Dye urged to heal rift now
When discussing Oberlin’s budgetary woes last year, President Nancy Dye predicted that this would be one of the most difficult years in Oberlin’s history. As it turns out, it has also been the most difficult of her presidency.
The administration ended last year with the controversy over the closure of the Biggs computer lab and has since been working against the perception that student and faculty voices are not taken seriously in the school’s decision making process.
Since then this perception has only worsened. The administration has announced the suspension of the London program and the cutting of 12 faculty positions, soliciting only the most superficial input after the decisions were already made.
The situation has recently escalated with Ben Schiff’’s recent “the problem is the president” speech to the General Faculty and a confidence vote in the Dye administration appearing in next week’s Student Senate referendum.
Now rumors are spreading among the faculty that the president is planning to cut positions for the dean of the college’s office. These rumors are evidence of how deep the rift between the faculty and the senior administration has become.
One could come to the conclusion that this is simply the result of a few dissatisfied but very vocal faculty members; however Review reporters have found numerous professors who are highly dissatisfied with the administration but unwilling to talk publicly about it due to fear that it will only make the divide worse.
In times of crisis leaders of institutions frequently attempt to consolidate their power and turn inward, but the Dye administration is currently on a dangerous path towards losing touch with its constituents entirely.
This is a critical moment for Dye and the administration. If this secretive and monolithic decision process continues, dissatisfaction among faculty and students will only grow and the College community will suffer.
No amount of strategic planning can make up for a lack of trust. For this
reason, Dye must make repairing relationships with students and faculty one of
her main priorities in the coming years.