We’ve all heard the expression about how hard it is to turn a battleship around. Giant ships moving forward have momentum to keep going in a straight line. But they can be turned around.
Yesterday we posted about the Judge Cunningham case. It is symptomatic of a larger problem in Murphy Hall. What should have occurred in that case is a prompt apology by the chancellor and appropriate internal action. If you were reading this blog at the time of the event, you would have found that suggestion. Instead, what occurred was defensive legalism which is still going on. So now we have a claim against the university for $10 million. The episode is also marked by a complete sense of divorce from all the supposed concern about “campus climate.”
An extra $10 million could have nicely resolved the UCLA Japanese Garden affair – see our posts on that matter – still in litigation, by the way, because the ship just sailed on in that case, too.
And let’s not get started on the colossal hotel project underway in the center of campus that could have been scaled back to something appropriate and better suited to the wishes of the donor and the needs of the campus. But instead we have more litigation there. Another battleship.
In each case, the battleship could have been turned before damage was done. But there was no order from the top to do so. Where is the captain?
UPDATE: The Daily Bruin now carries the Cunningham story in which the university responds with vague statements about being “distressed” that the judge feels bad but continues its legalistic approach – with no sign of intervention by the captain.
“We are distressed when anyone feels disrespected by our officers or anyone who represents UCLA,” university officials said in a statement Monday. “As in this case, feedback to UCLA Police provides them the opportunity to review their actions, tailor future trainings and improve performance to reflect the department’s commitment to excellence.”
$10 million in “feedback”?