Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Meanwhile, at CR...

As bad as things are at HSU, they may well be worse at College of the Redwoods. Last week there was the devastating story about its president Jeff Marsee in the North Coast Journal (so extreme I wondered at first if it wasn't a really bad April Fool's joke), which repeated charges such as "faculty leaders who say Marsee is a tyrant, paranoid staffers convinced that their phones are bugged and a pervasive climate of fear and festering animosity" and "Dr. Marsee has pretty much single-handedly created a work environment that is mean-spirited, corrosive, secretive and downright scary."

Then today the Times Standard covered a tumultous confrontation of "at least 150" faculty and students airing grievances to CR Trustees, who support Marsee. "The California State Employees Association delivered a vote of no confidence in President Jeff Marsee." There were quotes about “exhaustive evidence of mistreatment” on the part of a "toxic administration, and a "crisis in our employees' morale."

The story then finds Marsee who is currently on a Fullbright scholarship, in Russia. His defense includes that "Community and Junior Colleges removed CR from the accreditation warning status in January because the college had improved its communications and conflict resolution abilities."

You just can't make this stuff up.

As tragic as all this is for the CR community, it may have tragic consequences for HSU as well. For one thing, an obvious (if institutionally difficult) way to address each institution's financial problems is to see which programs are unnecessarily duplicated and which would benefit from some sort of merged program or at least close cooperation. Nursing, for example. But given the chaos at each institution, with two presidents having in common a no confidence votes from their faculty, it's pretty unlikely common sense will prevail.

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