Story and By Ken Krayeske • 10:00 AM EST
I've never been much of an rJo fan, and her ill-advised run for state rep makes me ill.
Beyond that, if she got my e-mail address from email I sent her as a constituent, this is a Bysiewicz moment here. If she tried to contact me from my website, it is marked that way.
And I don't think my e-mail address has been published in the Hartford News in some time, although it used to be there regularly. Maybe she is that smart. But with staff and volunteers who can't use spell check, or even know how to spell the office she is running for, well, then. We need more out of self government.
Story and By Ken Krayeske • 2:00 PM EST
In trying to convince himself of the narcissistic myth that the grass is greener in Illinois, outgoing UConn President Michael Hogan wrote the UConn community a perfunctory e-mail Wednesday morning, May 12 informing us that he is leaving us.
Boo hoo. I feel an academic duty to deconstruct and translate:
Hogan: I write to you today to let you know that Iíve decided to accept an appointment as president of the University of Illinois. My resignation will become effective June 30 and Iíll assume my new position in Illinois in July.
Translation: Later swamp yankees. Hogan has gotten a promotion, as the University of Illinois is an institution twice or more the size of UConn. The land of Lincoln may be one of the few places in America more corrupt than Husky Nation. Hogan will fit in perfectly there.
Hogan sent out this comminque at 9:42 a.m., Wednesday, May 12. Too bad that many of us learned of his resignation Tuesday night from online news reports.
In fact, word of Hoganís departure took many Nutmeggers by surprise, including Governor M. Jodi Rell, according to some news reports.
Had Hogan broken the news to the UConn community yesterday afternoon, his words might have sounded sincere. But now, his hollow note is damage control.
Hogan: This was a very unexpected development in my life, and was not an easy decision to make.
Translation: the BS meter goes a little crazy here. Not sure if the University of Illinois recruited him or he reached out to them.
But he has known about this for some time. Given his ďmove onĒ job history, perhaps he has been dreaming of leaving since the minute he stepped on campus.
He had to apply to Illinois secretly because he had to pretend he liked it here to keep the peace. If he said he was job-hunting, the legislature would never have approved the cash for the hospital.
Hogan: Iíve made many lifelong friends at UConn. I treasure the interactions Iíve had with each of you, and will forever be impressed by the professionalism, creativity, and compassion that characterizes the students, faculty, staff and friends of our University.
Translation: If Hoagn intends to make me feel loved, itís not working. Treasure is such a greeting card word that doesnít work here.
Iím pretty sure he didnít like the interaction he had with me. I sent Hogan a letter about a certain basketball coach, and Hogan never responded.
He wants us to think of him as the down-to-earth guy riding student buses to football games. Hogan used University resources and cashed in on popular programs instead of making difficult choices or embracing innovative leadership.
It is a further no-brainer to use compassion in describing UConn. Two students have died under his watch. Hogan didnít pay a price, nor did the football coach who couldnít discipline his players.
Students tried to take a leadership role to insure a safer spring weekend, and Hogan rejected their creative overtures.
This e-mail has tone that sounds like the cheating husband who does it for her own good: ďI know we all feel rejected by my departure, but I am making this change for your own good. Really, you are better off without me.Ē
Hogan: When I started here about three years ago, I was presented with a slate of challenges that needed to be addressed: complete our Academic Plan, deal with enormous financial problems, launch a new capital campaign, align our resources with our academic priorities and find a path forward for our fiscally troubled health center.
Translation: Compared to the legislatureís 0-fer this session, and the Governorís permanent vacation, Hoganís string of failures doesnít look half bad.
Tumult marked Hoganís three year stay at UConn, and I wish I could say I respected his leadership. Having shouldered part of his tuition increase as a UConn law student, itís an easy goodbye.
When I graduate from UConn Law on May 23, I will shake Hoganís hand when he stands in the receiving line to distribute empty diploma shells (diplomas arenít delivered until October).
Iíve been fantasizing about what to say to him in those five seconds, but after digesting this careerist move, I think I need more than the blink of an eye to tell explain the universal disappointment in his leadership.
Hogan had an opportunity to be a national leader, to beat back the beast that is big-time college athletics. He folded.
Hogan had a chance to lower tuition, increase services and demand more of highly-paid people on campus. He bought himself rugs.
Hogan had an opening to employ innovative leadership tactics during this economic downturn to re-invent UConn. He became a cardboard cutout.
Hogan: Weíve risen to these challenges. We are stronger now than ever before and our strength is due to the efforts of each of you, who care so deeply about this great University, as well as to the guidance of an outstanding team of senior administrators.
Translation: Perhaps if Hogan quoted Nietzsche here "What doesnít kill you makes you stronger" might have worked better. But in light of our grief, remember, we are all sad he is going, Hogan had to be more delicate.
Raising tuition and saddling students with more debt makes young people stronger, and will create a better Connecticut in the long run.
Hoganís legacy is one of complicity with forces bigger than him, rather than challenging the status quo.
Students are getting less instructional time for their dollar, but they have big time sports programs to cheer for. Auriemma won a title, Calhoun got a raise, and Edsall kept his job after one of his players got killed Ė what more do we want?
Hogan: Iím grateful for your partnership and the partnership of my senior administrators, especially the good work of Provost Peter Nicholls who has taken a lead role in implementing many of our successful initiatives, including the substantial growth of our research portfolio, the great expansion of our honors program, and the strategic reallocation of our resources.
Translation: Is Hogan pitching Peter Nicholls for Chancellor? Or is he just trying to save the Nichollsí job?
The next president should initiate a massive housecleaning in Storrs, because some people have made some very bad decisions in going along with Hoganís harebrained schemes, like cardboard cutouts.
Perhaps Governor Moodyís micromanaging is more behind this than we know. One can only do Freedom of Information Act requests to find out if Gov. Moody instructed Hogan how to deal with the Ken Dautrich polling business.
Itís not easy to lure corporate research dollars when youíre dealing with a micromanaging executive branch, reminding you constantly that bad press is bad for the Governor.
The issues that Hogan highlights Ė like the research portfolio - are similar to those which UConn spokesman Michael Kirk focused on in his comments to the Daily Illini, the University of Illinois student paper.
For a reactionary p.r. strategy, this consistent messaging and attempt to cement Hoganís legacy seems well planned. Or did the UConn p.r. people know in advance? When did they get tipped off, and can we charge Hogan for them having to spend time mopping up after him?
Hogan: I know that UConn has a very bright future ahead and that you will continue to strive toward the goal of becoming one of the nationís top-20 public research universities. I will miss all of you and will always think of you as my colleagues, my students and my friends.
Translation: Hogan tries not to have a self-serving tone here, and he follows the p.r. strictures that make such a letter all about you, the reader.
But it is hard not read into it that his leadership has helped UConn move in this direction. Remember, he is writing this to break-up with us. He wants to elevate us to his level, which is why he says we are his peers.
If UConn wants to be the best in this corporate capitalistic society, Hogan clearly tells us we have to compete. Hogan is trying to set the direction for the next chancellor Ė and implicitly telling us that we cannot view education as a cooperative movement to build better citizens. UConn exists to serve corporate interests, which is what a research university is.
Maybe the next chancellor will embrace the idea of free tuition for all students. But for now, we are left to clean up the ethical mess that Michael Hogan leaves for us.