“Wow! Science Show” to be held at Rend Lake on August 17

Staff Report
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake invites you to attend this week’s Environmental Science Series program to be held in the Rend Lake Project Office/ Visitor Center on Saturday August 17th at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  The program entitled, “Wow! Science Show” will be presented by The Science Center of Southern Illinois.  Join us and be prepared to be “Wowed” by activities that appear to be magic – but are really basic science! Feel the force of the air cannon; be amazed by an egg; and see The Science Center of Southern Illinois’ famous hovercraft in action in the Visitor Center!

“Wow! Science Show” is another program in the continuing, summer-long Environmental Science Series. These programs are held each Saturday from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, are presented free of charge, and are suitable for all ages.

Also, mark your calendar for the August 24th program “Journey South – A Monarch’s Story.” This program will feature Corps of Engineers Park Ranger Kim Hammel who will describe the amazing life cycle of the monarch butterfly – from egg to beautiful adult. For more information call the Rend Lake Project Office and Visitor Center at 618-724-2493.

Obituary – Thomas Lee Williams – Valier

Thomas Lee Williams, 82, of Valier, IL passed away August 12, 2013 at Memorial Hospital in Carbondale, IL.

He was born on Dec. 20, 1930 in Griffin, IN, the son of  Clifford B. Williams and Emerene (Rainey) Remter.  Thomas attended high school at Rights High School in Evanville, IN.

On Nov. 21, 1953 Thomas married Geneva Pearl (Isom) Williams and she survives.

Thomas was an accomplished bricklayer and stone mason since 1949, and he helped build SIU, Rend Lake College, Carbondale Post Office, Times Square Mall, and many area schools.

He was a member of Valier First Baptist Church and served on the Valier Village Board for many years.  He also belonged to the Masonic Lodge, American Legion and Scottish Rights.

He is survived by his children, Debbi and Gary Reed, Rockvale, CO; Michael and Ginny Williams, Sesser, IL; Lori and Denny Baggett, O’Fallon, IL and John and Crystal Williams of Valier.  Also surviving are grandchildren Michelle and Curtis Rogers, Chad and Tonika Schuster, Manda and Bill Palmer, Mikala Williams, Hannah Williams, Logan Baggett, Gabe Saul, Gracie Saul, Thomas Williams and Matt Williams; great-grandchildren Cole Rogers, Kennedy Rogers, Camden Rogers, Kassedy Rogers, Madalyn Pearl Schuster, Lyndsie Palmer, Garrett Palmer, Tanner Palmer

He is also survived by eight brothers and sisters, Billy Dean Williams, Lincoln, NE; Janet (Hart) James, Evansville, IN; Bonnie Provaznik, Valier, IL; Charlene Hampton, Christopher, IL; Steve Williams, Du Quoin, IL; Connie Cutler, Christopher, IL; Theresa Evans, Mt. Vernon, IL and Ricky Jo Williams, Herrin, IL.

Thomas was preceded in death by his parents, one brother Jerry Ray Cavins and two sisters, Anna Rose George and Snooki Bowers.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, August 18, 2013 at 5 p.m. at Valier First Baptist Church.  Visitation will be at the church from 1:30 p.m. until the time of the memorial service.  In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Valier First Baptist Church.

Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home in Sesser is in charge of arrangements.

For more information go to www.gilbertfuneralhomes.com



Our Universities: Bureaucracy and Morality

Bureaucracies create and sustain a moral perspective.
“If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won’t.”

— Hyman Rickover–

By Walter V. Wendler

Effective bureaucracies — vision directed guidelines and processes — are flywheels reducing vibration in an organization by tempering irregularity and providing consistency and rhythm. They are exceedingly rare.  Typically, and unfortunately, bureaucracies do little of value to focus on first purpose.  Inevitably they become twisted first purpose and live outside the watch, like a wicked watchmaker.  Any human organization that aspires to purpose and excellence via regularity of process alone cannot do so.  It is lost.

Walter Wendler mug 2Max Weber, a German sociologist whose ideas flourished in the 1930’s and 40’s, identified key principles of good government: 1) formal structure, 2) management by rules, 3)  fixed division of labor, 4) equity based treatment of employees and customers, 5) success determined by technical qualifications, 6) all knotted together by a propensity to enlarge.  Number six, added by C. Northcott Parkinson as a criticism, became known as “Parkinson’s Law.”

Douglas J. Amy, a professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College, argues that bureaucracy is government and therefore it’s good in a stunningly simplistic story called “Government Is Good.”   He tries to break myths such as bureaucracies are wasteful, government should be a business, bureaucracies cause government growth, and bureaucracies provide poor service. Visit the Department of Motor Vehicles in New York or California to see how far out in left field Amy is.  Although intricately woven, Amy’s and Weber’s “bureaucracies-are-good” or create “good” are still nonsense, whether caring for the sick, educating the young, or selling nuts and bolts.

Robert Jackall’s “Moral Mazes: Bureaucracy and Managerial Work”, in the Harvard Business Review, 1983, suggests that managers create a morality in an organization by day-to-day actions — habit.  My friend used to have a sign in his office, “Make order and cleanliness a habit.”  Process becomes all and it’s hard to argue against fair processes.  But vital opportunity is leadership-driven through predictable behavior. If “Weber’s Web” takes over rules govern, not people. And this road to nowhere is paved with good intentions. This visionless path spawned by rationality and procedural perfection, guided by management processes rather than ideas and passion, is full of potholes.

The real work of any organization of two or more people, public or private, should be excellence through the attainment of a vision guided mission.  However, bureaucracies are sanitized from any guiding perspective working under the assumption that because different moralities exist in pluralistic organizations, it is preferred that the organization have no perspective at all, moral or otherwise.

Teamwork and thoughtful mission directed processes shouldn’t be confused with bureaucracy.  Teamwork is essential, bureaucracy is crippling.   But fair processes are vital:  Don’t choke this idea for its seemingly autocratic tendencies.  Kevin Williamson in National Review Online argued last week that damning autocracy exists in bureaucracies upheld by rules established by committees.  Worse yet, nobody, not even leadership, appears responsible…just good managers following democratically determined processes and rules.  That should be Mr. Weber’s first law, make everyone responsible for nothing.  Such organizations claim to embrace “Management Morality” as a means to equity and fairness.

Managerial plebiscites are disingenuous and rudderless.  Indeed, the best ideas frequently well-up from the ground, not dribbling down from on-high.  Bureaucracies bent on a rule-driven aversion to risk create listlessness.  Organizational morality hates intelligence apart from process.  The morality of the bureaucracy is not wedded to the functional goal of excellence but procedural machination elevated to a perverse art-form of jots and tittles.

Initiative is replaced by the caprice of mindless obedience. Willful compliance based on a commitment to cause beyond process is invaluable, but mindless conformity to anything is worthless and suffocating.  This, for many organizations, is the operational morality paralyzing human initiative, commitment to high purpose, and progress that provides for liberty and achievement.
Our universities are too frequently bedeviled by the seemingly benevolent belief that procedural rationality creates quality.  Sorry, it won’t.  Bureaucracy birthed moral perspective should be checked at the front door:  It devastates everything a university, or any human organization, should strive for.

Arrest warrant issued in Smoke Break investigation

Benton — An arrest warrant has been issued for Erin Williams, a clerk at The Smoke Break, located in Benton.

Williams has been charged with four counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance.  The alleged offenses took place within 1,000 feet of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, making the charges each a Class 2 felony.

Law enforcement officers from Illinois State Police, Benton Police Department, West City Police Department and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department converged on The Smoke Break, located at 601 West Main last week armed with a search warrant.  The search warrant was obtained based on information conducted by state police and the Benton Police Department.

The Smoke Break has been the scene of police raids in the past.  Last year law enforcement officers searched the business as part of an investigation centered around allegations into the alleged delivery of a controlled substance analog or synthetic drug. Bath salts, spice and incense are oftentimes sold as a synthetic drug, which is illegal in the state of Illinois.






Obituary – Wanda Lee Crowder – Mt. Vernon

Wanda Lee Crowder, 85, of Mt. Vernon, died at 6:55 a.m. Sunday, August 11, 2013 at Stone Bridge Senior Living Center in Benton.

She was born in Whittington on March, 14, 1928, the daughter of William C. and Iva (McCann) Baxter.

She married Victor James “Vic” Crowder on June 24, 1950, and he preceded her in death on March 24, 2012.

Mrs. Crowder was a member of Rescue Freewill Baptist Church in Whittington.

She was a receptionist for several years at a local lumber company.

Mrs. Crowder is survived by two sisters, Venita Kern, Whittington and Barbara Lemons and husband Harold, of Mt. Vernon.  Other survivors include a niece, Loma Baxter, of Whittington; a great niece, Traci Kelley and husband Marty, of Whittington; great-great nephews Daylon, Jace and Lane Kelley and several cousins.

Mrs. Crowder was preceded in death by her parents, husband, brother Charles W. Baxter and a nephew, Charles M. Baxter.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, August 14 at Rescue Free Will Baptist Church in Whittington with Brother Bryant Harriss officiating.  Burial will be in Williams Chapel Cemetery in Ewing.  Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Morton & Johnston Funeral Home in Benton, and after 10 a.m. until the funeral hour on Wednesday at the Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Mrs. Crowder’s name may be made to Rescue Free Will Baptist Church.

Nature Craft Day Program set for August 10

Staff Report

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake invites you to attend this week’s Environmental Science Series program to be held in the Rend Lake Project Office/ Visitor Center on Saturday August 10th at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The hour-long program entitled, “Nature Craft Day” will be a ranger-led program that is fun for everyone.  With the help of the Rangers, you will create crafts using items from nature such as pinecones, twigs, and much more! When you are finished, you will get to take your crafts home with you! Participants must be at least three years of age and accompanied by an adult for this hands on crafting program.

“Nature Craft Day” is one of the programs in the continuing, summer-long Environmental Science Series programs. These programs are held each Saturday from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, are presented free of charge, and are suitable for all ages.

Corps of Engineers Park Rangers would love to see you at the up and coming Environmental Science Series Programs, August 17th, “Wow! Science Show” will be presented. The Science Center of Southern Illinois will wow you with the magic of science! For more information, please call the Rend Lake Project Office & Visitor Center at 618-724-2493 or like us on Facebook at Rend Lake Project Office/Visitor Center.

Quinn: Case over lawmaker pay could be ‘landmark’

CHICAGO — Gov. Pat Quinn says a lawsuit over his decision to suspend lawmaker pay for failing to act on the state pension crisis will be a “landmark” case.

Here’s the link to the story at the Springfield State-Journal Register.

Obituary – Mae Cavinder Miller – Valier

Mae Cavinder Miller, 99, died August 5, 2013 at 2:38 am, at her home in Valier surrounded the final week of her life by her family.

Mae was born to Edgar Lilliard and Carrie Ruth (Burkhart) Cavinder February 3, 1914 in Valier, IL. She was married to John Learned Miller May 27, 1933. He preceded her in death on October 8, 1983.

Mae is survived by a daughter Jo Ann (Miller) Girten of Valier, IL., daughter-in-law Vicki (Winchester) Miller of Key Stone, South Dakota.

Also surviving are grandchildren, Donald K. & Lyndy Girten of Benton, IL., Kelly (Girten) & Jerry Bate of Valier, IL., Cord & Lisa Girten of Valier, IL., Drake & Tabitha Miller of Benton, IL., Clay & Janice Miller of Carterville, IL., and Brandi (Miller) & Dan Tackett of Rapid City, South Dakota. A nephew she helped raise, Rennie & Karen Clark of Christopher, IL.

Surviving great-grandchidren are Chase Girten of Sesser,IL., Niki (Girten) Loyd of Scheller, IL., Ryan & Krystal Girten of Valier, IL., Kirsten (Johnson) & Ryan Goodisky of Belle Rive, IL., Codey & Jackie Girten of New York City, NY., Kaci Girten of Valier, IL., Trevor & Cady Girten of Wellington, Fla., Blaine, Makennah, & Madeleine Miller of Benton, IL., Zachary Miller of Carterville, IL., & Nash Tackett of Rapid City, South Dakota. Step great-grand children Jerry & Sandra Bate of Zeigler, IL., & Branon “Buck” Bate of Zeigler.

Surviving great-great-grandchildren are Kelsey Bate of Valier, IL., Addison & Sumer Harmon & Ben Loyd of Scheller, IL., Alyssa Girten of Christopher, IL., Step great-great grandchildren Dylon Kelly of Sesser, IL., Cody, Mikayla, Landen, Bella, Riley, & Brody Bate of Zeigler.

Mae graduated from Valier Community High School 1933, was a member of the Valier United Methodist Church since 1935, Eastern Star in Valier and Sesser, and Mates & Dates Square Dance Club in Mt. Vernon, IL. She was a homemaker and worked in Miller Electric with her husband Johnnie.

In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceeded in death by her son John Keith “Skip” Miller, sisters Dorothy Jacoby and Blanche Clark, brothers Earl and Harl Eugene Cavinder & special friend Estil Forth.

Services wil be at Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home in Sesser on Wednesday August 7, 2013. Visition will be from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with services following with Rev. Zach Waldis officiating. Internment will be at Maple Hill Cemetary Sesser.

Memorials may be made to Valier United Methodist Church or SSM Hospice of Illinois 2 Good Samaritan Way, Suite 325, Mt Vernon, IL. 62864.  Any memorials will be accepted at the funeral home.

Rednour: ‘At Du Quoin State Fair anything’s possible’

DU QUOIN — Is it possible that four major concerts will be free admission at this year’s Du Quoin State Fair?
With the Illinois Lottery and a handful of local sponsors, including Continental Tire of Mt. Vernon, anything is possible, says John
Rednour, Jr., manager of the Du Quoin State Fair.
dq fair logo
“This is an incredible opportunity for Southern Illinois,” Rednour said. “Thanks to these great sponsors, we are not charging $60 a ticket like it would take to attend one of these shows almost anywhere else in this country, but we are offering them for free.”
The free shows include Gretchen Wilson, Darryl Worley, Aaron Tippin, and Uncle Kracker.
“It’s taken some major financial backing to make this happen and I can’t begin tell you how proud we are of the sponsors who stepped up to make this happen,” Rednour said.
Sponsors include the Illinois Lottery (whose motto is ‘Anything’s Possible’), Black Diamond Harley-Davidson, Jackson Pools and Spas, Pass One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, Continental Tire, Peoples National Bank, the Cellular Connection, and Republic Services.
Thanks to Black Diamond Harley-Davidson and Jackson Pools and Spas, Uncle Kracker, an American rock musician known for his singles “Follow Me,” “Smile,” and “Drift Away,” will play free in the beer tent on Friday, August 23, beginning at 10 p.m.
“Uncle Kracker is extremely popular in Southern Illinois and the crowd that turned out for this show two years ago proved it,” Rednour said. “We heard from a lot of people who said we should have him back. Black Diamond Harley-Davidson and Jackson Pools and Spas are making this happen.”
On Sunday, August 25, country music sensation Darryl Worley, whose hits include “I Miss My Friend,” “Have You Forgotten?”, and “Awful, Beautiful Life,” will play free in the Illinois Lottery Grandstand during the fair’s second annual Veterans Appreciation Night.
The show includes a fireworks display after the concert.
“Every person in Southern Illinois and all surrounding areas need to be here for this show,” Rednour said. “This is a chance to show your deep appreciation for the freedoms of this great nation of ours and to salute the men and women who have fought and are fighting to keep us free. I cannot emphasize enough that this is a show you don’t want to miss.”
Francis Pass, owner of Pass One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, Continental Tire of Mt. Vernon, Peoples National Bank of Southern Illinois, and the Cellular Connection in Du Quoin are sponsors of the Darryl Worley concert.
On Wednesday, August 28, “The Redneck Woman” Gretchen Wilson is coming to Du Quoin.
“This is a hometown girl, a Southern Illinois born and raised musician who made it big in country music,” Rednour said. “Who hasn’t heard Gretchen’s Grammy Award-winning single ‘Redneck Woman?’ That song became a national sensation. She has followed that up with another 13 singles that made the Billboard country charts.”
The Illinois Lottery is sponsoring the Gretchen Wilson show as part of the Illinois Lottery’s Anything’s Possible Music Series that will be taking place throughout the state.
“When a large group of friends and neighbors in Pocahontas won a million dollars in last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Millionaire Raffle, we had no idea that our relationship with that beautiful community would extend to the star attraction at the Lottery stage,” said Michael Jones, Superintendent of the Illinois Lottery. We’re proud to be ‘here for the party.’ ”
“Everyone knows her as the ‘Redneck Woman,’” Rednour said. “She is a huge favorite in this part of the country, not just because of her music but because of where she is from.”
Wilson, 39, grew up in Pocahontas, a rural Southern Illinois community, with only the support of her mother. She dropped out of school at age 15 and began working as a cook and bartender.
“Gretchen Wilson is an American success story,” Rednour said. “She overcame great odds to become a star.”
Wilson is well-known for her songs “Redneck Woman,” Here For The Party,” and “All Jacked Up.”
On Sunday, Sept. 1, country music great Aaron Tippin will play in the beer tent thanks to a sponsorship from Republic Services.
Tippin is known for his singles “You’ve Got To Stand For Something,” Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly,” and “Kiss This.”
“This is going to be another great show and a great way to start winding down the fair,” Rednour said. “Aaron Tippin has charted more than 30 singles. Of his nine studio albums, five have gold certifications and one has a platinum certification.”
Republic Services is sponsoring the Tippin concert, a show that will be free in the beer tent starting at 10 p.m.
An 800-horsepower race car will serve as the 2013 parade marshal at the Du Quoin State Fair when it starts up in late August.
Planning for the 2013 Du Quoin State Fair has been in full swing for months, including making the fair’s annual parade a historic one.
“For the first time in the fair’s history, we are going to have something other than a person serve as parade marshal,” said fair organizer Shannon Woodworth. “We are very excited to announce that our parade marshal will be none other than the Lightning McQueen car.”
Lightning McQueen, of course, is a Disney animated character, but animation went to live creation when the Lightning McQueen car was built. The car resides in Illinois at the Volo Auto Museum.
“Lightning McQueen is a red blooded race car,” said Volo Museum Director Brian Grams. “Built to NASCAR specs, it is a full-blown, ready to race muscle machine with an 800-horsepower Chevy V8 engine and four-speed transmission. It has a fully caged chassis, special race seats, radio communications, four-wheel disc brakes, adjustable suspension and much more. In fact, everything you would expect to see on Dale (Earnhardt) Jr.’s car.”
Following the parade, the car will be placed on display at the fair from Friday, August 23 through Sunday, August 25. Weeks of West Frankfort is sponsoring Lightning McQueen.
“I think there will be a lot of children and other fair visitors who will want to have their picture taken with this car,” Rednour said. “It’s one of a kind and, as many people know, Lightning McQueen has world-wide popularity.”
While the arrival of the Lightning McQueen car will be the first exciting event at the fair that has wheels there are many other events already booked and being planned, Rednour said.
That includes Tony Petersen’s Hell Drivers featuring the greatest names in Hollywood stunt driving who will demonstrate 25 high-speed stunts featuring cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
“This is a show you will have to see to believe,” Rednour said. “These professional drivers can do things on wheels that you probably have only seen in the movies.”
Also coming to the fair is extreme freestyle motocross jumping.  “You will see the biggest tricks in motocross jumping during this show,” Rednour said. “They don’t call it extreme for nothing.”
So who else is coming to the fair? How about Billy Currington, Sawyer Brown, Matt Maher, Theory Of A Deadman, Montgomery Gentry, and Kansas?
Ticket sales for these shows started June 17 by calling the fair at 618-542-1535.
The fair opens Friday, August 23. On Saturday, Currington, who has six number one country hits, takes the stage at the Illinois Lottery Grandstand performing the chart topping songs “Pretty Good At Drinkin’ Beer,” “That’s How Country Boys Roll,” “People Are Crazy,” “Don’t,” “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right,” and “Good Directions.”
Currington has sold millions of albums and has toured with the likes of Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, and Sugarland.
“I believe Billy Currington will bring a lot of energy to the stage,” Rednour said. “The title of his new album is ‘Enjoy Yourself,’ and from what I hear about Billy Currington’s performances, he wants everyone to have a good time.”
Tickets for Currington’s show are $35/$30.
On Monday, August 26, Sawyer Brown, who has had more than 50 of its singles enter the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, will take the grandstand stage playing hits like “Some Girls Do,” “Six Days On The Road,” and “The Walk.”
Legendary country musician Lee Roy Parnell, “What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am?,”  and Grace Askew, a finalist on The Voice, will open for Sawyer Brown.
Tickets for Sawyer Brown are $25/$20.
“These guys are always a fan favorite,” Rednour said. “They energize a crowd with songs we can all relate to. Plus, the addition of Lee Roy Parnell and Grace Askew from The Voice make this show an opportunity to see some tremendous talent.”
On Tuesday, August 27, gospel music will reign at the grandstand led by music from Matt Maher and his new album, “All The People Said Amen.” Brittany Loyd, a 15-year-old singer from Carmi, will open for Maher. She has been singing professionally since age 5. Tickets for the show are $10.
“This is going to be a neat show having a young, local gospel artist open for a nationally known performer,” Rednour said.
On Thursday, August 29, Theory Of A Deadman takes the stage. The platinum-selling Vancouver band’s hard rocking songs are based on stories of good times, bad times, and everything in between. “Bad Girlfriend,”  “Hate My Life,” and “Not Meant To Be” are just some of the hits.
Opening for Theory Of A Deadman are the American rockers, Trapt.
Tickets for Theory Of A Deadman are $25/$20.
“When you look at You Tube and see three, four, and five million views on their videos, you realize just how popular a band this is,” Rednour said.
On Friday, August 30, Montgomery Gentry and hits like “What Do Ya Think About That,” “Where I Come From,” and “Something To Be Proud Of” will electrify the stage. Montgomery Gentry arrives in Du Quoin with a new label, a new album, and a renewed sense of musical purpose. Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry say they are poised to stake their claim as one of country music’s all-time greatest duos.
“This is one show country fans will not want to miss,” Rednour said. “These guys have 14 Top 10 singles, including five number ones.”
Drew Baldridge is opening for Montgomery Gentry.
Tickets for Montgomery Gentry are $35/$30.
Closing out the concert series will be Kansas on Saturday, August 31.
“Every classic rock fan has heard it, ‘Carry On My Wayward Son,’” Rednour said of one of the band’s and rock music’s most popular songs. “You’ve been listening and enjoying the music of this band for years.”
Kansas is currently celebrating its 40th year as a band. The band has produced eight gold albums, three sextuple-platinum albums, one platinum live album, and a million-selling gold single, “Dust in the Wind.”
The Fabulous Thunderbirds is opening for Kansas. The Fabulous Thunderbirds is an American, Grammy-nominated blues rock band formed in 1974.
Tickets for Kansas are $35/$30.
“Between our free shows and shows that require a ticket, there will not be a single night when something isn’t happening in the grandstand,” Rednour said. “This fair makes something incredible possible every night.”

Our Universities: Stewards — not Wards — of the State

State funding has its place but too much might create organizational laziness, leadership ineffectiveness, and unattainable expectations.  Unbridled dependence morphs into a form of gluttony.
“The more subsidized it is, the less free it is. What is known as `free education’ is the least free of all, for it is a state-owned institution; it is socialized education,  just like socialized medicine or the socialized post office  and cannot possibly be separated from political control.”
Frank Chodorov, “Why Free Schools Are Not Free,” 1948 _____________________________________________________
You may not like these few observations.  They may be misunderstood.

Walter Wendler mug 2All states are underfunding higher education compared to Cold War levels.  It won’t change. In addition, all states are underfunding every department from Agriculture to Workers Compensation…I looked for a state agency that started with “Z”, but “W” was the best I could do.

States have underfunded pensions, insurance systems, and other long-term benefit provisions.  Leaders expended funds from those coffers to help alleviate broken campaign promises in other areas: Robbing Peter to pay Paul.  Detroit may epitomize the phenomenon. It is not alone but the leading edge of a relentless curve.    Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs.  What else is new? It’s human nature from the beginning of recorded history.

Is higher education important?  Absolutely.  And so is Workers Compensation: just ask someone injured on the job.  Some beat the Workers Compensation system with false claims.  Some institutions beat the higher education system with false promises.
Many leaders fear underfunding of public higher education will lead to privatization of the enterprise. It’s too late.  That horse is out of the barn — in fact — it was never in the barn.  Public higher education, from its inception, has always been a marriage of public and private effort of individuals and institutions. And this coupling requires a unique view of leadership.

Universities are distinctive organizations in the matrix of entities that receive state support. By their nature the opportunity exists to use the primary function of the university to mine funds from other sources to augment state dollars.  For example, state dollars may be used to help build buildings, and those buildings provide classrooms, food service, residence halls, theaters, outreach, consulting, and stadiums that generate cash flow: a form of “fracking” for funding.

Heightened entrepreneurship, risk taking, courage, and vision are necessary. Not unlike Christ’s Parable of the Talents recorded in the 25th chapter of Saint Mathew’s Gospel; or John Milton’s sonnet, “On His Blindness” that also crystallizes the immutable responsibilities of stewardship.

Calculated risk and productive action are legitimate expectations.
State funding is down and costs — everything from plumbers to professors and milk to gasoline — are up.   Missions appropriate to available resources and institutional purpose are discoverable, but must be doggedly pursued and tailored to each other simultaneously.

To be sure, opportunity for investment differs by institution type.  In universities with extensive research activity, more entrepreneurism is possible.  Relationships with other funding agencies, private enterprise, and donors create partnerships and develop strength through diversity.  Bemoaning or retreating from scarcity provides neither solutions, nor progress.  It is a form of aggravated gluttony.

The best institutions ply their craft of promoting quality learning experiences and excellence in results with the resources that are provided. Guided by concerned faculty and institutional leadership greater freedom from interference of all kinds should accompany success in spite of declining state appropriations.

Limping leadership hardens inaction into a calcified culture and “woe-is-we” policy.  Institutional burdens have shifted to the statehouse, through dependence, and on to the White House, through low-cost loans, so universities could levy ever-increasing tuition and fees regardless of quality or benefits accrued to students.

The best institutions of every kind crave the concept of entrepreneurial spirit and the collective power of their faculty and students.  The state’s seed corn provides all institutions a chance for excellence through ingenuity and work.  The slothfulness of flagrant dependency kills quality.

Resourcefulness in response to a changed environment is not privatization, but savvy investment of scarce capital.
I told you — you might not like it.  But, that doesn’t change the reality our universities face.

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