CSU San Bernadino Senate smeared in advance of no confidence vote

A couple of days ago, the CSU San Bernardino academic senate was poised to consider a resolution expressing their lack of confidence the CSUSB President Tomas Morales.

Here’s the resolution they eventually passed:

CSUSB No confidence

Shortly afterwards, Chancellor White responded:

Open Letter to the CSUSB Community – Timothy P. White

Definitely not good times at our sister campus. They have our sympathies as they work through these difficult issues.

Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten to the crazy part yet…..

On the morning of the 8th, before the senate considered this resolution, the immediate past Chair of the Board of Trustees and an influential community member took to the local newspapers to help President Morales avoid bad PR in the community by smearing the academic senate in advance of the vote.

http://www.sbsun.com/opinion/20170508/academic-senates-need-more-transparency-guest-commentary

Pretty much the same article also appeared on the 10th in the Press Enterprise, with the slightly more aggressive title “Time to expose academic senate for who they are” (presumably the editor’s choice).

Time to expose academic senate for who they are

In both cases, the title and link to the op-ed was circulated by the Chancellors’ Office in their ‘Daily Clips’ compendium of news items.

Christine Miller, Chair of the statewide senate (ASCSU) and my personal role model, responded with professionalism and commitment to shared governance in this letter to the CSUSB campus senate

May 9, 2017

To My Senate Colleagues at CSU San Bernardino:

As Chair of the Academic Senate of the California State University, I wish to express my sorrow regarding the aspersions cast on you specifically, and academic senates generally, by Paul Granillo and Lou Monville, alumni of your fine institution.

Mr. Granillo, as a community member, might be forgiven his lack of knowledge about the ways a senate functions in the institutional enterprise; Mr. Monville, however, should know better: as former Chair of the CSU Board of Trustees, he should have a firm grasp on the notion of “shared governance,” as instantiated in law (the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act) and in the joint agreement expressed by the Association of Governing Boards and the American Association of University Professors in the “Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities.”  Indeed, the CSU Board itself issued a report on “Governance, Collegiality and Responsibility” which clearly states, “collegial governance allows the academic community to work together to find the best answers to issues facing the university.”

Sadly, there was nothing at all collegial in the vitriol jointly penned by Granillo and Monville in the San Bernardino Sun, under the thinly veiled guise of support for a piece of legislation that has nothing whatsoever to do with the sweeping indictments they level against senates generally, and yours in particular.  The editorial contained a shocking series of ad hominem attacks lacking any evidentiary support.  Indeed, the tone and substance of their litany of unsupported claims has the same force of effect as the very bullying they decry.  It’s not just ironic, it’s disturbing.

Please note that I take no position on the gut-wrenching decision that you face on your campus regarding confidence in the leadership of your president.  I’m certain there are well-reasoned arguments on both sides of the question you are considering.  I do take a position, however, on matters relating to how senates and faculty representatives function in the shared governance process.  To that end, I believe it is essential to point out that the “two current CSUSB Academic Senate Executive Committee members,” as well as the “former CSUSB provost, who also now serves on the Academic Senate Executive Committee,” while not mentioned in the editorial by name, are clearly identifiable by the virtue of the transparent processes that Granillo and Monville allege are absent.  Once again, it’s not just ironic, it’s disturbing.

Most critically, it’s important to acknowledge that the three individuals “outed” by Granillo and Monville never publicly breached the confidentiality of the presidential search process, which constrained (until now) everyone on the search committee–including the editorialists.  I find it unconscionable that Granillo and Monville, who agreed to the same terms and conditions of confidentiality as everyone else, now find it politically expedient to disregard those strictures and violate the confidentiality of an executive personnel process.  It’s doubly egregious coming from the former Board Chair, since it is the Board’s own policy which establishes the process as confidential!  This transcends irony, and isn’t simply disturbing.  It’s shameful.

It’s regrettable that your deliberations are now clouded by the defamatory claims in this editorial.  Nonetheless, deliberate you must.  Publicly.  Rationally.  Transparently.  I wish you the best in your deliberations, today and in the future.

Best regards,

Dr. Christine M. Miller

Chair, Academic Senate of the California State University

This has not escaped the notice of the American Association of University Professors:

So Much for Confidential Searches!

I plan update this post as information becomes available. That will probably include a formal response from the ASCSU at our May 17-19 plenary.