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Biting my tongue (#1083)

Topics/tags: Rants, Grinnell

A few days ago, Grinnell employees [1] received some information about potential directions for the fall. I appreciate that we’re being given a chance for some input; some transparency is good. I appreciate the hard work that’s gone into those potential directions; I support the College’s decision to prioritize public health over almost everything else and understand that the basic framework draws from that decision. I even respect the good intentions of the planners. But the details? So many of them concern me. And I’ve sent comments.

It’s hard to build consensus when we can’t talk about our concerns, either in small groups or as a larger body or bodies [2]. Have I noticed something that someone else might benefit from hearing? Have others observed things that I would like to know? Almost certainly. Might we agree on some particular ways to recommend changes? Possibly. But that hasn’t happened. And the time frame and process didn’t permit it to happen.

I’d like to post a public rant about some of my concerns. But that does not support the semi-transparent process [3] and I worry that it would lead to less transparency. So I’m biting my tongue. Since I’d probably post, rather than speak, I suppose that also means that I’m biting my fingers.

However, writing this musing has made me realize that I need to do something. An email to chairs will be going out soon. Hey, it may have even gone out by the time you read this [5].

Postscript: Between the time I wrote this and the time I posted it, Grinnell sent out a bunch of information, including a public memo and some employee-only documents. I have not had a chance to process all of those. I remain concerned about opportunities for faculty to gather and talk about these issues and so have still responded as I had planned to before those messages went out. I am still keeping my responses internal to Grinnell.

[1] Staff and faculty.

[2] Probably multiple bodies. I think faculty and staff should talk together about our views, but I also see advantages in talking more within our own domains.

[3] It’s taken some time to get those in charge to share what they have shared, and they are only sharing it with part of the potential audience: employees, but not students [4].

[4] At least as far as I can tell.

[5] Or even by the time I post this.

Version 1.0 of 2020-06-12.