Thursday, December 8, 2016

HERE WE GO AGAIN

It’s December… Are YOUR Board Election Petitions Filed?

 So many of you have been checking in lately we guess it’s time to ramp MW back up. We stayed out of all the shenanigans last spring, since our original goal was to share info about trustees and candidates prior to the last BOT election. So THAT went well.

 Here we are, with three seats open. Will this election be a game-changer, or bring more of the same? As much as we hope for a breath of fresh air, we predict same old same old.

 Nothing better (more influential, high-profile, or interesting) has come along for Mr. Poshard, so we predict he will run for the seat he was appointed to. Trustee R. Hancock was overheard saying to a variety of people that the board “had to” choose Mr. Poshard, since he helped them pass various bond schemes when he was a legislator. We can’t figure out why he wants to get down in the mud with this crew, but the allure of public office seems irresistible.

 Mr. Brewer was overheard last spring saying 40 years was enough and that he was not going to run again. If only. Where else could he experience the sanctity of the closed session? (NOTE: the person who posted the video of his ridiculous statement has been fired, after the administration pulled off some clever maneuvering to dismantle the union which protected her.) But really, does anyone think he wouldn’t have just as much influence as a private citizen (they are hiding Mr. Peterson somewhere, but his blueprint is still being followed despite mounting evidence that his absurd plan for saving the college from itself is a complete disaster)? So who cares, really?

 And Ms. Hancock. Like Ms. Graff, pretending to support the beleaguered teachers, but in the end voting lockstep with the evil cabal of Mr. Brewer, Mr. Rendleman, Mr. Kilquist, and her bro-in-law (and father of JAL administrator) Mr. Hancock. So again, who cares, really? Except her nephew?

 Do you know someone who is running? Please post! Tell us where to send money!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

BLINDLY STUMBLING TOWARD THE FUTURE

What will John A. Logan College look like in the future?  This summer?  This Fall?  Two years from now?  Having fired (we at Muddy Williamson are not constrained by terms like RIF, layoffs, converted contracts; if you're unemployed, you've been fired) 55 people, most of them faculty, how does the school carry on?  Many of those fired were tenured professors.  If the make up of the faculty is to be so radically changed, will this be the same school?  Some of those dismissed were renowned for their teaching, student leadership and scholarly authorship.  Rumor, and the attitude of the administration, indicate that quantity and specifics of the individuals selected for dismissal was of a purpose.  That purpose was to work their way through some with less seniority in order to get to some the administration would prefer disappear.  Rumor has it that at least one board member has been bragging that they got rid of some "bad apples".  If true, the stated reason for the firings was a lie. 

Interim President Ron House has said that it is their intention to call back as many of the 55 as possible.  Thirteen people were called back Tuesday night.  The reporting is garbled.  WPSD TV-6 apparently had a different reporter on hand, as did the Southern Illinoisan, who sent their Perry and Franklin counties reporter.  Putting it kindly, the Southern's article, in this morning's paper, was gibberish.  However, assuming that at least the quotes are accurate, or close, Interim Vice President of Administration Larry Peterson, crows about the reorganization, put in place after the ouster of former President Mike Drieth, but says nothing about the massive faculty layoff.  Of those brought back, few were faculty.  Of those staff mentioned in the article, some were to fill newly created positions.  Nothing brings on the ire of taxpayers and legislators like growing administration at a time of budget constraints. 

Peterson refers to checks and balances, with an astounding lack of self awareness.  Everyone at the school acknowledges that he is the de facto president, with Ron House a figurehead. Given the top down, good old boy, nature of the administration of John A. Logan, checks and balances are a joke.  The institution is currently run by Don Brewer, Bill Kilquist, Larry Peterson and Jake Rendleman, reporting lines be damned. 

Interim President House says there is no timeline to recall faculty but that there is a two year window, during which it can take place.  Two years is a long time not to know where the mortgage payment is coming from, what to do about health insurance or whether to enroll the children in school the next term.  It's also a long time for a college to have it's core faculty gone.  While there are reports that most of the recalls were in the biological sciences, not so much for social sciences (none) or English (none). 

Course staffing aside, who will run the college in two years?  If memory serves, the Logan Board said a permanent president would be in place in nine months.  The clock started ticking in October.  That would mean July.  How will they get quality candidates to apply?  To come to Illinois?  To dive into the chaos that is now Logan?  To work for a micromanaging board?  In the wake of the mysterious firing of Mike Drieth?  Larry Peterson is also an interim and supposedly done in December.  Board chairman Don Brewer's term will expire next year.  Who will inherit the shell they have made of the College and what form will that shell take?

Friday, April 22, 2016

BUSINESS AS USUAL

Well, the agenda is out for the next board meeting and there are MORE administrative positions being created and bestowed upon those who didn’t apply for them. This has happened repeatedly, and yet NO ONE SEEMS UPSET. Why are the teachers and staff not rioting in the streets??!! 

Jobs filled so far with NO search: President, Vice President for Administration, Dean, Associate Dean of Admissions, Director of Cirriculum (sic—that means the college didn’t spell it right on their website, but no worries, they have a HIGHLY QUALIFIED person in charge of “cirriculum” with YEARS of experience in that area, if by “years” you mean “zero years”), Director of Advisement (same number of years of experience in advisement) and now Director of Term Faculty.

So, they (whoever “they” are) take someone out of Continuing Ed (which doesn’t seem to have suffered any budget cuts, unlike almost every other cash-strapped school in the state), and drop her in as the person who signs off on new part-time teachers. Hmmm. Part-time President House said the college will replace full-time teachers with part-time ones who are JUST AS QUALIFIED, and the person who will determine that was given a job she didn’t even have to apply for!! Nothing fishy about THAT!

Another fishy item on that agenda is the “closed session minutes” one, most likely related to the complaint filed by Everyone’s Favorite Student Trustee. The Open Meetings Act is pretty clear that those minutes have to be kept for months, so they can’t be voting to destroy them like they do pretty regularly. What are they up to? Right, business as usual…