Thursday, June 9, 2005
WILBUR DOESN’T KNOW THE FACTS
In regard to “Peter Smith’s Paradox” [“Peter Smith’s Paradox,” June 2-8], there seems to be a disconnect between’ the writer’s conclusion and the facts. Brett Wilbur concludes, “Maybe there isn’t a paradox at all (between positive and negative views of Smith’s presidency). In Peter Smith’s mind, his decisions are the ones that best reflect everyone’s needs.” Then Wilbur quotes Smith as saying that he never made a decision that wasn’t in the best interests of the university.
Indications that Smith did make decisions that were in nobody’s interest are the 2002 settlement of $2.5 million with three Latino employees in a racial discrimination suite, a payoff which was one of the highest in the state university system, and an award of $375,000 in a discrimination and harassment suit by the former provost, who had helped write the university’s vision statement. He said that Smith had replaced “a very talented and diverse administrative team with people who do not have the same degree of diversity.”
A sixth employee says Smith “eliminated people of color from his cabinet.” Although these cases are noted in the article, they are overshadowed by what follows.
It is noted that CSUMB now qualifies to join an organization that requires a school’s enrollment of Hispanic students to be more than 25 percent, then comments by Smith that are fine examples of obfuscation and doubletalk are presented. While it is true that Wilbur presents numerous different views of Smith’s presidency, her conclusions almost nullify what came before. Clearly, Peter Smith and his presidency remain highly controversial.—June Malament | Pacific Grove
Editor’s Note: Since Brett Wilbur’s piece is a newspaper article and not an academic paper, it has no “conclusion” and does not pretend to. Instead it describes—by presenting facts and opinions, some admiring and some damning—the paradoxical nature of Pres. Smith’s tenure. BTW: Every critical fact presented in this letter is also presented in the article, as are the very quotes contained here.
SAM DOESN’T KNOW PETER SMITH
Professor Mendoza, in your article on Peter Smith, perfectly described Smith’s leadership and management style with one word, “brutal.”
CSUMB’s successes, and they are many, are due solely to the commitment of the faculty and staff to the students and to the ideals of the university, not to Smith’s “leadership.” The fact that the vision statement still exists is due to the faculty’s refusal to allow it to be watered down. Given proper leadership, CSUMB’s successes would be 10 times what they are.
As for Sam Farr’s assessment of Smith, as set forth in your article, I was there, Sam was not. I worked at CSUMB for eight years, 1994-2002, half of those in the Office of the Provost. With all due respect, although Sam represents us well in DC, in this case he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I do.—Claudia Rico | Pacific Grove
MILK MEANS FAT
A nationwide study of children aged 9-14 found that drinking cow’s milk leads to weight gain. The study was conducted by the prestigious Harvard Medical School and Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Green leafy vegetables, fortified orange juice, and soy milk supply large amounts of readily absorbed calcium. Let’s give our kids a healthy start!—Shane Zimmerman | Seaside