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Monday, October 3, 2016

Someone keeps moving the damned wall...

...or at least I keep hitting the wall a lot sooner than I used to. I certainly did not do much work with the holiday at home--or with any of the rest of the weekend, for that matter. I have no excuse. I'm just not very good at making myself do the work until I'm in crisis mode.

I will say that I did some other work-related stuff, including writing a letter to our new campus president about a pretty blatant power-grab by the Board of Trustees, put forth under the guise of a necessary response to our failures in the Middle States accreditation review. I'm more than a little disturbed that the new president seems to think that there's nothing wrong with the documents produced by the Board: he seemed to suggest that the documents are simply a necessary step toward making clear lines of responsibility and steps of procedure. But I actually looked at the documents myself (though I admit I didn't read all of them; too much legalese for me to wade through), and what I saw was the Board essentially saying "We'll make all decisions about everything. The President can propose some stuff, and the Academic Senate can 'comment," but we are the only body that can actually enact anything, and we don't have to seriously consider any comments, even when they disagree with what we want to do."

And how exactly does that meet the definition of "shared governance"? Inquiring minds want to know.

Of course, I'm not alone in expressing serious doubts about the documents. Our campus chapter of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) as well as individual faculty have weighed in. I didn't want to face the potential firestorm of backlash that often follows any individual's airing of thought or opinion, so I simply sent my comments to the president, but I'm glad to see that others are speaking up.

That said, there's nothing to stop the Board from approving their own documents, because no other entity has the power to stop them. Middle States won't be happy, though, is my guess. Maybe the Board really does want our accreditation yanked, so they can close the campus, then reopen it under a new name--and without the need to provide employment to anyone who is currently tenured.

My own marking of assignments rather pales in significance to that larger fight, and the larger worries of the faculty. I see Paul being eaten alive by the fights, and I really hate what it's doing to him, though I am more relieved than I can easily express that we have him on ASEC to fight for what's right. And yes, part of why I felt I needed to respond to the Board's documents is because I want to back him up at least a little. I'm not in a position to do much (neither is ASEC, at this point, and that's part of what's devouring Paul: he has no real power and is fighting people with unreasoning power and the will to use it without reason). But it felt ethically important for me to say something.

Even so, the time I spent on that e-mail doesn't explain how little other work I've done today, nor the fact that I hit the wall so fucking early today. I know I'm going to get bitten in the ass by the fact that I neither dove into grading the SF essays nor checked off the homework for the 102s that I've been carrying around. Ah well. I won't try to justify or explain. I'll just say, "that's how it is today," and go on about my business, which, right at the moment, has nothing to do with work and everything to do with life maintenance.

I'll post again tomorrow; we'll see if I've made any actual progress by the end of the day.

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