Asking the Right Questions about Athletics, Academics, and Leadership

I’m not too proud to take suggestions.  I’ve gotten a few in the email account (firedonaldreaves@yahoo.com) and I’m going to share those with you now.  A few things for the readers of this blog to consider:

(1)  Comments are just that: comments.  They simply bring to the surface thoughts we believe to be valid and don’t want to get lost on the blog;

(2)  Keep it clean and articulate.  As some of you may have noticed by the absence of your comments, I don’t allow everything to go through.  If it’s mean spirited or gibberish, it gets the ax.  If you want your comments to make the blog be articulate, be factual, and keep it clean.

And now for the questions that need to be asked. 

1)       Dr. Reaves continues to state that a major concern is retention and graduation rates.  After two years, what has he done specifically to address any problems or issues of retention and graduation rates?  Not just the same old talk but what has he actually done that has improved the situation?   How did all of the firings and escorting people off campus by campus police link to retention and graduation improvement?

2)       Dr. Reaves says he is concerned about academics, retention and graduation rates. Yet, he has spent the last two years in every form, every faculty and/or staff senate meeting talking about athletics. If Dr. Reaves was concerned about retention and graduation rates, why did he take that ridiculous request to Erskine Bowles to raise the athletics fee over $250 per year for the next three years in lieu of a tuition increase? That would have been over a $750 increase in three years for activities that do not impact retention and graduation rates at all.  Does he think we retain students by making college more expensive via athletic fees?

3)       The Editorial from the Chronicle stated “Reaves has the ability to be one of WSSU’s best leaders ever”.  If this is true, when will the leadership begin?  Reaves has spent the past two years blaming Harold Martin for all of his problems.  He has not yet come up with a plan to address any of these issues he claims was handed to him from the previous administration.  When Harold Martin took over after Dr. Schexnider, he did not spend two years blaming him for the problems then facing WSSU.  So why does Dr. Reaves spend so much time focused on Dr. Martin, a person whose character is unquestioned in this city and whose legacy he is clearly agitated by?

A good leader goes about the business of developing vision and placing the right people in positions to address the problems. So, if Dr. Reaves has the ability to be one of the best leaders, how long will it take him to start acting like one of the best leaders?

Many institutions in the country are facing deficit problems. From an athletics standpoint, there are only seven institutions in the country in the black with balanced athletics budgets…..seven.

This raises other questions?

1)       Dr. Reaves has presented data that states that athletics operated with one million dollars or more in deficit since 2005. That simply cannot be. The state auditors would not allow any program to operate with that kind of deficit for that long without serious consequences to the Athletics Director, the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and the Chancellor. What Dr. Reaves has not made clear to everyone is this:  The athletics director answers directly to the Chancellor!!!   This means if the budget was over spent by that much, he approved it as well as his Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration, right?  The accountability rests in his office as well as the athletics director’s office.  If he was operating 1 million in the hole, don’t you think someone would have called him on that long ago?  They didn’t b/c the numbers he is presenting don’t reflect the reality of the situation as per state law. 

If you think Dr. Reaves and his crew won’t twist reality and cover their dishonesty by lying on people at the University, just call GA and ask.  Call the Finance folks and the HR folks at GA and ask them about the flat out lies and twisting of the truth the Chancellor and his crew have been caught in.  Request every email that has been passed across University servers about Nancy Young.  Ask them why they forced the young women in HR to mislead the State by making her put Nancy Young in the system as a permanent employee?  Ask them why the State Auditors are investigating another illegal hire in the School of Education right now?  So, you ask, why is there no action on these issues?  Because the Chancellor controls HR/Compliance and, therefore, controls the dissemination of the message if not the outcome.  There won’t be action until GA FORCES action.  Anything you see done rest assured that it has nothing to do with Dr. Reaves and his administrators admitting that mistakes were made.  Rather, the action has been forced by GA (or pressure from this blog that none of his folks spend time reading).

2)       Where is Dr. Reaves vision for athletics? He has been here two years and has been back and forth that entire period intimating that the school will go back to Division II, and then he says he will continue with Division I.  Back and forth…never saying much of anything but intimating lots of things.  If he has the ability to be one of the best leaders the school has had, certainly a good leader would have made a decision one way or another with a plan and a vision on how he will process and support either decision.

3)       Dr. Reaves also intimates that without cash he will have to go back to Division II.  No one has asked what kind of plan he has to have to go back.   He has not told anyone that it will take at least four years to transition back to Division II…..four years!!!!  The CIAA could make a decision to accept WSSU next year, but it would take until 2014 before the school could compete in the CIAA tournament or any other CIAA championship…..2014!!!   He has not shared this information with anyone, but now you know the truth!!!

The bottom line is simple. When will Reaves present a cohesive plan for moving forward in any areas of the university? When are the community and the tax payer going to get some specifics about where the school is going and how he plans to take the students and staff there?  Two years is long enough!!!  There is no plan for where the university is going academically, just more talk about how Harold Martin messed the place up.  Nonsense!!!   There is no plan for university fundraising, no plan for athletics, no plan for expansion with new programs, new facilities….there is nothing but a bully of a Chancellor who lives well off the backs of the taxpayer.  He continues to tell all of us how bad he has it at WSSU.  Now is that the mark of someone who has the ability to become one of the best leaders ever at the University?

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Published in: on June 4, 2009 at 12:31 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. I agree that Reaves may not have the ability to be the best leader at WSSU ever. As an alum and current employee at WSSU, I too have some of the same concerns that have been presented on this blog, but I am not completely displeased by his actions.

    As a student under the Martin administration everything seemed so nice and pleasant. Martin ate lunch with us in Kennedy, greeted us as we walked to class, and cheered our athletic teams to victory. We appreciated him hearing us out when we had concerns about issues such as financial aid and campus safety and actually acting on it. This was all…nice.
    But internally, while all of this niceness was going on, corrupt and unethical staff/faculty where taking advantage of the situation. I am in no way blaming Martin for the actions of these individuals (many who are still employed in places OTHER THAN BLAIR HALL). His goal was to focus on the students and turn the University into a premier HBCU. And he did achieve that very well–on the surface.

    People need to understand that this mess was brewing under Martin but as key players began getting fired or demoted, the corruptness was exposed. Yes, Reaves has had two years to straighten out this mess, but believe me when I say that there is a lot more going on than what’s been exposed thus far on this blog and in the news.

    When Reaves began firing people his direct reports (VC’s), I was sure that my VC at the time was going to get the axe, but she still remains to be seen. I thank God daily that I don’t have to deal with the snapping of fingers and being treated like a field negro. That’s an area that definitely needs to be investigated for fraud, embezzlement and many other unethical acts. WSSU needs someone experienced in managing and leading people, not a specialized discipline such as Finance or Higher ed admin. Reaves says he is trying to put the right people in the right places but he is overlooking a critical division on campus that needs some major
    reorganization.

    WI


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