Professional Staff Congress President Barbara Bowen Has Yet to Respond But …

… below is an email from a Colleague regarding a discussion among my D:F/M Colleagues about a reaction to my March 6 “Attention Professional Staff Congress President Barbara Bowen.”

It needs a rebuttal, of course, but I’ve decided to post it first without comment.[ Note: I wish these people would use all caps for the correct spelling of the WORD.]

PSC Hunter College Chapter Chair Trying to Intimidate Colleague at a Department Meeting

From: “Bernard L. Stein”
Subject: The Word and Gregg Morris

Dear colleagues,
Since I’m on leave and won’t be at the faculty meeting, I’m writing in response to Tami Gold’s call for a discussion of Gregg Morris’s blog post and the Word’s “postmortem” on the children’s learning center controversy.

I sympathize with Tami’s distress at the personal attack Gregg has leveled at her on his blog, but I can’t support her implicit suggestion that the Word be penalized.

The language of the blog post is intemperate, but it criticizes her in her public role as PSC chapter chair. We may not agree, and we may deplore his nastiness, but Gregg has the right to make his views known about someone who has chosen to enter the public arena, just as the two parties within the PSC do when they come out swinging at each election.

The story about childcare in the Word is simply a recounting of a campus controversy. As an editor, I find it poorly organized and overly long, and I think it was childish and malicious to choose photographs of Tami and Kelly Anderson with their eyes closed. I wonder if the photos and captions were supplied by the editor, and I suspect that the third paragraph from the end was interpolated by him: its judgmental tone is a departure from the detached tone of the rest of the story.

However that may be, though, the topic is an important one and the student reporter’s research was thorough. I’ve read the story with care, and I don’t believe it supports Gregg’s view in his blog post that it shows “the PSC Chapter Chair is making a declaration that is false.”

But even if it did, and even if the story were riddled with errors and distortions, it would deserve the protection afforded it by the First Amendment and would deserve our defense of its right to publish unimpeded, just as Tami’s strongly-worded criticism of President Raab on Hunter-L does.

If the Envoy criticized the administration or our union or our department, would we propose sanctions against it–even if we thought the criticism was ill-informed or wrongheaded? I would hope not.

If reporter Colleen Siuzdak got it wrong, the participants in the debate over the child care center had ample opportunity to dispute her by writing to the Word or the Envoy or posting on Hunter-L, and that, in my view, is the way to deal with a disagreement with any publication, whether it’s part of our curriculum or extra-curricular.

To ask the administration to intervene or to criticize it for keeping hands off would be, I think, a terrible mistake.


The Usual Suspects

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