Finally time to walk the talk, President Bruininks?
From your latest (30 March) spamogram:
"You are a part of a great community and are the strength of this great university. Together, we can meet the challenges of today and find creative ways to strengthen the University of Minnesota for tomorrow. I want to thank you for your hard work, commitment, and support during these difficult economic times."
You have managed to alienate faculty, Regents professors, staff, and possibly even students by some of your ill-considered recent activities. Demonstrate integrity by dealing directly with ethical problems at the U of M. Your leadership has been lacking, other than in mouthing vague generalities, e.g.:
"I think we need to put ourselves in the position of acting according to the highest ethical principles. I believe our people do that now and I believe our people will be doing that in the future as well." President Bruininks (Daily: 6-18-08)
Do the words Sainfort and Jacko ring any bells, Bob? How about Furcht, Parente (the Carlson one)? What have you, personally, got to say about them? And we don't want to hear from your mouthpiece. In the not too distant past, university presidents were supposed to be leaders and to speak out for their institution. Not put their finger up to the wind to ascertain how it was blowing, and then shove a mouthpiece out in front of Morrill Hall to deal with the press.
Oh, and if you want people in the community to continue making sacrifices, please set a good example and cut your own salary by at least ten percent.
If the community, outside of Morrill Hall, is the strength of this great university, then demonstrate that you truly believe this by acting collegially. Faculty governance is not an oxymoron.
In the words of Mark Yudof:
The need for integrity permeates every aspect of the University. The education mission of the University must be taken seriously--not just the way to get state funding.
Administrators should tell the truth, keep their word, implement what they promise, and not dissemble. My point is plain enough: Without integrity, the phrase higher education is an oxymoron.
When making decisions, I view shared governance and consultation with constituent groups as only fair because of the enormous stake they have in the University. Without fairness there is no legitimacy and no buy in to the institutional vision.
To the best of my recollection, no great scientific discoveries, no insightful social science tracts, and no novels have been produced in Morrill Hall. No classes are taught in Morrill Hall. No patients are made well in Morrill Hall.
Without authority invested where the real work of this University is done, the light of excellence will only grow dimmer. University administrators have not yet cornered the market in acumen and foresight; a monologue will not suffice.
At the crossroads of expectation and reality, human fallibility and aspiration, individual will and institutional inertia, I hope that you will forgive my inevitable lapses, take joint responsibility for the nurturing of values and goals, and find comfort in the progress we make together.
God bless all of you and God bless the University of Minnesota.