Editors Raise Merger Question

We had thought that the reorganization of the Montana University System would reduce the proliferation of bureaucracy. However, it appears from the Merger Newsletter, a new publication, that there will be a significant increase.

Moreover, during a recent meeting of the editorial board of The Montana Professor in Helena, the members expressed dismay at the following announcement in the EMC [MSU-Billings] Merger Newsletter:

Please note that point of contact persons have been appointed at Montana State University-Billings, Ken Woosley (ext. 2268), and at the College of Technology (Mr. Bill Barr, 656-4445 ext. 125 or 135).

These point of contact persons are to be notified by individuals on their respective campuses as to who is contacting whom and the subject matter of the contacts. For example, if someone at MSU-Billings plans to make contact with someone at MSU-Bozeman, please contact Mr. Woosley. Weekly reports will be given to Dr. Sexton in order to keep track of initiated contacts between and among persons on the various campuses.

Because of the potential chilling effect on, if not outright censorship of, free speech and academic freedom rights of faculty, we have invited the administration of EMC to clarify their intentions in this statement from the newsletter.

President Carpenter's Response

Thank you for your concern. For your information, the intent of asking for Ken Woosley to be contacted with information is not to inhibit contact, but to be informed as to what is happening with respect to the merger. As to other contacts between faculty on various campuses, I would anticipate that they will continue as they have in the past. There is an appropriate need to know of discussions regarding merger that are taking place and what, if any, commitments are being made. Since the administration will ultimately be held responsible for the success or failure of the merger, I do not believe it is inappropriate to ask for basic information.

As to the Merger newsletter, we have been asked by a number of persons on campus, students, faculty, staff, and administrators, to communicate the status of the process and that is what we are trying to do. I would rather be accused of too much communication than too little. If you would like to discuss the matter further, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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