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.”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Destroying the Community of Fresno State

I'm going to keep this short.

Despite everything that happened this year, what I've seen over the last two days and captured in these pictures will always sum it up for me. The attempt to get rid of two schools was a very direct assault on the community of learning at Fresno State, not just for the faculty, staff, and students of those schools, but for the effect it would have had on all of Fresno State. The condescending language of CSALT, the lack of consultation about the logo and utter lack of understanding regarding how professors present themselves and their students to other institutions through cards and letterhead, the progressive removal of hiring decisions, curriculum, and instruction to the provost--all of this was an assault on the academic community in favor of top-down, strong-arm management. 

But the annihilation of the trees in the parking lots east of Peters emblematizes it all. There was no sense that these trees meant something to the people who work here, no thought--at least communicated--that something of beauty would be taken from the community. 

Going into the hardest budget year we may ever see, the administration of this university has done everything in its power to assure that we do not meet the coming crisis as a united community, but as a demoralized one. (And by the way, how much does this parking lot make-over cost?)

The Academic Senate needs to seriously consider a vote of no confidence in President John Welty and Provost William Covino. That will be a sad task in what promises to be a miserable year, but it is a necessary one given their disregard for the values of the community they ought to be preserving.

When I came in to work in the morning, however preoccupied I was, these trees always made me feel better. It was like walking through a portal into the day, and they were especially beautiful in fall: Chinese pistaches. I liked these so much that I planted three in my yard. They are slow growers. Here is the stump of one on the left:

Here, you get a better sense of where these two beauties stood:

Looking north from Peters:

Panoramic Destruction:

If the markings are any indication, trees to the west of the road by Peters are also going to be cut:

Say good-bye to this line of trees:

It's sickening.


  1. Thank you for sharing these pictures. Fresno community should insist on punishing those responsible. Settlements, apologies, and resignations are not appropriate punishments for these horrible crimes. We need administrators to be fired and jailed over these, so nobody dares to repeat such despicable acts.

  2. Hello Craig,

    My name is Noah Chipley and I work at ABC30 in Fresno. We are doing a story tonight about the tree removal at Fresno State and were hoping you might be willing to let us use your photos in our story. If this would be okay with you please call the newsroom at 559-485-0930 or e-mail our assignment desk at

    Thank you.