|Guest Column: MCLA Must Rebuild Trust With Faculty, Students|
|By Dana Rapp, Guest Column|
02:58PM / Monday, February 06, 2012
The MCLA Faculty Association is disappointed and confused by the Board of Trustee's vote to arm campus police officers against the will of the vast majority of faculty and a significant majority of students.
Many faculty have worked hard to cultivate a relationship of respect, shared-decision-making, and cooperation with the administration. I cannot imagine a scenario in which the Faculty Association would endorse a policy or plan with such far-reaching implications if the MCLA administration, Board of Trustees, and/or other relevant constituencies on campus "strongly encouraged" us not to do so. The Board's vote, and the flawed process of deliberation that led up to it, leave many faculty wondering if our views on a range of issues are sincerely solicited or valued.
The events established to gather "input" from the community were neither effective nor convincing. The forums were rushed and lacked opportunities for faculty to be meaningfully involved, offer nuanced opinions, and introduce valid evidence to back up or counter various claims. Moreover, these events seemed like they were staged as a means of convincing the community that the arming of MCLA campus police was necessary and pressing.
An unjustifiable and unpopular outcome was inevitable because of this seriously flawed process. The board stated that they were acting in MCLA's "best interest" but, in the end, they did not seem too interested in the opinions of people who live and work on or near the campus. The vast majority of people who are at MCLA every day believe that the arming of campus police at this time WILL NOT make the campus a safer place.
"Moving on" for the Faculty Association will require soul-searching and reflection on behalf of the Board and the administration. To this end, we believe it is in the best interest of the MCLA community that the Board and administration commit to a self-study of their roles and decisions in a process that led to such an unpopular, and perhaps invalid, final decision. We "strongly encourage" the Board to agree to the self-study and include two members appointed by the Student Government Association and two by the Faculty Association.
The recommendations that come out of this self-study could serve as a means of providing assurance that the College has matured in its ability to discuss significant issues, as well as a basis for rebuilding the trust and confidence that many faculty and students would like to have.
Dana Rapp is president of the MCLA Faculty Association.