Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Profiles in Leadership!

Recently, the President of Eastern Michigan University was forced to step down after it was revealed that EMU's administration covered up the rape and murder of a student in one of the dorms, declaring initially that there were "no signs of foul play", despite the fact that, several months later, a man was arrested and charged with the aforementioned crime.

Of course, now that he's out of office, former president John Fallon now proclaims, to anyone who actually cares, that it was not his fault, and that his former VP for Student Affairs did all the covering up.

What ever happened to "The Buck Stops Here"? Is this no longer a desired quality in leadership roles? And how does someone with that ethos make it to the top of the academic ladder? And are all these questions actually rhetorical?

Update: Let's take this a little further: Mr. Fallon defends his hand-washing by saying that he merely wants to "clear his name". This is, presumably, so people would then in the future consider him for further leadership roles at their own institutions. But the mere act of trying to wash his hands of an egregious mismanagement of his immediate underlings only adds further besmirchment (which the blogspot editor tells me isn't a word, but I'll use it anyways) to his "good name". Is this, then, truly a "Catch-22", wherein hand-washing digs his hole deeper, yet tacit acceptance of his punishment (dismissal from the university presidency) results in his own professional obscurity? Of course not; that's a false dichotomy. Imagine for a moment his future prospects had he, upon discovering a cover-up orchestrated by one of his own subordinates without his knowing, announced his own resignation, explaining at that time that, because it happened on his own watch, he bore full responsibility for the transgression, and that those directly involved had likewise been sacked by him prior to his resignation. Now that would be a true profile in courageous leadership. Too bad Mr. Fallon didn't think of that. Maybe somebody should make me a University President: I can screw up with the best of them, but at least I'd own up to it.



Anonymous Marty said...

He's a post-modern leader of Clintonian stature.

8:39 PM  

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