We are writing to express our loss of confidence in the senior administration of this university following yesterday’s meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. They repeatedly assured us that they had now understood the faculty’s unhappiness with their overbearing style and their failure to have a meaningful dialogue, and would work hard at changing things. Yet this new resolution failed at the first hurdle. In the last 15 minutes of the scheduled faculty meeting we were presented with a proposed way out of the current impasse. To the best of our knowledge no one but those involved and the top administration knew this proposal was coming. This is how an administration which wants to impose its own solutions acts. It is no way to genuinely involve the faculty.
This proposal could have been circulated by email before the meeting, giving faculty members a chance to mull it over and discuss it with colleagues, and giving speakers at today’s meeting a chance to address it. If this had happened, it might have provided a useful way forward. Instead we can only conclude that either the senior administration does not understand what it means to encourage the faculty to participate in a meaningful way, or that it understands but has no real wish to go down that road. We are left at a loss to see a constructive way forward.
RICHARD L. TAYLOR
February 22, 2005
The writers are the Robinson Professor of Mathematics and the Smith Professor of Mathematics, respectively.