November 10, 2010

Letter to the Editor: Passionate childcare debate must be civil

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To the Editor:

Re: “Skorton: University Will Continue Childcare Contract” News, Nov. 10

Permit me to make a brief comment about yesterday’s Sun news article. My decisions about the Childcare Center followed a thorough review of recommendations, and many supporting documents by the Faculty Senate and the University Assembly; consultation with many individuals and groups, including, but by no means limited to, colleagues in “the administration;” and many unsolicited communications from parents with children in the center, teachers and others. Some of the recommendations of the Faculty Senate and the University Assembly, it is important to note, were diametrically opposed to one another. In the end, I adopted some elements of each assembly’s recommendations and did not accept others.

No recommendations were disregarded, and no request for a meeting by the ad-hoc committee was ignored. I did respond, but only after taking the time to better evaluate all the advice I received. Ultimately, I listened to everyone before exercising my responsibility as president in making this decision.

Staff and faculty, we are all professionals. But, we will not make progress, as an institution, toward our collective vision if we cannot work in an environment of mutual respect for each other’s abilities and contributions regardless of our titles.

Words matter. And, in my judgment, on every issue we confront, especially those as important as the care of children, we must commit to a frank but civil exchange, without personal attacks or rancor. As the penultimate paragraph of the article indicates, we all share the same aim: that the children in the center are well served. In the weeks and months ahead, I ask that we set aside our differences and work together, as colleagues and partners, to that end.

President David Skorton