Monday, September 14, 2009

Hay’s and Shelton’s Breach of Trust

This came in as a comment. It presented such compelling insight into the way decisions are made in the "tower" that it deserved "post" status. The UA Defender again calls for world-class leadership for our world-class institution. The situation described below illustrates that we are not getting such leadership from Shelton/Hay. This posting has been modified to reflect Garcia's correction that the $436,000 was taken from the Diverse Faculty Initiative in spring 2008 to fund gen. ed. courses scheduled for fall 2008, not spring 2008.

This past weekend the U of A celebrated Hispanic Heritage day. To do so the administration paraded out folkloric Mexican dancers and mariachis onto the football field to symbolize their commitment to diversity and the Hispanic community. The president’s office also continues to spew out data that shows increases in “minority” enrollment, which is meant to convince us that they are committed to progress in this arena. But numbers without substance are meaningless. That is indeed the case when it comes to this administration’s record on diversity.

Let me describe the most recent series of events that illustrates the lack of substance and commitment to diversity by the U of A central administration, despite their continued propaganda. In 2007-2008 the President initiated the Diverse Faculty Initiative as a way to increase the number of women in STEM fields and faculty from underrepresented groups. He allocated $1 million for the Initiative. In spring 2008, Meredith Hay used over $436,000 from the $1 million allocated for this Initiative to fund fall 2008 classes. At the time of this action, the central administration was holding on to $16 million in over realized tuition, which they could have used to fund additional seats in general education. Instead they took from the poor.

When Shelton funded this Initiative he assigned me to administer it, so you can imagine my surprise when Hay took $436 K from this fund without notifying me. In 2008-2009 the Initiative was again funded by Shelton. During the spring of 2009, he was asked by members of the Diversity Coalition and the community advisory groups on diversity what effect the budget cuts would have on the funding for the Diverse Faculty Initiative. He responded that it was in the most difficult of times when our values were truly tested, and that his commitment to the Initiative and diversity remained unchanged. In meetings held in the spring of 2009 with these groups he again touted the importance of this Initiative and said, in effect, that he wanted me, Juan Garcia, to come to him at the end of the year and inform him that he has “overspent” on the million dollars allocated for this program. After a meeting with the African American Advisory Committee he spoke to me outside the Ventana Room and asked me to “get on the backs of the deans” to identify and recruit more minority faculty. I informed him that I was doing that very thing and that we had some outstanding possibilities developing.

In response to my call for more colleges to take advantage of the Initiative, I received proposals from several units in SBS asking for funding to recruit faculty that they had identified. The units did due diligence and conducted their respective searches according to the guidelines and procedures established by their college and the university. The end result was that six faculty were identified, 5 of whom were from underrepresented groups (2 African Americans, 1 Hispanic, 2 Asians, and one STEM faculty. All six of these faculty are women. To hire these stellar women to the U of A meant that we would need an additional $350,700 per year of bridge funding using the Diverse Faculty Initiative. Under normal circumstance I would have written MOUs to each of the units approving the hires because the dean in SBS agreed to pick up their salaries using permanent funds once the temporary funding from the Initiative ended. However, when all of this was occurring I was in the midst of being non-renewed, so I wrote a memo to Shelton detailing the faculty recruited and the funding required. I wanted to make certain that these obligations to the SBS departments were not lost in the transition following my non-renewal by Shelton. Shelton did not deign to respond to my memo. Instead Meredith Hay inserted herself into this matter and summarily decreed that we had “no funds” to support these hires. She then added insult to injury by declaring that I had “overspent” the funds allocated, and that I had no standing to do so. To this I say “yes I did overspend the amount allocated” because that's what Shelton told the advisory groups he wanted me to do.

When the heads that had recruited these faculty learned that the funding for these hires was not forthcoming, they were, and remain, enraged and betrayed. In June, the SBS heads and director formulated a proposal that would not have involved any funding from the Strategic Initiative for AY 2009-10. The only financial commitment would have been $30K for spring 2010, to bring on the tenured associate professor, who was willing to come at a reduced FTE for the semester. The other five women were willing to wait until AY 2010-11 to start at the university if they had contracts. The heads met with Meredith to discuss the matter, and again Hay characteristically proved intractable.

The plan set forth by the heads had the support of Beth Mitchneck, Interim Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Joaquín Ruiz, Executive Dean of the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science, of which SBS is a part. Beth and Joaquín said they would work with the heads and director to find the $30,000 for the associate professor’s spring 2010 salary.

This meant that no funding would be needed from the Strategic Initiative until AY 2010-11, when $104,000 was available. In addition, the SBS heads and director said they would ask for only two years of salary support (for AY 2010-11 and AY 2011-12) instead of the usual three years provided by the Strategic Initiative. At this point, the provost presented to Ruiz and Mitchneck another reason for not hiring the six candidates: she said the former SBS dean, Ed Donnerstein, had overcommitted the college's funds for faculty hires, and the college was in deficit. Therefore, the college could not afford to take over the salaries for the six diversity hires at the end of the three-year funding period. The provost refused to approve the hires.

Hay’s transparent lack of commitment to integrity and diversity was no surprise. But for Shelton to abdicate his responsibilities in this matter and allow Hay to completely derail all of the effort and good faith that had gone into recruiting these faculty is both unconscionable and irresponsible. In essence, the departments, SBS, and the faculty being recruited had met the standards and requirements of the Initiative guidelines. There is nothing in the guidelines that allows the Provost to deny Initiative funding after all of the requirements have been met by units under this Initiative.

Even if you do not agree with diversity initiatives, the fact is that this action by the Provost and President is unacceptable for the following reasons:

  • It will damage the credibility of the U of A nationally in recruiting any faculty because the commitment to hire faculty will be questioned by applicants. It will make our university appear as a second-rate university that does not honor its commitments.
  • The failure of the administration in fulfilling its commitments further erodes the trust of the academic community on campus.
  • It again penalizes the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences by denying them even the most meager of resources to improve on the quality and number of their diverse faculty.
  • It is unmitigated and demeaning micro-managing on the part of the Provost in the affairs of SBS and other colleges.
  • It contradicts Shelton’s pledge to the community advisory committees on diversity. This has the potential to again alienate this important constituency and undo all of the work that has taken place to win their trust and support.

As for the advisory groups—they must not allow this breach of trust on the part of Shelton and Hay to go unchallenged. The pledge to hire more diverse faculty was made to them personally by Shelton. Demand that he live up to his promise. The argument that they do not have the funds to approve these hires is specious and untrue.

For example, in August 2009, the Provost announced that the university would allocate $12 million to promote the hiring of excellent faculty in environmental studies and translational medicine. She also announced an allocation of $300,000 to promote scholarship among faculty in Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social and Behavioral Sciences (three of the four units in the newly formed Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science). What this indicates – in light of the 7% budget cuts allocated to Fine Arts, Humanities, and SBS – is that there is a massive centralization of resources, with reallocation of funds to favored colleges and fields. In short, the cuts are financing a massive expansion of resources in the sciences and medicine. Meanwhile, despite the continual press releases and president’s statements about the UA’s commitment to diversity, the university has refused to fund six faculty candidates in SBS with excellent research agendas, all of whom are women and five of who are members of ethnic minorities.

Furthermore at a Team Provost meeting earlier last spring Gene Sander, Dean of Agriculture and VP for Outreach, was bemoaning the loss of faculty at the U of A. Meredith stated that this is the time we should be out recruiting the best faculty possible, to which Gene responded how could we when there was a hiring freeze and the budget situation was dire. Hay replied, just go out and find them and we will find the money to hire them. Well, a group of heads has done that—so where is the money, Provost Hay?

Finally, someone has just put together the statistics and data on the U of A's record in terms of hiring women and faculty from under-represented groups. They are abysmal. I will ascertain whether they can be placed on this site, so that you may come to your own conclusions. (They have been. Please see below.)

I challenge the community advisory groups to demand what was promised to them by Shelton with great fanfare. And do not forget what happened under this administration last spring when they (Vito and Hay especially) dismantled the cultural centers, despite your concerns and protests. Do not continue to be misled by data shoveled out by the central administration or by the hollow rhetoric and promises of Shelton.

So let’s go back to the symbolic meaning of Hispanic dancers and mariachis on the football field last Saturday evening. In light of this administration’s actions regarding the cultural centers, the Diverse Faculty Initiative, and the almost complete absence of members from underrepresented groups on Team Provost and the president’s cabinet, it is not surprising that they have compartmentalized their commitment to diversity in terms of celebrations--although I do not see much to celebrate about. As long as this administration continues to rely on numbers rather than substance, it may keep their shallow demonstrations of inclusion that are paraded out annually in colorful costumes to entertain and amuse them. It once again demonstrates to me the utter lack of understanding and appreciation of how groups from diverse and different backgrounds have come together to shape who and what we are. A world-class leadership would have tapped into that deep reserve of knowledge and talent. The current administration continues to demonstrate through their actions that they are second rate when it comes to leadership.

Juan R. García

Click here for "Diversity Graphs for UA Faculty 2003-2008."
Click here for "Highlights of Diversity Graphs 2003-2008" (September 2009)


  1. Thank you, Juan. You have courage, and so does your daughter. Someone has to speak up. It is time that more faculty do so as well.

    In terms of your comment, the university cannot remain whole and remain relevant to the diverse population of the southwest under such authoritarian rule. People who relish authoritarian power--who have nothing but contempt for anything that stands in their way--can have no idea of what diversity truly means. It is not, as you say, something to dangle around on "Hispanic day" of Humanities Day...

  2. In spring 2008, Meredith Hay used over $436,000 from the $1 million allocated for this Initiative to fund Spring 2008 classes

    I know Juan is not good with numbers but as a historian I would hope he could get his dates correct.

    How did Provost Hay take this money in Spring 2008 to fund Spring 2008 classes? She did not start at the University of Arizona until the end of April 2008, by which time most classes for the Spring semester were close to finals (ie done!).

    Did Juan Garcia mean 2009?

  3. The information provided by Vice President Garcia is disturbing. A "massive centralization of financial power in the Provost's office" means removing control from the Colleges. Defunding diversity hires in SBS and diverting the funds to making hires in science and medicine, while all other units are stuck in a "hiring freeze" that had been announced (with possible exceptions) as campus-wide.
    I will wait to see how the president and provost respond to these revelations, which have the ring of truth since Vice President Garcia - ex-V.P. Garcia - was there, on the inside, during those planning initiatives that he charges were revised unilaterally by Meredith Hay under the assumption that no one would, or could, stand up to her. Vice President Garcia provides facts and figures, along with the data in the source links.
    If the response from the president and the provost does not stand up, the faculty will have the chance to weigh in collectively via the campus-wide poll announced by the Senate, after which the Senate itself can take further action as required.

  4. Ah, it's a tangled web we weave. I cannot speak to many of the issues Juan Garcia raises here, but I think it's important to add some context.

    About the time of these events the Provost's office was uncovering the fact that the College of SBS had dug a $2.5M hole by making a variety of commitments over the past few years that it could not meet. At about this point a decision was taken to pull the plug on any further SBS hires that would entail future commitments -- which included the diversity initiative hires. As many of you understand, the central administration commitment to these hires is a temporary one. Salary is paid for a few years, then the relevant college has to pick it up going forward. This, by the way, is the model that is used in almost all such programs, including the new ones just announced. These "investments" are not permanent, hence the College has to have the resources ultimately to cover them.

    When it became clear that SBS could not in any foreseeable future have the resources to pick up these salaries, these hires probably were doomed.

    As I started out saying, I don't know all the ins and outs of this issue, and make no excuses for anyone's behavior, but it is important to understand the fiscal situation in which these events transpired. I hope this comment helps.

    Lynn Nadel

  5. Thank you Juan for providing this well documented view of what many of us have known for a long time... the lack of true commitment from the UA to create a more diverse institution, yeah they said we have more students, blablabla, but the almost nule investment in faculty and in other diversity oriented initiatives is truly shameful considering where we are located in time and space... this is another aspect where "that other university" ASU kicks our poor arses big time...
    so I am sure we will continue to see mariachis and dancers, tacos and enchiladas, sombreros and burros as the signs that represent the His-Panic people on this campus... and not their intellectual representatives... que verguenza!

  6. When looking at faculty diversity data, it is important to find the right comparison group. For UA faculty, we hire from a national pool of doctorates, not from the general population of Arizona. That means the Arizona population demographics, while interesting, do not define the people available to be hired into faculty positions. A more appropriate comparison would be with national data on earned doctorates. Based on the Survey of Earned Doctorates, The NSF produced a report US DOCTORATES IN THE 20th CENTURY (October 2006) Table A2 in Appendix I (which can be downloaded into EXCEL for analyses) shows that in 1995-99 (the latest cohort in their study), .7% of doctorates to US citizens went to American Indian/Alaskan Natives (UA according to report supplied by Juan Garcia=1.2%); 4.3% went to Asian/Pacific Islander (UA=7.9%); 5.0% went to African American/Black (UA=1.3%); 3.7% went to Hispanics (UA=5.7%).
    I quote from the NSF study: “Of doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens, the share earned by members of minority groups increased from 8 percent in 1975–79 to 14 percent in 1995–99 (figure 3-13 ). The number of awards to minorities remained relatively low despite high proportionate gains. Between 1975–79 and 1995–99 the number of doctorates earned by Asians/Pacific Islanders who were U.S. citizens increased over threefold, from 1,777 to 6,039 degrees, and the number of doctorates earned by U.S. citizens who were members of underrepresented minorities (American Indians/Alaskan Natives, blacks, and Hispanics) nearly doubled, from 7,644 to 13,176 (figure 3-14 ).”
    I leave it to the reader to decide how the UA is doing with regard to diversity.

  7. Talk to the folks in the former School of Public Administration and Policy about their experiences with Provost Hay.

  8. I appreciate that Lynn is coming on here to dispel rumor but I would like to know what he thinks about the President and Provost, and their decision making? The points made here have some foundation. The fact is that there has been a train of abuses and poor decisions. None of see a love of this institution from either of our leaders, a respect for the people who work here, and ther is absolutely no trust left (as the title suggests).

    As one of our most powerful faculty leaders, who has time and again worked hard to help them out of their mistakes, Lynn, what do you think?

    To bring more facts to the discussion is very helpful, but I am also not hearing much to convince me of anything other than the fact that our leadership has blown it...and not just once.

    There is no trust of this leadership (and with good reason as you cannot believe a word anyone says to you here). Without that trust, which was never earned, any future leadership and even well intentioned decisions are doomed to fail.

    This is a problem of their making. It is not sour grapes. It is example after example after example of saying one thing, doing another, making poor decisions without taking the time to do your homework and consult, and making deals behind the backs of people.

    The only saving grace that they have is that everyone fears them. And, for me, its not reprisal against me...Im tenured, who cares. But each department that could get creamed by her has hundreds of students, employees, and colleagues that can suffer for one public outburst.

  9. I agree with the previous comment, especially the part that says "I appreciate that Lynn [Nadel] is coming on here to dispel rumor but I would like to know what he thinks about the President and Provost, and their decision making?"
    Now, next step. Let's be more specific. Lynn comes to the defense of the Provost by saying this: "SBS dug a 2.5M hole by making commitments it could not keep." Please listen carefully to what follows and tell me this: Is it not the case that ALL financial commitments made by ALL of the colleges are CLOSELY overseen by the Provost's office?
    If SBS "dug itself a 2.5M hole," is that not the Provost's fault?
    In other words, if what Lynn Nadel says here is true, how do we account for the fact that Provost's office failed to monitor the financial commitments of one of its colleges? How did she fail to make sure, in advance, that SBS did indeed have the funds necessary to continue the commitments APPROVED by the Provost?
    Are we to believe that the Provost first said "I authorize you to do this" and then said "You did it wrong"? If that's what you're saying and if that's true, and if that's the only defense, then clearly the Provost is the one who messed up. By authorizing an untenable commitment. Her job is to make sure that doesn't happen. Otherwise, what if every college went around making untenable commitments that are approved by the Provost, who then comes back and accuses THEM of messing up?

  10. To Anonymous who leaves it to us to conclude how the UA is doing in regard to diversity: Even if one accepts the data provided by the NFS, we as a southwestern university should be striving to meet Arizona population demographics, especially in regards to the hiring of Hispanic faculty. In the case Garcia describes, we had an opportunity to hire stellar faculty from under-represented groups, something Shelton publicly stated he wanted Garcia to do and then Hay nixed the deal and Shelton allowed her decision to stand. Does the fact that we have passed FSA statistics in terms of numbers of faculty from under-represented groups mean that we shouldn't strive to do better, that we shouldn't strive to look more like the diverse area in which we are located? Is it acceptable that Hay negate a deal that has gone through the proper channels, because she seemingly (and I'm guessing here) wants to make Garcia and Donnerstein look bad? Is it acceptable that Hay negate the publicly stated desires of the President? Is it acceptable that the UA looks like a Mickey Mouse operation that treats incoming faculty like c#*p? Oh wait, that is how the UA treats current faculty and staff.... silly me!

  11. Is it acceptable that our administration uses progressive language and public celebrations to convince the community and perhaps ABOR that they are striving to be more inclusive, while privately stabbing members of under-represented groups in the back?

  12. ....and let us not forget these were 6 female faculty members.

  13. In response to comment number 2: The decision to cut about $1.4 million from the general education budget was made prior to Hay's arrival. Jerry Hogle, Vice Provost for Instruction, fought a protracted and valiant battle to have the funds restored. He correctly argued that the reduction in gen ed funding would impose an undue hardship on the already strapped colleges that provide many of the gen ed courses. When I became VPI in late spring of 2008, I joined Jerry in arguing for restoration of the funds as well. Our pleas and warnings of dire consequences on instruction fell on deaf ears. By then Hay was on board and had a say in this matter. She refused to restore the funding for instruction. Instead she took $436K from the Diverse Faculty Initiative to cover part of the shortfall for the fall 2008 term. Of course it was not enough. The result was that when the new first year class of students came to campus during summer orientations, many left with incomplete schedules or without the courses they needed in gen ed.

  14. Thanks Juan for straightening out the history. I remember talking to you on the day after you had made the request to restore the funding for instruction. I'm sorry that it didn't work.

    On the matter of the SBS "hole". Just as with the instructional budget, most of the decisions that created this hole were made before Provost Hay arrived at the UA, so she cannot be held responsible. Nor was it easy to figure out just what was going on right away. The hole was being filled on a year-to-year basis through temporary funds. So I don't think it's fair to blame this particular mess on the Provost or the Provost's office.

    On the more sensitive matter of where I stand on our leadership. I have already said, both publicly and privately, that I believe our leaders could have done a better job of decision-making and decision-explaining. I have tried to encourage increased transparency and shared decision-making as much as I can. In my current role as Chair of SPBAC I believe I can accomplish the most good by continuing to work within the framework of our current leadership. We wanted decisive leadership and we got it. We also wanted transparency and we haven't gotten that. Having said that, I hope you all understand that there are some things that just cannot be said in public -- leadership works when enough trust has been established that the troops in the trenches allow some things to go unsaid. Because we trust. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, we are not in that spot right now.

    I absolutely believe that the President has tried, to the best of his ability, to be open and transparent. We all have different ideas about what that actually means, and I don't have to answer to the people he has to answer to -- and hence don't fully appreciate the constraints he must obey.

    I will continue to try to change things from within, but speak out publicly as well. When those two approaches come into fatal conflict I will stop one or the other. For now I'm trying to tell what I think is the truth to both the leadership and my faculty colleagues. I say what I think, I say it openly, and I hope it helps. As things stand right now I'm off on sabbatical in January, so this is a limited run. Maybe a good thing.

    Lynn Nadel

  15. To the comment above about meeting on Friday:

    I believe the stimulus money required that states maintain 2006 funding for 3 years. Is that not right? I would not put it past our leg to violate an agreement with washington, though. I like your ideas.

  16. I disagree Lynn. The blame for the Diversity Initiative fiasco can be laid squarely on Hay's doorstep. If she thought that SBS was over extended, she should have said from the beginning that she wouldn't approve any direction of funds from the Initiative towards SBS. Instead, she allowed the Department Heads to recruit faculty and allowed those faculty to be led to believe that they would be hired. She acted without regard to the lives and feelings of those involved and she did it without hesitation. Also Lynn, you have no hope of initiating change from within. It is too far gone.

  17. You may be right Juan. Time will tell. Ultimately its not my job to defend, explain and protect the administration. Its their job to provide the kind of leadership we need, in all dimensions. I understand that you have given up on the possibility that they can do this -- I'm not ready to do that yet. Until that day I'll continue calling them as I see them -- and I expect everyone to keep me honest.

    Lynn Nadel

  18. Dear Lynn, posting in a diferent section on this blog, you defined a good administrator as having these qualities:

    "A good or great administrator brings at least three talents to the task: a general vision of what the university could or should be, the skill to engage the faculty in a way that creates consensus on specific goals, and the personality that embraces transparency and trust-building so that as many of the universities citizens (faculty, students, and staff) are willing to work together to achieve these goals."

    I asked then and I ask again, do you truly believe that Meredith Hay posses these qualities? If not, are we not asking her to be someone she is not using skills she does not have?

    In fact, it seems obvious that she was hired because she does not have the qualities.

    I am not sure how you think we can move forward with her.

  19. You need to be updating this site daily.

  20. So lets be clear JG, your original article was incorrect? The 436K was not taken for Spring semester classes in 2008 but for the Fall of 2008?

  21. What does Lynn do in the administration? Talk is cheap by the administration, actions speak louder.this mess will continue despite budget shortfall or not.

  22. In answer to the las three comments:
    1. The website is attended to as often as possible; usually several times a day. If you read carefully, new comments are posted often, Evelyn responds in the "comments section quite regularly, and new "posts" come several times a week. The website is not just for Evelyn's opinions, we are all Evelyns here.
    2. Juan Garcia corrected his posting several comments up.
    3. Lynn Nadel is a faculty member and chairs the Strategic Budget and Planning Committee (SBAPC)

  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  24. To clarify -it's SPBAC (Strategic Planning and Budget Committee).

    I was elected a a member some years ago (by the faculty) and appointed as Chair this semester by the President, on the recommendation of Chair of the Faculty, Wanda Howell. I am certain the President knew he was getting someone who would be outspoken. He welcomes that.

    While it's true I could be relieved of this position at any moment, that fact has zero impact on my behavior. While I enjoy this task, I have lots of other things to do with my time -- a busy, well-funded lab, 5 grad students, two graduate seminar courses to teach this semester, and a love for travel. What's more, I am scheduled for a sabbatical in the Spring, so my tenure will be brief. I intend on using this pulpit for all its worth.

    Talk is cheap, but cheap talk can also be damaging. I am trying to say what I think can be helpful and truthful and advance the causes we all seem to desire. In the end actions matter and I am trying my best to influence those actions in the right direction.

    Can our present leadership, and in particular our Provost, adopt more effective and transparent methods? I honestly don't know, but I haven't given up hoping, and trying to help them move in that direction. Call me an optimist, or a fool.

    Lynn Nadel

  25. "Can our present leadership, and in particular our Provost, adopt more effective and transparent methods? I honestly don't know, but I haven't given up hoping, and trying to help them move in that direction. Call me an optimist, or a fool."

    I applaud Lynn for all his hard work for our faculty and on faculty governance. I can honestly say, in knowing his work, that he has done a great deal to correct many problems over this past year. So did Miranda Joseph, who is one fantastic leader!

    I post Lynn's last paragraph because I think that experience tells us...over and over...that he is not a fool, but an optimist. I don't believe that transparency, inclusiveness, or fairness is going to happen and I think that they have been given enough chances and opportunties.

    I sometimes ask myself what I view in Provost's job. Tough decisions and hard work is one thing, but they also must be an advocate for the institution and they are the face of that institution as its leader.

    I just don't see the love, commitment, and interest in the institution and in improving things. Instead I see efforts to do things "my way or the highway" and little effort to prove that she wants this place to succeed.

  26. I appreciate the kind words, but I really think the closing line is wrong. Why on earth would someone, anyone, take a job as Provost and then not act in a way that they think would or could lead to success? Just about every Provost aims to be a President. Success as a Provost is required to make that step. Unless you think a Provost can succeed by making "little effort to prove that she wants this place [the UA] to succeed" it just doesn't add up for me.

    I assume our Provost is trying to succeed. I assume our Provost knows that in order for her to succeed this place must succeed. I allow that our Provost has different ideas about how to succeed than I (and many others it seems) hold. The empirical question is simply whether her ideas, though different from mine and yours, are actually successful, and in line with our values as an institution. That's what we should be taking about in my view, not whether she cares if we succeed or not.

    It may disappoint some of you to hear this, but Meredith Hay is not evil incarnate. She is a person, like you and me. She is a strong person, like many of us strive to be. She has her virtues and her flaws, like all of us. She deserves to be judged and held accountable in terms of her actual performance and results, not in terms of imagined motivations.

    Lynn Nadel

  27. Meredith Hay was not the first choice of the search committee nor the faculty when she was hired. Shelton did that all by himself, thinking he knew best. Now, despite overwhelming evidence that the entire faculty is sick and tired of Hay, Shelton refuses to admit he made a mistake, correct it, and move on. She has zero support base at this university besides Shelton. Doesn't that tell us something?

  28. Meredith wants the university to succeed? She only seems interested in her own career and little else. Clearly, if you disagree with the Provost, you are "an idiot" or "insubordinate" and can be replaced. Even her own immediate staff is afraid of her and she doesn't share with them what she is thinking. Amazing way to run an institution of higher education.

  29. I just came from a luncheon with a number of faculty. I asked about the blog and none of the people at my table and the next--24 people--knew anything about it. I asked if they were following the talk of a vote of no confidence. "Huh?" was the response. You don't really seem to have the widespread movement you think you do!

  30. Our experiences have been different Lynn. Perhaps people are afraid to talk about it publicly? Try, as many of us have asked, (see the post "Dean's List" to institute some sort of review process and see what kind of reaction you receive from the faculty. The question is not, "who is following the blog", the question is "who is satisfied with the leadership provided by Shelton/Hay?" Check out the comment under the podcast post that asks when you will call for a vote of "no confidence'.

  31. It is time to have a Q and A session for the president to address what his objectives and goals are moving on forward. Hay works for Shelton and Shelton works under the B of Regents. It is time to ask the tough questions of the administration and hold Shelton accountable for Hay's action. Nice or not if she does not accompolish what she was supposed to , why keep her?

  32. Recent posts should give everyone pause. One asserts that the Provost has "zero support base at this university". The next states that none of 24 faculty had any idea of this blog and discussion of no confidence.

    It is not only administrators who can live in a bubble. I unfortunately will be out of town on Friday but I am eager to hear how many people turn out at Old Main. I'd love to know how many people are active on this blog, or are at least reading it.

    I'm paying attention to this Blog because I feel that even if its a handful of people, many of the points being raised are important, and someone needs to correct obviously wrong statements (obvious to me at least). And the more open discussion the better.

    I suppose the point of a poll of the faculty is that it will let us know just how wide and deep these feelings are. Today's posts tell me that one cannot easily predict how it will turn out.

    Lynn Nadel

  33. On the post above noting that a good number of faculty don't know about this blog. I think that is likely true, but I strongly believe that Lynn's presence here, to his credit, is some proof that the level of dissatisfaction is such that this has legs...and if not now, it will.

    On the vote of no confidence, I defer to one principal...don't ask such a question unless you already have a pretty good idea of what the answer is.


    Something like this..."if you are gonna hit someone, you better be sure they can't get up."

  34. "I just don't see the love, commitment, and interest in the institution and in improving things. Instead I see efforts to do things "my way or the highway" and little effort to prove that she wants this place to succeed."

    I am the anon that made this comment. Lynn, with great care and words, reacted to it above...and I think positively. Yes, she is a person, yes she is likely trying hard to make a difference in some way, but my point is that I don't see THAT side in my comment that is chalked up to good leaders and good academic leaders at that. A person that is willing to make tough decisions but to also put the best face forward to the institution, with humor, with grace, and with even a "feigned" stage presence that tells those who follow that she cares about the place and deeply. A commitment, if you will, even a temporary one, that she is a "Wildcat". Things I have heard like missing commencement, missing key meetings without any kind of reason why or at least enough respect to try to tell folks that there is a prior commitment. Where is the pomp and ceremony that is an important part of this job...and that is there to make us care about the place, rally behind it, and for the lack of a better term "suck it up."

    While I have lost confidence in Robert Shelton in the past 3 months, I do see that in him.

    It is fine to be a warrior, but a warrior has to at least sometimes show that they are fighting on your side.

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  38. The case against Hay has absolutely nothing to do with her being a woman. Period. The leaders on this campus that I respect the most are women. Beth Michneck, Leslie Tolbert, Miranda Joseph, Leslie Eldenburg, Mary Wilder-Bassett. Each are principled, respect people who they work with and for, make tough decisions that I don't always agree with, but work in their job to solve problems, and with great determination to include people. They also, unlike Hay, do a little research and find out a bit about the place and its culture before they make seat of the pants decisions that end up blowing up in their face.

    I am offended that anyone would think that the arguments against Hay are related to her gender. Those who I know, at all levels, who work with her have been dissatisfied. These are people who have given their heart and soul to this institution. If any here do attack her on the basis of gender, I would immediately disavow such behavior and would not stand with them.

  39. I am really sorry to see this thread degenerate largely into name-calling and pettiness. Rather than react to this specifically I suggest readers now turn their attention to the new thread initiated by Marv Waterstone (Deck Chairs...). He raises many important issues that go beyond personalities to the heart of the matter. While I disagree with a lot of his conclusions (and hope to explain why after I teach this morning) I applaud his lifting the dialogue to the level it needs to be at.

    There is a crisis in higher education in this country and in this state. It did not start with our current central administration. It does indeed threaten significant changes to the nature of universities. We must focus on how to identify the core of what a university should be and do, and we must bend all our efforts to keeping our university on that path.

    More later on my thoughts about what this means. As Marv said, a lot of it might well seem like non-sense.

    Lynn Nadel

  40. Thank you, Lynn. We said we would occasionally post attack comments, but several of these directed towards you, Juan Garcia and others who have posted by name or anonymously have been removed. Again, we remind our readers we are trying to remain civil so we can have a productive discourse.

  41. This is a co-Evelyn speaking. May we ask that you direct your attention now to the new thread (Deck Chairs...) unless you have a comment that specifically engages the topic of this one.
    When the volume of comments to a particular post reach 40, 50 or more, readers (and site administrators!) tend to "lose the thread" as the comments spill over into other issues.