PaceAcademe

This space is reserved for remarks, comments or analysis of any issue of concern to the Pace community. The Blog is NOT moderated and thus the adminstrator reserves the right to delete any posts that are deemed to be inappropriate either in tone or in contents. Discourse is encouraged as long as it remains civil and constructive. Let the games begin.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays

The 3:36 video on YouTube is powerful and devastating. Please take a look at the previous post.

Peace, Justice and No Nukes.

**************************************************

All things , good and bad, must come to an end. Publishing this blog for the past 9-10 weeks has been rewarding. The experience has been educational. beneficial, humbling and frustrating at the same time. I am of the opinion that PaceAcademe must be on a hiatus for a while. The blog can be activated on a very short notice if new developments warrant that and if enough members of the Pace community desire a venue for communication and speaking their mind.
Before I bid you farewell let me share with you a Gilbert and Sullivan quote:
Things are seldom what they seem
Skim milk masquerades as cream
from HMS Pinafore

It is true that reality is often delicate but I hope that we will always have the fortitude to handle the truth and to avoid self deception. Skim milk will never be cream, no matter how hard we try. May we always have the courage to speak truth to power. Good night and thank you for reading.

Thomas Paine1906

Happy Christmas (War is over if you want it)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Homo Sapiens , We're Not !!!


What a stroke of genius it was to declare that the human specie is shrewd and wise.
Since we are the only ones who can make such declarative statements why not lavish praise on ourselves? We are smart, knowing, intelligent, responsible, moral, and ethical, You get my drift. We can call ourselves whatever we want, who is to argue with us.

If we are to subject the term “wise humans” to a serious critical analysis then I am certain we will conclude that the name does not apply. It is simply a misnomer. In order to justify pillaging the world we declared that we were created in Gods image and further more we invented the story that He gave us dominion over all the animals and plants; over the whole world. We convinced ourselves that we are outside of nature and therefore it is perfectly rational to trash the planet and soil our nest. Many justify this behaviour by saying that we are intrinsically good but we just cannot see the consequences of our actions that will not be felt during our lifetime. So we do not care about misery and disease that is far away and we will not act to remedy potentially catastrophic events since it is not clear yet how they will affect us.


Even if you are going to accept all of this claptrap about being hard wired to care only for the dear and near then how, in the name of whatever you believe in, would you explain the utterly irrational and yes even masochistic behaviour of a group of people who chose not to act even when imminent danger is starring them in the face. Pace as an institution is in trouble, it might not be able to survive the financial vicissitudes that confront it and yet the faculty, a group that is morally obliged to try and save the institution, acts like a Bambi paralyzed in the glare of an oncoming freight train. The last joint faculty council was a waste of time and effort because it was NOT a joint faculty council. In the face of the most severe crisis in the life of the institution and possibly the most severe crisis that any one of us would ever face the faculty could not overcome a bureaucratic technicality in order to convene a Joint Faculty Council. Let me ask you, is that the behaviour of a “wise specie”?

It is apparent to all that the faculty will not be in a position to take any action for at least six weeks when literally speaking the future of the institution is in the balance. Please, I urge you dear reader, to send in your thoughts about what you think we must do in February. I also urge you to keep the comments civil, well thought out and brief when possible. We have to make sure, when we reconvene, that we are taking action in the interest of Pace University and that we rise to the challenge to do our part. And finally let me remind you that a No Confidence vote ; in case you suggest it; is not a strategy in itself. If a No Confidence vote is to make sense then it must be viewed as a step in a larger plan. I am betting that we can act in such a way as to be deserving of the description Homo Sapiens”. We can be "wise" and deserving of the nomenclature "Homom Sapiens" if we choose to act expeditiously in order to do the right thing. Let us prove that we are up to it.

Keep the conversation going.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

POINT OF NO RETURN

Some members of the Pace faculty, who might not have had the chance to follow the recent developments at Pace , will be excused for thinking that the nature of the tension that has evolved over the past few months between the Board of Trustees and the President on one side and the faculty on the other is similar to a family squabble. Both sides will yell at each other and then normalcy reigns again supreme. In my opinion this is a simplistic view and a wrong one for what has transpired in this uneasy and antagonistic relationship between two groups each of which thinks of itself as the guardian of the institution.

The truth of the matter is that tension is not one between two members of the same family who happen to disagree about a few peripheral issues within the household. What best characterizes this on going struggle is a fundamental disagreement about how to run a household and whether the decisions of one party have resulted in nothing short of a run of calamities , one after the other. The disagreements that have arisen as a result of these quasi fatal mistakes make it impossible to kiss and make up. It is too late for counseling and the parties must separate. Bridges have been burnt and there is no going back to what used to be.

The dire financial straights in which the university finds itself in addition to the enrollment shortfalls, the numerous resolutions, responses and counter responses have created an atmosphere of distrust between the two parties. The fact that some faculty members refuse to accept that the Rubicon has been crossed does not mean that it has not. It is crucially important that we all accept what has already taken place; trust, confidence, allegiance and respect are issues that are impossible to mend once they have been damaged. Once a stream called the Rubicon is crossed, and we have waded through it, then there is no going back. The damage to the human relationship has been irrevocable. All the kings’ soldiers and all the kings’ men cannot put back Humpty Dumpty together again

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Orwellian Newspeak: Failure Is Success.

We were able to obtain the following rough draft of remarks that were addressed to President Caputo at the last WFC meeting.

*********************************************************

We welcome the opportunity to raise with you the issue of the, shall we call it rambling preamble, response of the board.

We are not bothered by the fact that Chairman Bianco disagrees with our views as much as we are troubled by the tone, contents and lack of depth that his analysis shows.

Allow me to explain: Only earlier today I had a rather heated debate with a few colleagues regarding the 2007 prospects for the US economy. I spoke of a hard landing another colleague spoke of a soft landing. Such disagreements are fine. That is what makes a horse race. But then a third person jumped in to say that all is fine, $ is strong, deficit is under control, the economy is healthy ... Now that is a view that is totally disconnected with the facts and with reality if you will. It is delusional and based on wishful thinking.

Please convey to Chairman Bianco our total and utter dismay with the tone of his response which can be best described as an exercise in Obfuscation

Denial

Misattribution.

The response is an attempt to by pass responsibility for the dire financial straights of the University by attributing what it calls a minor short term enrollment problem to miscommunication. Miscommunication and lack of transparency have aggravated the issue but did not cause it.

The trigger was the increase in tuition fees coupled with tuition guarantees on top of the misallocation of resources (Time, effort and capital) on non core peripheral programs in addition to the granting of excessive unjustified compensation packages to senior officers.

The best evidence that the board is grasping for straws in it attempts to defend the indefensible and justify the mismanagement practices is demonstrated by the logic employed. They had no choice, given the lack of real measurable accomplishments, but to resort to fuzzy, ambiguous purely subjective issues, chief among them is the shepherding of Pace University through the 9/11 trauma. What does that mean? Did Pace implement policies that helped it avoid the fate that had occurred at other similar institutions in this region? I do not recall that any such institutions went under or even came close to that. I must ask again:

What is it that was so special and extraordinary about the way that Pace handled 9/11 that demands so much commendations? I am not of the opinion that individuals require special thanks in the performance of their everyday routine duties.

Then we learn that the President was the guiding force behind the modest Fulbright record. Mind you, this achievement, according to the board, did not only happen under his watch but occurred because of his watch. This is nothing short of the biggest fallacy in logic. (An eclipse is scared away by people beating on empty tins). What was the role of the President in this?

Furthermore, the accomplishments of the winners not withstanding, Pace‘s record in Fulbright was not as distinguished when it is compared objectively to the list of other Fulbright productive schools.

Then there is the most vital of issues that is conspicuous by its absence, the financial quagmire in which the University finds itself in. This is neither short term nor market related. It is not an issue of barely missing a target but instead missing a set objective by a mile, the result of this miss is best reflected in:

Large annual deficit for years to come.

Deficit manifests itself even in a cash crunch.

Shrinking net worth

Ballooning debt

Weaker Bond rating

Weaker financial ratios

Make no mistake about it none of the above was preordained. We chose it. It was all self-induced. All the above were simply the result of institutional misguided and wrongheaded policies.

Despite all the above plus the failure to grow the endowment over a period of six years and in addition to the inability to move forward on the issues articulated by the management team itself in its strategic plan 2003-2008 the board pronounces such failure as success and decides that those responsible for all the missed targets and the creation of these existential problems ought to be rewarded with better pay packages. This is nothing short of Orwellian Newspeak.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

How Many More Members of the Board Are Misinformed?

We have received a copy of a letter that was sent to PacePress by a Pace faculty member. We have decided to post the letter since it makes rather serious allegations regarding a potential failure by a member of the Board of Trustees to be fully informed of all financial developments at the university.

**************************************************************************


Board Member Besca is Grossly Misinformed.

In a free society people are entitled to their own interpretation of events and are privileged to adopt any set of values or beliefs that they so choose. They are not however, expected to use false information to make their point, especially those that are privileged to occupy positions of authority and power.

If your report that Mr. "Besca also said one of Caputo's accomplishments as president is doubling endowment since he began at the University." is accurate then Mr Besca must have been either very badly informed or what is worse he was engaged in spreading false information. If Mr. Besca would check the record then he would find out that the endowment as of June 2006 was practically of the same size as it had on June 2001. Mr. Besca's error cannot be lightly dismissed because the fact of the matter is that the endowment of Pace University did not double , as he claimed during his appearance in front of the students at the NYC campus, over the past six years, It has actually shrunk in real terms and remained unchanged for a period of five years in nominal terms.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Another Faculty Response to the Board of Trustees

We received this morning the attached proposed response to the letter from the Board of Trustees. Keep the conversation going. Send us your views and comments.

****************************************************************

The faculty council welcomes the sprit of the response from the Board of Trustees to their October 20th motions. We accept their good will and desire to cooperate, which will allow us to work out the details of the proposals in an acceptable manner. We do not, however, believe that the problems facing Pace University are new, nor do they stem from market conditions. Instead, they are institutionally specific and stem from systematic mismanagement at the highest levels.

We do not agree that Dr. Caputo deserves credit for the Fulbright awards and increases in research grants. These were accomplished by faculty and students in spite of continuous cuts in academic programs. That our adjuncts and part time faculty for the first time in 100 years felt the need to unionize and that therefore President Caputo was required to engage in collective bargaining is not to his credit. . Gift giving may have increased but we do not see anything but cuts to the academic programs.

These dubious accomplishments must be weighed against the following by no means exhaustive list of failures.

Enrollment has shrunk dramatically during his tenure.
Tuition setting policies that have led to this crisis were amateurish to say the least.
The president has failed in augmenting the endowment fund through attracting donations. The fund is now at the same level as it was six years ago and is inadequate relative to the university budget which has increased over 50% in that time.
Financial performance of the endowment has been sub par.
Administrative structure is too top heavy and the level of compensation is inappropriate
The no shared governance model has led to alienation of faculty, staff and students.
The culture of a “Cult of Personality” (Official web pages that credit the leadership of David Caputo for having increased enrollment.). is unseemly for an intellectual community
Contrary to the strategic agenda, the academic standing of the institution has suffered
The outrageous treatment of students exercising their first amendment rights and trying to live the democratic ideals we have been teaching.
Programs, institutes, centers and study groups have proliferated at the expense of revenue generating student centered academics.
The neglect of the core revenue deriving business has led to near junk rating for the institutions bonds and a meltdown in the overall net worth of the university to dangerous levels.


The Pace University Community supports the Board of Trustees and will work together to restore the vibrancy, growth and enthusiasm that marked the previous century of Pace University. However, we have no confidence that Dr. Caputo has the ability to lead us out of our present crisis. We urge the board to replace him.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Proposal v1.0

OK, OK you are right, enough talk, what is needed at the moment is a plan of action to start taking shape. The time is ripe and there is no time to lose. We have a university to save.

As we have stated many times before and as it was also eloquently addressed by a faculty member last Friday at the WFC meeting the faculty as a group have more at stake in the survival of the university as an institution than any other group. But if we are to subscribe to the above and I hope that all of us do, then we have a moral obligation to maintain the highest ethical standards in the way we conduct ourselves especially during a crisis.

May I, in the spirit of responsible behavior and moral obligation, suggest the following rough outline for a rescue plan. Up until know the administration has not told us about the extent of the financial crisis neither have they suggested even a plan of action. One explanation, and this is highly unlikely, is that the problems are under control and the perception of a major crisis is just plainly wrong. The other explanation, which is the one supported by this blog, is that the problems are actually greater than what we have been led to believe and senior management is finding it difficult to come up with a credible plan. Rumors have it (I stress that it is only rumors) that Pace University has just completed an arrangement under which the university has borrowed another $65 million. Just the interest on this line of credit, if it is used, is probably close to $3 million per annum in addition to the $7 million that is paid every year to service the current debt. The above line of action, if indeed the rumors prove to be true, can only imply that Pace has decided against retrenchment. Pace appears to have decided that the plan is to just hope that student enrollment will pick up and that simple adjustments to the projected deficits will reduce the annual deficits to manageable levels.

Up until know we, the faculty, have been passive observers of this process. It is time for this to change. We must approach senior management with an offer that will make our commitment to the institution very clear. If we are sincere about doing whatever we can to save Pace then this is NOT the time to talk about merit pay increases in addition to the cost of living adjustments. We have a duty to suggest that we are ready to forego our annual salary adjustments for two years subject to a list of conditions, primary amongst which is the demand for deep, meaningful and radical changes. This blog believes that the list of such demands should reflect the communal point of view and thus can be arrived at only after serious but relatively brief deliberations. We have to show that we are serious about saving Pace and that we are willing to make the requisite sacrifices in that regards. Let me stress that our sacrifices are to be contingent upon the adoption of some specific measures and the attainment of specific goals. The value of such a sacrifice, if it comes to pass, is rather substantial. A quick back of the envelope calculation reveals that a freeze of salaries at the current levels for two years would probably amount to over $10-12 million

online slots
online slots