I read with interest the story and editorial in The Oakland Post on Micah Fialka-Feldman. One question raised but not answered in these stories is why the OU administration would expend so much time, effort, and money to try to prevent Micah from living in the dorms, even to the point of appealing the judge’s decision on that matter. The reasons given by the administration were shown in the articles to not stand up to scrutiny.
So what is the real reason?
Unfortunately, the answer is all too clear to faculty: this administration is unwilling to admit when it is wrong and is unwilling to accept any limits on its ability to take whatever actions it chooses.
In order to renege on an agreement involving governance and signed by President Russi, the administration made the argument in court that Mr. Russi’s signature is worthless and that faculty accept it at their peril. They lost that case (of course) and the judge’s decision required that the administration publicly admit that it was wrong.
In response, the administration has appealed this decision. It is exactly this sort of behavior, as well as the administration’s behavior in Micah’s case and during the strike, that has led many faculty to lose confidence in Mr. Russi. The faculty vote of no confidence in Mr. Russi is scheduled for the last week in March. It was originally scheduled for the end of November; but it was postponed in order to give Mr. Russi one last chance to mend his ways.
Given the administration’s behavior in Micah’s case, as well as their procrastination on carrying out promises made during the November faculty forum, it seems to me that Mr. Russi is bent on squandering this one last chance.
It seems likely that the faculty will have to vote ‘no confidence’ at the end of March. Given the administration’s behavior towards Micah, as well as the disrespect to students that is implied by a 9% tuition hike coupled with a $100,000 raise for the OU president, perhaps students should vote ‘no confidence’ in Mr. Russi too.
Professor of Physics
and American Association of University Professors president