I did my first two full years of undergrad at Transylvania University (“The oldest college west of the Alleghenies — and don’t you forget it!”), leaving when my grades fell below a 3.5 and my scholarship was revoked. Despite what I perceived at the time as my ignominious departure, I reckon things have turned out OK, and I remain friends (both Facebook and otherwise) with quite a few Transy folks. And as I’ve made my way through my own academic career, I’ve seen enough similarities between Mondoville and Transy to suggest moves in Transy’s direction.
But there are limits. Apparently there’s some trouble on North Broadway, as the students and faculty aren’t quite in revolt against the college’s president.
A few dozen students gathered throughout Friday at Haupt Circle on Transylvania’s campus to demand more open communication with the administration. The demonstration followed a 74-4 faculty vote last month to send Williams a letter complaining about “a climate of distrust and demoralization which affects daily operations of the college and the future aspirations of the faculty, administration and board.”
The faculty are concerned with a unilateral presidential decision to change tenure standards for a couple of faculty members — after they had been approved by their tenure committee and the full faculty. The students, meanwhile, have also observed that the new administration has gone on a bit of a land-buying binge and doesn’t seem interested in transparency:
Jake Hawkins, a senior and editor-in-chief of the Transy Rambler student newspaper, said the mood on campus has been getting worse.
“The campus has a black cloud over it,” he said. “The tenure allegations were the final thing.”
As a reporter for the Rambler, Hawkins said, he was banned from Williams’ office during his junior year over stories he had written.
I haven’t set foot on the Transy campus in more than 20 years, but having seen my share of administrative turmoil over the years, I hope they get things straightened out to the school’s benefit. And if any of my old TU classmates have anything to add, feel free to drop by.