Editorial

EDITORIAL: Damning faculty vote proof actions speak louder than words for Ross presidency

The old adage ‘actions speak louder than words’ rings true when it comes to the way faculty members look at University President George Ross.

Damning statistics, obtained by Central Michigan Life earlier this week, show a strong portion of faculty members still not buying the rhetoric Ross has been selling this semester.

Even with a new public face, spearheaded by the newly appointed Associate Vice President of University Communications Sherry Knight, more than 53 percent of faculty members who responded to a survey measuring Ross’ ability to lead the university ‘strongly disagreed’ with the statement “I favor President Ross continuing as CMU’s President.” Another 25 percent disagreed with the statement, while 13 percent either strongly agreed or agreed.

And the numbers are fairly consistent across the board, from questions about Ross’ leadership to his commitment to CMU. And that says something: about the job he’s done communicating internally, and how deep the wounds from last academic year run.

Academic Senate co-chair Jim McDonald brought that point up in a sitdown interview with Central Michigan Life Editor-in-Chief Eric Dresden on Tuesday, pointing out that five of the seven members on the provost search committee were appointed by Ross. To his credit, Ross says college deans handpicked the individuals themselves.

But that begs the point, as McDonald asked:  “Why not follow through and use shared governance to elect people?”

The main issue here is that students, staff and faculty have not forgotten the turmoil surrounding last year.

The Faculty Association is still angry with Ross’s lack of transparency and leadership.

It’s going to take time for the salt to leave the FA’s wounds, making this fall the least opportune time for Ross to undergo a presidential review. These results beg the question as to who Ross and the Board of Trustees have in mind when making decisions related to Central Michigan University.

Because right now, it seems as though Ross and the board have monetary gain in mind and nothing else.

Additionally, Ross has never formally come out and apologized for the bad blood between he and the FA. If he is serious about rebuilding the broken bridges created following last year’s tumultuous events, he needs to stop talking and start acting.

CMU faculty, staff and students don’t need to hear another rah-rah speech; they need to see a leader take responsibility for his actions, apologize for the past and actively work toward a better future.

Until Ross proves he is as committed to the betterment of this university as he claims he is, he shouldn’t be the least bit surprised by the negative reviews he continuously receives.

2 Comments

  1. Just what presidential actions continue to upset faculty? What actions should the President apologize for? I suppose faculty continue to dwell on CMU’s collective bargaining issues; e.g., no across the board faculty salary increase in the first year; faculty to pay more for their MESSA health insurance; medical school faculty excluded from the bargaining unit. Well, yes, these were contentious issues. But, “hard” bargaining has occurred in years prior to 2011-12 without lingering animosity toward administration, at least lingering to the degree it appears this time round.

    I submit it isn’t the last round of bargaining per se that continues to be the issue; after all, faculty made out “ok” on the health insurance issue again; and the bargaining unit remains strong even without the addition of medical school faculty.

    What continues to be at issue is the plain fact of the medical school itself and its drain on university resources that will continue far into the foreseeable future. (We’re not a wealthy school.) This issue reflects a profound distrust in the decision-making of the CMU Board of Trustees, who pushed through the medical school idea without truly factoring faculty opinion into their action. Moreover, the failure to work in a “transparent” way on the funding and staffing of the medical school seems to many faculty to be a systemic flaw as far as Board and senior administrative actors is concerned. This seems to many faculty to reflect a pattern of disdain for faculty that antedates 2011 bargaining. A decade ago the Board made a ‘push’ for CMU to become more research oriented. But, why? What is (was) so wrong with continuing to be a premiere undergraduate teaching institution? CMU faculty are widely recognized as fine teachers. Whereas the university’s resources really don’t allow for it to become the kind of research institution indicated by the Board’s ‘upgrade’ of Mission Statement. Research universities support their faculty with different teaching loads than CMU is prepared to offer. Research university tenure and promotion standards are far different than CMU’s. Faculty were not invited to discuss these issues before the Board changed our mission a decade ago. Now we have a medical school without care for the interests of many faculty. As a consequence, the leadership of CMU faces faculty who are really fed up with an approach to decision-making that ignores the very fine history of the school and seeks to make it into something that many fear will be too costly to maintain.

    • anonymouscmu says:

      [Surprise!] So Ross shouldn’t apologize for his own actions but for the actions of the administration from 10 years ago? Interesting.

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