Dear Provost Pillow,
As we think about cost-cutting at Willard College in light of the tidal wave of law suits that former General Counsel Hector Nancy has tossed at us, my gaze has turned towards the Admissions Office. Can you think of any reason that their work couldn’t be handle by a part-time temp? Or perhaps an enterprising business or marketing student who is interested in learning how to determine people’s income and assets? How quickly can the staff be let go and the office’s equipment sold off? Is a week too quick a timetable? Also, can you dig up that proposal from a few years ago about getting students to earn credit for hauling out their own trash?
We are at a critical juncture at this institution so we don’t need one good idea but rather dozens of mediocre and even bad ideas. I’m done with trying to find “the” idea. Let’s just do anything that crosses our mind. It has to work. It has to.
President Henry Cotton
Dear President Cotton,
The news that former general counsel Hector Nancy initiated a massive law suit against his former employer on behalf of over a dozen different plaintiff groups, literally minutes after signing the paperwork on his retirement and post-employment package leaves us utterly speechless. Based on what we see in the law suit, Nancy spent his entire career filing away every piece of dirt he could find about Willard College, including items where he was acting on our behalf. This is the largest set of class action suits ever directed at a college. These law suits include violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title IX, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund), the Federal Anti-Kickback Law and Regulatory Safe Harbors regulations, and the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-570), to name just a few of the laws in question. In last few years, Nancy devoted most of his time to organizing plaintiffs and used his own office and work-time to meet with individuals and groups, and to run focus groups in anticipation of this post-retirement law suit.
Cotton, you and Provost Pillow need to fix this and fix it quickly. He cannot be serious. This is just a set up and at this point, our best option is to pay him off. Do what you need to do.
The Board of Trustees
Dear President Cotton,
Thank you for your kind note. Yes, I do agree that it is not the place for a provost to issue a statement concerning his, or her, provostal philosophy. And along those lines, I stepped across a line, albeit an invisible line, by implying that a provost would have a paternal relationship with his, or her, faculty, as such a relationship is reserved exclusively to that of a president. I think I would agree that the role of a provost is really as a servant, or handmaid, to not just the president, but to his, or her, will, be that will clearly known, or only divined through his, or her, force of personality and charisma. Finally, I would wholeheartedly agree that the recent case of Mount St. Mary’s College, where the President exercised his presidential authority to prune an excessively defiant provost from the administrative structure, is indeed an inspiring story.
You have brilliantly clarified the structure, nature, and essence of our working relationship in a way that has really be most helpful as I adjust to this new position. I look forward to our recently un-cancelled Monday morning meeting.
Sincerely, and with gratitude,