Monday, July 9, 2012

Rich Edgar Follow Up, feat. PANIC

The recent post about Changes at Admissions (from a few days ago) resulted in a huge outpour of support for Rich Edgar, to the extent that a Change.org petition was created, asking that Rich be reinstated, which already has over 500 signatures.

Additionally, it seems that the removal of Rich and Lisa has sparked a PANIC among staff members, that they could be next.  This is evident from many staff members supporting the aforementioned petition, but not signing it to avoid being publicly associated.  And the following is a leaked (via Investigative Journalism ) email which shows that the fear has even inhibited some staff members from initiating a going away party.

Faculty are generally safe from being fired, but staff are not.

That being the case, it would be helpful if one or two tenured faculty would sponsor a party for Rich and Lisa, determine a location, and then ask all of us  (staff included) to   bring little bits of this and that. I think so many of us would like to “be there” for Richard Lisa.
Are staff members overreacting, via this PANIC?  PANIC regarding whether or not hosting a party for Rich and Lisa could get them sacked as well?  Hard to say, but I don't blame them.  It seems pretty clear that this was done during the summer, weeks after Alumni Weekend so that students and alumni alike would have a diminished reaction towards the news.  The email above resulted in the following response

It's very sad that we have to fear being fired for attempting to honor respected and beloved colleagues, who have worked here for decades and deserve our support.  I suggest that one of the first things we take up in the fall is to rededicate ourselves to the "spirit of community" that is proclaimed in our mission statement.  A humane workplace is essential for all of us -- staff and faculty alike.
A response that is hard to argue with.  And granted, we don't know the whole situation inre: why Rich and Lisa were sacked, but any workplace where people are removed so easily is only going to create tension and PANIC among the employees.

Wonder what is gonna happen.  Lots of alumni in the comments on this blog and on the Change.org petition saying that they are gonna 'vote with their wallets'.

Also the bay net http://www.thebaynet.com/news/index.cfm/fa/viewstory/story_ID/28501 picked up the story...I think primarily using what I had already written.  And they referred to this as 'a student blog' LOLZ.

51 comments:

  1. The PANIC is completely reasonable, it's pretty apparent that the school has no problem canning people that have worked there for decades, relatively quickly, and seemingly the name of change being the major reason.

    How long until there are frats at St. Mary's? Any takers?

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    1. Another staff member bites the dust nov 15th- the website lady who redid our new site!

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  2. Seeing as how I was never going to give a penny as an an alum in the first place, it's convenient now that my abstinence will go to a good cause by default.

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  3. All my sympathies to Rich and Lisa, but office politics doesn't result in frats at St. Mary's. Stop projecting about changes in the character of the student body, we've survived many, many changes in staff and administration.

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  4. Now Zylak has been canned too, apparently the College is on a firing binge.

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    Replies
    1. Students go on drinking binges, college on firing binges, it all evens out

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  5. As a recent alumni who actually does donate, I am stunned by the recent events and demand an explaination. $$ are at stake. Inredible piece btw. The best coverage you can get on smcm is right here

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  6. It should be noted that the loss of Zylak is something that will make this seahawk feel indifferent at worst. On issues where it really mattered, he was less than interested in improving the college.

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    1. I would have to respectfully disagree. I worked with him on the Public Safety Advisory Board (one of his ideas). He didn’t neccesarily make decisions that the students completely agreed with, but I got the impression that he was genuinely interested in improving the college and addressing student concerns. It is a shame that he “left”.

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  7. Take the castle by siege!

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    Replies
    1. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!

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  8. Director Zylak fired too?? What is goin on???!!!

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  9. Enough silence from the Administration and the Board, there needs to be accountability. St Mary's is a public institution supported by our tax dollars. I believe they report to the Governor's Office and that if the Admin/Board isn't going to be accountable to the St Mary's community, they need to be accountable to the Governor's office. Phone calls to Mr O'Malley's office?

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    1. St Mary's is over seen by Gov O'Malley's Chief of Staff so he is basically the boss and would need to know about this:

      CHIEF OF STAFF
      Matthew D. Gallagher, Chief of Staff
      Julie Scheide, Executive Assistant
      Shaina A. Hernandez, Special Assistant
      Bryan D. Sivak, Chief Innovation Officer (443) 875-9007
      State House, Annapolis, MD 21401 - 1925
      (410) 974-5258; fax: (410) 974-5735
      e-mail: mgallagher@gov.state.md.us

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  10. I think the pub is nice, but with some of the things he's doing I wonder if Urgo's agenda isn't more radical then we'd thought. Sometimes it seems like he's trying to turn SMCM into Hamilton.

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    Replies
    1. I don't think anyone saw Urgo as 'radical', he's a mild-mannered White dude.

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    2. Not radical, just inept, apparently.

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  11. I don't know if this drama makes me glad I didn't keep my student email, so I wouldn't get constant begging for money from an institution I am growing to distrust, or of I am sad I didn't keep it for the ever-entertaining all-student emails.

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    1. Student email turns into alumni email which doesn't receive all-student emails. I'm definitely glad I kept mine -- easier for me to keep in contact with professors and they don't send out too many emails about fundraising. Mostly emails about alumni event (like the Pickles Pub/Orioles game event which was pretty fun).

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  12. What happened in admissions was terrible and the SMCM Community needs to know the details and explanations for the decisions made.

    On a different note, what would be so terrible about St. Mary's being as well respected as Hamilton? I do not know about you but I am getting tired of seeing SMCM ranked in the 80s and 90s of the top liberal arts colleges.

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  13. The St Mary's Alumni Page on fb is censoring any posts on this. I tried and it disappeared.

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  14. This is how it goes down....


    To the St. Mary's Community:

    With the departure of David Zylak as Director of Public Safety, the College will immediately institute a search process for a new director. The search committee, drawn from our faculty, students and staff will be announced when it is confirmed.

    I am pleased to announce that Melvin A. (Mac) McClintock will supervise the officers and staff of Public Safety on an interim basis. Mac has provided strong leadership as Assistant Director of Human Resources and as Affirmative Action/EEO Officer in the five years he has been at St. Mary's, following a distinguished 20-year career in the military.

    With the assistance of the search committee and the participation of the larger campus community, we hope to appoint a new Director as soon as possible.

    Sincerely,

    Bert Ifill
    Interim Dean of Students


    From: Ifill, Roberto N
    Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 4:10 PM
    To: Mercer, Sally; McClintock, Melvin A
    Subject: FW: Draft statement on Campus Safety

    Hello, folks. I will delete the reference to a specific timetable, and just need info on the number of years Mac has been here (I think it's been five, but I want to make sure). If there are no other changes, I would like to send this out on all campus mail on Monday afternoon. By the way, how did things go today?

    Bert
    From: Ifill, Roberto N
    Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 3:57 PM
    To: Botzman, Thomas J; Urgo, Joseph
    Subject: RE: Draft statement on Campus Safety
    Consider it deleted. Mac can fill me in on his length of tenure at St. Mary's. I presume that, if it's good to go, I send it out on Monday?

    Bert
    From: Botzman, Thomas J
    Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 1:59 PM
    To: Ifill, Roberto N
    Subject: RE: Draft statement on Campus Safety
    I would delete the final bold print. We can hope but probably shouldn’t promise that speed.

    From: Ifill, Roberto N
    Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 12:14 PM
    To: McClintock, Melvin A; Mercer, Sally
    Cc: Urgo, Joseph; Botzman, Thomas J
    Subject: Draft statement on Campus Safety

    To the St. Mary's Community:

    With the departure of David Zylak as Director of Campus Safety, the College will immediately institute a search process for a new director. The search committee, drawn from our faculty, students and staff will be announced when it is confirmed.

    I am pleased to announce that Melvin A. (Mac) McClintock will supervise the officers and staff of Campus Safety on an interim basis. Mac has provided strong leadership as Assistant Director of Human Resources and as Affirmative Action/EEO Officer in the (number of) years he has been at St. Mary's, following a distinguished 14-year career in the military.

    With the assistance of the search committee and the participation of the larger campus community, we hope to appoint a new Director as soon as possible (by the beginning of the academic year?)

    Sincerely,
    Bert Ifill
    Interim Dean of Students

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. Not to Andrew Koch: That board was NOT Zylak's idea, but actually instituted under his predecessor (who was FAR more interested in advancing the student body). So get off Zylak's dick, buddy.

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    1. That was quite rude. I was under the impression that the board was a collaberation between Maurielle Stewart (Student Trustee) and Dave Zylak (PS Director). I will admit that I don't know everything though. I could very well be mistaken. However I feel that you could have simply corrected me and presented the correct creator. There is no need to resort to vulgarities.

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    2. Kyle Freaking McGrathJuly 10, 2012 at 10:40 AM

      For real anonymous bro you betta chill the heck out

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  17. I spoke with Rich when I visited the college during my senior year of high school and after all of about 3 minutes of conversation, I was heart-set on attending this institution. It's outrageous that someone who has that much influence with prospective students (I'm sure I wasn't the only one in history to be convinced by him) was released in what seems like such an easy manner. This entire thing is ridiculous.

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  18. Kyle Freaking McGrathJuly 10, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturday_Night_Massacre

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  19. This isn't the St. Mary's way.

    But, then again, the St. Mary's way lives in the students, and as long as we prevail, so will it.

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    1. No, the St. Mary's way does not live in the students. It doesn't live in anyone or anything. Its a bullshit slogan cooked up and used by administrators to justify stealing money from students. Don't buy into it.

      Fuck this place and fuck Urgo. Fuck them all.

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  20. I am disgusted with this school.

    The students are lovely, much of the faculty are amazing, a lot of the staff are wonderful, but the administration is full of shit.

    Changes in personell are to be expected, and even unpopular decisions need to be made from time to time. These particular individuals were rudely and thoughtlessly banished from "our community," though, so easily and tactlessly dismissed that remaining staff are right to be concerned. Current faculty and students (as well as alumni) are right to be disgusted and dismayed.

    Let's also not forget that our school's cries of "community" are used to justify any number of awful decisions. Students are pressured into living on campus in unclean-at-best and unsafe-at-worst residences. Staff and faculty are overburdened with too many additional responsibilities, so much so that it impacts job performance.

    The school's priorities are not where they should be. Fuck. This. Place.

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    1. It pains me to say that I have come to the same conclusion. This is not the same school I obsessed and raved about freshman year. I don't think I can honestly work for Admissions convincing hschoolers how great this school is. It's a complete lie.

      Thank god I'm graduating this year.

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  21. "The college president said a person has been hired to fill the new position entitled associate director of admissions and financial aid, although the name of that employee has not yet been released.

    The department is overseen by Patricia Goldsmith, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid, who was hired last year."

    READ: "She had someone lined up all along and booted Rich to make room for her BFF."

    Which isn't all that unusual when a new director comes on board, but for god's sake show some class about it, instead of flipping off alums, current students and staff in the process.

    I think more attention should be paid to Pat Goldsmith in this situation, our new VP...

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    1. I agree with your analysis re:bff and actually heard rumors that that was the case. How else do you find a replacement in 7 days?

      If this was the plan, why didn't Urgo find another position for Rich Edgar? He could have benefited the college in SO many ways.

      So short sighted.

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    2. Short-sighted and sloppy. Whoever gets that job is walking into a minefield they don't even know about.

      And why fire Lisa Crowe? What does she have to do with it?

      And if there's a VP of admissions and financial aid, and then a director of financial aid, why isn't there a director of admissions? How does associate director of both fit into the reporting structure? That makes no sense.

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    3. I figured it out - Lisa's salary plus Rich's salary combined = the new person's salary. I hear the new person is one of Pat Goldsmith's cronies.

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    4. Totally one of her old crew from her old school. And if her new salary is two salaries combined? Let's talk outrage over the inequity of salaries around here. Then again, it makes sense - hence the "higher" title of Associate VP instead of measly Director.

      OH JURGO YOU'VE LET US DOWN AGAIN.

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    5. Urgo's memo does not address the issue as to why Rich had one hour to clean out his desk, and Lisa had no time to say goodbye to her co-workers on campus. Usually when someone retires, there is a little gathering, kind of an open house, so the campus can say goodbye.

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    6. Oh, Joe tell me it's not true. You allowed a termination without cause of dedicated and competent staff members so that Goldsmith could bring in a pre-selected Assoc. V.P. without process? You can do that at Scripps and Hamilton. You can't do that at a public institution. Oh, Joe.

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    7. Joe must have approved it.

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    8. Joe must have approved it, but he also might tell you it's not true. The employee salaries should be a matter of public record and available at the SMCM library.

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    9. Urgo has to go. Goldsmith too.

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    10. Giving them an hour to clear out their desks was reprehensible. MAYBE if they were in a sensitive position, but what were they gonna do? Honestly, this is how they do things on Wall Street, not at a "St. Mary's Way" kind of place. What happened to civility and respect around here? (And they are NOT the first people to be walked off campus by Public Safety for no good reason, either.)

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  22. Made the Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/college-inc/post/st-marys-college-moves-to-shore-up-selectivity/2012/07/16/gJQABgFooW_blog.html?wprss=rss_education Thoughts?

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  23. Urgo and goldsmith should go. Everything should be public record including salaries. The Post article tries to subtly blame Rich for the decrease in applications but doesn't the blame lie with them? And don't forget the mold issue. That was Not a small thing.

    Where is the BOARD?

    They hope this will go away with time. The great thing about ST Mary's is that the whole community has passion for it's values.
    Boycott donating!
    Fire Urgo and Goldsmith.

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  24. I can almost promise that the decrease in applications had far more to do with the mold issues and the fact that tuition is extremely high for a public school.

    People who weren't moved because of the mold thought that the cruise ship was awesome, but for first semester freshmen who didn't have steady and secure friendships and relationships with other students and professors, it was terrible. When you're a freshmen, a lot of your socialization happens through meeting people on your hall, having doors open and whatnot, which didn't happen at all because of the mold. A lot of freshmen transferred because of the mold issue. Also, those crew cabins were hellish. There is no way that students who paid as much as we pay for our rooms should have been forced to live in 10 by 10 ENTIRELY METAL rooms. That is beyond unacceptable.

    And St. Mary's currently costs 26,000 for a year's tuition. That is FAR more than any of the other state schools and not really that much cheaper than some private schools. So St. Mary's is no longer affordable for the same class of people that it was five years ago. I don't understand why the administration ignores these sorts of issues and wants to blame a fantastic admissions director like Rich.

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    1. "There is no way that students who paid as much as we pay for our rooms should have been forced to live in 10 by 10 ENTIRELY METAL rooms. That is beyond unacceptable."

      Actually, ALL OF THE RESIDENCE HALLS are awful, and ALL STUDENTS are being SIGNIFICANTLY OVERCHARGED for them. Apply this same critical analysis and anger to your entire St. Mary's experience: what, EXACTLY, are you purchasing?

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