We asked the following question in a post recently: How would UAB President Carol Garrison respond to a few pointed, and obvious, questions about my termination?
The answer? She became mute.
Oh, Garrison has no problem sending out her PR flack, Gary Mans, to let readers of the Chronicle of Higher Education know that I was fired for reasons having to do with job performance. (See comment No. 15 at this link.) But answer questions about my termination? No way. Nope, Garrison pulls her best Sarah Palin at moments like that, which is appropriate considering that Palin is probably a hero to the Alabama GOP types who pressured UAB to fire me.
One of the great myths in American society is that higher education is a bastion of liberal thought. Many faculty members might have liberal mindsets, but faculty members don't have much power on college campuses. Administrators call the shots, but even they aren't the most powerful people on campus. No, the real BMOCs are donors, particularly ones who give major gifts. And their influence does not end with having their names stuck on buildings.
With that in mind, let's pose a few more questions for Dr. Garrison:
* What if you had a donor, who gave, say, $5 million to help build a new building on campus?
* What if this donor had given what is believed to be the largest individual gift in university history?
* What if this donor had strong connections to Alabama's GOP power structure, including Gov. Bob Riley, his son Rob Riley, Riley's campaign manager Dax Swatek, and others?
* What if this donor also had ties to the Las Vegas gambling industry and big oil?
* What if this donor is being sued by members of the estate of one of Alabama's best-known businessmen? What if these heirs are seeking a proper accounting of investments this businessman had with your donor, calling into question your donor's business practices?
* What if this donor was involved in a divorce that apparently was so ugly the court record was sealed?
* What if this donor recently was convicted in municipal court of driving while intoxicated after being clocked driving 112 mph in a 55 zone?
* What if this donor is appealing the conviction in circuit court, with trial set for Dec. 1?
* What if this donor has some 20 traffic violations on his record, many for driving greatly in excess of the speed limit?
* What if public records indicate this donor's driver's license has been suspended six times?
* Would you and UAB associate with this person, even though he clearly has total disregard for the law and the safety of others?
* What if this person threatened to withhold his $5 million gift if a certain UAB employee was not unlawfully fired from his job?
* Is this what you mean by your "Ethics Matters" campaign at UAB?