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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    President responds to faculty criticism

    In his online newsletter, President Robert “Doc” Foglesong responded to several faculty senators’ comments regarding administration-faculty relations made during the Nov. 9 Faculty Senate meeting.Foglesong’s response, titled “Time for Some Straight Talk,” centered around faculty members addressing their issues with him in the media. He explained recent administrative staff additions and other changes made to the university. He also cited recent successes at Mississippi State during his two-year stint as president.
    Foglesong’s comments came as a response to a Nov. 20 article about the meeting in The Reflector in which some members of the Faculty Senate questioned Foglesong’s attendance at the Senate’s monthly meetings, which are broadcast on the Faculty Senate Web site.
    Foglesong said questions should be directed toward him instead of being raised in the media.
    “We can’t [be a team] by creating distrust, which leads to mediocrity…” Foglesong said in the letter.
    University Relations director Maridith Geuder said although she cannot speak for Foglesong on the issue, she described the process involved in the posting of the response.
    “Those issues [he answers] weren’t brought up directly to him, but were subsequently addressed in the coverage of The Reflector, and this was his way of responding to those criticisms that were not directed specifically to him,” she said. “He says in the State-Gram that he wants to get a few things off his chest and that’s what I think he did.”
    Geuder said she would be surprised if Foglesong went into further conversation about the letter.
    Faculty Senate President Robert Wolverton said that while he regrets the issue crossed into the public domain, Foglesong has a right to respond to questions directed toward him.
    “I wish it could have been kept in-house,” Wolverton said. “He’s part of the academic community. Everyone here gets to speak their minds, whether [they are] students, faculty, and even the president.”
    Mark Goodman, associate professor of communication at MSU, said the president’s response could best be summed up in one sentence.
    “‘Doc’ Foglesong is who he is and his State-Gram statements reflect who he is,” Goodman said.
    Goodman, who served as Faculty Senate president when Foglesong took office, said the posted reply fired shots at faculty representatives and The Reflector within the State-Gram.
    “No one from the [Faculty] Senate agreed to be quoted in the Reflector article,” Goodman said. “Doc’s statement was inaccurate. The Reflector has every right to cover a public meeting in any way it finds appropriate.”
    Foglesong said in the newsletter, “Some have claimed to be insulted because I haven’t attended enough Faculty Senate meetings-although I have visited with academic departments, the Faculty Senate, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, and other faculty groups and representatives more than 90 times in the 18 months I’ve been here.”
    Because the Faculty Senate is composed of elected faculty representatives whose purpose is to represent the faculty on issues such as curriculum and working conditions, Goodman said ignoring that governing body is a sign of disrespect to its members.
    “We’re asking for two hours a month. It’s fantastic that he meets with other faculty and other departments in other contexts,” he said. “These are not the same things as meeting with elected [Faculty Senate] representatives.”
    Goodman said the purpose of these meetings is to keep the president aware of faculty concerns and for all in attendance to work together to develop a better university.
    “Many of the initiatives I initiated as Faculty Senate president were as a result of my discussions with [former president Charles] Lee. In one of my first conversations with ‘Doc,’ I suggested the creation of an honors college faculty,” he said. “That has happened. The FutureState report had more than 100 recommendations generated by faculty, students, staff and alumni. Foglesong has initiated many of these plans.”
    Foglesong and the Faculty Senate have the same goals, Wolverton said. He said he hopes this does not become a divisive issue.
    “There are some people that feel strongly, and there are others that don’t have a problem,” Wolverton said. “We’re not throwing brick bats at each other, and hopefully everyone will be able to sit down and work these problems out.”
    Goodman said he agrees, indicating the university benefits best when everyone is on the same page.
    “The best university policies are going to develop when all constituent groups come together with the president,” Goodman said. “In my seven years on the senate, [we have] been involved in a significant way in the development of more than a dozen programs.” Goodman said.

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    President responds to faculty criticism