“Run around out there, kids.”


Time for some stall-muckin’!

This appears to be Baa Ram U.’s management strategy right now.  But first the good news from the Pueblo Chieftan (h/t Jonathan Rees):  Sociology proffie Tim McGettigan’s access to email has been restored, but his ability to send out mass emails is currently blocked.  (Chancellor Michael Martin, CSU Deputy General Counsel Johnna Doyle, and CSU-Pueblo president Lesley Di Mare have never heard of twentieth-century technologies like gmail, hotmail, yahoo, or early 21st-century technologies like blogs or Twitter.)  As Rees says, anything less than an abject apology for comparing him to mass-murderers and a full restoration of his email privileges is unacceptable.  Engaging or arguing with your political opposition is fine, and even welcome; petty over-retaliation is not.  It only makes you look weak and stupid.

I agree with Rees.  CSU needs to back down entirely and apologize.  Let’s review:

  • McGettigan sends group email suggesting parallels between Martin’s plan to fire faculty and staff to the Ludlow Massacre.
  • CSU-Pueblo suspends McGettigan’s email access, compromising his ability to do his job
  • CSU-Pueblo President Lesley Di Mare releases a statement claiming that “Considering the lessons we’ve all learned from Columbine, Virginia Tech, and more recently Arapahoe High School, I can only say that the security of our students, faculty, and staff are our top priority.  CSU-Pueblo is facing some budget challenges right now, which has sparked impassioned criticism and debate across our campus community. That’s entirely appropriate, and everyone on campus – no matter how you feel about the challenges at hand – should be able to engage in that activity in an environment that is free of intimidation, harassment, and threats.”
  • CSU-Pueblo restores McGettigan’s *limited* email access, because that’s what you do with criminals and terrorists, apparently.

CSU’s administration is in a free-fall.  Move over, National Western Stock Show; CSU is the real deal $hit show this winter in Colorado!

16 thoughts on ““Run around out there, kids.”

  1. Oy! The point that FIRE made in its letter that the administration suspended his email but LET HIM TEACH CLASSES? If they believed him to be a threat, why on earth would they allow him in a classroom? Such a ridiculous overreaction.


  2. Having your access to e-mail cut off is “a personnel matter?” That would make virtually anything that happened with respect to a faculty member a personnel matter. A library fine, an upgrade into the emeritus parking pass pool, induction to the honors college “profs that rock” wall of fame. A very convenient category of administrative oblivion. It’s a wonder they could even announce the initial sanction, if they can’t respond to questions about its particulars.

    I guess Mother Jones is out of the running to direct the Labor Studies Center out there now?


  3. In all of the institutions that I’ve worked at normal Faculty and all students are unable to email large chunks of the student/staff body, let alone the whole university, as a default. You get permissions to different lists depending on need. So all history people can email the history staff and larger school list, but not much higher. They can do all students in their own courses, but not anyone else’s. If you have a position like PG coordinator, you get permission for that list, but the rest of us have to send emails for the PGs to the coordinator etc – apart from all the PGs themselves who all have permission to email on that list.

    This is mainly to prevent spam, I think, but also acts to control mass emailing.


  4. Like feminist avatar, I’m surprised that CSU-Pueblo apparently has e-lists that allow large numbers of people to email large numbers of other people. That strikes me as a bad idea, not because someone might say something inflammatory, but because anything important is likely to be lost in a flood of quasi-spam and accidental reply-alls.

    But if they’re going to have such e-lists, expressing a strong opinion about a matter that directly affects the institution, and inviting people to related rally, strikes me as a perfectly acceptable use of the list (and an act that should be protected under principles of academic freedom and free speech).

    And I’m all for blogs that name the institution being criticized, flyers posted according to local rules (or not, if the rules are overly restrictive), picket/protest lines, letters to the editor of local publications, op-eds, letters to legislators, press releases, talking to any available member of the press, etc., etc., etc.


  5. How big exactly are these allegedly “large distribution groups?” At CSU-FC, I know a few addresses that permit me to email to distribution lists w/i my department or the AAUP membership, but nothing beyond that. I wouldn’t conclude that McGettigan emailed anything beyond something like that, maybe cc’d to Martin and Di Mare.

    The Inside Higher Ed article says that McGettigan “sent out an email to students and faculty members,” and didn’t specify a mass-distribution list. The Pueblo Chieftan says merely that “he can’t use large distribution groups at this time and that’s subject to review.” I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think that “large distribution groups” necessarily have to be all that large to come to the attention of pissy administrators.

    FA and CC are right, in that anyone spamming the entire campus would quickly come to be seen as a provocateur and a pest. That’s not how it seems people regard McGettigan, however, given the level of faculty and student support for him.


  6. The list names in the header of McGettigan’s email (reproduced on an AAUP site to which Jonathan Rees linked: http://aaupcolorado.org/2014/01/18/the-children-of-ludlow-tim-mcgettigans-offending-email-and-csu-pueblos-response/ ) look very comprehensive: “students,” “faculty,” “classified staff,” etc. They appear to be established, quite comprehensive lists, and apparently McGettigan had access to a number of them, which would be highly unusual for anyone at the department level in my university.

    That’s how I formed my impression of the situation, but I could be misinterpreting the list names. Whether this sort of thing can work may also depend on the size of the campus. On mine, this sort of list would almost certainly produce instant email gridlock (if nothing else, the servers would buckle under the weight of the “stop emailing everyone” emails sent to everyone). There are just too many of us.


  7. Alas, CC is right. We at CSU-Pueblo are (almost) all capable of e-mailing the whole campus if we are so inclined. I once had a student who was severely admonished for e-mailing the whole campus about a Democratic Party event since it was “political,” but I think students no longer have that capability. Everyone else though definitely does. This is why the amount of university junk mail I get is absolutely unbelievable.

    For more context, Tim sent a number of e-mails out advertising the pre-meeting rally before it actually happened. All were opinionated. Like the last one, none were out of line IMHO. However, I expected him to get wrist-slapped for e-mailing the whole campus, not for the content of his messages. But no, the administration went for the most provocative thing they could possibly do – cutting his e-mail off without a warning, which is only justified in their own electronic media policy by claiming that he’s a threat to public safety.


  8. At my west slope institution, we can simply type “faculty” into the “to” line and it goes to all faculty (and quite a few administrators). They threatened to take this away several years ago, but never got around to it.

    We used to be able to do the same with students, but that went away many, many years ago.

    None of us uses this power very often, but it’s there. I think we see it as a potential tool, but one we should use sparingly and cautiously so it stays in our toolbox.


  9. Wow–my apologies! I have never been affiliated with a uni that gave people such promiscuous access to mass emails.

    (Or, I never wanted to email the entire campus, so I never inquired?)

    My condolences on the amounts of CSU-P generated SPAM, Jonathan. This just goes to show how McGettigan’s Ludlow email would likely have washed away in the tsunami of other mass emails really quickly if the president had had the smarts or the discipline to let it wash away forgotten. But alas! No.


  10. The distribution lists, the questionable “partial,” ???, restoration of email “privileges” are minor issues.

    The question of whether the Dogs will apologies better be answered by the local people. Same with what amounts to a total surrender of the Dogs.

    A larger view of the scandal involves the power faculty has over the running of the university. For decades, I tried to convince colleagues that faculty and student stay, while the administration is the Foreign Legion.

    The larger fight doesn’t require a surrender. A substantial victory with saving face will be way ahead from where we are now. Nowhere.


  11. What’s also bizarre is how ineptly written the president’s official statement is. The grammar and usage are at a near-illiterate level one expects on Passive Aggressive Notes, not in an official communication from the chief executive of a large institution.


  12. If it were written better, one might be tempted to read it as a threat to McGettigan and his allies that the president & chancellor of the uni are going to go all Sung Hui Cho at CSU-P. But you’re right, CPP: the absence of basic grammar (the shifting usage of pronouns–“we” to “everone” to “you”) suggests that this administration is in free-fall.


  13. In my system, which is also undergoing some “retrenchment” of instructional personnel at some smaller campuses, the imbecility and inarticulateness of the official statements justifying and characterizing those decisions was truly shocking. Borderline illiterate or at least a-literate would not be too strong a description; way beyond the fluff-ball linguistic administrativity that we complain about all the time. These really sounded uneducated.


  14. Pingback: “I liked this blog much better when he only wrote about MOOCs.” | More or Less Bunk

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