On Bastille Day, I Sing of Olaf, Glad and Big

As you may know, today marks the 220 years since the storming of the Bastille, which kick-started the French Revolution in 1789.  I had planned a short piece comparing Edison's administration with a terrified King Louis XI and the oblivious Marie Antoinette (let them eat cake), only to learn that my knowledge of the historical even has been obscured and falsified by too much Mel Brooks.  So, my tribute to Marlowe's tireless storming of the administration's ivory tower.  Alas, it would have made for some wonderful photoshops of various people in 18th century French garb; though, given Yowell's recent concern over the use of his image, it's probably better left alone.

My short history lesson of the Bastille Day does yield some remarkable similarities.  For instance, the prison of the Bastille (sought after for its store of gunpowder) was the frequent residence of political prisoners who had violated certain lettres de cachet, which bear a striking resemblance to some cryptic emails, missives, edicts that have appeared in my inbox, and are to be followed and believed without question (as Yowell stated in his response to Brad Reed during the April board meeting" you should listen to what I say and not listen to what’s in the newspaper").  Then, of course, there are the unwritten rules, such as no video taping the board meeting, which is grounds for immediate termination (I guess we're all on double secret probation).  There's a word for this sort of thing.  Several, actually, as our good friend Wikipedia notes, these letters "were a prominent symbol of the abuses of the ancien régime monarchy, and as such were suppressed during the French Revolution."  I think we'll leave it at that.  

So, our history lesson seems to be that tyrants (oops, I said it.  Please understand I mean this metaphorically using the most hyperbolic rhetoric imaginable) who unfairly use their power to take out people who speak ill of them or disobey some double secret ruling based on that tyrants personal whims need to be taken out and replaced.  Right?  Now, I'm not calling for anyone's heads.  That wouldn't be nice.  In fact, there's another lesson.  Louis XI and his lovely wife Marie (who probably never uttered those words about the cake in the first place) weren't "taken out" (i.e. relieved of the burden of their heads) until a couple of years later in 1791.  The real lesson: revolution and change take time.  

Of course, many would argue that time is something we ain't got.  With highly qualified and well respected staff leaving at alarming rates and other desperately needed and highly skilled faculty are being forced out (despite staffing shortages in key departments), change can't come soon enough.  Recent events, low employee morale, and a new memo from Yowell telling us he'll force whatever excrement sandwich down our throats he wants, have even more faculty and staff polishing their resumes and sending them out to other schools.   Meanwhile, the Board meets in a "retreat" at a remote, backwoods location in Darke County tomorrow, Wednesday, July 15th before convening on July 22 for their Board meaning.  Who knows what lettres de cachet will be dreamed up during tomorrow's event.

In closing, I'll leave you with the ending lines form an e. e. cummings poem, "I sing of olaf." Afterall, I wrote about Pee Punch before encouraging everyone to go Galt (how's that working, by the way?). 

. . .

Olaf (upon what were once knees)
does almost ceaselessly repeat
"there is some shit I will not eat"

our president,being of which
assertions duly notified 
threw the yellowsonofabitch
into a dungeon,where he died

Christ (of His mercy infinite)
i pray to see; and Olaf, too

preponderatingly because
unless statistics lie he was
more brave than me: more blond than you.


vbblevins said...

I think it's time to stop talking/writing about all the important employees who are leaving Edison. How do writers think that makes those who are not leaving feel about the way in which their competence is being assessed?

And on another note -- and I had planned to stay out of this -- please consider leaving the adjuncts alone in terms of denigrating remarks.

And, yes, I continue to support, as I always have, First Amendment rights, and I've just exercised mine. Vivian B. Blevins

Janice said...

While I will concede that we do sometimes have adjuncts who do not meet our expectations, they usually are not around for long. I would echo Vivian's plea about denigrating remarks directed at adjuncts, not just because I am also one of those (and have been since 1982), but because we do have a large number of very dedicated and highly qualified adjuncts who teach for us. They would love to be among the ranks of full-time faculty and they deserve to be. I am not sure that students care if the teacher is a full-time faculty member or an adjunct -- they just want a good teacher.

I would remind people that Steve Marlowe came to us as an adjunct and took on the teaching assignments previously assigned to Holly Hahn, another gifted adjunct who worked full-time hours. Larry worked as an adjunct for us for years while holding his full-time job at Friendly's. Whether they were full time or adjunct made no difference -- they worked hard to provide our students with the best education possible.

Edison said...
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T.P. MacPhellimey said...
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T.P. MacPhellimey said...

Who is denigrating adjuncts? I see no mention of adjuncts in this post.

Still Taking Notes said...

Thank you, MacPhellimey! I was beginning to wonder what I was missing here. I haven't read any denigrating remarks about adjunts, only the sad ratio between Edison's full time and adjunct faculty. Even adjuncts have an easier time of it when there are enough full time faculty in place to keep programs running and departments focused on their goals.

Chance said...

The problem with the adjunct faculty is not the adjunct faculty. Their work is fine (see Jan's comments above).

The problem with adjunct faculty is the college's chronic and long-standing over-reliance on adjunct faculty to teach as much as 70% of the classes. That this situation has not been remedied in the last 20 years is a huge failing on the part of Yowell and his self-involved administration.

Failure to correct this imbalance means that Edison has failed to fully develop the college's full-time faculty component. Full-time faculty are the backbone of the college's academic function, with responsibilities that go far beyond the classrooms.

Under-appreciated and underpaid, Edison adjuncts are used by Yowell as somewhat of a disposable convenience, serving mainly (in Yowell's little world) as a source of inexpensive labor. But rather than hire more full-time faculty, Yowell and his strategeric cadre have generated an incredibly disproportionate number of administrative positions. Positions, we should note, which do not produce more students or more credits taught, or for that matter, more revenue. It is one of Yowell's greatest failings, and the one which Edison can least afford to continue.

So, it's not the adjuncts that are the problem, it's how they are used. And "used" is the word.

Different subject. Vivian, I get a bit exercised myself at your suggestion that we stop talking about all the people who have left, in some sort of deference to those who remain.

Hey, the good people who are hanging on for a better day know they are good. They suffer, as the college and it's students do, for those who are lost to other colleges, or careers, or who prematurely proceed into retirement.

I think it is very important that we chronicle those who leave the college, and do it each and every time it happens. The losses are great, and stand to become much greater as long as Yowell remains as president, and his cronies at the helm.

We can only hope that those who control the destiny of the college will realize the damage that is being done. Edison is being crushed by the weight of this administration, and the Board of Trustees which blindly supports him at every turn.

So, yes, every time another fine colleague leaves, I hope we publicly acknowledge the work that person accomplished, and the loss of talent that may never be replaced.

Tomorrow, the nation celebrates the 40th anniversary of putting a man on the moon. Proves nothing is impossible.

tick tick

Nothing is impossible. Nothing.