Issues For The Faculty Senate
The following comment was left on the blog on September 16:
IS THE SENATE A LAME DUCK?
The Senate has been marginalized. PP’s previous letter regarding PRS chastised and belittled – highlighting the Senate has lost credibility with “stakeholders” (Chancellor and Regents). The administrator for the Senate is now under HR, so any efforts to communicate out will effectively be blocked.
Faculty see the senate as controlled opposition and essentially ineffective.
The Fascism intensifies. And when you think it can’t get worse…. the Bylaws amendments come out, hammering home the fact that faculty are widgets.
There are 3 faculty currently having filed suit to protect their religious liberties. The way they were treated is egregious and capricious compared to other colleagues. It is all on-line. Members of the ELT publicly identified themselves as “partners in crime” regarding this issue.
THAT WHICH IS SEEN CANNOT BE UNSEEN. It’s just a matter of the lens the Chancellor and Regents are using. And their lens is clouded by $$$ and without any faculty contact whatsoever.
As the husband of the in-coming chair of the Faculty Senate, I was most shaken.
It is my contention that it is the Faculty Senate that has the most power to galvanize the faculty’s sentiments and propose remediation to grievances. If the Senate has lost credibility and is under the control of the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) as John Doe 123 claims, there is little hope for any improvement in the life of most faculty. It is my understanding that that life is under ever-increasing pressure to standardize behavior. The administration is using “bullying” and “retaliation” as excuses to get rid of faculty or make the faculty’s lives miserable.
It is also my contention that only an appeal to Austin by the Faculty Senate will ever turn this around short of an all-out walk out on the part of the clinical staff, an occurrence, as we have seen with railroad workers, that may necessitate powerful intervention to avoid.
What is the origin of this turmoil?
It actually goes back quite a way—almost twenty years.
Under John Mendelsohn, the leadership of the institution began to erode when he was caught in two scandals—Enron (board member) and ImClone (board member and stock holder). His prior great performance was forever tarnished.
Dr. DePinho was ill-prepared to lead a clinical cancer entity and ruled with an arbitrary, nepotistic iron fist. He was hopelessly conflicted and ignorant of modern cancer care. He had no chance. He didn’t last very long.
Now we have the apparent non-Ron in Peter Pisters who may actually prove to be more heavy-handed using helter-skelter policies to intimidate faculty under the guise of bullying and retaliation which is really just intimidation by another name led by teams of lawyers, HR officials, and vice presidents. I didn’t think it could get worse than DePinho. I was wrong again. I had actually told Dr. Pisters it should be easy to be better than the last guy. He has failed.
Other sources have alerted me to problems in the operating suites and I suspect the clinical enterprise is strained to the breaking point only to be pressured some more by the need for greater clinical revenue and a push to see more new patients.
What MD Anderson needs immediately is competent leadership and skilled managers. It has neither and the rift in the body politic will not heal under the current administration.
I see no chance that Dr. Pisters can right this ship and he ought to resign for the sake of the institution rather than wait to be pushed out—something that has become ineluctable at this point.
MD Anderson is really in trouble and unfortunately is almost devoid of institutional memory of its prior greatness. It is definitely time for a change. Now!
More to come from a secret source on Wednesday.