A Brief Briefing

As many of our interested parties are between semesters, traveling, or otherwise not receiving their usual communiques, allow me to briefly post a report.

Wednesday, May 13, three of us (Reed, Dragosavac, Heintz) representing Academic Senate meet with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees (Chairman Murray, Vice Chairman Curry, and Past Chairman Milligan).

We came away with the sense that it was a productive meeting. We talked. They listened. They talked. We listened. It was, frankly, the kind of conversation that should have started a year ago and perhaps should happen every six months going forward.

In any case, without going into details inappropriate to disclose in this forum, they learned we are not (as we have been characterized elsewhere) wild-eyed anarchists bent on destruction and mayhem. They are not (as has been characterized by some) clod-headed know-nothings.

In fact, we share common goals and common concerns and are all seeking a way forward. The discussion was frank, detailed and extensive. Data were presented, challenged and verified.

Shortly after the meeting, a colleague appeared in my door and asked, "So when will we know?" My reply was, "When will we know what?" Anyone who has presumed a specific outcome is likely to be disappointed, at least in the short term. But those of us who want to fix the broken parts and get Edison back on the road should be encouraged by this breakthrough.


No one of importance said...

Thanks for posting, Brad. I'm glad it was a productive meeting.

What can we do to move our common goals forward?

Do you think there will be more meetings like this?

It's things like this that help us all see our individual humanity, which we are obliged to respect.

It's far too easy to rail against an unseen, over-reaching, all powerful force who sits in an office (Yowell) or drops by once a month (the Board) and characterize it as evil. It's too easy for those in power to see us as a hysterical, unwashed mob.

Edward Said calls this Orientalizing, we would call it stereotyping or generalizing. He uses this term to critique Western characterization of the East, particularly Muslims and made a strong statement shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 in his essay "We all Swim Together": "how much simpler it is to make bellicose statements for the purpose of mobilising collective passions than to reflect, examine, sort out what it is we are dealing with in reality, the interconnectedness of innumerable lives, "ours" as well as "theirs"." He closes his essay by writing how we are all in this together (to paraphrase High School Musical): "These are tense times, but it is better to think in terms of powerful and powerless communities, the secular politics of reason and ignorance, and universal principles of justice and injustice, than to wander off in search of vast abstractions that may give momentary satisfaction but little self-knowledge or informed analysis."

These are tense times for all of us and as easy as it is to call for heads (most people are), that probably won't happen. I'd rather see mutual respect between faculty/staff and administration rather than the fear and intimidation that currently exists.

What, apart from being visibly human, can we do?


Political Paladin said...

As a past president once said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself". From this meeting we start to see the real way out of this. But this method will only work when both sides listen and communicate in good faith and truth.

What we all need to be asking ourselves is how we can contribute to this trend. I will plead guilty to calling for heads on platters at the start, but will that in itself eliminate our problems? The two-way communication exhibited in this meeting is what will truly destroy the fear that is choking this institution.

If something can't stand up under the light of truth it should have no place at Edison or anywhere else.

Editorial Junta said...

The Junta believes relationships between the current powers that run Edison (as distinct from its org-chart leadership) are irreparable; most of the administration should remain, and in fact support the efforts of we who resist.

No one of importance said...

I'll agree with the Junta about relationships between certain administration and faculty/staff being irreparable, especially because those people in the administration will never take the necessary steps to even try to repair the damage they've done, let alone come out of the office.

As an adjunct of three years, I can say I've never had a conversation with any of the infamous people called out by their initials here--unless you count "What's your name?" when I got my ID. Of course, I've also never sought out conversation with KY during those adjunct banquets or attended any of his mixers.

Then again, as an adjunct, I hardly hear anything except from the daily email "update," an occasional notice not to wear jeans, and press releases from ol' what's his face.

Dare I compare ECC to Wright State where I receive a weekly message from the college president. Of course, he's only in his second or third year, trying to undo the damage of the previous president, who never came out of his office and kept the blinds of his corner office, which overlooks the campus, firmly shut.

Vampire school presidents need a stake through the heart--and in some legends, when you kill the head vampire, the one's he's converted revert back to normal.

Anyone in a position of power willing to listen respectfully is already on our side. The rest will have a big decision to make soon (I hope).


Editorial Junta said...

No one of Importance:

No need to sign the comments with your actual name, though I guess the cat's out of the bag now! Just be registered, so you can own your pwn.

Sleepless in Troy said...

The numbers and the facts are clear. It is only a matter of time before things are righted. I am glad that the faculty also have a waiting strategy to play. At least 3 years before they can leagal be dismissed. That is one year longer than KY's contract.

No one of importance said...

Meh, what's it matter if lurkers know my first name. No need for Brad, Larry, and Marlowe to stick their necks out all the time.

Besides, I'm an adjunct. I'm a bargain. If they decide my services are no longer needed, I'll drive a little further for better pay and wish them luck finding someone else to work at Adjunct Central in DCC.