Saturday, December 10, 2011

Her first 556

The DE ran a rather comprehensive review of Chancellor Cheng's first year and a half in office last week, a story I've just gotten around to reading. The money quote, for me, came early on:
“I think people that are critical either don’t know me, haven’t paid attention, or don’t really want anyone in the chancellor’s office to make the final decision,” Cheng said.
One has to be careful about judging someone's attitude based on a single quote in a newspaper, but, that said, this quote is rather revelatory. The Chancellor did not (at least in this comment, or any from this article) take the obvious opportunity to suggest that she could be fallible, or even that there could be honest differences of opinion about the issues we face.  President Poshard, to his credit, did note that there will be always be "contention" about shared government and academic freedom--though his wording implied that such contention, like the poor, will always be with us, and hence isn't something to take all that seriously.

But has Chancellor Cheng or anyone in her administration, ever apologized for the Facebook screw up--ever walked back from the initial false story that they were only censoring "inflammatory" postings?  In the article even Mike Eichholz, bless his heart, characterizes some of the Chancellor's emails during the strike as "blunders."  But there's no admission of any error, or that there may be honest disagreement, from the Chancellor's side.  Criticism is instead due to the following factors:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Unions and Unity

The following post is by Dan Nickrent, Professor of Plant Biology. 

Unions and Unity

Today in my SIUC email I received yet another communication from Mike Eichholz (copied below).  And as usual, it appears that the FSN is not only na├»ve but complacent about transpired history and the messages that history conveys.  The email states that 162 signatures were collected from those who “have supported us to this point.”  If I recall correctly, turning in the signature cards was SUPPOSED TO BE only an indication of interest in calling an election, with support of the FSN’s position (decertification) as only one of three options. But as I suspected, the FSN used the fact that a card was turned in as evidence of support, and that was exactly why I didn’t do it. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chancellor Cheng, the DE, and Freedom of Information

Today's DE has a story on their victory in a Freedom of Information Act dispute with the SIUC administration. While the administration was able to conceal many emails from the DE, they did have to release at least one email relevant to SIUC's policy on limiting reporters' access to administrative sources.

The DE got interested because administrative sources kept telling them that all interviews with the press to be funneled through Rod Sievers, spokesman for the university. Just who this policy applies to (i.e., whether all employees are supposed to follow it) isn't entirely clear--though if it is supposed to apply to all campus employees, some of us have been, ahem, acting contrary to university policy. Oh my.

Money quote, from the email released following the FOIA filing:

In that email, which the university released to the DE, Cheng tells Sievers to make sure administrators have DE reporters go through Sievers for their stories.
“We cannot have the DE kids shopping for responses. Please remind them all to go through you to coordinate official responses,” she said.

"DE kids shopping for responses" is a particularly nice example of contempt for our students. "Shopping for responses"--i.e., reporting, isn't something we want our kid reporters to do. The university has tried to escape via obfuscation: this isn't a "policy"--because only things they ask the BOT to approve count as "policies". And it's just an attempt to be more efficient, not an effort to control information. Of course it's an attempt to "coordinate" & control information.