SAN DIEGO -- You know the stereotypes -- perhaps even believe them. College administrators these days care only for the bottom line. Professors can't decide anything or ever endorse change. When professors become department chairs or deans, they cross over to the "dark side," and forget their old values and friends.
Habib Sadid has made himself an easy target. For many of his 22 years at Idaho State University, the professor of civil engineering has poked and prodded administrators. He’s run to the newspapers when he thought no one else would listen, espousing claims of rampant “corruption” within the university. In frenzied e-mails, he lambastes his dean as an ineffectual "liar." He’s even filed a lawsuit, alleging retaliation for his years in the loyal opposition.
A debate over the teaching of evolution at Seventh-day Adventist college in California draws the attention of church leaders, who say students should be exposed to the theory and then dissuaded from believing it.
Few think the clock will be turned back to the Berkeley of the 1960s, but the protests planned across the University of California today mark a return to the tactics of another era. This time, however, the cause isn’t free speech or an end to war, but instead a response to the university administration’s budget-cutting proposals.
When administrators send Mike McKinney an e-mail, they often begin with “Howdy.” It may seem an informal introduction, but the Texas A&M University chancellor invites that sort of thing. Such is the way in Texas, where major deals can be brokered over football games – and handshakes are expected to be honored like contracts, McKinney says.
“This is Texas,” says McKinney, who runs the 11-campus system. “This is not some other places. Don’t give your word until you’re ready to keep it, and once you give your word you have to keep your word.”