Dickinson bullshit, part four: just as I thought, I predicted the news

Nancy Roseman is in fact on her way out, as I was told she would be. She explained herself (well, not really) in the following mass e-mail to all electronically engaged Dickinsonians this morning, under the subject heading of “Leadership Transition Announcement” (LOL):

To the Dickinson Community:

During these past three years, I have grown to love Dickinson and its unwavering commitment to prepare young people, through our useful approach to a liberal-arts education, to be engaged citizens in service to our communities.

So it is with mixed emotions that I inform you that I will be resigning as president of Dickinson College, effective June 30.

I leave Dickinson knowing we are a leader among our peers. We are enjoying record applications for enrollment, we employ an expert faculty and staff passionate about our mission, and we have built a strong financial foundation for our future.

As we develop our strategic plan, which will help inform our upcoming fundraising campaign, I realize that this time provides a natural moment of transition. It is an ideal time for the college to bring in a new president to lead these pivotal projects. And it is an ideal time for me to pursue other professional and personal goals.

As I have reflected on my presidency, which just recently surpassed 1,000 days, I am deeply proud of what we have accomplished. One of my key goals as president was to reinvent student life by putting into place systems that would facilitate student success and ultimately increase the college’s graduation rate. By creating a new system of layered support for our students, involving guidance and mentorship from the entire community, we have already seen positive results in terms of an increased first-to-second year retention rate.

When traveling across the country meeting with alumni and parents, I have been so inspired by their passion for the college and how it has transformed their lives and the lives of their children. They are quick to attribute their success to their Dickinson education and experience, and I know these alumni and parents are poised and ready to help the college achieve its well-placed aspirations as outlined in the developing strategic plan.

I will leave Dickinson bolstered by the knowledge that the board has a first-rate interim president to steward the transition—and an incredible foundation for the next person fortunate enough to be selected as Dickinson’s president.

Lori and I will treasure the fond memories we have gathered here. Thank you all for the work you have done and the efforts you have made to move Dickinson forward. I look forward to speaking with many of you in the months ahead, and I am especially eager to see the great things Dickinson accomplishes in the future.

Nancy A. Roseman
President and Professor of Biology

Gosh, it’s poignant, until you think about how Roseman got the trustees into a lather by undertaking what they considered extremely poor stewardship (although, in fairness, they’re too emo to realize that Rome wasn’t sacked in a day) and that Lori is the one who sustained personnel complaints for verbally abusing college staff. If the tables had been turned and college staffers had been verbally abusing the president’s wife, they’d be gone by now. If there had been any credibility to the allegations, the accused would have been terminated effective immediately and barred from the campus.

What we’re dealing with here is high justice for high administrators and low justice for their subordinates. This is unconscionable. What the aggrieved staff really should do, if they have a legitimate case against Lori Van Handel, is to file suit against her as an individual, against Dickinson College as an institution, and against any other parties believed to be aiding or abetting them, and to generally jam Dickinson up until an immediate resolution is forced, i.e., Van Handel is barred from campus or she and Roseman flee in the dead of night.

Unfortunately, there’s an alternate possibility, along the lines of some sort of Saudi-Israeli-American conspiracy to bomb Manhattan and Arlington mere weeks after my matriculation but less incredible, that the complaints against Van Handel were made as a proxy hoax against Roseman on behalf of the trustees and college boosters allied with them. Oh no, baby, you’re cool, my beam is still hard as steel. It’s just that, now that it’s crossed my mind, I have to wonder. Inflammatory allegations of criminality, harassment, or other wrongdoing are always more credible when there’s a prompt, vigorous, and sustained outcry. This is why Jian Ghomeshi is a free man and Daniel Holtzclaw is supposedly in jail somewhere, according to Oklahoma prison officials who won’t tell plaintiffs’ attorneys representing his rape victims where the hell he is. On the other hand, Dickinson College, being a cult, harbors exceptional, dismaying numbers of people who are either too intimidated or too craven to speak out against official misconduct, no matter how credible the allegations or how vividly they witnessed it.

There are two credible conclusions to draw from this aspect of the mess. One is that college staff were drawn into a conspiracy to make false harassment claims against the president’s spouse for political reasons. The other is that college staff have meritorious claims of harassment that Dickinson College is refusing to promptly, adequately, and justly resolve, again for political reasons. Either way, Alma Mater Tried and True done got itself into a big old scandal. Then again, after the Darlington/Sexton/Fazio armed musical chairs disaster, featuring guest bullshit artist W. G. Durden, what less would I expect of this august institution?

Returning to the resignation letter above, if Roseman is not the victim of a shitbird conspiracy by boosters obsessed with the damned temporalities but has in fact been fired with good cause, that’s some real weasel language that she used. Hell, the thousand days thing is intrinsically weasel language on its face. Did Gabriel Garcia-Marquez just come out with a sequel? 525,600 minutes, plus another 525,600, plus yet another 525,600 divided by (WTF too much math/366) (because it’s actually more than 525,600 this year, for astronomical-type reasons), how do you fucking measure any of this? In years, usually. That’s why you have to wonder when a woman whose contract was denominated in academic years starts measuring her tenure in days. It’s all good, though; courtesy of Alma Mater, she got free Rent (TM). Come on. That was wrong, but surely you saw it coming.

You gotta love the Carlisle Sentinel, too, for publishing Dickinson’s PR copy on Roseman tendering her resignation under a staff byline, like anyone there actually wrote any of it. Garbage journalism is as garbage journalism does, and the Sentinel is great at publishing garbage journalism for a garbage borough. One line in this gussied-up press release mentioned that the Board of Trustees “accepted” Roseman’s letter of resignation. It accepted something that it demanded of her in lieu of termination with cause? You don’t say. That’s like if I went to Baja Fresh, ordered a carnitas ultimo, and then complained to the counter guy that he didn’t give me an order of wahoo street tacos instead. In any normal situation, that sort of language would be considered insane. Call it protocol all you like; it’s still an institutional coverup, and as a Dickinson alumnus, I’m embarrassed to be associated with that claque of dissembling shits and disgusted that they might presume to speak on behalf of the entire college community, including myself.

At least the interim president, Neil Weissman, is workmanlike and understated. Dickinson needs that. As far as I know, Weissman didn’t lead any of the moral turpitude under Durden and isn’t unctuously chummy with all the pitchmen and bagmen. Hell if I can say for sure, though. He might be a conniving schmuck behind the scenes, in contrast to Durden’s brazen front-of-the-house fraud, in which case he’s probably even worse. All I can say is that I don’t think so.

If I weren’t so close to broke on week-to-week cash flow right now, I might buy some F&M swag just to spite these self-righteous creeps.


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