Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Ed Games"

"Ed Games", presumably a reference to the hit young adult book and movie Hunger Games, is the title of a series of articles the Southern Illinoisan is publishing on the power struggle between SIU President Poshard and trustees Lowery and Herrin. The first round of articles was published Sunday; another article appeared today.

I think the technical term for what we've got ourselves here is a pissing contest. The articles themselves strike me as fairly balanced, though as Poshard has more voices on his side (inasmuch as he still has more votes on the BOT), his charge of "micromanaging" gains a certain credence. But it is at least curious that Poshard sees unprofessional and unethical meddling whenever anyone challenges his authority--members of the BOT asking too many questions about SIU, the governor's office meddling by lobbying members of the BOT. While Herrin's insistence on asking questions seems eminently responsible and appropriate, his positive vision for SIU appears to devolve to that lowest common denominator of current political thought: "it ought to be run like a business".

In addition to the series of print articles, the Southern is posting some additional documents online, but has not posted the full extent of the emails and other documents they garnered via freedom of information act requests and reference in their stories. The documents they do post are positive reviews of Poshard by the BOT, part of the vast stack of documents he waved at his press conference. On the other side of the ledger, the Southern includes a table with SIUC's declining enrollment figures (something Poshard did not address during his presser) and dutifully notes the long string of controversies during Poshard's reign; there is even a separate story on his "inadvertently plagiarized" dissertation.

The various stories do not appear to me to be particularly revelatory. But we'll see what news, if any, the Southern comes up with. I am torn between admiration for their willingness to take on this mess in what appears to be an ambitious and journalistically responsible way, and the collateral damage done SIUC by the rehearsal of this feud--especially if the paper doesn't manage to uncover any important new information about this affair. As one bit of collateral damage, note the low profile accorded the supplement on 2012 SIUC research in Sunday's Southern: last year it was given much more prominence. At least one other positive SIUC story that also gets buried: a story on the Southern Illinois Music Festival.

Imagine, if you would, what I will characterize as a more adult response. The Southern calls up Poshard, asking for comment, and he says, well, let me get back to you on that. Then he picks up the phone and calls Herrin and Lowery, and tells them he'll stay out of it if they do. Or vice versa. That way neither side gets beat up by the other in the newspaper. Nor does SIUC get beat up--for the likely result in that case would be the Southern having no story to run. The front page reference is then to SIUC research, not to "Ed Games", our local version of the dystopian, juvenile fight to the death.


  1. The Southern adds nothing new to the story....either yesterday or today. So I imagine the rest will be the same - a re-hash of what's already out there. Just a way to sell more papers.

  2. "Hunger Games" is dystopian science fiction. "Ed Games" is the version of this hillbilly culture of corruption of southern Illinois

  3. Two idiots: one doesn't like The Southern, the other one doesn't like the culture of Southern Illinois.

  4. Q: What kind of idiot thinks someone is an idiot for not liking the Southern Illinoisan?

    A: A third idiot.

    BTW, "dystopian" is becoming one of those words like "slovenly" and "slavishly" that need to be banned from Deo Volente.

    Where's Delyte when you need him?

  5. The trolls emerge once more! It is not surprising since these people have nothing of value to add to what should be a serious discussion. Posting snide comments will get you nowwhere with Rita since she will lay you off without a moment's hesitation.

    1. Anon. 9:11 AM:
      You'd be more successful in your troll charge without the gratuitous snipe at the chancellor in the end of your comment. Or did you really mean "my people" when you wrote "these people?"

  6. So anon at 9:11....what can you add to this discussion that we could consider serious?

    We're waiting......

  7. Anon, 9:11 says`` Posting snide comments will get you nowwhere with Rita since she will lay you off without a moment's hesitation.''

    Even Dave Johnson can get promoted, why I will be laid off??

  8. I have long held concerns about whether Poshard really understands a research intensive university. I now know that Herrin absolutely doesn't and the types of things he is saying scares the socks of my toes. Someone (administrative) please lay out a clear vision and proposal to achieve it. A majority will buy-in and are even willing to sacrifice to get there. Without this, it doesn't look good.

  9. Randy Hughes is gone. Ahman!

    Dear Colleagues,

    Below are the results of the Faculty Association Election of Executive Officers and College Representatives. The terms of these officers begin in August at the beginning of the new academic year. Please join me in thanking these individuals for their willingness to serve in these capacities.

    Randy Hughes

    Executive Officers
    President: Rachel Stocking
    Vice-President: George Boulukos
    Secretary: Jyotsna Kapur
    Treasurer: Daren Callahan


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