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GOP wishful thinking
I’ve noticed some very low gas-mileage vehicles around with white shoe polish window signs essentially dreaming of the year 2012. I could remind the artist that most of us counted every one of 2,922 days recently. Or maybe the message isn’t political. Perhaps there is a middle schooler in the family, and all are anticipating a future prom. Fine. But I’m praying for rain.
The wrong message
We just got the best indication yet of University of Colorado President Benson’s commitment to openness and transparency with the sudden termination of the Silver and Gold Record. The urgency to shut down the S&G was such that Benson didn’t have time to let anyone know beforehand.
Budgetary reasons were cited, along with Chief of Staff Leonard Dinegar’s revelation that after 39 years of funding the publication, CU is “not in the newspaper business.” More skeptical members of faculty and staff think other motives may be at play. In many ways, the paper was the conscience of the university. It appears that some administrators believe that if they can live without one, so can the rest of us.
Even more than that, since 1970, the Silver and Gold has been the only relatively independent channel of internal communication available to university employees. The S&G has been known on occasion to provide fair and balanced coverage of important university issues; and has even gone so far as to publish opinion pieces by university faculty and staff contrary to the administration’s policies and actions. In 2007, the S&G’s independence was so annoying that former President Hank Brown tried to seize editorial control. Only vociferous opposition by the publication’s prime beneficiaries prevented that censorious move from succeeding.
With impending budget cuts and wholesale reorganization of the university’s operations that could result in reduced offerings, larger classes, higher tuition and fees, truncated programs, imposed “efficiencies,” mandatory furloughs, staff reductions and more, is it possible Benson and crew have a radically different idea of “openness and transparency” than the rest of us? With the precipitous silencing of the of CU faculty and staff’s “voice,” just as the semester draws to a close, the administration has demonstrated its idea of inclusiveness extends little beyond Denver headquarters and Regent Hall.
We hope President Benson realizes that his decision sends the wrong message. His action is widely viewed as an attempt to cripple CU faculty/staff communication and stifle open discussion of university policies. Though for Benson, snuffing the Silver and Gold “was a difficult decision, and one we did not reach lightly,” he didn’t find it difficult enough to consult the S&G editorial board or CU faculty and staff representatives. So much for an open and inclusive process in dealing with difficult issues facing the university and its hard-working crew.
The University of Colorado is not a private corporation to be dictated from the top. CU is a public institution legally accountable to taxpayers and students and obligated to engage in an open and inclusive decision-making process. It is time for everyone who cares about the university to make this point abundantly clear to the CU administration, the Board of Regents and the governor’s office.
Ken Bonetti, academic advisor, College of Arts and Sciences
Prof. Margaret D. LeCompte, College of Education
David Anderson, University Libraries
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