Situation a little too cozy

In 1988, a book called “Profscam” did a little more than raise a few eyebrows on college campuses. The book tackled the issue of college professors doing little and getting a lot.

obert Nisbet, professor emeritus at Columbia University, commented on the book and its contents by saying, “In our present hidebound secular-yuppie society, the American university is too often the object of hushed-voice piety.” In Nisbet’s opinion, the bastion of openness that should exist on a college campus was being circumvented by power and money-hungry professors.

Recently, this same type of “hush hush” arrangement for university employees who are doing little and getting a lot was repeated for three NIU public administration faculty members.

In a memo sent anonymously to The Northern Star, James Banovetz, professor and director of the public administration division of NIU’s political science department, proposed a re-evaluation of job duties for three public administration faculty members. The faculty members are Clyde Wingfield, William Monat and Paul Culhane.

This “negotiated idiosyncratic personnel weighting scheme” raises many questions, but the one that should be addressed first and with the most scrutiny is the fact that these men are receiving special treatment. Standards are out the window.

It is great to see a person receive justified rewards for exceptional service. If you do something above and beyond the call of duty, you deserve recognition. However, if you throw standards aside, what are you left with? You are left with the possibility of anyone receiving special consideration over the rest of his or her colleagues. In the large scheme of things, this breeds resentment. And that resentment is already being voiced by some members of the political science department.

If one digs even deeper into the connections between two of the men and Banovetz, a cozy relationship is revealed, a relationship that calls to account the motives behind the proposals.

We can start by noticing the long-term relationship between Monat and Wingfield. It reveals that the two have had employment connections all around the nation.

When Wingfield was under consideration for the NIU presidency, Monat served as the Board of Regents’ chancellor. The chancellor and the Board of Regents decide, among other things, who will be president at a Regency school, and Wingfield was unanimously accepted for the position.

Monat and Wingfield also worked together prior to Wingfield’s appointment. This time, it was at Baruch College of the City University of New York. Monat was academic vice president, and Wingfield was the university’s president.

Also, sources have told the Star that when Wingfield was associate professor and director of public administration between 1962 and 1964—the job that Banovetz currently holds—he hired Banovetz into the department.

This all appears to be much too cozy a setup. One might ask what Banovetz could achieve by scratching the backs of the two administrators, and an answer might be too elusive to find, but the question does remain. What’s in it for Banovetz?