Pay-Offs and Buy-Outs in Academia
We have heard little from Mississippi State University lately, after University officials successfully bought off Professors Glamser and Stringer.
Even the titilating website,"firethames.com," has closed up shop.
Should we be surprised? Probably not. Faculties are made up mostly of selfish and self-centered egoists who do not define themselves as members of the same class, and whose sense of collective interests, therefore, is deeply stunted. We behave as if we were singular little monads, and among us, narcissism as a character trait is our most telling feature. It's a good thing, too: without a heavy coating of narcissism we would have little else to defend ourselves against the fraud and perfidy of the administrative ruling class.
The consequence, however, is a social system in which people are encouraged to sell out for peanuts. Glamser and Stringer, whatever the merits of their case, carried more than the weight of their individual interests. They were seen, correctly, as symptomatic of a larger problem, i.e., the erosion of faculty governance and the decline of academic freedom. But Mississippi administrators knew something else: that faculty members almost always sell out when the rewards are high enough or the penalties too severe. It doesn't take much, either -- faculty members always sell themselves very cheaply.
You can bet administrators throughout the country took notice, and the next time tenure is threatened, they will feel emboldened.comments powered by Disqus
Robert L. Campbell - 6/5/2004
I think you are being premature in your judgment of the USM situation.
As I understand it, "Fire Shelby" didn't have the time to take care of a family and continue running the "Fire Shelby" site and board for free.
The USM AAUP chapter's message board (http://www.aaup-usm.org) has taken over where Fire Shelby left off. I sometimes miss FS's fiery editorializing, but Amy Young is doing a good job running the new board, and many of the Fire Shelby regulars can now be found there.
Meanwhile, there has been more to write about, and I have perhaps been remiss in not doing so, but I have summer school to teach. (I hope there aren't any dire lessons to be drawn from that...)
Besides, it has become clear, since the Mississippi IHL Board chewed Shelby Thames out behind closed doors on May 20, but did not fire him, that getting rid of him and his henchcrew will be a drawn-out struggle.
Thames has lost another member of his henchcrew since my last post, and another key member of the crew is on the skids. Meanwhile, the local newspaper in Hattiesburg has hired Rachel Quinlivan, the former Student Printz editor whose intercepted email Thames read out loud at the hearing on April 28. You won't see the Tuscaloosa News doing anything like that...
This was never just Frank Glamser and Gary Stringer's fight. And it isn't over.
I promise a catch-up post soon.