is that important suggests there’s an air of pot in the building. Oh wait, I was writing as if liberal education was not already gutted, forget my last sentence. New slogan should be “More Pot! More Comics!”
We could go on and may later, but that’s about all we can stomach for now.
The fools dance and the BOG representative is their court jester. Or, to put it another way, Rome burns and WL does not know it’s burning, much less that it fiddles while it does.