Chancellor Rita Cheng will have her traditional installation this week but don't expect it to be Woodstock.
I'll leave it to you to imagine Rita Cheng at Woodstock (hell, perhaps she was there, for all I know, with her union friends).
|I wasn't there, and probably wouldn't have worn my academic regalia had I been there, what with the mud and all.|
"Traditional installation" is what gets me. When's the last time a SIUC Chancellor was "installed" with a ceremony? Yes, President Poshard got inaugurated, but I suppose he had a (scant) justification for that in reaching (way) back to Delyte Morris. Sam Goldman naturally didn't get a ceremony just because he eventually got "interim" dropped from his name. Trevino didn't last long enough for me to remember his first name, much less have a ceremony (but he didn't plan one, either, to the best of my knowledge). Walter Wendler didn't have one, did he? I don't believe Jo Ann Argersinger did (another short stint--though she got unceremoniously fired for doing too much rather than too little). That's as far as I go back. Before that everything is a haze of sex, drugs, and rock & roll.
So this ceremony is no tradition here. And some traditions are more honored in the breach than the observance. Still, if Cheng weren't furloughing employees and insisting on terms of employment that pave the way for layoffs, I wouldn't begrudge her her vainglory. Sure, no State Dollars were harmed in the production of this event--as if no donor who anted up money for this ceremony would have been willing to put that donation toward a purpose less pompous and circumstantial. But it's the symbolism, not the cash, that really counts: you're locking out employees and refusing to negotiate, and you want us to get all dressed up for your party? Good luck with that.