As finals draw to a close and the last student newspaper is on the stands (once again), the powers-that-be at Northwest College ramrodded their proposal for the intercollegiate soccer program through the last board meeting and, on the next day, fired student activities director Mike Taylor.
Timing is everything, isn’t it? Especially for some administrators at NWC. It takes me way back to another time when an assistant basketball coach was hired in a pretty discreet manner as well.
Perhaps no one has said it better thus far about such timing matters than art instructor Kory Rountree in a campus-wide email, “Funny, firing a very popular member of the NWC community at this moment. Everyone immersed in finals & grading, students leaving town, no college newspaper to carry the news that everyone is talking about right now. Funny, that they still call it a community.”
Someone asked if the leadership of this college really believes they’re pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes? Further, others are going as far as to suggest placing bets that Taylor’s position will be filled by the new soccer program’s coach. Wasn’t it Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” who said, “Well, isn’t that convieeeeeenent.”
I walked over to Mike’s office today as he was cleaning out his office to see if there was anything I could do. Strangely, outside of his office were the college’s vice president of administrative services along with the facilities director. Might as well have called the campus resource officer too. What a sad day and a sad sight at NWC.
Another conversation with another colleague on this subject concluded with a quote from his father, “We all know the smell of the sea when we approach the shore… and often it stinks like fish.”
Today isn’t the first day when I’ve heard fellow workers complain about the college’s lack of self-goverance, but today that word is going around like wild fire. We can only hope that these events are reflected in the upcoming accreditation visit.
One colleague went as far as to suggest the college community disbar the various governance committees on campus such as the faculty organization since they are—for the most part—powerless. That would certainly get the NCA visitation team’s attention.
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As soon as Human Resources Director Heather Kobbe sent out one of her canned “going” emails about Mike’s sudden “departure,” music professor Jan Kliewer had the courage to ask and state what we all felt, “Why don’t we have the courage to tell the truth? Mike didn’t leave, he was shoved! What a sad, cold and cowardly sentence to end 17 years of service to this institution.”
In answering Kliewer’s question, “Why don’t we have the courage to tell the truth,” I would simply embody the spirit of Holden Caulfield—the main character of Catcher In The Rye—with something like “...because they’re a bunch of phonies!”
All of this leads me to believe that Northwest College (like any cold, sterile and impersonal institution) will do whatever is required to get rid of anyone who has fallen out of favour in its favouritism-prone, nepotism-based administration. They’ll find a reason, they’ll get the documentation and if need be, hold it over their head to keep them in line if they want to keep their job—or in Taylor’s case, just fire him. I’m sure my candidacy has been kicked around as well.
In short, I have serious doubts that Mike Taylor’s firing was about something so bad that the college felt it had no other choice than to fire him. It was a witch hunt—with the sole purpose of getting Taylor fired and replaced with a hopeful crony—a crony the administration is likely already courting.