There's a saying in academic circles that the fights are so vicious because the stakes are so low. It took me a long time to understand this saying, but I've come to see the truth in it. On important matters, academics tend to pull together and get stuff done with little struggle. But, my god, if there's something stupid, folks will argue and scream and accuse each other of turning things "into something akin to a Communist showtrial and a call for a lynching."
So I can't help but feel like, now that we've reached the point where people are getting arrested in faculty meetings and accusing each other of conducting Communist show trials over at TSU, it must be that we've descended into something that ought to be inconsequential, but is spinning out of control.
After [Interim TSU President Portia] Shields unsuccessfully attempted to regain control of the meeting, TSU campus police were called. [Associate English professor Jane] Davis refused to leave the meeting and was escorted to the campus police department where she was charged with disorderly conduct, a class B misdemeanor.
Following her arrest, the Faculty Senate discussed results of the faculty survey and voted 21-3 to remove Davis from her position as Faculty Senate chair, [TSU director of media relations Rick] Delahaya said. The survey found that 69 percent of faculty members supported the decision to remove Davis.
Here's what I'd like to propose. The faculty and administration at TSU can have each other arrested to their hearts' content after their students can easily register for classes, after they have instructors in those classrooms on the first day, and after any thread on Facebook about some problem a student has at TSU doesn't descend into a 40-comment shared-commisseration-fest.
But as long as students are having enormous issues just getting TSU to function, the faculty and administration need to set aside their differences and get the school working. There will be time for low-stakes ridiculousness later.