Jan 27, 2010

Why you should be concerned about Shimer, NOW

Since the October Board meeting, several developments raise concerns that the February 19th and 20th Board meeting could be decisive for Shimer's future*. These developments are:
  • On November 15th, with broad participation, the Assembly passed three resolutions which, in different forms, recognize the moral authority of the Assembly and the tradition and importance of shared governance at Shimer. At the February meeting, the Board will decide how to respond to these resolutions.
  • For the last couple of months the internal community has been discussing the review of Shimer's mission statement. Despite its broad community support, Lindsay has proposed getting rid of the current mission statement entirely and replacing it with his own whole-cloth rewrite. At the next Assembly meeting - on February 7th - it will be taken up as well, possibly leading to more resolutions. At the February meeting, the Board will likely take up the issue of whether and, if so, how to change Shimer's mission statement.
  • On January 18th, the Nominating Committee of the Board tabled six new trustee candidates by a split vote of four to three. Not only does this amount to turning down $60,000+, but it is also the first time that any trustee nomination has not been offered to the full Board for a vote or been passed since the Mt. Carroll years. Since this committee is dominated by Lindsay's ideological allies, and passing the nominations could upset his tenuous majority on the Board, many speculate that this was done to defend his power. We expect the question of how to proceed with these nominations will be on the agenda at the February meeting as well.
If the Board backs Lindsay's efforts to dismantle shared governance at Shimer, rewrite the mission in the service of his ideological agenda, and/or disable constructive efforts to add a fresh balance of voices among the Trustees, the results may kill the College. Fears abound over losing faculty, dedicated administrators, current and future students, as well as alumni supporters.

This is why we should all be concerned about Shimer, NOW.

*This post is at this point, of course, dated. At the February Board meeting, the Assembly's November resolutions were ignored; Lindsay's mission rewrite was narrowly passed (see post above, "Feb. 22 Update: What the hell just happened?!"); and the tabled trustees were not addressed.