To the Editor:
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To the Editor:
Major state universities, like Rutgers University, are institutions of higher learning that are supposed to be dedicated to teaching, scholarship, service to the state and cutting edge research. Major state universities should be known for these missions — not for their trivial mascots. Yet, if you tell a layperson that you go to (or teach at) Rutgers University, the response is almost invariably “Oh, The Scarlet Knights!” The University of Georgia is recognized as the Bulldogs, Penn State as the Nittany Lions (whatever a Nittany is — or how it is spelled) and the University of Florida is the Gators.
The Rutgers University Faculty Alliance, at a media press conference, released the results of a faculty survey on the performance of Francis L. Lawrence as University president and the general performance of his administration. At that press conference, a letter written by Board of Governors Chairman Gene O'Hara was made public. That letter was written by O'Hara in apparent response to a RUFA request to have one of its members appointed to the new Presidential Search Committee. In that letter, addressed to RUFA member and University Professor Thomas Figueira, O'Hara rejected an offer to receive the results of the survey, saying, "It appears that these results will not be of benefit to us, as the focus of the survey is on the assessment of the current administration, rather than on the future."
With a sense of irony, I read Friday's The Daily Targum (Feb. 22) commentary by six BOG presidents, "Lawrence tenure productive." In the wake of any leadership term, positive signs can be sought in some quarters. So it is with Lawrence's tenure. You just have to look terribly hard in this case for any evidence. But, the "BOG 6" overlooked the real impact of the Lawrence administration, progressive erosion of administration relationships with faculty, students, staff, and state leaders. He has led the university autocratically-more like a cartoonish CEO than university president. He has shown disdain for the American tradition of faculty-administration shared governance. No critic ever had substantitive access to him or to the BOG. Rather than appoint to important committees any whose views might differ from his, he meticulously selected only those willing to parrot back clichés he wanted to hear. Below are listed some extraordinary failures of President Lawrence and BOG chairs under whom he served:
As Dr. Lawrence's term as Rutgers president comes to a close, it is an appropriate time for the Rutgers community to consider and plan for the type of leadership it needs in the future. Students, faculty, staff and administrators should all reflect on the positive and the negative aspects of the Lawrence presidency and begin to formulate a description of the type of leadership Rutgers needs as we move forward.