UAH President Dr. David B. Williams resigns… as predicted.
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Regular readers of this blog will note that in an earlier entry entitled “UAH President Dr. David Williams to resign” which was published Wednesday, February 17, 2010, I predicted Williams’ resignation.
Today’s – Tuesday, March 15, 2011 – Huntsville Times front page headline which read “Williams surprises UAH with departure,” comes as no surprise at all.
What I found particularly interesting about the article was that the story written by Lee Roop – a very talented and gifted writer whose style I admire (Lee, if you’re reading this, I wish you’d write more “fun” stuff as you had previously) – had a different tenor than the sidebar entitled “Timeline: Dr. David Williams at UAH.” The timeline was essentially the ‘highlights’ of what was essentially, a very negative presidency. It wasn’t that the timeline was out of sorts with Williams’ so-called accomplishments, but that his brief history at UAH was continuously
pock-marked characterized by strife, conflict, outrage by faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community alike. The capstone of his brief presidency was, perhaps, the Amy Bishop mass murder. As I had written, “Presided over the UAH Mass Murder” – That WILL NOT look good on a resume!”
March 2007 – “Immediately talks about increasing research ties with the Army at Redstone Arsenal.”
Translation: Criticizes the university & RSA’s efforts.
April 2008 – “Williams unveils his “Powers of 10” goals to increase research money, doctoral degrees, student population and other indicators.”
Translation: UAH has been a failure to this point.
March 2009 – “The Huntsville Times reports on campus frustration with Williams’ governing style. Williams cites the problems of leading after a national economic collapse. By now, the university has lost another $12.6 million in state funding.”
Translation: Williams’ bull-in-the-china-shop approach wins no friends, and he refuses to accept responsibility for failures that occur under his direction.
April 15, 2009 – Williams announces the hiring of former NASA Administrator Dr. Michael Griffin to lead a new systems engineering center.
Translation: Williams announces a $350,000/year salary & automatic tenure mistake who will invent a contrivance which will waste more money than it brings in.
April 29, 2009 – “All 25 academic department chairs write an open letter expressing “deep and intense dissatisfaction with the way in which important decisions are being made” and claim “faculty morale is at an all-time low.”
Translation: In about two years into your presidency, you have already demonstrated your abysmal and utter disregard for faculty, students and staff.
Nov. 19, 2009 – “UAH announces it will require all freshmen and sophomores to live on campus. Fearing a loss of local students, the faculty senate considers a vote of censure.”
Translation: Further evidence that Williams has NO CLUE about leadership, and alienates himself from those whom he should support – not vice versa.
Jan. 8, 2010 – “Williams survives a 20-18 vote against censure in the faculty senate.”
Translation: You are STILL doing a crummy job, and we want to make damn sure you know it, buddy!
Feb. 12, 2010 – “An assistant biology professor, Dr. Amy Bishop, is accused of opening fire in a faculty meeting on campus, killing three professors and wounding three more, police say. Williams’ leadership in the weeks following wins high praise from trustees.
Translation: Not from students, faculty, staff or the community.
Feb. 28, 2010 – UAH bends on the housing policy and allows freshmen and sophomores to stay at home.
Translation: The students, parents, community, faculty, and staff were so outraged that the Alabama State Legislature almost enacted a law which would have negated Williams’ bull-headed requirement.
March 2010 – Dr. Shankar Mahalingam, former chair of the mechanical engineering department at the University of California, Riverside, is named dean of the UAH engineering program. It is, along with Griffin, one of several high-profile hires.
Translation: Even though one of Williams first acts was to fire many faculty, and staff whose efforts brought the university to it’s present status, he hires others at exorbitant salaries, and whom know little or nothing about this community or more importantly, the institution.
August 2010 – UAH announces enrollment has dipped only 1 percent, less than feared after the housing announcement and faculty shootings.
Translation: Williams’ plans are STILL experiencing failure.
February 2011 – UAH marks the one-year anniversary of the campus shootings.
Translation: Dr. David B. Williams name will forever be attached to that horrible tragedy.
March 14, 2011 – Williams announces his resignation effective April 1.
Translation: I’m the joker. Oh happy day! Hallelujah!
Ironically, even Williams’ departure shows NO REGARD for the students. Why? In about three months – June – UAH will be graduating another class of students, undergrad, and graduate alike. And whose signature will be upon the diplomas? Leave those students hanging. That solitary action really shows your lack of character. Great… just friggin’ great, Dave. You are a thoughtless cowardly quitter – among other things. At this juncture, I shall refrain from other vulgar or obscene pejoratives, though in my opinion, you are worthy of them all. Goodbye, and good riddance! A word of parting advice: Don’t let the door hit you on your butt on your way out!
UA System trustee & president pro tempore of the board Finis St. John IV said, “I’m not sure what his plans are, but we wish him very well in the future. There’s nothing more to it than that.” By that solitary remark, you can be assured there IS something “more to it than that.” St. John followed up his remark by saying that UA System trustees “have been hearing from the system office about what was going on for a little while.”
On of the first signs of Williams’ bull-in-the-china-shop approach was his unilateral decision to change the name of the university from “The University of Alabama in Huntsville,” to “UAHuntsville.” Interestingly, the newspaper, community members and others still refer to it as “UAH.”
The newspaper quoted Dr. Michael Griffin – whom Williams’ hired with automatic tenure, and at a salary only slightly below his as president, and which was several times more than Griffin was making as head of NASA – as saying “Dave is a natural leader…” etc., ad nauseam. Yeah, I suppose if you were lucky enough to get a job making several times more than what you made as Director of NASA, and with automatic tenure, you’d say ‘nice’ (suck up) things too. The BAD thing about Griffin is that he’s just like Dave – over educated idiot. (Misery loves company, you know.) The reader should bear in mind that I am not by any stretch of the imagination opposed to education, technical certification and skill. I am opposed to poor leadership – which is more appropriately termed ‘misleadership’.
I have been told by folks who were in attendance with Griffin at a local dinner fete that Griffin sat at the table engrossed with his Blackberry the entire time, and said not one word to other guests in attendance. He made no attempt to engage in any social interaction. Griffin, by his own admission, has poor people skills, and shortly after the 2010 November General Election, he was reported by the Orlando Sentinel – eventually making worldwide news – that he had been engaged in a shouting match with the soon-to-be #2 in charge of NASA, Lori Garver, which episode was witnessed by several others – though they declined to give their names.
Griffin may be a technical expert – witness his numerous degrees – but he is a social misfit, and should NOT be an executive in charge of any people. And he is CERTAINLY overpaid. Williams had the gall and audacity to hire Griffin at a hugely exorbitant salary ($350,000 & automatic tenure) – which was only slightly below that of his as UAH President – even after firing many others at UAH, some of whom were only a few years away from retirement, and had made numerous longstanding contributions to the University – in stark contrast to Williams’ bull-in-the-china-shop mismanagement approach.