Willard College must confront the Provost Crisis


Dear President Cotton,

As you know, the Board of Trustees has asked for a thorough accounting of the hiring practices at the College, and in particular of administrators. We note with great concern that at present there are somewhere between four and five provosts currently on the payroll. All of these provosts, whose tasks are as identical as their job descriptions and titles, appear to have been fired by your office at different times over the past year. And yet, as we already noted, they continue to draw salary, have offices (sometimes right next to each other), enjoy the perks of the position, etc. Perhaps more troubling, they have engaged in  violent confrontations with each other in what appears to be a zero-sum game turf war. We believe that these episodes may explain the many fires, explosions, and reports of gunfire that have marred our otherwise tranquil campus. Where outright physical violence is not employed, they have deployed incendiary propaganda in which they have defamed one another in the most vile and slanderous terms possible. At they same time, these propaganda efforts have resorted to lavishing praise upon your person and the office of the presidency. It is not outside of the realm of the possible that you have used these conflicts and divisions to enhance your own position at Willard College by effectively dividing your immediate subordinates into warring factions. But an unanticipated consequence of this divide et impera approach is that you may have lost control over the campus, which to all appearances is now divided into warring factions. Is it correct that the campus is criss-crossed by razor wire and that students, staff, and faculty can only move from one sector to another with passbooks that must be issued by one provost and counter-stamped by the provost in the adjoining sector? Is it also true that students without proper paperwork have been detained, held against their will, and that they have only been released after their parents have paid a ransom?

How do you plan to resolve this mess?

Sincerely, The Willard College Board of Trustees