Monday, June 15, 2009

Doomed to be half-vast

Old Ag Jon Hagler writes in the Eagle
Listen to the chancellor's own words on his concept of enlightened and shared governance: "There's nine people who can tell me what to do. I'll make my arguments to them. They argue, they listen and then they make a decision and I carry it out. You want shared governance? That's shared governance."

Or to those of Regent Gene Stallings: "A lot of that depends on Dr. Murano (on whether she can continue to work with the chancellor). She works for the chancellor. The chancellor doesn't work for her. Rank and file has its privilege. A colonel can't tell a general what to do. ... A chancellor's job is to run the system. A president's job is to please the chancellor."

So, today we have a Texas A&M System empowered by its regents -- all nine of whom are appointed by our current governor -- to make all critical decisions for the flagship university, as well -- presumably -- as for all of the other system universities. And, the regents have delegated that responsibility completely to one person, a non-educator, a politician who was not selected through a national or even regional search. One person agreed with himself that Chancellor McKinney was the choice: his former boss, Gov. Rick Perry, for whom he had served a stint as chief of staff.

No, this crisis is about whether the faculty, staff, students, former students and the broad and diverse community that make up Texas A&M University will allow a handful of politically motivated persons who do not understand their fiduciary duty either to the institution or to the citizens of the state to take over this wonderful, heavy-duty public university -- this sacred public trust.

If they are successful, Texas and its citizens can kiss a unique American institution goodbye. It will have no chance of ever achieving its vast potential.

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