Bye, Mike!

On May 19, Historiann asked about unscrupulous pol and President of West Virginia University Mike Garrison:  “How long will this guy be permitted to circle the drain at WVU?

Well, the answer is about 17 days.  This morning, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says that Garrison has announced his resignation, effective September 1.  Why September 1, instead of June 6?  (6/6 is a nice, round date.  It’s the anniversary of the D-Day Invasion, after all.)  Those long, drawn-out good-byes have never made sense to me.  Usually, the Provost steps in as the Acting President.  But–oops!  The Provost resigned in April over scandalous revelation that the university had awarded an unearned M.B.A. to the Governor’s daughter.  So did the Dean of the business school!  So did the university’s general counsel!  So did Garrison’s communications chief!  If anyone is left in the administration at WVU at the end of August, please turn the lights out on your way out the door.

Congratulations to the faculty and alumni at WVU, who really hung together in recognizing that Garrison had to go.  West Virginia is a small state, and they don’t need to buy this kind of trouble.  From the Post-Gazette story:

Since the panel’s report, the faculty has voted twice for his resignation by landslide margins, alumni have called for his ouster, and donors have said their checkbooks are closed until Mr. Garrison leaves. Yesterday, a majority of the tenured faculty of WVU’s law school, where Mr. Garrison earned his law degree, asked him to step down.

Here’s some free advice from Historiann for all of my readers who are administrators, or aspire to university administration:  you really should lead the parade of resignations, not be fifth in line.  Now you’re just prolonging your jerkitude.  Nice job, Mike.

0 thoughts on “Bye, Mike!

  1. Alas, I think we are only seeing the first wave of the Republicans’ efforts to take over universities. Garrison is just a speed bump in their plans of total control.


  2. But–Garrison is a Dem and was backed by a Democratic Governor! Here in Colorado, it’s a different story–the only thing that Republicans have any prominent role in any more is higher ed. (The Presidents of the University of Colorado and the University of Northern Colorado are both Republican would-be pols. The CU Prez once ran for Governor and failed, and the President of UNC was going to run for congress in 2002, but was tossed this bone instead.) Of course, neither of these Presidents are academics, nor do they have any real experience in higher ed, and only one has a terminal degree (the Prez of UNC has a law degree.)


  3. Ugh — It exposes my own bad presumptions that I assumed WVA was all about the Republicans. It also suggests that a) Dems are not significantly different than Reps on this issue and b) We have no friends as universities become political trophies.


  4. That’s right–pols as pols are not to be trusted. However, there are some politicians who have provided good leadership to some colleges and universities–but only if they have academic values. Former Republican Senator Hank Brown was the President of both the University of Northern Colorado and of the University of Colorado, and even many Dems and liberals I know here thought he was OK because he didn’t mess around with the academics, and focused on raising money and problem-solving. If pols have academic values, if they respect the work that universities do, and if their goal is to support that work, then pols as Prezes can work out.

    Interestingly, Colorado College’s current and longtime President is Richard Celeste, who was a successful former Governor of Ohio. There was an article in the Denver Post recently about how CC has upped its national rankings significantly in the past 5 years.


  5. Pingback: mike garrison | Hottags

  6. It’s part of the decline of American culture: we let the people below take the fall first, and hope it all blows over. Time was when someone whose organization made a mistake acted as if they were accountable.

    I know, the narrative of decline again. But it’s pretty scuzzy.


  7. Maybe there won’t be anybody in office with the authority to accept the resignation, in which case we might be looking at the need for a state constitutional convention in W. Va. to remedy the situation? In which case, this would be a good time to push for a provision to outlaw mountaintop coal stripping and river and stream damming. How long can you be Mountaineers if you level all the mountains?


  8. Susan–yes, pretty scuzzy. Indyanna, I think the Board has accepted his letter–one wishes to have been a fly on the wall for that latest meeting between Garrison and the Board!


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