Letter to the Editor: Faculty should be asking lots of question

Cathy Blaser, Letter to the Editor

As a short introduction, my name is Cathy Blaser and I taught mostly adjunct classes at WSC for about 25 years. My husband Kent Blaser taught there for 30 years, was an administrator for five, retired as an emeritus faculty member and wrote a history of the college.

I am watching from a distance the case of the firing of Karen Walker.

What seems glaringly obvious to me is that no one is talking, and the faculty is scared.

“No comment” on personnel issues seems to be the line of the day. If I were a faculty member at WSC, I’d be asking questions, lots of questions.

In a college that prides itself in its teaching and treatment of students, the fact that a tenured professor can be escorted off campus in the middle of the semester is unsettling. It seems that the termination had nothing to do with teaching or treatment of students, but all about administration unhappy with faculty pleading their case to their administration or department.

I would think that the entire faculty would immediately ask for clarification on this issue.

Is this a three strikes and you are out deal? Are there other faculty members with a strike or two against them who may be surprised when security arrives and escorts them off campus? And who makes the call? Is it HR, the Dean, the VPAA? Do any of them do this on their own or do they need all three plus the consent of the president? Does the faculty know who has this power and are they informed of the steps administration is able to take? Is this written out somewhere?

Who makes the decision that some behavior is fine and others behavior is out of line? Is it the Dean? Is it a fellow department member who is tired of contentious meetings who takes his concerns to the Dean? Are faculty members in some departments allowed contentious meetings and others not or is it standard across the campus what behavior is allowed by the administration and what is not?

Any campus that embraces heavy handed tactics in dealing with its faculty, the lifeblood of the college, has lost its way. This case screams of an administrative vendetta. It looks bad, it hurts students and it tarnishes the reputation of the college.