On Television: When University System Incompetence Becomes A Sign Of Competence

On my weekly segment with Chris Berg on Valley News Live last night we discussed what was obviously the biggest news story to break yesterday, the announced retirement of University of North Dakota President Robert Kelley.

Today there’s a lot of spin going on about the retirement, particularly in the pages of the Grand Forks Herald where the editorial board begins today’s editorial with, “There’ll be time enough in days to come to consider the survey of UND faculty that offered very harsh judgments about UND President Robert Kelley.”

As if the survey, which first appeared here on SAB, weren’t central to Kelley’s decision to bolt.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]How smart and bold of Kelley to leave behind low campus morale so that his successor can relish the challenge of putting the pieces back together![/mks_pullquote]

Kelley apologists claim that he’s stepping down because of his age (71), and Kelley himself claims that he’s been thinking of retirement for some time now. Maybe those figured into Kelley’s thinking – complicated decisions rarely hinge on just one or two factors – but you cannot ignore the mess Kelley is leaving behind him.

Or, in the words of the Herald editorial board, the “challenge any new president would relish taking on.” As though Kelley’s problems with faculty and students and alumni were somehow a feature of his tenure at the head of North Dakota’s oldest university, not the reason he was forced to announce his resignation earlier than he probably wanted to.

How smart and bold of Kelley to leave behind low campus morale so that his successor can relish the challenge of putting the pieces back together!

Good grief.

Were it not for the faculty uprising in the form of that very, very ugly survey coming on top of a student uprising toward the end of the school year my guess is that Kelley wouldn’t have announced his retirement until well after the conclusion of the nickname transition. As it stands, he was forced to use his resignation as a way to get out in front of negative press.

Kelley’s last noteworthy act at UND, his own resignation, was a thoroughly political maneuver aimed at muddying the waters around his own legacy.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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