Monday, May 17, 2010

The President Has Resigned

Ecclesiastes Verse Three...Life Is All in the Timing

I retired after the spring 2008 semester at San Jose State University (SJSU) and twenty-two years of teaching in the School of Journalism. It was time to devote more time to my own writing rather than spending more and more energy helping students try and improve theirs.

No one seemed to know then that with the collapse of the state’s economy, the entire California State University (CSU) system with twenty-three universities was also in need of rescue. 

With fewer moneys available, those in the executive offices mandated that SJSU’s student enrolment would be reduced, some part-time faculty would be let go, and some staff positions would be eliminated. In their infinite wisdom and limited vision, too many eclectically-titled vice presidents making more than $100,000 a year decided to move some staff members around rather than releasing them. It seemed like a kind gesture.

A Dollar Saved Can Be a Dollar Wasted

In the School of Journalism, a woman with the title Academic Assistant who had spent years diligently working with the students, helping me and my fellow professors extricate themselves from messes that we had created, and who was the face of the School greeting and helping everyone who walked into the office, was told to prepare to work at a yet unknown destination elsewhere on campus after this spring’s semester ends.

Across the hall, the dedicated and student-friendly Equipment Technician who was the most knowledgeable (and only) person in charge of maintaining all video, audio and computer equipment would also be reassigned — somewhere. Those two positions would remain unfilled with the School’s Resource Analyst forced to take on their duties. That would be in addition to her regular, taxing obligation as the chair’s and School’s “secretary”, maintaining the financial records, trying to work with and appease more than twenty odd professors with their collection of idiosyncrasies, and helping students with their outside-of-the-classroom problems.

More or Less

This is what is happening in just one area and you must multiply this by dozens of programs at SJSU times the same situation at all CSU campuses.

Leaving A Sinking Ship For a Field of Dreams

To add to SJSU’s dysfunctional operation, its president resigned in mid-May, after just two years to escape “the angst facing California’s public universities.” He had managed to eke out a living on his salary of $328,209 plus fringe benefits and $25,000 from the university’s foundation. He would become the CEO of the ACT national testing organization in Iowa City at $554,000 a year where the cost-of-living would be far less than the Silicon Valley and where his two children were attending the University of Iowa. There he hopes to find his own field of dreams, or perhaps buy the one created for Kevin Costner’s 1989 movie which is up for sale at $5.4 million.

Pales In Comparison

Author, television commentator, former vice presidential candidate, tea party agitator, moose skinner and bull slinger Sarah Palin, “earns” $100,000 each time she regurgitates the same canned platitudes whether it is at an Amway meeting or the National Rifle Association convention.

Palin is up to her wading boots in controversy for she was asked to be the featured speaker on June 15 at cash-strapped California State University-Stanislaus in rural Turlock, California for the university’s 50th anniversary gala sponsored by the Stanislaus Foundation. Her contract calls for either first class seating on a commercial airline from Anchorage to California or the providing of a private aircraft which must be a Lear 60 or larger. 

The Foundation for the Defense

It is obvious to all right-thinking individuals that this is a tempest in a teapot, not a Tea Party teapot, nor the Teapot Dome Scandal of 1924. Her fund-raising speech would be sponsored by the nonprofit CSU Stanislaus Foundation, which they claim to be totally independent from the university. That is the truth, almost, except the latest news reports note that the foundation not only operates on the Turlock campus, but also uses university facilities, equipment and employees.

No Moose is Good Moose

As the semester ends today at San Jose State University with a forced, unpaid furlough day set for tomorrow, no moose has yet been sighted in Turlock. Moose is actually both the singular and plural description of the animal, not mooses nor meese, and there might have been a tenuous connection between Sarah Palin and the latter word. According to the Heritage Foundation, the former Attorney General Edwin Meese is an elder statesman in the conservative movement and a prominent thinker. The “prominent thinker” description dissolves any connection with Sarah.











1 comment:

Jonah Jameson said...

So long SJSU, we hardly knew ye.