EDITORIAL: Grading George Ross' tenure as university president

With the review of Central Michigan University President George Ross officially underway, the Central Michigan Life Editorial Board thought it would also be appropriate to review Ross’ two year, eight-month-plus tenure as president.

Before returning to CMU in March 2010, Ross served as vice president of finance and administrative services, most notably enacting the popular CMU Promise, freezing tuition for fi ve years for students.

Involvement: C

Although Ross attends some dinners in residence halls and makes appearances at special events, for nearly half of his time as president, he was a ghost.

Students rarely saw him, he rarely spoke in public and when he did the speeches were often fraught with controversy.

Although there has been some improvement after his first year and a half here, there should be open forums with the president

that are advertised through campus.

Finances: D+

Turmoil surrounding costs of the renovation of the Events Center, the construction of the College of Medicine and the addition of a bio sciences building, new data center and wet labs for CMED have fallen in Ross’ lap, whether he’s wanted to deal with them or not. CMU has allocated millions of dollars to these buildings, yet still argued with faculty members regarding salaries last year.

This doesn’t demonstrate a smart use of money, and, although all of the buildings will benefit CMU in the future, having nobody to teach in those buildings is a bigger problem. Due to this, Ross has earned himself a D+ in the financial category.

Communication/transparency: D

Since Ross arrived on campus, communication has been meek at best. From the controversial announcement of CMED to a lack of full public disclosure to the university’s $10 million allocation toward the Events Center renovation, to providing inaccurate numbers about the cost of the new cmich.edu, things have always seemed to have been less than honest.

In fact, CMU faculty members spent a majority of last year fighting to stay one step ahead of the administration’s thinking, having to drill Ross and his constituents with in-depth questions to get the complete story.

Has there been an improvement this semester, following the resignation of Associate Vice President of University Communications Renee Walker?


But then again, this university hasn’t faced anything quite like a faculty strike, building of an Events Center or redesign of the entire website.

Leadership: F

CMU has looked like a disorganized mess for a majority of Ross’ time as president.

The job of a leader is to build and maintain a strong, reliable, efficient team.

Based on multiple controversies and half-truths, Ross’ team building strategies have failed miserably.

Not only has his performance lacked communication and trustworthiness, he’s made less than satisfactory attempts at cleaning up his mess until this semester.

A leader is only as strong as his weakest link, and until Ross realizes that and makes appropriate changes an F is the only grade suitable.

Overall grade: D


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