Letter by Dr. Treadwell Ruml
Dear Fellow Faculty;
I am sorry not to have been able to report more promptly on the current situation. I attach a (modestly edited) copy of the resolution that the Executive Committee wrote at the urging of faculty at a meeting on June 16, 2015, urging that Provost Bodman be reinstated.
We presented the resolution to President Morales when we met with him on June 17th. (The resolution as actually delivered to Dr Morales is available on the Senate web site.) He glanced at it briefly and then, at our request, read it through. He tucked it into his folder and had no more to say about it. He stated that he was unable to offer any explanation for his dismissal of Provost Bodman because it was a personnel issue. He told us that he was entirely unwilling to reconsider Dr. Bodman’s dismissal and subsequently confirmed this unwillingness by evicting Dr. Bodman from his office and prematurely transferring provostial signing authority to someone else. I do not think there is any chance at this point that President Morales will reinstate Dr. Bodman no matter how much faculty may desire it.
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee reported this to a faculty meeting that was held the next day (June 18th). Clearly, most of the faculty in attendance at this meeting (about a hundred) were dismayed by Dr. Morales’s intransigence on this issue, and though there was no clear resolution at the meeting (we had to vacate the room for an exam), it was clear to us in the FS EC that we were expected to do whatever we could to restore as sense of collegiality and shared governance/leadership to the campus. Collegiality and shared governance/leadership have distinguished this campus and allowed us to make it a shining star in the system. We cannot, we will not, allow that distinction to fade.
The FS EC has been working (given that we, like you, have had papers and projects to respond to, exams to score, and grades to turn in) on what to do now. The most important thing is to make sure that, if we can’t keep Dr. Bodman, our next Provost reflect the same values. The next Provost must have engaged in serious research, scholarhip, or creative activity and to have spent years in the classroom, lecture hall, and/or the lab, learning what college education is really about. The next Provost must have earned the rank of Professor the hard way: as an exemplary Assistant and Associate Professor. The Faculty will accept nothing less. It would be an insult to the faculty of this institution to have a Provost reviewing RPT files who isn’t also a distinguished Academic.
A number of things have led to concern to faculty, for example, the failure to hire any internal candidates while the entire upper-ranks of the administration have been replaced. Faculty respect a President’s need to have his own “team,” but it worries us when that team lacks any institutional memory. CSUSB is a great campus. It didn’t get that way by accident.
There has also been concern about changes mandated without any real consultation with the faculty. The mandatory Coyote First residential program was already a matter of concern because it might exclude those who couldn’t afford to drop everything (like work) to attend a three-week residential program (or to engage in a bureaucratic process to get an exemption). There was concern that we would be improving our retention and graduation rates by excluding those who would have the most difficulty meeting them. But, in addition, it will cost $950,000 this year (and presumably in following years) just to pay for room and board for this residential program. This money seems to have been available while only $250,000 was available to correct faculty salary inequities that have compounded over the past seven years.
There is concern about the expense of outside consultants, who seem to be brought in over and over again to do analysis that members of our own faculty are more qualified to perform.
Dr. Bodman’s dismissal is not the sole cause of faculty discomfort, but it has made that discomfort impossible to ignore, in part because some faculty thought that as long as Dr. Bodman was there, there would be someone voicing opinions in the regions of power from a faculty point of view.
President Morales’s dismissal of him was worse than an injustice. It was a mistake. It is up to President Morales to correct that mistake by appointing a Provost that faculty can work with.