Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Another dean, another charge 

I have known about this story for two weeks but wanted to see if it went public. Sure enough, it did.

St. Cloud State University will investigate its College of Education regarding recent anti-Semitic and derogatory remarks made about the school's administration, the college's former dean and other faculty members.

The comments stem from a June 23 report evaluating the performance of Joane McKay, dean of the College of Education. The report was based on results from a survey given to faculty members.

Anonymous responses to the survey and its questions were later widely distributed unedited by McKay to College of Education staff members.

...McKay resigned from her post as dean and from St. Cloud State on Friday to take a post in private enterprise, said Michael Spitzer, provost and vice president of academic affairs at the university.

Before her resignation, McKay issued an apology to the College of Education faculty and staff via e-mail for distributing the unedited report.

There will of course be an investigation to see who wrote those comments; given that the survey was anonymous, we may not know who did. What will happen? Probably more sensitivity training.

A couple of points. People want to know what was written. As I'm no longer on Faculty Senate I haven't received the comments in question, but according to two people who have read them, one comment regarded the job performance of another faculty member who is Jewish but not identified as such in the comment (indeed, only using the first name and the first initial of his or her last name.) The other one does refer to someone else as being Jewish but does not name them explicity; the comment was that that faculty member should be quiet. I'm deliberately understating that comment, and for that matter I quite disagree with it -- I have a guess to which faculty member the comment refers, and if I'm right it's someone I'd hope would keep talking. (My guess also is that this faculty member does read this blog occasionally.) If any readers who are faculty senators would like to give me exact quotes, I will reprint them here.

Second, it will seem to readers of this article that Dean McKay was pressured to leave over this incident. Provost Spitzer says no, and I believe him. With her departure we have all but one academic dean turned over since the current higher administration came to SCSU. She is simply the latest casualty among the Middles (as those below the provost's office and above the faculty are referred to around here.) Indeed, to most of us it's amazing she was here so long.

UPDATE (1pm): Someone dropped me a copy of the report which was included in the packages of all faculty senators. I was wrong on the second statement; it is much more sweeping than I initially thought.
There is a huge problem with particular Jewish faculty and their strong connection with the Provost in an attempt to minimize the Dean!

Hooboy. That is worse than I thought, and it most assuredly does not apply to the person I thought was mentioned above (who does not have a strong connection to the Provost). Who writes something like that?

There are numerous references in the report to disappointment in the provost and president. I'm sure that did nothing to ingratiate the dean with her bosses.