Sunday, November 23, 2008

Board Games

Forgive me Father for I have sinned; it has been eleven days since my last post. My loyal readers (all four of them) are doubtless yearning to be fed and I have been negligent in my duties; not because I have been short of things to say, far from it in fact, as thoughts continually bubble up within me like marsh gas in a stagnant pond, but rather short of time to put them down. Yes, even this idle, highly paid educator has been busy, though I'm sure that my close personal friend Head of the Family from the Herald discussion board wouldn't believe me.

COD made the paper three times this past Friday - even the Tribune was there - on account of the rousing Board meeting on Thursday evening. While you might think that the somewhat controversial selection of Dr. Breuder, later of Harper College, to be the next Pres would be the main topic, in fact the seemingly far duller subject of the Policy Manual was the main event.

What started out in the summer as a fairly harmless directive to review the policies transformed dramatically into a firestorm, that put all the other bad decisions into the shade, when new-boy-on-the-block, appointed (not elected) Mr. Atkinson, surprised the entire community by presenting an entirely new policy manual back in October with the recommendation that it be adopted in November. The college community was grudgingly invited to submit comments to an e-mail address. Review of the manual revealed it to be a power grab that was as massive as it was clumsy and preposterous.

Students, community members, and even the faculty were shaken from their slumbers to respond. This past Thursday, the night the policy manual was originally urged to be voted on, saw more than a hundred people attend the meeting and thirty or so speak out over a period of more than an hour. Students were upset, rightly so, because the new policy inserted the president as the boss of the newspaper. A good old-fashioned protest was staged. I'm not so sure the electrical tape and teeshirts were necessary, but I did observe many make impassioned, bold statements. Faculty are upset, rightfully so, for many reasons, most of which involve the board absconding with the curriculum and control. The board sat there in silence, absorbing one withering blast after another. The tone was set by Tom Tipton, who, with quite searing clarity, denounced the proposed revisions would represent the worst decision ever made. The session was neatly book-ended by a similarly thunderous wallop by community member Tom Wendorf.

The process has been slowed, but will it be changed. The grand architect of the scheme seems unrepentant judging by his remarks to the Naperville Sun,

'He made no apologies for what he and the rest of the board are trying to do with the policy revision.

"It would be an abdication of our responsibility as trustees to surrender our policy making to the faculty or any other constituency," he said."'

Makes for an interesting winter of discontent ahead.

There is an election in April where four members of the current board are up, including the appointed grand architect. Let the community decide what it wants in their BOT.

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