"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.