Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dawning of a new era

Wow, it's hard to believe it's been three weeks since my last rant! Where has all the time gone? There has been a lot to talk about but regrettably little time to talk about it in, unless it has been an extreme case of lassitude on my part. Maybe.

Today is the beginning of the summer semester, and your SSCP finds himself administering chemistry laboratory experiences to a doubtless eager group of students for the next ten weeks. There is nothing particularly of interest in that intelligence except that the new semester is beginning in our brand new science building that is now open for business. I have already been acclimatizing myself to my new room (with a view) over the past week or so. Now a distant memory is the 9 x 9 cell that reverberated like a ship's engine room whenever the AC was in full flow. That was usually accompanied by an icy blast emanating from the ceiling vent that necessitated wearing warm clothing on the hottest of summer days. Now my Akea-like office affords a pleasant third-floor view of the prairie area of the campus; with a suitable set of powerful binoculars I could spend those quiet office hours bird watching.

The end of the spring term was rife with activities. I have already bored my readers with a lengthy account of the BoT changing of the guard and the antics of the black-shirted Objector and his gang (more to come on that by the way). A couple of days after that I attended the annual grants lunch event, which honors those involved with grant writing with lunch prepared by the culinary arts program. It is one of the few lunches worth attending at COD. I always feel like I'm participating in a taping of Hell's Kitchen or something, since you can see the food being prepared on any of several screens around the room. The only thing missing is a chef going totally berserk; in fact everything happens in quiet, orderly calm. The only other thing missing is a glass of wine to set off the generally excellent cuisine. This year was special because, though modesty renders me hesitant to make mention, your scribe was honored along with two other members of the sciences for work in getting NSF funding. Although it really shouldn't matter, it's encouraging to get a little recognition every now and again.

A few days later, we held our final meeting of the year for the Undergraduate Research Collaborative (funded by the NSF incidentally) where the participants presented posters of their work. Some fifty or more students from the member colleges were there, along with their faculty members. Regrettably, lunch this time consisted of something pre-packaged in a cardboard box, with an apple that appeared to be deep-frozen with the mechanical strength of a cannonball. The SSCP scored big-time by getting both the president and a board member (Sandy Kim) to put in an appearance. The NSF evaluator was suitably impressed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tweeting from the Board Room

I thought that the COD board room would lose its allure after the April election and the vanquishing of the gang of four. How wrong was I after first the April meeting and, last night, the supposedly ceremonial transfer of power meeting. There was more drama than an episode of the Hills, which I missed in order to witness the swearing in of Sandy, Kim and Nancy. We should have expected the deposed not to exit with grace and decorum, but I think we were all surprised by the show put on by the Objector and his Roselle rent-a-crowd. At the last meeting, the shameful gang on the old BoT endured 42 minutes of non-stop carpet bombing from community members, wave upon wave of skewering comments mercilessly exposing the self-interest and contempt for shared governance. This time the friends of the Objector came armed for a fight. The result was something like being at a Cubs-Sox game or like in the Wrigley Field of old, the drunken denizens of the bleachers would yell "right field sucks!" and back and forth.

The Objector and his friends were readily identified by black teeshirts emblazoned with "Stop faculty pay to play," summoning up images of the epoch-making November board meeting when the students wore their black teeshirts in protest at the new policy designed to make the president boss of the student newspaper. Unfortunately, unlike the students, these people did not put duct tape over their mouths and stand in silent protest. Rather, they trooped up to the microphone one after another and enunciated over and over again, I.E.A. - N.E.A. Union, union, union...The vanquished LeDonne was there too, not sporting a teeshirt at least but, in the spirit of a sore loser nonetheless(how did a seemingly well-spoken, relentless campaigner like him score fewer votes than candidates who uttered not one word nor make a single appearance during the entire campaign?), posing as a representative of the "tax-payer," exhort the new board members, "bought and paid for by the faculty," to recuse themselves from any votes over faculty contracts. As Lisa Higgins quietly pointed out later, the vanquished McKinnon was supported by the IEA and no one had ever asked the same of him.

The highlight was when the Objector, newly minted as a member of the community, his turn as appointed BoT attack dog done, making his own public comment to the new board, turned it into a bit of a circus. Wearing his black teeshirt proudly, he held aloft giant fake checks that purported to show how much money "we" had spent on electing our candidates. It was like something out of a TV show. On his exit he muttered warnings about the prosecutors knocking on the door.

The excitement was not only in the public comments and the ridiculous spectacles people were prepared to make of themselves (Objector number one by a mile in that regard, although a "student" similarly clad in black rivaled him for imbecility of language - since when is being thoughtful and intellectual such a crime amongst conservatives?). The new board struck unexpectedly swiftly and moved to undo some of the havoc wrought by the vanquished by tossing out (rescinding I should say) the reviled policies bulldozed through at the previous meeting. It was a 4-3 vote (I think we may see a lot of that), holdover from the previous board Carlin warning the new members, to hoots of derision from the audience, of acting overly hastily in these matters. With such people, irony is beyond them.

The whole evening was so enthralling, I Tweeted away furiously on my new Crackberry. Later I reviewed how bad my spelling was in the subdued light; my followers must have thought I was drunk. In a way I was; such nights are rare.

Tweeting from the board room: last night for the vanquished bots.

It wouldn't be so bad if they weren't all thick as posts and boring. Stupid veiled threats

The Objector's rentacrowd keeping me from my dinner.

The Objector is the chief clown, wearing his stupid shirt and now waving giant fake checks showing how much we apparently paid the election

New BoT strikes quickly.

ABOR in the dock: maybe it's going away. Tension amounts.

New board order: four (mostly balding) angry old men slink away; four women take their places.

BoT etiquette: the Objector wearing a shirt saying "stop faculty pay to play" this is shared governance! Sore loser.

ABOR supporter confident that registration will soar as a result of COD adopting Horrorwitz. Ask students whose tuition just doubled...

I thought the election would end the fun. Far from it. Sparks flying once again. Watch the highlights on COD website.

Mr. Goodforillinois in attendance; the lone blogger is running for guvnor!!! Is this the best that the GOP can do? Yikes.

The Objector wearing an anti-faculty teeshirt. Poor loser.