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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Not your ordinary academic battle

A politician trying to keep politics out of the college president search process? And the trustee chairman quitting in protest? That's their story and they're sticking to it.

Robert Manning is officially mum about his reasons for resigning from the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees, but the Globe reports he's apparently miffed at Deval Patrick objecting to the allegedly greased skids for UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan.

Manning, originally named to the board Mitt Romney and reappointed by Patrick, is reportedly upset over concerns raised by Patrick's other appointees that naming the former congressman would raise concerns about political favoritism.

This follows other concerns, that apparently left Manning "bristling," over Patrick’s staff urging the board to keep tuition and fee increases low despite endless state budget cuts and weighing in on personnel decisions.

Excuse me, but isn't the governor of a state-funded university supposed to advocate for lower student costs and have a voice, if not the final one, in personnel decisions? Isn't he ultimately responsible for the perceived success or failure of everything on his watch?

But here's the most fascinating quote for tea leaf readers:
“The governor has politicized the university and that wasn’t what Rob signed up for,’’ said a one trustee who, like others interviewed, insisted on anonymity to share private conversations. “He’s a very strong, smart businessman, and he was frustrated with how this thing played out.’’
Patrick politicized a university that once appointed a Massachusetts Senate President to the top job and was apparently headed in the direction of naming a former congressman, neither of whom had lengthy academic credentials?

That would be hilarious if it weren't so off the planet in terms of self-serving hogwash.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell Manning not to let the door hit him in the butt on the way out. The whole thrust of the probation scandal is the injection of political pull and favoritism in the hiring process. UMass needs an academic superstar to lead it, not another politician who knows the state's funding game. Until they hire one, UMass will always be looking at the NCs and Michigans, and wondering why they're considered world class while we're not.

December 09, 2010 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rob Manning manning is a tough, smart, principled guy, as well as a good judge of talent and a strong leader.

If you are recruited by him and you sign-up for the team, you will get his full support; and you are likely to be successful.

If the Gov. has interests in the selection of the next president, he should have a representative on the search committee or on a smaller committee that makes the final choice.

The Gov. fails to respect the search and selection process and the people appointed to conduct it when he interferes with a particular candidate or the selection committee, his own interest and expertise notwithstanding.

It's pretty clear that the Governor's interference in the search process caused a big lose for UMASS - the chairman who loves the institution as much as the other important things in his life.

If I were Deval, I fix the situation and get Manning and Meehan back on board.

Manning, they said, felt that his authority to help chart the course for the university’s future has been usurped by Paul Reville, who, as Patrick’s secretary of education, has a seat on the UMass board of trustees and is seen by some as a “stealth chairman.’’

Reville also grossly mismanaged the charter school process. That's twp strikes. Do we need to wait for the third?

Get Manning back and let him lead.

December 09, 2010 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Process integrity - letting the board and search committee do its job - is when the search committee and decision-making process works on its own.

Politicization is when the Gov uses his political power to steer the search from Beacon Hill based on ear-whispering from his problematic Sec of Ed. Reville.

December 09, 2010 10:13 AM  

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