For 40-plus years, our media company has covered Bethune-Cookman University. And for 40-plus years, multiple generations of small-minded, crab-in-bucket, insecure cowards – usually holdovers from the previous administration – have attempted to prevent the new university leadership from moving forward.
Let me tell you about the latest attempt to stab the institution’s leadership in the back.
This past week, an anonymous complaint about the work performance of one of President E. LaBrent Chrite’s top management team was written and distributed by an unnamed source calling itself “Concerned Employees of Bethune-Cookman University.”
The allegations contained in the letter are nebulous at best, accusing the administrator of “negative and corrosive management tactics” and “ongoing hostile activities and conditions.”
According to this amateurish attempt at character assassination, “it is widely rumored that (the staffer) has submitted a grant application on behalf of the university…for a program that is believed to carry professional benefit to a relative who does not work for the university.”
No specifics. No attachments. No names. No documentation of the allegations. Nothing.
So what do the so-called Concerned Employees demand? “If corrective actions have not been taken by noon on Friday, November 1, 2019, we will be forced to go public with a copy of this letter to the news media.”
“Extortion” is generally defined as “the gaining of property or money by almost any kind of force or threat of violence, property damage, harm to reputation, or unfavorable government action.” And that’s exactly what this is.
Rather than follow the well-established chain of command which would lead to an internal investigation and resolution of their complaints, these folks who claim “we love B-CU” are willing to publicly embarrass the institution, even as it struggles with what could be a possible extinction event: loss of accreditation.
May God save B-CU from such “love.’’
Y’all are lucky
Concerned Employees, count your blessings that I am not the university’s president. If I were, I would have demanded the resignation in writing of every full-time and part-time person employed by the organization (except those under binding employment contracts).
Under a Cherry administration, you would have been allowed to reapply for your job and compete against anyone else who applied for it after a nationwide search. My top management team and I would have hired the best person for each position.
I doubt if that would have been you.
Generations of rot
Unfortunately, resignation and rehiring have never happened in any of the four past presidential administrations of Oswald Bronson, Trudie Kibbe Reed, Edison Jackson, and now Dr. Chrite.
Consequently, each successive presidential administration has been hobbled by nepotism, incompetence, small-mindedness, turf protection, lack of accountability, and a sense of entitlement for people who have served in too many positions for too long.
The honorable way
Concerned Employees, let me tell you how this works. If you have a concern about the university, attach your name or names to it. Unlike other media outlets, our original stories will be never be written using “unnamed sources.” Once a critical comment is attributed to you, the university will be given a chance to respond.
If you have original documents that you believe prove misconduct, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The information will be reviewed and, if newsworthy in our judgment, perhaps a story will eventually be written. We make no promises.
Make a choice
Meanwhile, either follow Dr. Chrite’s leadership or get out of the way. You can “let the door hit you where the good Lord split you” if his structural and administrative changes upset your collective emotional equilibrium.
We certainly believe that Dr. Chrite’s background, training, experience and global vision make him the man to lead the institution at this critical point in its life cycle.
He deserves the time to develop and implement his plan to take B-CU into the future. Whether he and his team succeed or fail will be apparent to all soon enough.