25 April 1997
From George R. Garrison
To Ken Calkins
Re Your and Cheryl Casper's Visit to DPAS on Wednesday, 16 April 1997
As you and some others know, there are some problems that exist among members of this Department. We are not unique as a Department in this College and at this university, in this regard, but nevertheless the situation is delicate, and outsiders need to be cautious about how they intrude into the affairs of this Department. I do not understand how you and Cheryl could have preceded with the meeting that had been canceled, but which I was trying to reschedule with you at a time when all could be present. I had originally scheduled this meeting, as you know. It was my impression that your committee wanted to meet with all Departments, or as many as possible. After it was explained to me, what you were attempting to do, I thought that this would be a good opportunity for my faculty to discuss with experienced and knowl- edgeable colleagues how governance took place on this campus. I canceled the meeting, not for some questionable or deceptive reason, but rather because key persons could not attend, viz., Diedre Badejo and Tim Moore. For faculty members to call you and reschedule a meeting that the Chair had originally scheduled and canceled, without consultation with the Chair; and for your committee to meet despite the fact that I was trying to reschedule the meeting, also without consultation with the Chair, seems problematic, at best, to me. It represents a total disregard for my administration of this Department. This kind of thing, quite frankly, offends me.
Your committee met with a group of faculty, who vented what they took to be grievances. The character and content of the meeting, as I glean from your notes, compromises the integrity of your original goals and objectives. It has created a situation to which I am now obligated to respond. You have given some disgruntled individuals a platform to continue their campaign of disinformation. Your notes of that meeting are laced with inaccuracies and distortions.
Your notes have not captured totally how governance takes place in this Department. It is not true to say, "the FAC generally acts by voting on formal motions, but . . . the faculty does not." This could be interpreted as faculty not having meaningful input during those meetings and that the democratic principle is not observed. The total faculty votes in faculty meetings when it is necessary, and most times this occurs by consensus. Since we have committees of the whole in the FAC and the Curriculum Committee, most of the business is decided in those venues, and during Department meetings it is formally reported by the Chairs of those committees. We do have minutes of the meetings, but we have only one secretary for eight people, and she is sometimes over worked. But, this is a matter that is easily corrected.
The agenda for our meetings is not "a standard agenda." There is, however, a standard format. The items on the agenda changes according to the business at hand. Some items repeat on the agenda because key members of committees are sometimes absent from meetings and other members do not give the required reports; and sometimes, like in other Departments, the business simply carries over. Those items are then repeated on future agendas. Members of this Department have been told repeatedly, that they,. individually, and as committees can include items on the agenda at any time. The agendas for past DPAS meetings are not confidential. If anyone wants to see them, I would be happy to make them available.
Neither individual faculty members, nor the FAC have ever been denied an opportunity to participate in the establishment of budget priorities, Moreover, whoever the faculty member(s) who complained that, relative to the equipment request under the House Bill provisions, "the faculty never received a report as to what funds were actually received ant how they were spent," is simply fabricating a story. This matter was reported in a faculty meeting during the section of the agenda designated for Chair's Report. Regarding the point, "the Chairperson sometimes alters the rank order submitted by the FAC significantly" — rank order of what? I assume this statement is referring to the fact that I changed the recommendation of the FAC during last year's merit pay recommendations. If that is what this is referring to, it is true that I did that, and will so [sic] again if in my judgement such is required. In my humble opinion, it is the responsibility of the Chair, that important recommendations of that sought, from the FAC, are not simply to be rubber stamped, but rather that s/he engage in serious deliberations about such matters, and when a blatant error is identified which results in an injustice to other faculty members, then it falls to the Chair to correct this matter.
The annual planning report was late being submitted. The complaints surrounding this do not indicate that during most of the Fall, 1996 semester, there was an intense campaign to slander and undermine my administration of this Department. Some faculty members were being extremely uncooperative in a deliberate attempt to block the normal function and opera- tion of this Department. This resulted in the annual planning report being submitted to the Dean's office late.
I think that what I resent the most is this unrelenting campaign on the part of those disgruntled individuals to convince anyone who will listen, that in DPAS the faculty has no voice, that proper governance procedures are not being observed, that the rights of the faculty are being violated, that the interest of students are not being protected and promoted by the Chair, etc. These individuals who, by now have developed this behavior into an obsession, are totally void of professional ethics and integrity, and engage in the most deceptive and dishonest tactics that one would ever expect to find in the Academy. When you give dishonest people a plat- form, often times they use it to continue their dishonesty. Such is the case here.
In many cases faculty members in DPAS suffer from a lack of sufficient involvement in the life of the university, that would bring them into contact with knowledge of how other Departments operate across campus. Most have spent nearly all of their career at KSU and they simply lack experience, relative to the to the Academy, in general. If you Add [sic] these factors to a history of isolation and self-imposed collegial segregation/separation, then you have the ingredients for paranoia — sometimes mistaken for caution and vigilance. It seem that the meeting you had, demonstrated yet one more instance of this phenomenon.
I welcome any positive input that my colleagues, like you and Cheryl, across campus might contribute, but what I do not need are actions, intended or not, that exacerbate the problems that I am trying to resolve. I hope that any representatives from AAUP who chooses to intrude into the affairs of this Department in the future, will show me the proper courtesies. I appre- ciate the fact that Associate Provost Louis apparently understood and appreciated the deli- cate nature of proceeding with such a meeting, and chose not to participate. Whether in fact that was his motive or not, his was the correct course of action.
cc Provost Myron Henry