Friday, May 11, 2018

"Michigan State’s knee-jerk defensiveness, exhibited time and again as allegations of abuse surfaced, fits into the decades-long story of an institution where leaders have seldom acknowledged mistakes or countenanced any information that might threaten the narrative of Michigan State’s excellence."

Here's a cautionary tale from East Lansing, home of serial sexual abuser Dr. Larry Nassar, but the lessons apply far more broadly. It's titled "How a Transformational President Set Michigan State on a Course to Disaster."  A sample:

Instead of “leading for the public good,” Fear said, the administration was consumed by a focus on winning at sports and raising more money. The humanities and social sciences, for instance, didn’t win as much support from Simon because the grants in such fields aren’t as lucrative.

As her administration became increasingly closed off, many faculty members said, the academic side of the campus became fragmented. The deans rarely met as a group. Faculty members grew disengaged. Their role in governance shrank. Their voices got quieter.

“This is a Michigan State problem,” said Deborah Moriarty, a professor of piano and vice chair of the Faculty Senate. “We have an amazing faculty. And then we have an administration that oftentimes just meets and meets and meets, and talks to each other.”

Faculty members often used to write articles in the campus newspaper expressing their views about what was going on at Michigan State, Fear said. No more. “The silence from the faculty is part of the institutional culture,” he said. “It wasn’t that way before. I’ve lost friends because of my being outspoken.”

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