Letters to the editor

Faculty hirings reflects outdated decision making

Dear Editor,

The university recently hired a faculty member in the School of Fashion who, at the department level, received a 75 percent negative vote from his future colleagues. As a faculty member in psychology, I cannot comment on the merits of the candidate. I have a concern about process in this case and what it says about the views on leadership of administrators at Kent State, where I have worked for 19 years.

It is extremely disconcerting that a director, dean and associate provost would overrule an overwhelming faculty vote. I work in a department where it would be unthinkable for the chair to proceed with an action that was opposed by most colleagues. It would not happen because: (a) our department chairs have respected the opinions of their colleagues, and (b) we periodically discuss and collectively decide on our department mission. Apparently, there is lack of a shared vision within the School of Fashion, and I think further dialogue would have been better than the action taken.

What does this say about Kent State administrators’ views of leadership? Old school views of leadership are that leaders come in and make decisions for everyone else, but contemporary perspectives emphasize that leaders ask questions and make proposals rather than simply issuing directives. The latter is also congruent with a long-standing tradition of shared governance between university faculty and administrators. As quoted in the Record Courier, Associate Provost Ormiston said, “While there’s a difference of opinion, hiring is — to put it bluntly — a management right.” This statement is not only arrogant, but reflects an outdated view of leadership and a lack of respect for shared governance. It is also often unwise for people to unilaterally asserts their “rights.” As an instructor, I might have the “right” to make unreasonable demands on my students, but it would not be wise. Rights are accompanied by responsibilities, which in this case include respecting others’ opinions. Recently we had a dean in my college (now departed from the university) who disregarded faculty opinions, and it created many hard feelings. The administrators making the recent decision have been in their positions for some time. Perhaps new leadership is needed.

One positive is that this event provides an opportunity for our new president and provost to make clear their views on leadership.

Kathy Kerns

Psychology professor

It’s time to talk about the racial problems on this college campus

Dear Editor,

When the Beth Rankin column “I am not a white bitch” appeared in the Daily Kent Stater a few weeks ago, I saw the same thing happening to Black United Students that is happening to Barack Obama. The pattern of black people being accused of racism. Let me just say that if a black person chooses to be racist, they will make it nowhere in life. All venues of economics are controlled by whites, so if you refuse to come into contact with a white person, you will not work in any industry. Neither Barack nor any current member of Black United Students would be where they are today, making the progress in life that they are, if they hated white people.

When black people report racism, it is paid as much attention as the media gives a missing black person. There is little to no attention paid to the issue at all. It seems almost as if no one cares about racism anymore when it happens to a black person. Some people are even in denial about the fact that racism still exists. This almost unnoticeable social issue is the reason Black United Students was created on this campus in the first place. Black students weren’t being represented in the mainstream Kent community, so they decided to create a medium of their own. In the present, this group is constantly attacked for its mere existence due to our generation’s ignorance of the past. It is up to black students to speak for themselves because no one else will.

I feel that we are underrepresented not only in the paper, student senate and allocations, but we are also underrepresented at positive events. More white students showed up to hear BUS’s keynote speaker talk about the “n-word” than black students. Black students need to wake up and take advantage of the opportunities that we have to make change, and spend less time partying. Honestly, I feel like the frequency of parties on campus targeted toward blacks is almost blinding us toward what is really important in our communities. Even the exploitation at these events goes unnoticed. There is no reason that we all need to be patted down and monitored by police when we are only trying to have a good time. There is no reason that entrance to a party can inflate past $20 when white students party almost completely for free at their events.

Conclusively, there is a line of separation between whites and blacks on this campus and in American society as a whole. There are also barriers between black people in our own communities. This is the time to talk about it. BUS has a forum on ksubus.ning.com; have the discussion there as well as in the Daily Kent Stater. The mainstream media caters to itself. It is time to take responsibility for our own neglect.

Dwayne Yates

Pre-journalism major