Point Counter Point: Holub’s the man

What more do you people want Former Chancellor John Lombardi and Vice Chancellor Mike Gargano are gone, there’s no need to march around in a circle and bang on an empty water jug outside of Whitmore.

But already there are grumblings over the early actions taken by Chancellor Robert C. Holub since he’s started his tenure here at the University of Massachusetts.

Even though it’s preposterous to assume that the administration could hire someone that is universally liked (although Chancellor Obama would go over pretty well), Chancellor Holub has so far seemed to be, at the very least, a positive choice.

However, with the chancellor’s heralding of the impending fee increases and budget cuts, some sects of the student body have already started to turn on the rookie.

It’s probably out of the question to assume that Holub ever had any type of grace period. The seat he stepped into was one that was under harsh scrutiny from the student body for years and came with the expectation of dramatic changes were going to be made yesterday.

Even if there hasn’t been an overhaul of an administration that provoked students to produce burning effigies the former vice chancellor, there have been a number of tweaks in the system. Unfortunately for current UMass students, those changes have been of little help of them.

This should not be a surprise.

Holub was introduced as a candidate for chancellor on the platform of improving the University’s status on a national level. This meant that if any changes were going to be made, they were going to be for the benefit of the university, not the students.

Obviously, this isn’t a popular course of action for a lot of students, especially those that have trouble affording to go to school here.

Unfortunately for them, they never mentioned that to the administration when they had the chance. And that chance was there like no other time in recent memory.

During the prior administration, there was a general consensus that the administration never took the student perspective into consideration. And with the arrival of the chancellor search, there was hope that there would be a greater opportunity for the input of the students to be heard.

Fortunately, the forum for students to add that input was opened during the chancellor search. Unfortunately, no one showed up.

It’s strange to see that students clamored for their voice to be heard, organizing a strike and forming rallies only to fail to show up when the time came for them to do so. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s far simpler to complain about the issues than to provide a sound solution. That and it’s more fun to make large crowds and yell things.

After the selection of Holub of the new chancellor, the window for students to add their input to what the administration was trying to accomplish did not shut.

When it became apparent that there would be a budget crisis, Holub and the rest of the administration did not lock the doors to Whitmore and scheme of how they were going to increase student fees. Rather, there were e-mails coming straight from the chancellor’s office that updated the student body of every decision that was being made and a website that chronicled the same.

Once again, the student body did nothing.

It is a bit much to assume that students would be able to come up with viable solutions to the school’s economic woes, but they should have at least seen this coming. The administration has been drifting in this direction for some time.

Holub recently said that, if given the choice between getting a group of faculty or a million dollars in budget, he would take the faculty.

This is great news for the university, which, with a larger faculty and staff, can improve itself. However, this is bad news for students who are struggling to foot the $18,000 bill to go to UMass.

This isn’t an issue of whether or not the administration is taking the school in the right direction ‘- the path has already been chosen. It is, however, an issue of why the students didn’t formally resist this sooner.

Why wasn’t there a mob of students at the introduction of candidates for chancellor to show that they would rather pay less for school than add faculty?

Even if it is a good choice for the school to retain faculty, there are still students who would prefer the latter. They simply have a tendency to avoid
the formal occasions where their opinions can be expressed.

The doors of Whitmore aren’t locked, just as long as you’re not trying to bring in pitchforks and torches.

Nick O’Malley is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]