Incoming President Brands Silber "Paranoid Megalomaniac"
I didn’t actually work for the bastards I would think this is the funniest
story to come out of higher education in years. On the eve of his
installation, the Board of Trustees has withdrawn its support for incoming
BU President-in-waiting Daniel Goldin.
The problem, as it has been at BU for the past 32 years, is John Silber,
the acerbic meritocrat who has ruled the University like his own personal
medieval serfdom, while masquerading as a liberal Democrat.
In fact, one of the quintessential Silber moments came when he ran for
governor as a Dem in 90 and was in position for a slim victory over Bill Weld
when, on election eve, in an attempt to make himself appear more "human",
he invited TV reporter Natalie Jacobsen into his home to report on Silber
and his family relaxing after the hard campaign. Natalie had the temerity
to ask him some tough, political questions, and Silber had a meltdown,
on camera. He excoriated the poor reporter for "invading his privacy"
and "crossing the line" and basically threw her and her camera crew out
of his house.
The next day he lost the election by a narrow margin. The BU community
was devastated, realizing that ascending to the Governors mansion was
the only way they were going to be rid of the man before the end of the
Silber has undoubtedly dragged BU onto the top shelf of American universities,
and deserves credit for that, but sheesh, the guy has been in power for
longer than Fidel Castro, and has outlived his usefulness to a similar
degree. Like many stellar figures in outmoded institutions, he has come
to think of himself and the university inter-changeably, and can’t imagine
it having any worthwhile existence apart from him.
Goldin, realizing what he was taking on, made it clear from the start
that a major University can only have one President, and he was not interested
in the position unless he had assurances that Silber would step down
from the Chancellorship and resign from the board of trustees. Silber
agreed, and was one of Goldin’s big boosters.
But as the hour of his departure grew nearer, and as Goldin gradually
revealed his plans to revamp the university and replace many Silber appointees
and hires, Silber decided maybe he wanted to stay on the board, and
the Executive Committee announced that he was welcome to continue to
attend their meetings.
Well, I’m sure Goldin saw that coming. He went back to the Board
with his "We had a deal" and at this point the Board, all of whom were
named by Silber and are to some degree his supporters or
sycophants leaked the following juicy nugget to the Boston Globe.
"Some board members felt Goldin
was disrespectful toward Silber, and seemed bent
close to the trustees. For example, Goldin told some trustees that he
had asked a psychiatrist to analyze Silber, and the psychiatrist concluded
that Silber was a "paranoid megalomaniac," according to two
sources close to trustees."
How delicious! Of course, everybody who has ever had anything to do
with BU KNOWS that Silber is a paranoid megalomaniac, but you can’t SAY
it in public if you want to keep your job. Who leaked? That
is one of the intriguing aspects of the case.
Goldin knows at this point that he is cooked and seems to be jockeying
for a generous consolation prize. Not only did he sign a 5 year
contract for $900,000 per (plus house and car and other perks), but
he was whining to the Board today that he had already sold his house,
transferred his consulting clients to other firms, resigned from various
boards to avoid conflicts of interest, and otherwise committed to his
sealed deal. It is pretty obvious that he is in the process of extorting
as much as possible out of the University for its callous indiscretion.
How much is it going to cost the university? No one knows, but
clearly many millions of dollars, apart from making BU the laughingstock of higher eduation. Meanwhile the professors, who have been told the
University is in a financial crisis and that they have to pitch in to
buy toner cartridges for the copy machines, and who haven’t gotten a
raise in three years, are up in arms. Embarrassed, chagrinned and ashamed
belong to such a blundering bunch of boobies. They are demanding Silber
Of course, the last time the faculty stood up to Silber, when they tried
to form a union back in the 80′s, he fired dozens of them and nipped
that little conspiracy in the bud. Hopefully, he has no idea the Dowbrigade
is on his payroll.
from the Boston Globe