Thursday, October 11, 2007

Brewer vs. Bruininks: The Aftermath

(and Kudos to Mr. Maturi)

Mr. B. posted Sunday on the pulling of a football "scholarship" at BigU, based on an article in the Daily and comments from a letter writer. He has had some luck in raising issues on the website Mnspeak ( that has some rather odd conventions of what constitutes a legitimate post. Apparently it is ok to put up some links for the post, in fact this is encouraged. But linking something of your own is not supposed to be done, except for rather vague circumstances, i.e. the moderator decides.

A post on the Science Classroom situation that cited only an article in the Pioneer Press was deemed appropriate and generated a good discussion (50 posts) of the issues involved.

An attempt to post on another issue was deemed inappropriate. Unfortunately, the only way you can determine that the moderator does not like the post is that it never shows up on the main board. An attempt over the weekend to introduce the football scholarship issue was, apparently, unsuccessful so the issues was raised on a Gopher athletics site, the Gopher Hole . There again a reasonable discussion ensued over the matter. On Monday, however, the Mnspeak post magically appeared. A reader complained about a link to the Periodic Table and Mr. Bonzo noted that he had no objection to the post being pulled as the issue raised had already been discussed elsewhere. This happened.

Summary: Both Mnspeak and the Gopher Hole seem to be reasonable places to post on issues of University of Minnesota interest. The GH is obviously for athletics only. Don't post either place if you have thin skin. The rules for posting on Mnspeak seem to be a little ambiguous, but that gives the moderator some discretion, which is fine.

Communication: Mr. B. sometimes sends emails to University people in connection with his posts. It seems like dirty pool to ask OurLeader questions on the blog, without giving him the opportunity to know they are being asked. He is, of course, free to ignore both emails and posts.

Over the week-end Bonzo missives went out to administrators, regents, politicians, and the AD, Joel Maturi, to whom Mr. B. has not been particularly kind on the PT.

Whatever else you might say about Mr. Maturi, he is not an artful dodger concerning emails. And he must be one of the hardest working people at the U. I heard from him late at night and at 6:30 in the morning. He also presented in detail the Athletic Department's side of the story without consulting a spinmeister or hemming and hawing, or worrying about what I might do with his reply. By the way, I don't plan on doing anything with his emails. They are private as far as I am concerned. I only use material freely available to anyone with access to a web-browser, such as newspaper articles, web-site postings, or blanket emails. Something written in haste and in good faith in an email should not be used to embarrass a person or to try to make them look stupid.

The only other person in BigU's administration who is in Mr. Maturi's class as far as communication goes is Frank Cerra. I have dissed Dr. Cerra in the PT plenty. But if you send Frank an email you will get a response from him, personally and very quickly if he is in town. If you want to see him personally he will arrange this quickly, even if it is at seven in the morning. I am always amazed that Frank will do this, as busy as he is; other administrators, who will go nameless, have communications directors or chiefs of staff who deal with the hoi polloi - you will never get anything directly from them. Kind of reminds me of my time at 3M. The good managers and even Technical Directors would actually come down to the lab and talk to the peons. This kind of thing doesn't happen (enough) at BigU. Our administrators, Dr. Cerra excepted, are too busy trying to emulate what they think are acceptable business practices.

Ciao, Bonzo


Anonymous said...

Please forgive my intruding. I'm interested in knowing if you are the person who posted the Wikipedia entry on Erich Heller. The article (which has unfortunately been butchered since its initial posting) was a work in progress -- additional information about Heller's life and work were forthcoming.

If you are the person in question, are you planning to post an expanded version of the article somewhere on the web? If you are not the person who wrote the article -- I'm sorry for bothering you. Your blog, though, is very amusing.

Mr. B. said...

Thanks for your comments.

Although I am a great admirer of Erich Heller, I am not the person who butchered the article on Wikipedia...