Thursday, February 12, 2009

The President

TNCC faculty and staff, one of your colleagues has sent Flagstiffed this multi-count indictment that was assembled last spring before the vote of no confidence against Charles A. Taylor. A strong majority of the full time faculty (the only faculty authorized to vote) passed this vote of no confidence. This person asked me to post it here. So here. Author unknown.

  • The president of the college has failed to provide a clear, coherent vision for the college; instead he offers meaningless platitudes (like “Excellence in All We Do”) or a shifting array of initiatives (like the Southeast Center, the jail initiative).
  • While professing “Excellence in All We Do” the president has tolerated a culture of mediocrity and incompetence in some areas but not in others.
  • The president’s public representation of the college is embarrassing because of his verbal gaffs, by his inability to articulate in a clear and cogent manner information about the college, and because of his evident lack of knowledge about the college in his public comments, which are frequently filled with errors of fact.
  • The president regularly relies on a narrative that is self-aggrandizing but insulting to long-time employees, namely that the college was dysfunctional and invisible until he arrived to save us.
  • The president employs a two-fold method of deflecting criticism and responsibility for his oversight: He refuses to put anything in writing that might later come back to haunt him and he uses surrogates to do his controversial or potentially damaging “dirty work.”
  • The president disdains replying to invitations to events (presumably because he does not want a paper trail if he were to tender his regrets since he rare attends) and usually does not attend them. This behavior is insulting, discourteous and unprofessional. The fact that he does not attend is indicative of his disdain for the college and its employees and students.
  • The president has resorted to threats and intimidation in order to manage his employees. Some of these have been public (“Anyone who I find is responsible for a student leaving the college will also leave the college”; “If you don’t like it here I will help you to leave”) and some of these have been private (instructing mid-level managers never to associate his name with anything negative or they will find themselves out the door).
  • The president has refused to retract or apologize for such statements, claiming that a president has to say tough things sometimes. Executives at other colleges with whom I have repeated these statements, however, are shocked that a president would be that impolitic and tactless.
  • The president has created a climate of paranoia, suspicion and fear among executives, managers, staff and faculty. Organizational paranoia is a top-down phenomenon, never a bottom-up phenomenon. You cannot blame current or former employees, no matter how disgruntled, for fostering a climate of paranoia.
  • The president has refused to take responsibility for any of the missteps, mistakes, misstatements, or morale issues of the college. Instead he blames previous administrations, previous administrators, a faulty morale survey, or others’ misunderstanding him or misunderstanding his statements.
  • The president has refused to accept the depth and seriousness of the campus morale issues. In the two years since the morale survey that the College Board instructed him to administer he has taken every opportunity to dismiss publicly the survey and its findings, blaming low morale as a chronic TNCC problem (when he acknowledges the survey as valid) or dismissing the morale survey as inaccurate or invalid (because it asked the wrong questions or because not every employee responded to the survey).
  • The president has tolerated a climate of racial tension and resentment that is unprecedented on this campus.
  • The president has used the structures and processes of shared governance as it suits him (mainly as public relations tools to give him bragging rights that he communicates with employees) and ignores them when it doesn’t suit him. For example, the College Council has debated such important issues as the placement of outside cigarette stands and parking spaces, but he did not bring to the College Council a proposal for the Southeast Center, which was decided only by the cabinet.
  • The president has subverted the most thoroughly established process on campus, namely curriculum review, and subverted one of the most important SACS accreditation criteria, the primary responsibility for curriculum review lying with the faculty and its discipline experts. His attempt to railroad a curriculum change through the College Board over the objection of the department it affected, over the College Curricula Committee and over the Faculty Forum is unprecedented in recent memory.
  • While decrying “rumors” and “urban legends” the president appears to base his own decisions on prejudice, undocumented statistics, unnamed sources, irrelevant data. He refused to substantiate claims that he has made about course prerequisites, including assertions about unnamed school superintendents and unidentified corporate partners. This behavior has been frequently repeated.
  • Failing to acknowledge that an anonymous blog site and scores of anonymous Daily Press discussion board postings are symptoms of the failure of his administration, the president has instead blamed employees for their failure to use the shared governance processes that he manipulates and lectures employees on the necessity of their doing so, for example at the most recent “town hall meeting”.
  • The president has a pathological aversion to public discussion of concerns, complaints and criticism but claims that he is protecting the college’s reputation in doing so.
  • The president has played a Ponzi scheme with the budget recklessly insisting on unrealistic income projections in order to float a budget that includes imprudent expenses (salary increases, the Southeast Center, the purchase and consequent maintenance of Hampton III) and has reportedly attempted to indulge in personal extravagances (like expensive print products such as cut or embossed covers on publications, a $30,000 personal shower stall [which was prevented by an able employee’s report to the Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline]).
  • The president makes nearly delusional claims about being visible and present on campus, about his close contact with employees and students, and about his having an open door policy. Most faculty have not seen the evidence for these claims.
  • The president’s administration has failed in the one most important initiative of institutional advancement: securing funds from the General Assembly to open, run, and maintain the HT campus. The president has failed in securing the good will and support of the Peninsula’s legislative delegation.
  • The president has frequently been cited for misrepresenting facts and misrepresenting his previous statements, even of outright lying, in a variety of public and private forums.
  • The president has permitted, even promoted, a blurring of the distinctions between private religious sentiments and a public, secular institution, both in his personal statements (telling employees that he must “pray about a decision” they have asked him to make and telling an interviewer that he was sent to the presidency of TNCC by God) and his tolerating a variety of forms of religious expression at official business functions.
  • Any one of these items is cause for concern, even of censure. Taken together they demand a vote of no confidence.


Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Flagstiffed. You have been missed.

Anonymous said...

You definitely have been missed.

Now, how about someone posting some information about the new "President" and the tragic meeting held today in which he managed to drive the faculty and staff farther apart by touting his position as saviour of the college and jobs for all, while lambasting the faculty for their concern over being the ONLY constituents of the college who are getting a pay cut. Nurnberger announced that none of the budget cuts planned last fall would be implemented due to the stimulus funding EXCEPT ONE: the faculty will still be getting a cut in summer pay. Administrators and staff will not get a pay cut. Shex response: "You should be happy you have a job".

These meetings Shex is having serve no other purpose than to fulfill his agenda of "appearing" to work with the faculty, when in reality he is perpetuating the rift between faculty and staff. Shex announced he is a "trained mediator", but he has never used those skills on our campus. He has never looked for the common ground or the meeting in the middle, instead, choosing his biggest hammer and beating us down en masse in front of the entire college community today. Good job Schex.

When people feel respected and valued for what they do, they will work very hard to maintain that respect. Faculty do not feel valued and that will affect students and in the long run, the college.