We share a common purpose, I hope. We want to foster a generation of strong, informed, involved, risk-takers, people ready to take on life and the world, people ready to leave a better world behind them.
We share a vision. We believe that people who determine the path of their own education are more likely to stay the course, to go to depth, to connect their education with their future and the world, to take that to places we can't even imagine. We believe this is good.
I am a parent of four exceptional children. My mother was a nurse. On her first day of rounds as a student nurse in the psych ward, the Attending told her class “the people you see here are people who never had any limits.”
Evergreen is a “think outside the box” kind of school. This is impossible when the box isn't clearly defined or doesn't even exist.
The recent kerfuffle surrounding Professor Weinstein suggests there is at least a part of the student body (perhaps abetted by outside forces) that simply hasn't been informed of the ground rules.
The context was clear in 1971. Evergreen provided a level of self-direction and academic freedom not available elsewhere. But this was on the background of the turbulence of the late 60s, and of primary and high-school educations that were perhaps somewhat brutal boxes.
What's missing is a powerful and empowering context. The people coming into our colleges and universities are in many ways much more child-like than our generations ever were. They are unfortunately figuring out at the university what many of us figured out on the school yards and unsupervised streets and playgrounds of our youth.
If we want Evergreen to remain ever green, we'll need to get back to some basic conversations about rights and responsibilities, about respect, about the box in which we are all willing to grow together, and outside of which we can think.
I know you've got a hiring freeze on. But I also get you can't freeze yourself out of existence.
I am willing to Take the Stand and to take the heat. This is of course if you are willing to provide me the authority. All Mr. Bridges will need to do is say “See (Vice President/Dean/Director/Special Counsel/Parent You Never Had) Herz,” and I'll take care of the rest.
You can, of course, commission some McKinsey style study to tell you the same thing, or whatever you really want, but will that half million dollar glossy booklet really help?
Or you can hire me to step in and be the parent these kids never had, and provide them the future and the promise for which Evergreen stands.
David R. Herz