Another update on the RIT presidential search (I guess I’ve officially begun the participatory part of my study on citizen journalists):

Your Senators failed in their attempt to have the Senate hold a post-visit session to discuss the mood in their colleges and potentially take action on this matter. Two of the Senate’s Executive Committee voted against holding such a meeting. As Wade has noted, President Simone expressed that he felt such a meeting was a good idea.

RIT Presidential Search LogoI first heard about this on RIT’s AAUP discussion board, and this excerpt from an e-mail provides more details. I can’t articulate how frustrating this news is. Possible reasons for this could include that the Senate is concerned that they will have to work with whom ever wins and that they might end up supporting the wrong horse. Or, perhaps some felt that if the Senate backs Dr. Destler, it might lead to chilly relations with the current administration (the general opinion on campus is that Dr. Watters is President Simone’s pick for the position). Or there could be those on the executive committee that simply don’t want the voice of the campus heard.

If it is any of those reasons, what occurred was an act of cowardice, a distinct lack of spine. We are in the midst of a critical time in RIT’s history and leaders of our Academic Senate has shied away from the responsibilities of their positions. Its difficult to see how we as a campus can move forward when our leaders retreat from this most important of discussions.

Kudos to President Simone for encouraging that debate to take place. Kudos to everyone who has participated in the various surveys and written e-mails. Get involved in the debate, even if it isn’t going to take place in the Academic Senate! We have to lead, as our representatives have chosen not to.
Here are things you can do:

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Two parting points:

  1. Why all the effort? One, I believe in RIT and want to see it continue to improve. Two, I believe in Rochester NY and want to see it improve as well. There’s a lot at stake here for both areas. As the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle puts it, what’s at stake is [t]he future of one of the area’s most important institutions. Rochester Institute of Technology is the area’s largest four-year higher education institution with nearly 13,000 undergraduates and 2,300 graduate students. It also is among the area’s 10 largest private-sector employers, with close to 3,000 full- and part-time faculty and staff.
  2. There could be one more reading for the Academic Senate’s choice: they felt that if they decided for Destler it might hurt his chances. Even if this hypothesis were true, the choice is still wrong and acting out of fear. This needs to be discussed and regardless of candidate, we need to take a stand.