Dear Campus Learning Communities, Individuals, and Persons who choose not to identify,
As I settle into my first day at Willard College, I want to share my reflections on this vibrant and loving community that we call Willard College! In the midst of Covid-19, many Thought Leaders, of which I humbly count myself, see only opportunity in the plunging enrollments, endowments, and faculty employment and the skyrocketing student debt, unemployment futures, and low morale (isn’t that funny that low morale is skyrocketing?). We have a unique opportunity to reimagine and reawaken Willard College. But we have to ask tough but loving questions. Do we need as many faculty? Do we need to have a brick and mortar campus? Which departments do not align with the Strategic Planning Process Committee? We are in the midst of a forest fire but the trees that survive, some only as saplings, will make a new and beautiful forest! We all have a role to play but need faculty participation.
Feel free to write me directly and I’d love to hear your dreams for where we can go together, or as individuals, or however you want to position yourself, or however you are positioned as we move forward, together and some of us apart.
Please also feel free to address me as Dr. Provost Shames.
Sincerely, Dr. Provost Shames
Dear Willard College Community,
As you know, there are calls from students to get refunds for room, board, tuition, student fees, late fees for student fee non-payment, library fines, grade change requests fees, etc. Some have threatened legal action. Willard College stands firm and in solidarity with its Board of Trustees that there have been no interruptions to our normal teaching standards since we moved to remote and online teaching as a result of COVID-19. In fact, as you can see from this earlier story, Willard College was a Pioneer in Remote Teaching! We are confident that we know how to do this kind of teaching better than any comparable institution.
We will continue to turn a deaf ear to the protests and threats of law suits. Willard continues on the Willard Way. Always against the odds. Always innovating. Never looking backwards.
Sincerely, President and Doctor Henry Cotton, PhD
Dear Willard College Warm and Supportive Community,
Early this morning three faculty were arrested by Campus Public Safety and charged with looting student dorm rooms. Since closing the campus last week and sending remaining students home, the dorms have been empty. Sadly, three faculty members, including a Criminal Justice professor, decided to take advantage of the empty campus to enrich themselves. The three faculty are currently in detention in the Lombroso Center awaiting a judicial review and summary termination of their contracts.
Please, we must stick together during these difficult times. We understand that the freeze on pay and benefits has been difficult for faculty and staff, but know that administration’s decision-making is guided by a concern for your best interests. Always.
Sincerely, President Henry Cotton
Dear CFO Art Madoff and Director of Public Safety, Gerald Ham,
I hope this note finds you and your families well. Cheryl Tina Faye and I continue to social distance and remote administer Willard College from our beach home in Costa del Tuyu. There have been some questions recently about whether all of the college facilities are at present fully insured. Are they? Are there any caveats in terms of coverage, especially concerning fire damage? How does the insurance company determine the point where a building is not salvageable and the College would receive the insurance payout? Are any of the buildings not on automatic sprinklers?
I’m just asking because it seems like during a crisis some of these basic questions might not get asked.
Please DELETE THIS EMAIL AND BURN THE SERVER ON WHICH IT WAS RECEIVED AND READ.
Dear Senior Leadership Team,
I wanted to report back out from last night’s Crisis Response Subcommittee meeting. You’ll recall that the Subcommittee is composed of members of the Senior Leadership Team. After a robust and purposeful and mindful discussion, facilitated by Cheryl Tina Faye Cotton (kudos!), they developed what I think is a firm, rational, and fair response to the ongoing enrollment apocalypse that we are facing from now until 2025. Critical to their work is the French legal concept “Sauve Qui Peut.”
Over the next week, the Crisis Response Action Subcommittee will review the Crisis Response Subcommittee’s recommendation and bring to my desk the specific recommendations but I wanted to share some preliminary suggestions.
- Senior Leadership is vital to the operation of Willard College
- Replacing Senior Leadership post-crisis would present undue financial burden on College
- Fiduciary Responsibility Lies with Senior Leadership Team’s Executive Council
- Faculty and Staff Positions are Fungible; Senior Leadership Positions are Afungible
- Senior Leadership Salary Reductions (proposed by disgruntled faculty) will lead to loss of Senior Leadership talent pool
In the next week, specific policies will be announced
Sincerely, and with heartfelt thanks, President Cotton and Dean of Students, Cheryl Tina Faye Cotton
Dear Willard College Community,
There is no reason to panic about COVID-19 which is no more than a mild cold in most cases. Risk Assessment has been in consultation with our VP of Financial Affairs and we can to the determination that closing campus poses a greater risk to our financial well-being than COVID-19 will to our students’ health. What happens if COVID-19 should appear on campus? Fortunately, as our campus is on a former hospital, we have a wide array of quarantine facilities that can be updated and student ready in a week’s time. Students who test positive for COVID-19, or in the likely absence of the test kits, shows a temperature of about 1 degree above normal, will be confined to the College’s famous unit for the Dangerous Insane.
There is no call for panic. Plan right, sleep tight. Plan wrong, etc.