Blaise Pascal, Penseé 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, August 16, 2012

Emeriti Letter to President Welty

The following letter from 55 emeriti and community members has been sent to President Welty:

Date:                   August 15, 2012

To:                      Dr. John Welty, President
                            Fresno State

From:                  Concerned Emeriti Faculty and Community Members

Contact:              Joyce Aiken,

Dear President Welty:

The destruction of one hundred sixty four beautiful, mature trees demonstrates that something is seriously wrong at California State University, Fresno. A decision of such importance would normally have been made in consultation with the faculty and appropriate community groups who have helped improve the campus as an arboretum and as a living laboratory for years. At a time when community support is more important than ever, confidence in your leadership is eroding. California State University, Fresno, has become a sad spectacle of poor communication, unilateral decision-making, and disrespect for faculty.

The necessity for faculty consultation is clearly stated in the shared governance document entitled “A Constitution for the Academic Assembly of California State University, Fresno” and it is legally articulated in The California Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act [HEERA, section 3561(b)]. Moreover, shared governance is supported by the CSU Board of Trustees through its 1985 adoption of “The Report of the Board of Trustees Ad Hoc Committee on Governance, Collegiality, and Responsibility in the California State University.” Proper faculty consultation is the means by which the values of higher learning and the mission of the university are translated into the daily operation of the institution. Over the past year the faculty has requested that you and Provost Covino abide by university policies and California law through senate resolutions and open letters.

A significant number of people, well known to you, have been aware of attempts to resolve differences between the administration and the faculty. We have remained silent in hopes that respect for student and taxpayer interests would prevail. The senseless destruction of the east campus urban forest appears to have closed that chapter with finality. We urge you to take immediate steps to rebuild your relationship, based on trust, with the faculty and the community. It is not too late to restore mutual respect and focus on the university’s mission.

We also urge you to resolve the problems that stem from excluding university faculty from traditional decision-making. These include the escalating displays of bureaucratic authority leading to poor fiscal management, the large carry-forwards in times of budgetary crisis, and arbitrary practices in administrative hiring. We hope that you respond affirmatively to the resolutions passed by the Academic Senate and give budget priority to teaching, research, and hiring practices based on faculty decisions.

We, the emeriti and retired faculty, alumni, and community members, look to you to provide leadership in resolving the escalating crisis of confidence between the faculty and your administration. We hope that you can restore the legacy of trust, shared governance, and academic freedom that has been the hallmark of California State University, Fresno.

Below is a partial list of those who support this letter.


Philip Levine                                                      Bruce Blackerby
Noel Harbertson                                               Jack Pitt                       
George Kaufman                                                Marguerite McMenamin
Dick Haas                                                           Connie Pitt
Alex Vavoulis                                                     Bob Levine
Howard Watkins                                               Jennifer Williams
Dale Bush                                                           James Highsmith
Bob Hirth                                                            Barbara Ulman
David Grubb                                                       Sam Franklin
Shirley Valett                                                      Robert Ware
David Frank                                                         Ronald Holmes
Ed EmanuEl                                                        Howard Latimer
SteveYarborough                                                Mike Brown
Eleanore Bluestein                                               Steve Rodemyer                                   
Ray McKnight                                                      Roger Chittick                                   
Burke Zane                                                           John Donalson
Fred Brengelman                                                  C. Loc Chua
Helen Gigliotti                                                      Ray Reichert
Janice Rosenberg                                                  Manuel Pena
Margaret McKnight                                              Kin-Ping Wong
Frank Laury                                                          Debbie Vaught
Ethelynda Harding
Manuel Olgin
Charles Shields
Don Priest
Joyce Aiken            
Gerald McMenamin
Linnea Alexander
Hugh Williams
Charles Hanzlicek
P J Mistry
Sasan Fayazmanesh
Stan Poss

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