369: My Response to Dr. Jane Fernandes
Elisa reports today on a meeting Faculty had with Jane Fernandes:
When the faculty were informed Fernandes was ready, they all got together. MJ Bienvenu, a faculty member, told Fernandes that the purpose of the meeting was to let her know that 82% of the faculty wants her to resign and what she would do with this lack of support. Fernandes answered that she would not resign. The faculty asked her why. Fernandes said, “I’m the only one who can lead the university.”
Does she realize that at 18% her approval rating is lower than Nixon's? Nixon was a VERY popular President when he was elected; during the Watergate scandal, his approval rating fell to 25%. Fernandes is at 18%.
Bienvenu was blunt with her, telling her that she was arrogant for saying that. Fernandes said that she will stay, that she has support. The faculty asked, without 82% of the support of the faculty, what can Fernandes do as a leader? Fernandes told them that she had a plan and that she wouldn’t tell them what the plan was because she’s currently focused on current issues that are popping up and adjusting the plan as she goes. The faculty asked her, what if Gallaudet falls apart and closes before she can implement the plan? Fernandes said that she would bring Gallaudet back.
Two days ago Deaf in the City reported that Fernandes in an interview with the Washington Post stated:
" . . . I'm not really thinking of resigning, no. But I'm trying to think of how . . . to work from now until January to be in a position to be where I can be effective."This seems connected. What will happen in January? How will Fernandes be more effective in January? Is this part of her SECRET PLAN? Why is it so important her plan remain secret? Why can't she talk about it to faculty, to her TEAM, in order to convince them they should support her? It must be something that would shock and anger the entire faculty-or galvanize the protest. It also contradicts much of what she says in her own job application:
I lead “from behind and within” while focusing intently on Gallaudet’s mission and the goals and actions we must take to fulfill it. I identify individuals who can successfully do the needed work and I put my energy into cultivating their talents. The fulfillment of the University’s mission and the achievement of equitable outcomes for all students are my ultimate objectives. Finding the right people to do the work is my talent. I would characterize my style of leadership as highly participatory and focused.
Highly participatory? When she won't tell anyone what's going on? Leading from behind? That doesn't sound like the leader of the only Deaf University in the world. Her application also talks about building bridges between communities. As I have said in other blogs, it is communication which builds bridges.