Missed opportunity for reconciliation
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Correction: Palmisano was walking into the building, not out, when, after further clarification by demonstrator Ashley Bair, whom Palmisano’s remark was directed toward, he said, “I have no confidence…” not “We have no confidence…”
After yesterday’s Honors College ceremony (see here), UA trustee Ralph Palmisano walked to the College St. entrance doors and up the two-tiered steps, near where a small group of students stood protesting University mismanagement.
“We have no confidence in Scarborough!” one of the demonstrators yelled, referencing the UA faculty senate’s possible vote of no confidence in Scarborough today.
Palmisano turned, faced the protestors, and wryly said, “I have no confidence in you.”
Soon after, UA Vice President of Advancement Larry Burns walked out the same doors. He stood at the top of the steps and was soon approached by one of the protestors, graduate student Tom Guarino, who asked him a series of questions.
Burns turned around and walked back inside.
Herein lies one of the fundamental problems at UA. Put simply, constituents are not being heard. But not only are they not being heard – they are actively ignored.
Palmisano and Burns both came from the banquet held in the Honors College first floor hallway after the formal ceremony.
Crowded in this hallway were some of UA’s most important, influential leaders, including trustees, vice presidents, the president, student leaders, and others – most of whom eventually walked out the same doors as Palmisano and Burns.
Most of whom, as well, wholly disregarded the students outside – turned quickly, dropped their heads, or in some other way avoided them.
Any group of students, no matter how small, deserves to be heard. The opportunity was there. Reconciliation was there. The chance for administrators to console and comfort, inform and educate their concerned students, was there; but like so many other similar instances, it was missed.