To The Editor:
I knew it was too good to be true.
Not six weeks ago I wrote one of my only letters — among many over the course of the last half century or so — that actually praised your insight and judgment: I refer to your editorial on ECC’s problems, which correctly observed that they were “mostly administrative.”
So what happens? Last week I read that not only do you now feel that while in “the beginning ECC had a dedicated faculty and staff that made the college what it is today . . . (and) The faculty and staff in those days built the college and gave it the quality reputation it earned,” but also you indict the current “faculty and staff who oppose the leadership . . . For injuring the college by their actions . . . They must share the blame for damage done.”
Quite a turnabout: the formerly faithful peasantry of ECC are now the bomb throwers who are causing the very problems that they have the temerity to continue to bring to their leaders’ attention? Talk about shooting the messengers — referring to the current faculty and staff the way you do is more like machine gunning them.
And such references, especially from a man who has been involved, at least as an interested outsider, with ECC for so long . . . Well, we geezers do have a tendency to romanticize “Those days,” but the facts are the facts, and here are just a few.
Do you remember that our “founding president,” whose name now adorns one of our buildings, jilted ECC for a shiny new presidency of a shiny new college with a much shinier tax base? And left his former sweetheart holding a financial bag with a 900 grand hole in it?
Do you remember the next prez, who lasted all of two years before he left in the middle of his contract for a better job? And one, rumor had it, with fewer rednecks to deal with?
And the next one, who put Captain Queeg to shame, and whom the faculty (the same “those days” faculty were lauding, remember?) had to fight tooth and nail for years before the board finally refused to renew his contract? (You might check your paper’s files on this one, since it features issues with headlines like “Faculty President Vows War over Salaries.”)
And so on and so on.
But I hope by now you take the point, so let’s cut to the chase: If ECC, as its current 50th anniversary motto insists, is “Looking Back, Moving Forward” let’s not allow the understandable nostalgia of those backward glances turn ECC’s history into some prelapsarian paradise, while we castigate the current employees for their supposed unwillingness to move forward. In fact, they are trying to move the school in that direction, by speaking truth to the powers that be.
Or, as a former colleague, Lee Adams (one of the “those days” people you admire so much), put it in a recent letter to you, “It would seem that both the administration . . . and the board should pay more attention to the people who really make up the college: the faculty and their students.”
But then East Central’s powers-that-be have rarely — past or present — bothered to follow that sage advice. So the more things change, the more they stay the same.