Friday, May 28, 2010

Let's Respond to Joe Bast's Article Positively

Shimer Trustee and President Lindsay supporter Joe Bast recently raised his voice, once again, to misrepresent and disrespect Shimer College and its people. As usual, his narrative paints Lindsay as Shimer's savior and Shimer's people as hotheaded, politically-homogenous idiots. Bast's understanding is that Lindsay was unquestionably successful in his large-scale "reforms" of Shimer College and that his opposition was nothing but simple-minded stubbornness. Following down the path he started after his infamous meeting with students, Bast reaches new lows in attacking the academic credibility and general character of Shimer's supporters -- those who, unlike Bast, are contributing positively and productively to Shimer College in sentimental, tangible, and financial ways.

Bast's article isn't worthy of any thorough critique. His positions are illegitimate and unsubstantiated, marked by the same lethal combination of ignorance and arrogance that has fueled the attack on our beloved and dynamic school. Perhaps most striking is his contention that Shimer lacks academic credibility, something that runs completely contrary to any Accreditation Report of which I am aware, or any report on the success of our graduates. Most offensive among the insults to Shimer's strong academics may be the fact that at the Board Meeting, not only did Dean Shiner have to sit through Bast's completely false allegation that Shiner received his Doctorate from a "Diploma-Mill," but seven trustees also voted (unsuccessfully) to revoke the Class of 2010's degrees on the grounds that the "campaign against Tom Lindsay" was "an attempt to hide the deficiencies in the quality of education being delivered by Shimer." A tragically ironic jab is Bast's allegation of Trustee and Alumnus Daniel Shiner's conflict of interest, simply by virtue of his kinship to Dean David Shiner. The irony of this is apparent to anyone who has studied the undisclosed fiscal connections between several destructive Trustees, including Bast, and the Anonymous Donor.

Bast's words are deplorable and do a disservice to the many people who work so hard to make Shimer the amazing place that it is. It is understandable for us to respond to his insults with frustration and anger. But are we really surprised by Bast's depiction of our school and its current situation? Do we expect from him, given his record, anything other than slander and insult to the people that work so hard to preserve the College that we know and love? Bast's article, let's not forget, contains the most laughable lie since the supposed free pizza that lured us salivating dogs to vote "No Confidence": that all classes were supposedly cancelled for a day in celebration of Lindsay's resignation. Bast does not know or understand Shimer College, nor the people he targets. Attacks directed at both our academic credibility and strong supporters of our school just illustrate his ignorance.

Instead of expressing hatred towards Bast, let's direct that energy towards reaffirming our appreciation for those who are under his crosshairs and those working so hard to repair the damage that he and his cohorts have caused. Joe Bast isn't going to dialogue with any of us students, nor will he contribute positively to our experience at Shimer. Let's allow his words to be forgotten and instead concentrate on people who make tremendous sacrifices to make Shimer thrive. Personally, my support for our Faculty, staff, and hard-working Trustees is not "blind," as Bast claims. I support Trustee Daniel Shiner for spearheading a frantic and challenging search that yielded 6 highly qualified nominees to the Board -- and his words of support and humor when things looked their worst. I support Dean David Shiner not (solely) for his (legitimate) Doctoral Diploma, but for the extra hours he has dedicated to our school during this time of crisis, trudging through adversities I couldn't imagine shouldering in his position -- and for the fact that he treated me with respect and knew my name before I had attended my first class. I support Marc Hoffman, whose arm I had to twist for two hours today just to take a break from preparing the College's defense and eat something. I support our second-longest-working Faculty Member, Eileen Buchanan, who, while battling cancer and after undergoing chemotherapy, is enthusiastically planning her return to Shimer classrooms this Fall and gives me a joyful hug every time I see her.

Joe Bast hasn't taken the time to get to know these people and the many others who keep Shimer's doors open, or ever come close to fathoming the amount of blood, sweat, and tears they've poured into this organization. He hasn't even taken the time to learn enough of Shimer's history to construct a mildly legitimate argument concerning the issues facing our little College, or an understanding of what makes it so special to us. And that's his loss.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Just When You Thought It Was Coming to a Close...

...ideologues force you to think again!

Once again drawing from unofficial sources, I have this news to report from today's meeting of Shimer's Board of Trustees:

  • Lawyers representing former President Thomas Lindsay and former trustee Patrick Parker filed suit against Shimer College, its Board of Trustees, today-reelected Chair Christopher Nelson, Faculty Trustees Albert Fernandez and Steven Werlin, Trustee and Alumnus Daniel Shiner, and Interim President Edward Noonan. The suit calls for the reinstatement of Thomas Lindsay as President of Shimer College.
  • While Christopher Nelson was reelected as Chair of the Board, Trustees Barry Carroll, Mary-Lou Kennedy, and Patrick Parker were not reelected.
  • Marc Hoffman, Shimer's CFO and Adjunct Faculty member was seated on the Board by virtue of his position as Assistant Treasurer.
  • Seven Trustees voted against awarding degrees to the entire class of 2010.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Three Cronies Resign

Unofficial reports indicate that 3 trustees of the so-called "Executive Party" -- the party that voted to change the Mission statement, as opposed to the so-called "Constitutional Party," who vote in support of Shimer's people and Constitution -- have resigned from Shimer's Board of Trustees. The identities have yet to be confirmed, but there is strong likelihood that Carson Holloway, Matt Franck, and Frank Buckley could be the three.

All three trustees, if resigned, would be remembered for their willful ignorance of Shimer's identity and history as well as their disrespect for Shimer's Assembly and students. Their blind support for President Lindsay and his agenda stalled genuine dialog and cooperation, contributing to an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear. I wish them the best of luck pursuing their interests elsewhere, but hope that unlike at Shimer, their doing so does not trample on the productivity and livelihood of others.

UPDATE 5/28/10: Contrary to previous speculation, Frank Buckley remains on the Board of Trustees, but Matt Franck and Carson Holloway did indeed resign. The third member who resigned was Claudia Allums -- another supporter of President Lindsay. An updated list of Shimer's Board of Trustees can be viewed here.