David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
When Things Are Rotten

July 23, 2015

So, news out of Ohio today that Wright State admits it conducted a secret investigation into its Provost and two other administrators.  It is not clear yet what the university was investigating or why, only the promise that "all of us are diligently working to gather facts, improve processes, and conduct ourselves as responsible leaders should.” 

I am not sure how confident any of us are in "responsible leaders" who conduct secret investigations that they only publicly admit to when the word is clearly out on the street that they are conducting a secret investigation.  The problem is that you really can't expect "transparency" in a world where protection of the brand is so important that it is triple-wrapped in non-transparent covers.

I've come to believe the last few months that higher education needs its own band of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, a collection of protectors of the underdog, not afraid to storm the corridors of power to take from the rich and to give to the poor.

What would our higher ed. version of the Robin Hood legend look like?

  • The entire hemisphere of the legend occurs most certainly within the domain of Southern Rottinghampshire University.
  • The band of outlaws live within Purewood Forest.  While of noble intentions, they are scarred, bitter people ruined by the industry that they once pledged allegiance to.
  • Robin Good, the leader or the band.  His background is not known to anyone.  All anyone can assume is that Southern Rottinghampshire University must have crossed him in some really ugly way, because he has made it his life's ambition to stick it to the university anyway he can.
  • Tired F*ck, the overweight, foolish, lecherous long-time faculty member who gave up on academia and joined the gang.
  • Middle Pawn, the former classic middle-level manager, probably a director of testing or tutoring, long downsized by South Rottinghampsire University. 
  • Phil Wallet, ex-CFO of South Rottinghampshire University, who told King Con to piss off during a staged budget hearing and resigned on the spot.
  • Allin Fo' Ale, the band's minstrel, who composes bawdy ballads about the men's exploits, done all the better when he is dead drunk.
  • Maid Carrion, former Southern Rottinghampshire University nursing student, kicked out of the program and left for dead in the forest.  Robin found her and nursed her back to full strength. And since everyone knows that hell knows no fury like a scorned nursing student, she is an important plotter for the band.
  • King Con, the President of Southern Rottinghampshire University.  Much like King John in the historical record surrounding a potential Robin Hood, King Con lost land (enrollment) to competitors and the only way he could react was to raise taxes (tuition).  He is universally loathed in his own land, but only Robin Good and his Merry Men can say anything directly.
  • The Serif of Rottinghampshire, the insignificant little man attached to King Con who carries out the bulk of his brutality.  He is the classic yes man and ends up being Robin's main enemy through their exploits.

What are some of those legendary exploits?

  • Robin and his Merry Men change all of the signs leading to Southern Rottinghampshire University, whose directional signs espouse their motto, "This Way To The SHRU-ed Choice."  Robin and his gang have been known to change the signs to read "This way to the SCRU-ed Choice."
  • Robin and his Merry Men snuck in un-noticed to the Southern Rottenhampshire University all-employee meeting and replaced King Con's picture with that of King Dedward's, Con's predecessor, universally despised at the time, with the question, "Miss Me Now?" splattered across Dedward's picture.
  • Maid Carrion wrote a letter asking the head of the nursing accreditation association to make an un-announced visit to the campus.  King Con was shocked to find one of the accreditor's visitors was his illegitimate daughter.  Since then, he has been forced to pay $1000 a month in retroactive support.
  • Tired F*ck pantsed the Serif of Rottinghampshire, proving him to be a eunuch.  All his boasting about being a dangling modifier were cut off at that point.
  • Phil Wallet disguises himself as an auditor and comes in demanding that Southwestern Rottinghampshire open their books.  When administration refuses, he calls in Middle Pawn, disguised as a wealthy donor, who threatens to pull his name off of the school's auditorium. The Serif tries to suck up by playing with the donor's pet poodle, who proceeds to bite him and pee all over the Serif's $5000 suit.
  • The Serif of Rottinghampshire rides into Purewood Forest seeking amends.  He proceeds to try and throw money at the Merry Men to get them to stop their "campaign of harrassment."  Robin burns the money in a fire, and a seriously drunk Allin Fo' Ale throws up all over the Serif's $8000 suit.


The truth of the matter is that such exploits would merely annoy the powerful that rule most institutions of higher education.  Robin Hood and his Merry Men, if they really existed, didn't really change the societal problems of their time; their legends live on as representative of the hope we all have that the unscrupulous, amoral portion of our society will pay.  I have to believe there will one day be a legion of underdogs like Robin Good's Merry Men who would turn the Wright way of dealing with issues into the Right Way.