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Could They Be Any More Clueless?

Helman Mandel.jpgAs part of the search that led to Phil Hanlon ‘77’s appointment as President, Trustees Steve Mandel Jr. ‘78 and Bill Helman IV ‘80 met with several members of the Faculty Coordinating Committee a little more than two years ago. The event was memorable as an illustration of how out of touch with faculty sentiment these muckymucks are.

About a half dozen professors were present at a meeting that was the culmination of an extended formal process to gather faculty sentiment about the characteristics that professors wanted to see in the College’s next President. Helman explained at some length that the search committee was casting a wide net and that he had interviewed many candidates. Then he jocularly remarked, “But I imagine that you would all be happy with Carol Folt.”

The response of the professors in attendance could fairly be described as a deafening silence. To a man, they looked blankly downward at the conference room table.

Mandel reacted with his usual pokerface, but Helman was more expressive. My source, who heard an account of the meeting from one of the participants, says that the Committee members were surprised that the Trustees had so little insight into faculty sentiment. She can’t recall whether Helman exclaimed, “Oh shit!” out loud, or whether he only communicated that message via his facial expression. The effect was the same. For a brief moment, the two Trustees shifted uncomfortably in their chairs, and then they moved on to other matters.

How could these top Trustees not know that Carol was held in contempt/disdain by not only the members of Faculty Coordinating Committee, but also by almost everyone on the faculty itself, even women science professors? To whom were the Trustees turning at that time in order to understand the day-to-day working of the College? I only know one person who thought that the IP was doing a good job — Carol herself. There’s your answer to the latter question.

As I have repeatedly written, the Trustees need to get out more.

Addendum: Of course, Carol has been the subject of special attention in this space for many years. It seems that the Trustees read Dartblog; sadly they don’t take it to heart. Experience shows that they should.


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