Just When I Thought UUs Couldn’t Disappoint Me More……

Let’s be very clear about what happened in relation to Starr King.

Because they did not like the result of the Presidential search, a person or persons/cabal decided to show their ass and release confidential things related to the search to journalists in order to imply that the person who was presented by the Search Committee, Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt, was less qualified and the affirmative action candidate.

So while there are calls for justice in relation to the two students, I hope that those who are calling for that justice are also doing all they can to support the person who was viciously maligned in the process.

But I already know that I’m asking for too much.


10 thoughts on “Just When I Thought UUs Couldn’t Disappoint Me More……

  1. Released to journalists? My understanding is the documents were circulated among students and perhaps staff and faculty, but not outside the campus community.

    That said, having read and been both moved and impressed by her memoir, I’m hoping for strong leadership from Rev. McNatt on this.

    • Yes, journalists. The reason a lot of people know about this is because of stories in both the San Fransisco paper and the New York Times.

      • Stories have indeed been written about it, yes. But I don’t know that anyone has alleged the documents were released to journalists, and certainly not early on as this controversy built up. It’s become a story because there are serious issues involved. The three UU World stories seem pretty fair, though it’s hard for me to tell from this distance. See what you think:

        Starr King seminary withholds diplomas amid investigation This story notes tacitly that the controversy predates Rev. McNatt’s arrival.

        Starr King seminary continues investigation of students This story notes it explicitly at the start of the fifth paragraph: “Yet over the past six months, a controversy that arose before McNatt arrived has persisted.”

        Two more Starr King professors resign This story doesn’t so clearly separate McNatt from the issue, which she’s now been in charge of for half a year.

        Nowhere in there, or in the other press stories, have there been any suggestions that the confidential documents have been turned over or shown to journalists.

        That all said, while I think it looks very bad for SKSM in the recent past, I’m still very hopeful Rev. McNatt shows strong leadership on this.

        She’s got the authority to speak with power for those two students. I think she should and I hope she will.

        Whoever set in motion their effective expulsion and left it to splash her? That person or persons have a lot to answer for.

      • hey John,
        the first stories were in the San Fransisco papers…before the UU world did their first story. from there, it was picked up by the New York Times.
        yes…the UU World has been more clear that the controversy started before Rev. McNatt arrived. They do not, however, explicitly state that the reason the controversy started was because of the release of search documents (at least that’s how I’m reading the stories). Their implication is that the controversy is about the withholding of the degrees; and I’m not disputing that that is part of the controversy. What I’m saying is that as long as the heat in the controversy is about the degrees and not about what instigated the controversy—the release of confidential search documents—the real story and issue gets lost.

      • UU World http://www.uuworld.org/news/articles/295665.shtml

        On April 6, an anonymous email criticizing the search process, from someone named “Strapped Student,” was widely disseminated, including to news media, an accrediting body for Starr King, UUA leaders and affiliates, the Starr King community, and others. The email included an attachment with some of the search committee’s confidential information. Garcia posted a letter in response that same day defending the search process and decrying significant harm to the school and individuals from the breach.

        News Media’s Journalists in my book.

      • Bill…
        You win, and thank you, for pointing out my error in reading comprehension. “News media” has to mean journalists. At least I believe it does.

      • PS Considering SK’s small world, signing off as strapped student may not have been the smartest move either.

      • Bill, thank you. I had missed that in the story. I stand corrected.

        Kim, your fact was correct and I was wrong. My apologies.

        I’m a little surprised that point isn’t being hit on more heavily by those defending SKSM. I can imagine an argument for institutional transparency that would justify distributing those documents within the community. (I’m not saying I’ve heard one, just that I can imagine one.) It’s a lot harder to make that argument for distribution to the whole world via the press.

        And I agree with you the two students are not the deeper issue here. I don’t know if you would agree with me that Rev. McNatt should do what’s necessary to give those diplomas out and move in (rather than move on) to the real work. I do know I haven’t heard any justification for withholding their diplomas that makes sense to me.

        I hear you about how to support Rev. McNatt in this. This situation isn’t of her making and her formal authority doesn’t match up with her power. (It never does, right?)

        If I think she’s not doing what I think is right, then I need to think about what the power relations are that might keep her from acting differently and how I can provide her with my share of the ability to do so.

        Or so it seems to me. So I have something to think about.

    • Hi Bill. Glad to hear from you.

      I could have easily gone into educational jargon to talk about what’s happening at Starr King, but there was no reason to do that because–to me–this is a simple issue that’s being obscured by other people’s issues.

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