New School Pres. Kerrey To Step Down In 2011

May 7, 2009

News reports:  NY1 Report | New York Times report | CityFileGone but not forgotten

New School Economics Review – President Bob Kerrey, against whom the New School students have been protesting for a long time now (as mentioned earlier) will leave the New School in 2011 once his current contract expires. He confirmed that he will not try to extend his tenure at the University’s Board of Trustees Meeting yesterday, and re-affirmed it with the New York Times this morning.

Kerrey has overseen a set of changes at the New School which has upset the student body as well as faculty members: focussing on admin over education, cutting academic budgets while amassing 12 high priced vice-presidents for 9000 students, where Harvard gets by with 9 for 20,000 and at the same time opposing union pay for Teaching Assistants while investing schools funds in defense through his VP from Lehmann Brothers. In December the faculty senate agreed to a vote of no-confidence, while students occupied buildings, and were arrested for their peaceful protests. Earlier this week, a formal inquiry has been ordered by the Trustees and Faculty on the events that had led to the arrests of the student protestors from the 10 April 2009 occupation.

According to the New York Times Mr. Kerrey “said the faculty and student opposition did not play a role in his decision”, but I somehow doubt that the protesters and the faculty alike will believe that. The NYT is very friendly in building up Kerrey’s image in the first few paragraphs but it’s down-hill from there.

At the New School, Mr. Kerrey was criticized for placing budgetary concerns over scholarly priorities, for centralizing power in his office and that of the executive vice president, and for shutting out faculty involvement… A few years ago, the university went through a “re-branding” effort to raise the university’s sense of cohesion. That effort resulted in convoluted new names for several of the component schools… The new names were criticized for their awkward grammar and punctuation, and few university officials — much less faculty and students — use them except in official correspondence.

Mr. Kerrey is defending his tenure, claiming to have brought more faculty and student involvement to the university and to have strengthened the Provost’s office. This last point will hopefully be true by 2011, as the new Provost has been given more power, after Kerrey sacked four Provosts in as many years, when they disagreed with him. The Provost is stronger despite Mr. Kerrey, not because of him. On top of that, a formal inquiry is now under way to investigate the events of the last protest, where the use of force against the students was authorized by the president’s office.

Mr. Kerrey said, “I want to make sure my successor is at least as good as I am”, so I guess that means he will tell him nothing of his leadership style…

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