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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Scott D. Nostaja update: He's asked that his name be withdrawn from consideration as interim president of UB. This whole thing was handled very badly, and I'm surprised by that: UB usually has a better handle on perceptions than this. Simpson's announcement, timed as it was with the first day of classes, was tin-eared to say the least, and Jeromy Jacobs' announcement that the UB Council had appointed Nostaja was way off base. It was, as we say in our glamor profession, an ultra vires act, and whoever had the idea that this was a good plan couldn't have thought it through very clearly. For one thing, it bucked the usual protocol in these matters. When the president of a college or university steps down the provost usually acts as interim, because the provost is the chief academic officer of the institution. Appointing Nostaja-- or proposing him, which is what they are now saying is what happened, looked like the sort of thing that a business organization might do. It looked like Simpson didn't care to see through the strategic plan he'd developed (with Nostaja, among others), and it looked like he was engineering the appointment of his lieutenant to finish off the job he'd lost interest in. It would also have complicated the search for a new president. Transitions like this are not easy, even in small organizations. With something like UB, with its multiple constituencies and robust internal politics you gotta go in with your ducks in a row.

The particulars are different, but it reminds me of the time Bill Parcells left the Jets. "So long, J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets!" Parcells said, with an airy wave of his hand. "Bill Belichick is in charge now".

| Comments:
The "bandly handled" part is, alas, not over. The Spectrum editors themselves inserted the heading "Nostaja's appointment rescinded," perhaps because, like 99% of readers, this is how they interpreted Nostaja's letter to the campus, and nothing in Simpson's remarks to them changed their reading.

HOWEVER, as the revisions requested by UB to the Buffalo News article on the "withdrawal" (http://www.buffalonews.com/city/article185848.ece) establish, in fact as of yesterday Nostaja's candidacy has not at all been withdrawn. Thus his phrase "at this time" was both operative and load-bearing. Lots and lots of load.

Yes, the ducks are in anything but a row. And the faculty are slack-jawed that no one has come forward to contain this nightmare.
 
Thanks for the online legal dictionary link (yes, I had to look it up) and of course for the commentary too. Hey, you never know what you might learn when you surf with your eyes wide open. Cheers, The Buffalo Blog Frog
 

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