President Mazey lacks transparency

Scott Sundvall and Scott Sundvall

To whom it may concern:

As a budding academic and alumnus of Bowling Green State University [MA English 2011, now attending University of Florida in pursuit of a Ph.D], I cannot begin to find the words that appropriately express my sincere dissatisfaction with the recent faculty cuts, as well as the rhetoric and logic University President Mary Ellen Mazey chose to employ in order to defend them.

First and foremost, why is Mazey not fully transparent about the budgetary situation at the University?

Mazey consistently gestures toward the recently formed faculty union after introducing the budgetary concerns in her memos, implicitly stating that it is the cause for the recent firings.

Surely Mazey must understand that part of remaining up-to-date and competitive includes a faculty union, especially as we are now witnessing an influx of even adjunct unionization [adjuncts, needless to say, that are such because of moves colleges and universities like Bowling Green are making].

But this does not even begin to scratch the surface of Mazey’s conscious avoidance of full and honest fiscal transparency.

What keeps Mazey from noting the salary raises administrators have been taking in, including hers [a rather generous raise, if I may say so]?

While citing some of the specificities of the union agreement, why not also note the salaries of Mazey’s administration, perhaps side by side with the average unionized faculty member? Is this because some may feel the “budgetary realities” which require “hard decisions” include a gross reduction in administrative pay?

Or, at the very least, a salary freeze? Are these absurd suggestions?

Of course, we should not forget about the investigation into the University’s [paid, out-of-university-pocket] work in the drafting of Ohio’s SB-5 bill. This might explain much of the above— but if so, what is the point of me pointing it out?

I guess I mean to note a general ideological difference concerning my concept of the public university and what appears to be Mazey’s.

Yes, the bottom line is always important, and we are, indeed, still in tough times. The budget only allows for so much. But if Mazey is truly intending to have an open and honest dialogue concerning the future of the University, then she needs to be more willing to lay her cards on the table. Combative rhetoric [even when implicit] and ill-thought cuts to faculty do not promote the fundamental goal of a public university— the free exchange of ideas and the advancement of higher learning.

Remember, the University is not a corporation— at least, not yet — and its students are not customers — yet. Mazey is not a CEO; she is a servant to the classic principles of the University system. I learned about “integrity,” “principles” and “ethics” because of the fine liberal arts education I received from faculty.

—Scott Sundvall ‘11

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