Wednesday, November 11, 2009

no confidence

Yesterday the academic senate voted to send a resolution of no confidence in the campus president to a vote of the general faculty. I have little doubt it will pass, but also not much more doubt it will have no real effect. (Like I've written before, higher ed executives in the US are, like their corporate counterparts, essentially unaccountable kleptocratic elites.)

The senate also began consideration of a resolution of censure against the interim provost in response to an editorial he wrote in the local newspaper. It's basically slanderous about faculty.

One of my CFA friends emailed me about it, and I started thinking about the significance of a vote of no confidence. I seem to be in the minority about this, and I'm puzzled about it.

To me, a vote of no confidence in the campus president doesn't seem like that big a deal.

For one thing, campus presidents are people in positions of authority. I don't have respect for authority. I'm unimpressed with titles and suspicious of aspirations to power. The step from that basic attitude to no confidence seems really short to me.

Plus, the vote of no confidence likely won't mean very much, because our campus president has the approval of the chancellor. Charlie will send us a letter like the one he sent to the faculty speaker at Humboldt, but I bet it won't be as polite.

Then again, even if he takes the hint and leaves, he'll only be replaced by someone of a similar magnitude of similar undesirable traits. That's not because there are no good candidates for executive administrative positions out there. It's because there is little will to hire them, especially if they see the mission of higher education in anything but the crudest fiscal terms, or see the faculty as anything but a source of chaos and trouble.

None of which are reasons not to vote no confidence in the campus president. They just don't provide a strong reason to do so.

No comments: