Though the Globe still has not gone in depth into the situation at the university, this story is valuable in that it puts current Board of Governors President Rod Anderson on record:
“We value the international mission ... it’s a big part of the campus,” he said. “How we can fund it is the hard part. That’s where we may need to look at it. It’s important to campus life that you have these students who come from other cultures. Do you give up biology labs for that? Do you give up nursing training for that? The question is what are we willing to give up in order to get those things.”
The article also quotes Chad Stebbins, director of the international mission:
“Our students in Southwest Missouri are somewhat isolated, somewhat parochial,” he said. “They need an international experience more than anyone. If a student is living in St. Louis or Kansas City, chances are they’re going to be exposed to more cultures and have a more cosmopolitan influence on their life. A student in Joplin has to receive a global experience if they are to succeed in the marketplace.”
Certainly, these quotes are useful to the story, but in a criticism I usually level at television reporting, you cannot give a real picture of what is going on by just interviewing people from both sides and asking them what is going on. It appears Grisolano searched until he found people on both sides of the issue to quote. That's safe and it is a good idea to get in more than one viewpoint.
On the other hand, it really tells us nothing that we do not already know/
There is still a large question about the depth of the university's economic problems, and whether they have been magnified by accounting sleight of hand. If there is no major problem, and obviously at least one board member, Charles McGinty, subscribes to that theory, then this is all subterfuge designed to rid the university of programs that do not meet with former Board President Dwight Douglas' approval. And let there be no doubt about it, he may not be president any more, but Douglas is still pulling the strings.
Was Bruce Speck brought in to dismantle the international program? His record at Austin Peay clearly shows an animosity toward international studies and travel. Could that be why Douglas had no problem with Speck being the only candidate who was actually interviewed for the post?
Was Douglas looking for someone who would take a stance against his own faculty? If so, both of the two finalists appear to fit into that category. Speck's problems, both here and at Austin Peay, have been related numerous times on The Turner Report. The other finalist, former Rogers State University Preaident Joe Wiley, who dropped out of the running to take the preisdent's psotiion at Freed-Hardeman, had a lengthy record of lawsuits brought by disgruntled faculty and others, primarily in response to autocratic decisions.
If that is not the reason Douglas brought in Speck, why has he served as his campaign manager during the recent conflict, organizing petition drives and using every connection he has to make it appear that there ia groundswell of support for Speck.
If Speck goes, ehether be in 2011 or sometime before then, it is highly unlikely Douglas will be able to dominate the selection of his successor as he did after he pushed Julio Leon out of office.
This is a story that is going to require a lot of digging, something that should have been done long ago, instead of leaving it all to Greg Grisolano to begin at this late date.