Just a reminder that the Faculty Council and Chairs are having a meeting on TODAY (Thursday afternoon) with the President and Vice Chancellor of Safety and Security and other luminaries to discuss the proposed changes to the college lobby and state of security at the college. The security survey is now closed, and the results are in.
Some of the findings:
~66% of the faculty responding said that the environment at HWC was pretty safe, but could be better; 24% said HWC is a very safe environment;
~68% (59 out of 87) of faculty did not know know the number for calling security. 56 left it blank and three had the wrong number;
~Hallways and classrooms were identified as the locations of most incidents of endangering or threatening incidents;
There’s much more, and I was planning to post it here, but I have a sneaking suspicion that certain someones would rather that didn’t happen, so I’m going to seek the green light first. If I don’t get it, we’ll try an all faculty email distribution instead. If I do get it, we’ll do both (here and email).
Most importantly for the moment, though, is your commentary on the proposed Swipe entry system. Any feedback you have on the topics can be added to the post that was up all last week or sent by email to your Chair or a Faculty Council Rep or Don.
(Additional Update: Immediately following this afternoon’s meeting will be the Unofficial Holiday Faculty gathering and festivus (at the Emerald Lounge around the corner from HWC) organized by Faculty Council member and Social Chair, Jenny Armendarez. Be there or be talked about!)
13 thoughts on “Faculty Council Corner: Safety/Security Feedback Reminder”
Um, what came of the meeting and/or the unofficial holiday faculty gathering?
I couldn’t make it to the Emerald but who would know?
If I had gone I would have discussed the following or, perhaps, urged an impromptu staged reading.
You see, I recently came across a used DVD titled “The Inspector General.” It was filmed in 1949 and starred Danny Kaye. I didn’t buy it. Instead, I searched for a review of it but found instead that Nicolay Gogol wrote “The Inspector General” back in the mid-nineteenth century. Here are two links: the first is to the comedy and the second is to a concise analysis.
Below is an excerpt from Act I Scene I between the governor and the inspector of schools.
GOVERNOR. Too much brain is sometimes worse than none at all.–However, I merely mentioned the courthouse. I dare say nobody will ever look at it. It’s an enviable place. God Almighty Himself seems to watch over it. But you, Luka Lukich, as inspector of schools, ought to have an eye on the teachers. They are very learned gentlemen, no doubt, with a college education, but they have funny habits–inseparable from the profession,
I know. One of them, for instance, the man with the fat face–I forget his name–is sure, the moment he takes his chair, to screw up his face like this. [Imitates him.] And then he has a trick of sticking his hand under his necktie and smoothing down his beard. It doesn’t matter, of course, if he makes a face at the pupils; perhaps it’s even necessary. I’m no judge of that. But you yourself will admit that if he does it to a visitor, it may turn out very badly. The Inspector, or anyone else, might take it as meant for himself, and then the deuce knows what might come of it.
LUKA. But what can I do? I have told him about it time and again. Only the other day when the marshal of the nobility came into the class-room, he made such a face at him as I had never in my life seen before. I dare say it was with the best intentions; But I get reprimanded for permitting radical ideas to be instilled in the minds of the young.
GOVERNOR. And then I must call your attention to the history teacher. He has a lot of learning in his head and a store of facts. That’s evident. But he lectures with such ardor that he quite forgets himself. Once I listened to him. As long as he was talking about the Assyrians and Babylonians, it was not so bad. But when he reached Alexander of Macedon, I can’t describe what came over him. Upon my word, I thought a fire had broken out. He jumped down from the platform, picked up a chair and dashed it to the floor. Alexander of Macedon was a hero, it is true. But that’s no reason for breaking chairs. The state must bear the cost.
LUKA. Yes, he is a hot one. I have spoken to him about it several times. He only says: “As you please, but in the cause of learning I will even sacrifice my life.”
GOVERNOR. Yes, it’s a mysterious law of fate. Your clever man is either a drunkard, or he makes such grimaces that you feel like running away.
LUKA. Ah, Heaven save us from being in the educational department! One’s afraid of everything. Everybody meddles and wants to show that he is as clever as you.
GOVERNOR. Oh, that’s nothing. But this cursed incognito! All of a sudden he’ll look in: “Ah, so you’re here, my dear fellows! And who’s the judge here?” says he. “Liapkin-Tiapkin.” “Bring Liapkin-Tiapkin here.–And who is the Superintendent of Charities?” “Zemlianika.”–“Bring Zemlianika here!”–That’s what’s bad.
The paragraph below is from the introduction to the play. Unlike Gogol, I remain interested in the conditions that make such satirized behavior possible (i.e. #5 and always a dash of #6 from “Ad Hominem Discomfort” of 3/26/11 https://haroldlounge.com/2011/03/26/think-know-prove-ad-hominem-discomfort/). Like Gogol, the Inspector General does not form my target of inquiry (though, at times, the policies might – “Going Meta” 11/3/11). You see, um, Gogol wrote a comedy….
“…his satire and ridicule were aimed not at causes, but at effects. Let but the individuals act morally, and the system, which Gogol never questioned, would work beautifully. This
conception caused Gogol to concentrate his best efforts upon delineation of character. It was the characters that were to be revealed, their actions to be held up to scorn and ridicule, not the conditions which created the characters and made them act as they did. If any lesson at all was to be drawn from the play it was not a sociological lesson, but a moral one. The individual who sees himself mirrored in it may be moved to self-purgation; society has nothing to learn from it.”
Finally, be it nine months or some 150 years, would you say that there’s been any headway in terms of how we imagine and perceive each other and ourselves on the occasion of the Reinvention?
Happy semester break! (No kidding!)
Correction: That’s “FC4 President’s Address to the Board”(11/03/11) and “Going Meta” (10/26/11).
Clarification: What “policies”? Simple. I think IGs probably get contacted as needed, but I also think that soliciting calls will sow more dysfunction among the dysfunctional. I drew upon the letter to satirize the self-authorized individuals and groups that already attempt to police their coworkers. One need not look beyond oneself (or college offices and hallways) to create a bogeyman. Gogol’s satire illustrates this point far more ably than mine did.
And I have nothing against the great Danny Kaye. Who could forget White Christmas?
I couldn’t make it to the Emerald but who would know? Not me (as in I wouldn’t know if you were or weren’t there), though I have a guess now, based on a single sentence that may have included some “accidental” disclosure (as you’ve pointed out before, “Can there ever be anything other than self-disclosure?” I should state for the record that this one is not the clue for my guess).
If I had gone I would have discussed the following or, perhaps, urged an impromptu staged reading…Unlike Gogol, I remain interested in the conditions that make such satirized behavior possible. Like Gogol, the Inspector General does not form my target of inquiry. I have a(nother) guess that you have more than a mere interest in the conditions (and system and, perhaps most importantly, failure on the part of some (me?) to adequately attend to the hegemonic influence thereof—perhaps even a theory of sorts? I take your quoting from the introduction to the play (thanks for the links by the way—haven’t read Gogol, and I’m interested; also, I’ll read anything in Harper’s. Did you see the piece on Teaching from September? It was pretty great) that you endorse the implied criticism of Gogol contained therein. True? False? I’m reading into your post, of course, which is always fun, but not without risks.
Finally, be it nine months or some 150 years, would you say that there’s been any headway in terms of how we imagine and perceive each other and ourselves on the occasion of the Reinvention? And so, given all of the above, I deflect the question back to you (like any self-respecting Socratic might)—would you?
As always, delightful to correspond. Never liked White Christmas much, nor Danny Kaye. Can’t really say why. I am however, in a bit of a quandary about my reading over break–not quite at the level of Buridan’s Donkey, but not without anxiety and the need for a push. I’d debating whether to start A) Bolano’s 2666 or B) Eco’s The Name of the Rose. In lieu of a choice, I would likely default to Dante’s Trilogy (turned 40 this year, so I thought it might be fun to re-read it. Plus Fooled by Randomness, get me fired up about Classical Lit, again, so I briefly considered re-reading Homer (I was in High School when I last read Odyssey; I’m sure I missed everything). Any opinions? Anyone?
This seems very Jason Bourne.
Self-disclosure is a given, but I meant something other than mere names. (I know no one’s hidden name but only the text of the blog.) My first sentence way up there assumes an either/or state of affairs about it all and anyway, as you know, this (and many of my other posts) invites critical self-reflection.
No, it’s pretty much the conditions. Yes, I have made some headway. Since I can’t inhabit any mind but my own I decided to post Poe and Gogol instead of social science references to further critical self-reflection.
And suddenly, I am reminded of responding to the article “The New Virology” that you posted (26 March 2011). There I wrote, “We ARE our technology.” Altruism studies conclude that we are also our bodies. (Hammered daily against the quotidian tree, I suppose, and nailed into being.)
“I think; therefore, I am.” “I am where I think not.”
Remember: Gogol’s satire revolves around a case of mistaken identity (made possible by the townsfolk), not anonymity or pseudonymity. In the excerpt below he sets quite the table, and I invite you to sit down before it.
(P.S. You don’t like White Christmas? Really?)
From Act III Scene VI:
KHLESTAKOV. Please sit down without the rank. [The Governor and the rest sit down.] I don’t like ceremony. On the contrary, I always like to slip by unobserved. But it’s impossible to conceal oneself, impossible. I no sooner show myself in a place than they say, “There goes Ivan Aleksandrovich!” Once I was even taken for the commander-in-chief. The soldiers rushed out of the guard-house and saluted. Afterwards an officer, an intimate acquaintance of mine, said to me: “Why, old chap, we completely mistook you for the commander-in-chief.”
ANNA. Well, I declare!
KHLESTAKOV. I know pretty actresses. I’ve written a number of vaudevilles, you know. I frequently meet literary men. I am on an intimate footing with Pushkin. I often say to him: “Well, Pushkin, old boy, how goes it?” “So, so, partner,” he’d reply, “as usual.” He’s a great original.
ANNA. So you write too? How thrilling it must be to be an author! You write for the papers also, I suppose?
KHLESTAKOV. Yes, for the papers, too. I am the author of a lot of works–The Marriage of Figaro, Robert le Diable, Norma. I don’t even remember all the names. I did it just by chance. I hadn’t meant to write, but a theatrical manager said, “Won’t you please write something for me?” I thought to myself: “All right, why not?” So I did it all in one evening, surprised everybody. I am extraordinarily light of thought. All that has appeared under the name of Baron Brambeus was written by me, and the The Frigate of Hope and The Moscow Telegraph.
ANNA. What! So you are Brambeus?
KHLESTAKOV. Why, yes. And I revise and whip all their articles into shape. Smirdin gives me forty thousand for it.
ANNA. I suppose, then, that Yury Miroslavsky is yours too.
KHLESTAKOV. Yes, it’s mine.
ANNA. I guessed at once.
MARYA. But, mamma, it says that it’s by Zagoskin.
ANNA. There! I knew you’d be contradicting even here.
KHLESTAKOV. Oh, yes, it’s so. That was by Zagoskin. But there is another Yury Miroslavsky which was written by me.
ANNA. That’s right. I read yours. It’s charming.
For some reason that section reminds me of the part from Six Degrees of Separation where Ouisa (Stockard Channing in the movie) says, “We were hardly taken in by him. We believed him–for a few hours. He did more for us in a few hours than our children ever did. He wanted to be your child. Don’t let that go. He sat out in that park and said that man is my father. He’s in trouble and we don’t know how to help him…you were attracted to him–…Attracted by youth and his talent and the embarrassing prospect of being in the movie version of Cats. Did you put that in your Times piece? And we turn him into an anecdote to dine out on. Or dine in on. But it was an experience. I will not turn him into an anecdote. How do we fit what happened to us into life without turning it into an anecdote with no teeth and a punch line you’ll mouth over and over for years to come. ‘Tell the story about the imposter who came into our lives–‘ ‘That reminds me of the time this boy–.’ And we become these human juke boxes spilling out these anecdotes. But it was an experience. How do we keep the experience.”
There’s more, but the exchange pretty much ends with Ouisa saying, “I am a collage of unaccounted-for brush strokes. I am all random. God, Flan, how much of your life can you account for?”
It’s a terrifying question at the beginning of a semester. And at the end, too, I think. Any time, really.
It’s been almost 10 months and I haven’t been to the lounge since my last post. So if you were writing that epistolary blog, a part of me would want to begin this post with some kind of expansive narrative:
“I’ve been away to the coast this past year, and I know now what Jung and Vicco meant by ‘primordial metaphor.’ Almost daily I stood along the shore as if I stood on some kind of edge, poised and aware. Water lapped sand, slipped along rock. Light broke down to glitter among the rills. And the Pacific tides could not match the oceanic roll of my heart….”
But you’re not. And while the above would FEEL good, it wouldn’t be true. (Significantly, it feels good anyway.) And the imagery and melody of the language is so modernist.
It’s good to see your reply here waiting.
When I sat around those big wooden tables in all of my graduate school seminars, I always imagined pre-recorded tapes spinning in the heads of the doctoral candidates. Explications would unfold without surprise. (Kipling’s Kim? Conrad’s Heart of Darkness? Anything Pynchon?) Consonance and empowerment blossomed like roses.
Hegemony. Collegiality. (More later.)
My graduate program had a fascination with “semiotics.” “Disembodiment.” “A circulation of signs.” Six Degrees of Separation exemplifies that aesthetic. (Stockard Channing – star of “The Girl Most Likely To”?)
Gogol’s play does not.
Two Points of Clarification:
First point. Postmodernity celebrates “the loss of fixity of meaning” or “the loss of the real.” (Think “Reality TV.”) Jean Baudrillard puts forward a four-stage progression of the sign:
1) the sign represents reality,
2) the sign distorts reality (like PhotoShop),
3) the sign disguises the fact that there is no reality beneath it – as in signs/cultural contstructs point only to other signs/cultural constructs (e.g the occasion for Ouisa’s angst but, noticeably, not the screenwriter’s),
4) the sign hasn’t a thing to do with reality (e.g. abstract art).
Second Point. Gogol’s play concerns itself with an opportunistic manipulation of perceptions, and this has more in common with Benjamin Franklin than Ouisa. Franklin’s Autobiography is a how-to guide for those who rely more on social connections than ability. Doctor Franklin recounts his early insights into one’s general willingness to fool oneself (and be fooled by others) by shooting it through the prism of the Enlightenment Project’s goal of human perfection. One well-known story concerns how when he was a young printer, he pushed a loud wheelbarrow down the streets at daybreak when he left for work. At night, he left a candle in the front window after closing his shop, then went to sleep in a back room. All the townspeople saw the candle and marveled at his work ethic.
But Franklin was no third-stage Baudrillardian sign: for all of his prestidigitation, he had talent and expertise. Although at times smug and cynical, the Doctor’s real message is this: you don’t have to get fooled.
“God, Flan, how much of your life can you account for?”
Terrifying, indeed. Agreed.
Lastly, a Socratic turn:
Any thoughts about “collegiality” (that is, how we imagine and perceive one another)? Do social connections trump ability? Accountability? Does “collegiality”? Who adjudicates what is “collegial behavior” and (also @Christine Aguila) shouldn’t a blended committee beyond Faculty Council be put to that task? I’m all for collegiality “in the sense of collaboration and constructive cooperation,” just as I am all for civility, professionalism, and any behavior that isn’t better suited to the hallways of Fenger High a few years back. But like the AAUP asks: should collegiality constitute a fourth criterion for promotion or tenure? Anyway, it’s the use of that word in the FC4 report that brought me back to the lounge.
Click to access collegiali.pdf
The above is a link to the AAUP’s statement On Collegiality as a Criterion for Faculty Evaluation.
PS. Terrific new look regarding the layout/software on the blog!
I used to go by Avramkis, by the way. The new software doesn’t transfer that over?
Welcome back, Avramakis. I have wondered with some frequency whence you’d gone and when we might hear from you again.
I don’t know why the new theme didn’t recognize you, but, that flaw aside, am glad you dig the look.
Great to read your stuff, as always. I don’t know if anyone else, other than comment subscribers (if there are any) and editors will see it, but the editors will–the comments show up behind the scenes in chronological order, which is how I always see that you’ve posted somewhere.
Anyway, I didn’t mean to imply that the two plays were similar or shared a world view or anything–only that the one scene (from the play I haven’t read) reminded me of the other. I appreciate the exegesis, though–it helped. Now with some time between the writing and the reading, I think maybe the connection (in my head) has to do with the idea of the feeding off each other–especially from the characters chewing on each other in “Six Degrees” but also in the way that the writer feeds, in a way, off the willing blindness of the others in Gogol (as I’m reading your excerpt).
Something about how there’s no way to live without chewing on someone else a bit to survive or something like that.
I like the collegiality topic, and want to talk more about it. Can I promote the latter part of your comment to a post sometime next week so we can start the conversation rolling? I.e., do you mind if I feed off your work and thought a bit?
Well, the software is recognizing me as “Avramakis” once again, but I miss my little grey guy. Now it’s green.
The feeding imagery connotes either cannibalism or the consumption of empty calories and not true sustenance, at least in regards to Gogol. Six Degrees of Separation may be striving for sustenance, but not outside of a postmodern aesthetic, which makes me doubt the sincerity of the screenwriter. You’re going to have to explain what you’re getting at, but I don’t mind discussing cannibalism at length. (Smile, Cronus).
I’ll start by saying this about the topic: the matter of consent versus coercion makes all the difference.
I wouldn’t simply help myself to someone’s refrigerator or smash a plate glass window at a grocery store just because I was hungry. And so, too, with people. (Yes, I’m sure you’re not advocating any smash-and-grab behavior.) A person might be driven to smash and feed as a consequence of starvation — both physical and spiritual/emotional — but that behavior only merits tolerance until it becomes genuinely disruptive/disturbed/actionable. Or you love the starving individual.
Anyway, I can’t imagine what you will do with this topic, but it is what I came back for. Front and center sounds good to me. It’s a busy time of the semester but I’ll try to check in and look for your post at least once a week.
Oh. And Psssttt…! (More later.)
Should I be disappointed, or are you still digging out from your grading like I am?
(Getting closer, though…)
Well, the break is coming, and that will give me time to finish this train of thought. I never did catch up on my work as much as I wanted to these past few weeks, but as I said I did return to the Lounge to finish our conversation and I do intend to wrap up my end of it. My guess is that you’re also busy so I’ll look for your contributions to your side of the conversation somwhere over break too.
BTW: The AAUP position re: “collegiality” isn’t central/necessary to my train of thought but just another iteration, really, of the core topic that brought me to this blog in the first place. So if you wish to read/finish the conversation through that position paper the exchange/conversation should still be in alignment.
Let it snow!