In an email sent to faculty senators Sept. 29, the Board of Regents requested, in essence, that faculty keep silent about various concerns so enrollment would not drop once again. Their hope seems to be for an influx of new students and revenue to absolve the massive deficit and any qualms current faculty and students feel concerning the budget; of course, many of these hypothetical new students won’t consider SFA as a university if they see a faculty member portraying the Board negatively on social media.
Keeping silent will only make an honest situation worse when others are calling for clarity. Rather than asking faculty members to put on a facade, the Board of Regents should be open with students demanding budget clarity, stand up for the faculty witnesses crying out against a toxic culture within the administration and stop blame-shifting onto everyone – including President Scott Gordon.
In the one major historical instance where the campus has seen such high-level conflict, the heart of the matter centered around the Board of Regents refusing to listen to students and faculty. A university cannot survive with an apathetic leadership, and the Board of Regents has presented itself as such for far too long. Gordon’s alleged toxicity to faculty was not a big enough concern to warrant any action by the Board of Regents, as we saw this past week, but Gordon himself is only one part of the problem. Gordon did not finalize the notorious 2021-2022 $85,000 presidential raise; the Board of Regents did. Essentially, the Board enabled the president to act unseemly and then, by condemning him while still retaining his contract, provided the University a scapegoat while keeping the man they hired in office.
There is a lot of anger and confusion on campus, and the editors feel as if the heart of it is being misplaced. The president is merely a part of this large issue, rather than its core; those who dismiss faculty concerns, ignore student petitions and show no intention of providing any sort of answers besides condescending “we’ll-get-through-this-together-isms" deserve the brunt of our outcry. The Board of Regents must acquiesce to the student and faculty requests for honesty, financial clarity and openness if SFA is to survive.