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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Lanning, Partie de Trente-Sept

I know I said I'd never come back here but I decided I would to share two pieces of information, one self-serving and the other as a public good.

First, let you know that I'll soon be opening a blog at a new site called "The Old Rhetorician's Divertissements." 

Second, and related to the first, is a rhetorical analysis made by my friend Michael Van Meter in a letter to the editor of the Bend Bulletin.   I was given permission by Stacey Donohue to repost her Facebook status update reprint of the letter along with the Bulletin's response.

Original letter:

Stacey:  The Letter to the Editor that The Bulletin refused to print because they disagreed with the author. Discuss.

Blaming the victim?

To the editors:
My head hurts on this sleepy Saturday from The Bulletin's front-page re-framing of the Associated Press’s story on a lawsuit against Chemeketa Community College and Patrick Lanning.  [As posted  at Oregon Live.)

The AP:
SALEM, Ore. — A woman who accused a community college administrator of raping her has sued the school, seeking at least $4.8 million and alleging it knew of the man's "history of sexual misconduct" and failed to protect her.

The Bulletin’s revision:

SALEM — A woman whose accusation of rape derailed Central Oregon Community College’s presidential search last spring has sued the Salem-area college where she and her alleged attacker worked at the time, seeking at least $4.8 million and alleging the college knew of the man’s “history of sexual misconduct” and failed to protect her.

Leaving aside the lead sentence's word count — ballooned to 51 words from an already-long 35 — I am perturbed that The Bulletin blames the victim for the derailed search. This is especially aggravating given that it is Lanning who is alleged to have committed acts not befitting a would-be college president, and it is Chemeketa Community College that failed to disclose Lanning’s administrative leave during background checks by COCC. Who derailed this search?

I understand well the importance of localizing the perspective on the wire story. In doing so, it is vital to not simultaneously transform the story into an accusation against someone exercising her rights in federal court.

Michael Van Meter
Bend, Oregon

The Bulletin's Response (according to Stacey's "comment" post):

 Thank you for your submission.
I have read and reread this introduction that you brought to my attention. I showed it to two of my colleagues, as well.
I don't think it blames the victim. Neither do my colleagues. Your letter is rejected.

Richard Coe
Editorial Page Editor
The Bulletin

There was also a VERY interesting set of comments but I do not have permission from those folks to quote them here.   Suffice to say, some folks recognized at least one rhetorical fallacy in the Bulletin's response.  (An an emotional appeal to conformity.)

For more of what I had to say about similar issues related to Patrick Lanning, please see this post.  It's possible I was also blaming the victim.  Someone could let me know.  (Because there are forms of rhetorical analysis that seek the subconscious intentions of the creator of the discourse, I know that I might be expressing a discourse with which I disagree without a complete understanding of my utterances.  In other words, I can, without meaning to, say stupid things.  Like most humans.  And some cats (see Henri Part Deux) Nevertheless, I continue to believe this was a moderately sedate rhetorical analysis of the situation.

Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30 Last Day on Contract

Here is a still shot from the introductory video I made for Interpersonal Communication this last fall.  It shows my desk when I lived on it.

Here is a photo from last night.

And here is picture of the sign my oldest friend, Lee, sent to me a couple of weeks ago.

And the video below shows my pup visiting Deschutes Hall for the last time.  (Wicked, wicked puppy!  She's always had trouble with the rule about dogs not being allowed on campus.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Trouble with endings

Lilli Ann & Kake
 I meant to write my last posting Saturday night.

But Saturday was way harder than I thought it would be.  Wanted to go all FUBAR -- fucked up beyond all recognition

Still processing.  I think there will be some sort of "ding" when the machinery is finished.

Until then, sing it Groucho and Gloria.

Old Doc Huck in Academadrag

Saturday, June 14, 2014

No working days left 0 WDL

But wait....

desperately seeking fubar tonight
so I really can't write.

Stay tuned.

WDL 1 (Late Again) Last Year End Lunch

This afternoon Yesterday I received my glass retirement plaque from COCC.  It came in a box and was carefully packed in layers of bubble wrap. It was complete with museum quality white cotton gloves, so I can handle it without leaving fingerprints, should I ever want to use it as a blunt instrument.  Handing it over in its box seemed safer than what they used to do, which was have all the plaques lined up on a table and hand them to the retirees as naked glass:  too easy to drop them that way.

The plaque seems a bit less practical than the gift my spouse received from Idaho State after his 33 years of service there.  He got this beautiful chair.  You can see the the seal of the University and its motto printed on the top of the chair:  Veritas vos liberabit.  The Truth shall set us free.

As a link between my past and my present I wore a t-shirt I received for service on a committee 24 years ago.  I asked Renee Brazeau-Asher to take my picture with it on.  I'd wandered to the table where Kate Miles, our department administrative assistant and Peter Meyer, potter, were sitting.  Renee, one of Kate's best friends on campus, sat down next to her and had her magic phone on top of the table so she was the closest for me to ask.  The t-shirt is printed with a picture of the wild turkey that inhabited the campus in 1989.  I don't remember who designed it -- perhaps the exchange artist from Great Britain, Richard Archer.  It was ordered by Bart Queary, then Dean of Instruction, for the members of the Instructional Affairs Committee. 

I am also wearing a CCDC scarf.  CCDC is the College Community Development Committee.  Over the past couple of years they've been handing out cool scarves for participation in various campus development events, like the campus clean-up.

I've been through almost 26 of these end-of-the-year ceremonies.  This year had three awards, a big cluster of service pins, and, I think, five retirements.  It was done with a minimum amount of fuss.  Not only were the retirement plaques handed out in boxes, but the pins weren't even handed out -- those of us scheduled to receive them were told to pick them up in the H.R. office or they would mail them to us.  I was amused that of those retiring, only the staff member was celebrated with a speech by her boss.  The retiring faculty were all simply handed their box, given a hug or handshake, and sent on our way.

I remembered years and years ago when Orde Pinckney retired at one of these luncheons up in Grandview Cafeteria.  Of course he was given a speech and gave a little speech.  But then someone in another department remembered that they'd forgotten to give a send-off to a leaving adjunct and that person was given a good-bye after Orde.  And Orde spoke to me afterwords with some anger that protocol had been violated.  His acknowledgement, as senior and ancient, should have been the last thing on the agenda.

I doubt that any of us faculty felt that way.  I certainly didn't.  I was celebrated enough at my retirement party and at Convocation.  Plus I got my departmental present -- a beautiful yellow fountain pen from Italy.  It came in a smaller box that Maestro Gesme stuck atop the larger one.  That small box generated a little curiosity and envy which, of course, increased my feeling of specialness.

After the luncheon I went to my office and read my last four student papers EVER! 

What's left?

For this quarter:  downloading my Blackboard gradebook and transferring the course grades into Banner.


Cleaning out my Dell desktop - saving all onto memory sticks then popping all into the recycle bin.
Cleaning out my office.  (Boxes from liquor store for books and trinkets, butcher paper for art.)

Figuring out who gets my gradebooks and how many years are necessary (I still have 26 years worth of grades in my file cabinet.) On our COCC website the H.R. Procedures booklet has this to say about old gradebooks:

Grade Book Retention: Each instructor is responsible for keeping an accurate and up-to-date permanent grade book. New grade books are available from department and building secretaries. Part-time instructors should turn grade books in to their department chair at the end of every quarter except when instructors are scheduled to teach the following quarter. Completely used grade books should be turned in by part-time instructors to department chairs who will keep them one full year. If instructors wish to retain grade books, they may turn in copies and keep the originals.

At the time an instructor leaves COCC, the records of all classes he/she taught will be deposited with the Department Chair.

So I'm not sure if I should give Maestro Gesme 26 years worth of gradebooks or only one.  I'll make that decision next week.

And final addenda for this blog:

In the coming couple of weeks I'll be adding four addenda or appendices, if you will:  one large story and three small video.  I'll then leave this blog up for time and eternity (or at least until Google creates other rules or the web burns down) and move my media analysis skills to another title. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

WDL 2 Late - Annoyance and Future Pleasures

I meant to post last night but got too tipsy at a garden party and then was just too tired to do anything but watch an episode of Poirot.
I've been busting my hump to get all papers graded before tomorrow and I only have six left.  I was thinking last night about two things:  What I will miss least about teaching and what I will continue to do with my scholarship.

I will least miss grading.  I will especially not miss students like these two.
  1. One who didn't read directions on a major course paper and got an F.  How?  By completely ignoring the directions for a question worth 100 points on a 160 point assignment that the class had five weeks to complete.  I had to award this paper with an F.  This hurt because I really liked the student.
  2. One who didn't read directions on the same assignment mentioned above and then didn't bother to write answers to the final exam questions.  As I entered grades into Blackboard I watched this individual's course grade drop first from an A- to a B- and then from a B- to a D.  (The final was worth 20% of the course grade.)  
When students make decisions like this I feel annoyed.  I don't enjoy grading.

Although I will abandon the ickiest part of teaching I will continue thinking about media and will probably create a new blog where I can write analyses that interest me. 

One such interest, of course, is the meaning of NCIS.   While I was department chair I often thought about what Leroy Jethro Gibbs would have done as an academic department chair.  Not very well, I bet, because of the paperwork.  And he would have been hard-pressed to withhold the Gibbs' headslap.  I was all too often tempted to use that particular management tool during my four years in the hotseat.  I want to write more about Jethro and team and so I'll not abandon blogging completely, just this site.  I might even put together a short article about Gibbs' Rules for Department Chairs.  (Regular viewers will understand when I say  "Rule 13" should be a guiding principle for all chairs.)

I've realized that I'll probably have one or two more stories to share after Saturday.  I'd planned, of course, to make graduation day the last blogpost.  But I fear I shall need to offer a few addenda between then and June 30, my last official working day.  (I'm sure eager readers will want to see a picture of my cleaned office!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

WDL 3 Phi Theta Kappa

One of the greatest blessings of my early years at COCC was Steve Ball and J. J. Howard's invitation to be the faculty adviser to Phi Theta Kappa.  Although it was a ton of work that took time from my dissertation and other academic activities, it was also a lot of fun and I could depend on getting many hugs every quarter.

You see, PTK's secret handshake was a hug.  When new students were initiated at a lovely ceremony I would hand them a rose and give them a hug.  I always wound up crying at the initiation ceremonies. 

PTK is the honor society for community colleges.  During the time that I was adviser I helped the students invite new members, run meetings, run a couple of conferences, and do a whole variety of activities.  I traveled often around the state with students to various meetings.  I worked with them on fundraising as well.  I once actually baked ten dozen chocolate chip cookies so that PTK students could sell them at the (pre-Gesme) symphony concerts.  It was when I was selling cookies that the newly hired President Barber saw me and thought it was undignified for a faculty member to be shilling for a student group and so by executive decree put a line item in the college budget to support the organization.

I probably gave from two to five hours a week to PTK during the school years that I was adviser.  But I was happy to do so.  While most of the rewards were personal and emotional, there were some financial as well.  In my first year I actually got money from the school above and beyond my regular travel money to spend a week on Long Island at Adelphi at a workshop for PTK advisers.  I just went to President Boyle and asked for it (on the urging of I don't quite remember who on the faculty -- someone who said, "they've got money lying around for things like that.")

It was wonderful while it lasted and before I lost my belief in the value of the organization.  After awhile it began to seem less like fun and more like a struggle to do activities and mark them off just for the sake of getting rewards from nationals for a few people.  I lost my delight in all the cheering at state and national conferences when I knew that some of the work was just checked off, fulfilling the letter but not a spirit.

By the mid-90s I got tired of the constant push for members and dealing with all the odd rules and demands of the national organization.  I was ready for other things and so turned the advising job over to other people.  Some time in the late nineties or early part of this century COCC's chapter disbanded.