Blaise Pascal, PenseĆ© 347: “Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this. All our dignity consists, then, in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavor, then, to think well; this is the principle of morality.”

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Scratch and Sniff" and the Rebranding of Fresno State

Yesterday, the faculty received a rather sad email over the academic affairs listserv from Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer Cynthia Teniente-Matson which transmitted a document from herself and Associate Vice President for University Communications Shirley Melikian Armbruster telling us

Mark Your Calendars!

for a big event in the Free Speech Area on April 12 announcing the rebranding of Fresno State. The time "to unify us under one" name has now come. The Integrated Marketing and Communications Council has consulted with the faculty for hundreds of hours on how to rebrand Fresno State and the new label is going to be revealed. ( I don't remember the consultation part, but maybe I slept through it. First time I heard about this was at the provost's forum a few weeks ago.) Anyway, this is going to be a really fun event. "Please be on the lookout for a 'scratcher' to be coming in your mailbox and be sure to bring it with you on the day of the event" which will forever change the way you identify Fresno State. You'll have a chance to win prizes.

Wow. They must have invoked Ellen Junn, the muse of CSALT, on this one.

I needed a reality check, so I showed the email to my wife Gail, who has worked at Kaiser Permanente for several years, and I asked her, "Have you ever received an email like this from Kaiser? You know, an email with this tone?"

"No," she said. "They treat us like adults at Kaiser."

The email from Matson raises a number of questions for me:

1. Does Fresno State send its administrators to the Captain Kangaroo School of Faculty Management?
2. Do they talk to us like children because they see us that way?
3. Do they talk to us like children because they think like high school cheerleaders?
4. Will some form of adult communication between administrators and faculty ever be possible at Fresno State?
5. Does Cindy Matson charge off to the nearest liquor store after work to buy lotto scratchers?
6. Does Cindy Matson assume that the faculty, worried about the financial viability of PERS, or just looking for an escape, charges off to the the nearest liquor store after work to buy lotto scratchers?
7. If the administration really wanted to make this "event" exciting, why didn't they send us scratch and sniff cards? They could have settled on the one odor under which we could all be unified, the odor which most characterizes Fresno State right now, the odor associated with what used to be spread where The Palazzo now stands, and which a delicate nose can still detect in various parts of the campus.

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