One of the posts on the eco-friendly mini-bus asks:

"Is anyone doing anything about the thefts that are occuring around here, of both cash and goods????"

The poster, "still curious" (is it curious how many people with good suggestions seem afraid to use their real names?) hedged a bit, commenting that this may not be a money-saving suggestion for the college so much as for individuals.

But it seems that hedge was probably not necessary. If people are stealing from individuals, they're probably also lifting a valuable or three from Edison directly. And the impact of petty theft goes beyond personal or institutional finance, resulting in a loss of productivity.

Let's take a look at what the experts say:

Applying the examples in this article to Edison, we've seen how desk copies of textbooks have been stolen from faculty offices and mailboxes, we're aware of how many staplers walk off campus per annum, and we've followed the consternation in recent years as needed equipment has been spirited away from classrooms. How many of us have noted how it adds more chaos to the already-high levels of the Faculty Support office when they must lock up desk copies, email faculty of their arrival, and then unlock and pick out the texts when claimed? How many classes were thrown off schedule because someone failed to respect the equipment in the math, med tech, or humanities classrooms?

To a certain extent, we've been blessed to teach in Piqua and Greenville. This area is one of the last bastions of the protestant ethics of honesty and hard work. Dave Johnson managed to get through his entire career without being punished for leaving his keyring in his office door. But I fear that attitude is breaking down a bit.

How to reduce petty theft? That online article makes clear recommendaations:

"The best way to combat the theft of office supplies is not only to track where these supplies are going, but also to create high employee morale in your workplace. If your employees are happy in their job and in their relationship with the company they are less likely to pilfer office supplies in the long run."

So there's another cost-saving tip--one that is a little too complicated to post on the eco-friendly mini-bus. It would involve reducing the number of part-time faculty, who are the ones most likely to feel disconnected and abused in their positions--and also the ones for whom student satisfaction is more likely to be lower. It would involve reversing the impression that employees are sometimes dismissed for personal rather than personnel reasons. It would involve ensuring that employee incomes keep up with (if not exceed) the cost of living, that our health insurance provider would not abuse us, that our ideas were valued and our time was considered as something more than a duty to be paid on demand. It would involve respecting the expert opinions of people well educated and accomplished in their fields.

Until those things happen, lingering resentments are going to continue to provide excuses to our little criminals.


Chance said...

While petty theft is a special little misery of its own, it doesn't cost the college nearly what has been lost to special interests, poor decisions, pitifully bad judgment, those who pad their travel accounts monthly with lots of little trips, the ridiculous bonuses paid recently, the ridiculous raises for certain presidential favorites, the money spent to keep a glorified clerical worker on staff while living in Texas, the exorbitant and unnecessary training and travel for the Board members (who do such an amazing job, and I do not mean amazing in a good way), and so much more.

Stealing is still stealing, and it is wrong. But comparing that problem to the one of how this college is being run straight into the ground by KY and his minions tells me where the real problem is.

Yowell and his cronies are taking the college down big time and taking very good care of themselves along the way. Nothing petty about it. It is insidious and it is destroying this college piece by piece.

The thieves who matter are the ones we know, the ones who are plundering the college right before our very eyes, and laughing all the way to the bank. All while our gutless, worthless Board members stand there with their mouths hanging open and choose to do nothing about any of it.


yellowleaf36 said...

So now we lowly part-time faculty are the root of your loss of staplers? I thought “illuminati” implied “enlightened ones”? The premise of the article is that unhappy employees pilfer supplies. Even with my limited cognitive abilities (being an adjunct and all), I can surmise from your blog that the “unhappy” are also the enlightened. Perhaps the thinner air found circulating around your pedestals caused a momentary lapse of superior intellect, so I will forgive your miss-interpretation of your own posted materials. Oh and if you need some cheap office supplies, I will be the guy in the parking lot with the trench coat and dark sunglasses selling staplers from the trunk of my car.

Editorial Junta said...

Missing the point? TR being facetious? BTW, if it were up to the Illuminator, we'd eliminate adjunct positions entirely. So long as we have empty departments and growing enrollment, we should be hiring you all full time.

Political Paladin said...

Apparently the "terrorists are winning" if those at the lower levels of KY's ivory tower are starting to attack each other. We need to focus on the root of the evil that would bring ANY person at Edison to the point that they would need to suppliment their daily needs with theft. It is a mindset that comes from a feeling of hopeless struggle with the disfunctional system we work in. If we can't work together towards a solution there will be no supplies to steal in the future.

TR said...

Yellowleaf36, I just tried to re-read to see where I used the term "adjunct" and I don't see it.

I have posted (17 June) a discussion about adjuncts. I wonder if you found anything offensive there?

I'm with the Junta on this one; Edison ought to conform to OBOR guidelines and hire more full-time faculty so that less than 40% of our classes are taught by adjuncts.

But let me be clear; I do not think that all of the morale problems on campus come from abused adjuncts. There are hourly staff who are worried about job security, and there are low-level administrators who feel abused. Are all of them petty thieves--of course not. But the few who turn to theft, vandalism, and neglect are most likely to come from those ranks.

yellowleaf36 said...


Your last paragraph includes this first cost-saving tip: It would involve reducing the number of part-time faculty, who are the ones most likely to feel disconnected and abused in their positions. This statement follows a paragraph that ends with: If your employees are happy in their job and in their relationship with the company they are less likely to pilfer office supplies in the long run. Thus you quoted the article stating in essence that unhappy employees are more likely to be pilferers & then implied with your first suggestion adjuncts are more likely to be unhappy. Unless "part-time faculty" means something different than "adjunct" I see a linkage.

I imagine I have read your previous post, but will re-visit it. My problem with all such posts is they usually go like this: studies show that part-time faculty suck, but we only mean that towards those of ours who do suck, and not those that do not suck, but we will not focus our efforts against those that actually do suck, because, in general, part-time faculty suck. Thus, I am many times told (in my mind anyway) that I may suck now, but I won't suck if I get hired full-time. Well, if I suck now, why on Earth would you want me to be full-time?

Perhaps I am being overly sensitive or my perception is askew, but I (as a non-sucker, per five years of consistent student and supervisor evals) am putt-off by backhanded compliments issued with an underlying tenor of distaste; i.e., we appreciate your service, but please know we feel you are "less than" and are a major problem here at Edison. Followed by: oh, and we'd really like your support for our coup against the administration.

I am sure with all the years of higher education amongst your group, you can find a way to articulate that you would like to increase the number of full-time faculty without alienating and denigrating the rest of us.


From the dark said...

His hubris toward the Voice of the Resistance did nothing to contribute to his self proclaimed apotheosis. He really had a little mien.

Even now he could have a recrudescence if only he threw the CQI Queen under the bus. We all could pretend it was all her fault. Her puerility toward education has damned the school for two decades now. Wouldn’t it seem poetic to see her frenetic reaction to being thrown under the bus? And, his unctuous reasons for her dismissal would delight the knowledgeable observer. But who knows what will become of his botrytis group.

The board and he should realize how eager many of us are to be the negociants of such a scenario.

Before one gets excited over such prospects, one should consider the frottage factor involved in the relationships forged in the office spaces. Then again he may realize that he is no longer at his acme.

If only he didn’t care so much for that hair, maybe he would go of into the sunset with a fine trilby a top.

TR said...

Ah, I see, Yellowleaf.

But my comment was not intended to indicate that part-time faculty are the source of the problem. No, the problem is that the current strategy in higher education is to rely on cheap part-time instructors--balanced by an abundance of administrators.

I imagine that your morale is fine if you see college teaching as a retirement activity or as community service to supplement your professional career. Those are the sorts of adjuncts that colleges and universities ought to value, and those are the ones who will contribute to collegiality, teach to high standards, and generally enhance the college environment.

Unfortunately, about half of all adjuncts (as indicated by empirical studies) really want to be full-time, and those are the ones who suffer from overwork, lack of support, and in general low morale if not clinical depression. And yes, they are a source of low morale--not only their own, but also among full-time staff and faculty who feel for them--and sometimes who suffer with them or because of them.

The problem, Yellowleaf, is not with the part-time faculty; it's with the administration that can't figure out how to quit exploiting them.