Letter to the Editor

Questions from the Lawnmower

Gary McFarlind

Last October when I talked to you I was discussing things that I had been observing on campus. The main ones being the dwindling of the “workforce”, the ever increasing “workload”, and the large disparity of wages due to the “classification” of the employees.

None of that has changed.

When you observe things for a period of time, the next logical and rational step is to start questioning as to how and why those things are the way they are.

The whole premise of journalism is based on six small words – who, what, why, when, where and how. Good journalism also entails honesty, integrity, truth, and facts. I have some questions that I have been pondering on since the first of the year. Maybe you could help me with them.

WHY is academia clinging to its archaic ways of running an institution? Surely there are better and more efficient ways to operate schools of higher learning.

WHEN was it decided that it was ok to run up multimillion dollar deficits on a yearly basis, and HOW long will generous and well heeled alumni continue to clean up the messes?

WHO came up with the “feudal” classification system for the employees, and WHAT is its purpose?

WHY is the campus practicing such an “upstairs” – “downstairs” operating plan? The most important people on campus are slaving in the basement, while the lords keep ringing the bells in a manner that would make even the English envious.

WHERE are the “leaders” in all this? Are there any leaders in all this?

There are many more questions that could be and should be asked and answered. Please don’t become a “talking head”. Good journalists are desperately needed in today’s world. Truth, honesty, and integrity are in very short supply. Please keep fighting for what’s right.

I’m very sad about the state of A.U. right now. The current operating practices, if left alone, will become unsustainable. The current workforce debacle, if left alone, will be heading for crisis mode. Many other practices, and even philosophies, if left alone, will not have desirable outcomes. I’m sure the Brethren founders of this institution did not have any of the current situations pictured in their visions and dreams of the future. The old adage “adapt or die ” very much applies here. What is happening currently is very much akin to dressing up a feeble old man in a muscle suit. It looks great on the surface, but underneath is a crumbling structure that cannot sustain the pressure.

Diligent, thoughtful, compassionate leadership is desperately needed in times like these. It’s never too late to make good decisions based on the above criteria.

I’ll continue to try to keep the grass mowed.