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.