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.