Apparently, it isn’t just a few rotten tomatoes who have problems with leadership at the University of Arizona. Oscar J. Martinez, a Regents professor of history, has gone on the record in a big way in today’s Arizona Daily Star op-ed page.
His piece places blame on the state for not fully funding higher education, leading to a “steady decline in the quality of the institution,” but then he takes aim at the upper administration and especially Provost Meredith Hay. And he doesn’t pull any punches:
“There is overwhelming dissatisfaction among UA faculty and administrators with the policies and practices of the upper administration. This is tragic because the UA has never needed the strong, positive decision-making that it requires now; yet it is getting mostly ineffective and polarizing leadership. Provost Meredith Hay, in particular, has become a lightning rod and legions of faculty and administrators would like to see her vacate her post.”
Legions? Really? I don’t know, but I will say that my e-mail box is filling up with notes from department heads and faculty members who claim to feel the same way Martinez does – but it hasn’t yet reached “legions” level. They all say the same thing – they are afraid to speak on the record because they think they’ll lose their jobs. They point to Juan Garcia being removed from his vice presidential post as Example One of what happens when one crosses Hay.
The problem with that argument is that faculty are protected with tenure (of course, that doesn’t help the junior-level faculty who’ve contacted me) so faculty, at least, don’t have to fear removal for speaking on the record. Garcia, while a tenured faculty member, was also a member of the administration and, as such, was subject to different rules. No leader has to put up with what he/she sees as insubordination from a lower administration member if he/she doesn’t want to.
Not that I agree with removing Garcia – I think it could have been handled in a much more diplomatic “Let’s talk about it” manner, and if it had been, Garcia would still be in his post, UA Defender might never have been launched and a member of the Arizona Board of Regents wouldn’t currently be paying awfully close attention to UA.
So, again I throw this out – if you’re a UA faculty member, department head or dean and you really think, as Martinez wrote in his op-ed and as one department head wrote me, that the Transformation is harming students and/or if you have evidence (printed materials) of Hay violating the memorandum of understanding with respect to faculty governance in making decisions such as the differential cuts to departments, contact me.
UA Defender today has a post that says the claim of faculty governance being dead is “exaggerated’ according to reports from yesterday’s Faculty Governance Leadership Forum. It is an interesting read, so check it out here. And the Arizona Desert Lamp’s Evan Lisull, a UA undergrad, has a smackdown of Martinez’s op-ed that asks some important questions and points out errors in fact regarding who exactly wants the increase in online classes at UA.