Chancellor Defends Positions
As soon as the floor of
the faculty meeting
yvsis opened for discussions, a divided faculty attacked issues that refused to
be overshadowed by Austin's
promised $10 million budget
About 200 faculty
members, administrators and
press gathered to hear UH
System Chancellor Alexander
Schilt oudine the obstacles UH
faced in Austin and the
university's strategy to deal
with the imminent budget crisis.
members wound up deliberating with SchiltandUH President James Pickering about
the hiring freeze and Schilt's
decision not to have a national
Two faculty-generated petitions were circulated
to dismande the $38 million
UH System and to conduct a
national search for a UH president.
The petition's originator, Robert Palmer, a Cullen
professor of history and law,
had gathered 30 faculty signatures and had requests from
four departments for copies of
Schilt addressed both
matters in his speech. He defended the UH System by saying that the four UH campus
could be best served by one
"I don't think discussion of the dismantling the
system is appropriate, but I do
think that you should ask us to
run the most efficient administration possible," he said.
Some faculty mem
bers felt that maintaining the
UH System was too expensive and they were not taking
a fair share of the cuts, John
Bernard of the English department said.
Schilt defended his
decision to not conduct a national search for a new president by saying that the middle
of a budget crisis was not the
time to be making changes.
In a telephone interview later, he also said UH's
Creative Partnership Campaign wouldstandtolose$100
million if supporters became
uneasy with a change in leadership.
responsible for maintaining a
stable leadership in UH then
I owe it to the board to keep
JimPickering," Schilt said. "He
knows how to maintain excellence. Ibelieve that Jim has
the instincts for quality and
knows how to build an institution. Hehasbyfarexceeded
my greatest expectations.
"I don't think I can
complete the campaign while
in the middle of a search for a
new president," Schilt said.
"We clearly can't have
Jim (Pickering) in a circumstance of an increasingly difficulty environmentbeingseen
as a candidate. He has to be
the president, and there can't
be any question about his authority or how long he's going
to be there," Schilt added emphatically.
headed the discussion on the
enacted hiring freeze which,
according to sociology professor Bill Simon, became
Twenty people up for
faculty positions, some of
whom were offeredpositions,
couldbe affectedby the freeze.
In addition to these people,
any position vacated by a faculty member quitting, dying
or retiring was affected.
A March 22 memo
from Pickering stated that offers that had already been
made would be honored.
"You have to listen to
Pickering closely. He is very
slippery and careful not to
say anything precise," Bernard
the Houston Chronicle article
that stated he was considering on reneging on this promise.
However, the distinction between an offer and an
agreement was then discussed. Apparently until an
offer was accepted or it was
not approved by the board it
was not legally binding,
Some faculty members questioned the morality
"Some of the applicants were made offers
months ago and they believe they're on the faculty,"
Bernard said. "Their name
is on the schedule and
they've burned bridges by
turning down other offers
and stopping their job
"One had the feeling of a attending a board
meeting of a sausage factory, not a university,"
Simon said. "We have administrators not educators,
and their goals aren't syn
onymous with education.
"The size of the
classes have grown...many
things can be cut. Let's cut
the football program before
you cut the front line teachers," Simon said.
"Let's be fair about
this. A freeze is a freeze, a
deal is a deal," Bernard said,
referring to the vacant basketball coach and athletic
director positions being
filled during the freeze.
"We have an obligation to the team, the NCAA
and the SWC, as long as we
compete, to give the men
and women on these teams
the best possible coaching
we can with our fiscal
means," Pickering said.
"In response to Bernard saying the administration should be fair about the
freeze, Pickering said, "There
will be no coach hired as
long as other deals are pending."
However, the faculty
appeared to more concerned
with academics than athletics.
Palmer said, referring to Pickering's impending appointment, "There's a
limited amount we can do if
he appointed. ButPickering
will be left with a very dissatisfied campus."
would go before the Board
of Regents in April. Schilt
said he stand behind his
decision and supported
Pickering despite a divided
faculty. -David Sikes