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September 29, 2023

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Administration has parallels to ‘Potterverse’

The “Harry Potter” universe can act as a microcosm for our surroundings.

The fantasy-based conflict lies far from that of our own but the characters and their development are based upon real world models of human interaction.

For instance, Hogwarts provided a model environment for young people to live, learn and grow through interpersonal communication between the student and faculty body.

In the fifth book, however, this “City upon a hill” of education notably came under fire.

Madam Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge was a bureaucrat who served as Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic. Following the ministry’s administrative decision to appoint her to a teaching position at Hogwarts, she soon became Headmistress; a position which may be comparable to that of president.

She took power and soon began reevaluating the school as a whole. The Headmistress’ time was marked with heavy strife as her administration encountered numerous confrontations with students and faculty alike.

Heavy cuts were made to faculty as the Headmistress indulged in proliferating her agenda.

Notably among these cuts was a long term and committed astronomy professor who, according to the Headmistress, did not meet the specifications of what was in the best interest of Hogwarts. The Headmistress, however, was not articulating her specifications, her necessity to commit these actions, or her large scale intentions.

Amid the hostility and back-door dealings with state government, the Headmistress never concerned herself with being visual and vocal with the school as a whole.

This lack of transparency invites the school’s and our worst fears.

Ultimately, it was made apparent through hindsight that the Headmistress was harboring a dark agenda.

To those who were paying attention, the condemnation of these actions was never questioned; instead these actions were blatantly inappropriate. This could be for a couple reasons.

First among these reasons is simple enough.

The students at the institution I speak of are those who are most in tune with the source and value of their education.

The Headmistress seemed to provide little-to-no value to these student’s education and, as such, it seemed quite reasonable to keep the faculty and replace the Headmistress with one who was more in synch with the institution’s needs.

Another reason why the Headmistress’ actions were deplorable would lie in her motivation. The problem being that no one knew her motivations or grand vision.

She went about a series of revolutionary change and offered little to explain her actions to her subjects.

This Headmistress was under no legal obligation to explain herself; however, this is a point in which she failed to be a leader to her students, faculty and institution.

Heed these words dearly: As a student of history and leadership, I will attest that good rarely comes when a person in power pursues rapid institutional change while offering little in terms of a satisfactory explanation of intent or requirement.

In truth, there appears to be a disconnect between what little comes from the Headmistress and what the students see on a daily basis.

To cut faculty is an issue that occasionally cannot be prevented; however, this should come as a last result after all other options have been pursued and acknowledged through transparent and public communication.

Those in the “Harry Potter” universe had the vice of creating Dumbledore’s Army- a group devoted to enlightening themselves whether the administration desired it or not.

Dumbledore’s Army is obviously not a real organization so we’ll never see “DA” scrawled on campus walls. This University does, however, have the BGFA- Bowling Green Faculty Association- which represents the student and faculty bodies in what is perhaps a similar scenario.

It would be interesting if we began seeing “BGFA” scrawled randomly throughout campus in support of those impacted in the world of which I reference.

Respond to Greg at

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