Note: This an editorial. An opinion-y thing that reflects a lot of earlier reporting on the topic, both by this publication and others. – Ed., er… Chris

restaurant may be forced to hire

Excerpt from the articles posted by Matt Muchowski on his blog, Infamous Scribbler.

President Scott Scarborough deserves a chance to explain himself. The community deserves a chance to hear him. He made comments that most of us would consider appalling now, but it’s important to remember he made them 30 years ago. One can only hope his opinions about human rights and his understanding of medical science have improved.

But there is something in the articles originally posted by Matt Muchowski, a blogger and self-described activist who has followed Scarborough since his tenure at DePaul University, that warrant consideration in context of current-day University of Akron.

In today’s post at The Infamous Scribbler, Muchowski follows up on a blog he wrote eight years earlier which contained references to articles published by the Daily Texan, the student newspaper at the University of Texas in Austin, where Scarborough was president of the student association.

READ: The Infamous Scribbler’s blog about Scott Scarborough

During Scarborough’s tenure as student president, the student senate was asked to consider a resolution that would—only—urge the university’s Board of Regents to guarantee equal rights for gay and lesbian students and employees. First, Scarborough proposed an amendment that passing the resolution doesn’t mean the senate supports “the homosexual lifestyle.” When that amendment failed, Scarborough staged a walkout with seven senators. The resolution passed anyway.

Criticism and calls for his resignation followed. The more Scarborough tried to explain himself, the worse he comes across—especially now with the benefit of 30 years of hindsight.

Scarborough's comments warning the student senate their decision would be remembered for a long time, posted on Matt Muchowski's blog.

Scarborough’s comments warning the student senate their decision would be remembered for a long time, posted on Matt Muchowski’s blog.

What I think may be—in context of today—more concerning than the comments of the still growing 20-something (if he sticks by his comments and actions, then that’s disturbing) is what insight it offers into his approach to leadership. He didn’t like the resolution—despite its utter lack of power to affect change for the lives of homosexual students on campus—but instead of letting the democratic process play-out, he walked out and tried to call it something else afterwards.

It feels familiar.

Scarborough's leadership as student president at the University of Texas was questioned in 1985.

Scarborough’s leadership as student president at the University of Texas was questioned in 1985.

This looks like bad communication to a lot of people—and in a lot of ways, it certainly is—but there’s an element that seems willful and intentional, like a preference to deal with bad press over “missteps” in communication rather than the core of the plan and its governing philosophy.

Or so it seems from the outside.

There’s a reason he wants to rebrand and change the name. That’s to be more attractive to people outside of Summit County. And there’s a reason for that too. Maybe a few more folks from Cuyahoga County or the Pittsburgh area might enroll on campus, but that probably isn’t the end goal. Perhaps it’s to make the university more attractive to prospective online students who take the classes from out-of-state. Then, for example, the administration can expand programs from online nursing degrees to other departments and colleges with a company like Academic Partnerships whose contract seems to allow that to happen without a new RFP. But then there’s also the state’s College Credit Plus program that gives students as early as 7th grade college credit through online programs run by the University of Akron. And what of One World Academy, a K-12 program proposed for the main campus with 9-12 grades at satellite locations? How do these pieces fit? Will they be outsourced like the online nursing program, student success coaches, dining, etc., etc.?

Don’t know. Makes about as much sense as launching the Corps of Cadets at a time when you’re “abolishing” positions and cutting $40 million from the budget.

Personally, as an Akronite, and professionally, as a reporter, I would love to hear Scarborough’s plan and understand the philosophy behind it, then let the community on campus and around town debate its merits then let the chips fall where they may. However, it seems like he’s afraid to let that happen.

So while Scarborough’s personal beliefs about LGBT rights may have changed (fingers crossed) over the last 30 years, it doesn’t seem like his leadership style has.

A headline written 30 years ago that seems to have relevance today, posted on Matt Muchowski's blog, the Infamous Scribbler.

A headline written 30 years ago that seems to have relevance today, posted on Matt Muchowski’s blog, the Infamous Scribbler.

3 Responses

  1. Tom Guarino

    Thank you Chris for writing this insightful article. I had read some of Scarborough’s attitudes concerning his views on homosexuality while at UT, but did not think it would be relevant 30 years later. But your article has me rethinking that. I’ve come to believe he is a man who cannot be trusted based on the deceitful methods to implement change at the University of Akron. Also, with the support of this rubber stamping and inept Board of Trustees, he has surrounded himself with a rich and arrogant group of upper administrator such as Burns. I am attaching a letter that I sent to many of my UA colleagues and faculty and some friends and people I’ve come to know in the press. I also included information about the recent protest held on campus and another one scheduled October 14th at 9 a.m coinciding with the next Board of Trustees meeting. Both are open to the press and public. Please feel free to contact me of I can be of help. I’m a full time grad student at UA finishing up my second masters degree in music so I have spent an enormous amount of time on campus over the past few years including this past summer. I have been very active in trying to bring awareness to people on campus and in the community concerning the dangers facing UA with Scarborough at the helm. Slso, I have some pretty good contacts with the faculty. Thank you again Chris! My cell: 330-696-8860. Hope you enjoy your weekend! Thomas Guarino
    Dear UA students, faculty, alumni, members of the press, friends, and concerned citizens of the greater Akron community:

    Thank you to those students, faculty, alumni and community who were able attend the Protest yesterday at the University of Akron. It took place right outside UA President Scarborough’s office at Buchtel Hall and next to the Student Union. We were small in number but strong in voice! Also, thank you to the press that turned out to cover this event including the Akron Beacon Journal and Cleveland’s 19 Action News. Here are links to some of these below: Hope you enjoy your weekend! Thomas Guarino
    Dear UA students, faculty, alumni, members of the press, friends, and concerned citizens of the greater Akron community:

    Thank you to those students, faculty, alumni and community who were able attend the Protest yesterday at the University of Akron. It took place right outside UA President Scarborough’s office at Buchtel Hall and next to the Student Union. We were small in number but strong in voice! Also, thank you to the press that turned out to cover this event including the Akron Beacon Journal and Cleveland’s 19 Action News. Here are links to some of these below: ope you enjoy your weekend! Thomas Guarino
    Dear UA students, faculty, alumni, members of the press, friends, and concerned citizens of the greater Akron community:

    Thank you to those students, faculty, alumni and community who were able attend the Protest yesterday at the University of Akron. It took place right outside UA President Scarborough’s office at Buchtel Hall and next to the Student Union. We were small in number but strong in voice! Also, thank you to the press that turned out to cover this event including the Akron Beacon Journal and Cleveland’s 19 Action News. Here are links to some of these below: ope you enjoy your weekend! Thomas Guarino
    Dear UA students, faculty, alumni, members of the press, friends, and concerned citizens of the greater Akron community:

    Thank you to those students, faculty, alumni and community who were able attend the Protest yesterday at the University of Akron. It took place right outside UA President Scarborough’s office at Buchtel Hall and next to the Student Union. We were small in number but strong in voice! Also, thank you to the press that turned out to cover this event including the Akron Beacon Journal and Cleveland’s 19 Action News. Here are links to some of these below: ope you enjoy your weekend! Thomas Guarino
    Dear UA students, faculty, alumni, members of the press, friends, and concerned citizens of the greater Akron community:

    Thank you to those students, faculty, alumni and community who were able attend the Protest yesterday at the University of Akron. It took place right outside UA President Scarborough’s office at Buchtel Hall and next to the Student Union. We were small in number but strong in voice! Also, thank you to the press that turned out to cover this event including the Akron Beacon Journal and Cleveland’s 19 Action News. Here are links to some of these below: As discussed at the protest, we will build upon this and continue to bring awareness to the community of Akron and beyond concerning dangerous situation now facing the University of Akron under the Scott Scarborough Administration. Faculty and staff are angry and yet many still seem apprehensive to speak out publically or through social media fearing that their programs will be next to get cut or come under the scrutiny of the UA Administration. But many at the protest and others on campus believe that is playing exactly into the hands of the Administration and UA Board. They work for and are paid by the students and it is the best interests and needs of the students who must come first. This has not been the case under this Administration and I think it would be hard pressed to find fault in that statement.

    It is time for the faculty to publically speak out before it is too late. The UA Administration has basically lost any trust that most of the UA faculty may have had in them, with possible exceptions to the football team and Polymer and certain science departments. We at the protest today urge you all to speak together on this matter.ase note: the next Protest is schedule in conjunction with the upcoming UA Board of Trustee Meeting scheduled: October 14, 2015, 9 a.m., Student Union, Room 339.

    We will be there and we ask for your support in this undertaking to hold Scarborough and the Board responsible for their mistakes, which they have not done, and to prevent future one’s from occurring. This is due in large part to this Administration’s unwillingness or inability to make sound and well researched decisions and by seeking the advise of the faculty and allowing them and the students to have a legitimate voice. Rather, they seem intent at chopping away at our vital arts and cultural programs, spend more money implementing unproven programs and new and unnecessary construction projects, and this emphasis to officially change the name of the University of Akron once and for all. Lastly, this community depends greatly on the well being of this very accomplished institution. Thank you for the support! Allied UAkron like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allieduakron
    Sent by: Thomas Guarino
    University of Akron
    Graduate Student, Music

    Reply
  2. Tom

    scarborough needs to go, he is bad for the university of akron and bad for the whole community. A big thank you to the devil strip for reporting what’s going on at university of akron while the big newspaper in town sits in silence. What a disgrace.

    Reply
  3. Tim Lillie

    I had not seen the slide you referenced before today (Sept 13); it looks to me that the seal shown at the top of the slide related to the “legal name” of the University of Akron actually reads something like: “The Ohio Institute of Technology & the Arts”. To be fair, I can’t see the entire seal. Thanks for the link.

    The three faculty on the President’s informal budget committee last year were the Chair of the Faculty Senate, the (then) President of the faculty union, and a department chair who was also a member of the University council budget committee. I am surprised to read that they had no influence. I would have thought the opposite, but was not at any of the meetings.

    Reply

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