Archive for Monday, May 10, 2010

Patience runs out

Haskell Indian Nations University doesn’t need a public relations campaign; it needs a strong leader.

May 10, 2010


After commencement ceremonies on Friday, the 2010 graduates of Haskell Indian Nations University are on their way. Unfortunately, the school they leave behind is still struggling with a lack of leadership and direction while federal officials continue to drag their heels on addressing the situation.

Haskell’s president, Linda Warner, has been absent from the campus since September, when the Bureau of Indian Education sent her to the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, N.M. In January, she was moved to the BIE’s regional office in Oklahoma City where she was said to be awaiting a decision on the hiring of a new BIE director, a post for which she was named as a finalist.

On Friday, it was announced that Keith O. Moore, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, will be the new BIE director. He reportedly is the person who will determine whether Warner will return to Haskell or someone else will replace her as president. In the meantime, Haskell is without a fully engaged president and is struggling to maintain its funding and direction for the future.

During their meeting last week, the Haskell Board of Regents approved for a second time a “no confidence” resolution aimed at Warner. At the same meeting, Haskell’s chief financial officer reportedly told the regents that the university would have to leave 24 positions vacant and cut several coaching contracts to meet a $3.4 million budget shortfall for the next school year.

What was the BIE’s response to these serious concerns? The announcement of a public relations campaign. BIE officials attended the Haskell regents meeting to tell them about a new “Haskell Gives Back” program to promote positive stories about Haskell to counteract the negative impression that some elected officials are getting about the school. Probably counted among those officials is U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., who has called for an investigation of complaints involving mismanagement and ethics issues at the school.

Lana Redeye, a member of the Haskell regents, was quoted in an area newspaper as responding to the BIE’s campaign, “The best thing that the federal government can give back to Haskell is stable leadership.”

We agree. The new BIE director should waste no time in assessing the situation at Haskell and putting the current leadership controversy to rest. The school doesn’t need a public relations campaign; it needs a strong leader who can attract needed funding and get Haskell back on track.


NMXeagle 7 years, 11 months ago

What do you mean by a "strong leader?" If the dysfunctional BIE would not get behind the previous leader who tried to raise standards and to make staff and students accountable, what makes you think they would bring in anyone else who would do that? Standing for those things do not appear to be desirable traits for a Haskell leader and looking at who is in charge right now tells everyone what the BIE really values.

Problems have been brought to light from all corners, ad nauseum. If BIE hasn't acted by now to deal with them then I sure would not put money down that it ever will.

haskellrises09 7 years, 11 months ago

The pending decision about who will lead Haskell Indian Nations University will be very revealing. It will reveal a lot about whether this new Bureau of Indian Education Director intends to change the organization he now leads in ways that acknowledge that it is a system in-crisis, or at least very broken. Or if he intends to just keep the boat from rocking. The managers leading reform efforsts throughout the BIE system seem to be floundering around for answers about what kinds of programs should be put in place while not looking at the real problems - the perpetuation of a 19th century system of education that has been proven to not work. It does not inspire students. It does not interest students. It does not keep students in school.

The HINU President decision will tell us if Dr. Moore has any insight, any guts, any real intention to do anything other than become a career bureaucrat in the federal system and do what he is told. New, bold, expert leadership is needed at Haskell and at BIE, which is ironic, since that is what haskell had before last September. If, and this is a big if, Moore puts such leadership in place, let's hope he doesn't allow the HINU Board of Regents and the incompetent manager of post-secondary education to run him/her off. What the lazy, irresponsible faculty/administration/board of Haskell did to Linda Warner is a shame. And the shame is on BIE for allowing it to happen.

goldpurple6 7 years, 11 months ago

I agree, a public relations campaign is not what is needed at this time. If the acting administration understood the inner workings of postsecondary education and the importance of building capacity, research (which aids in current teaching practices) and outreach then maybe they would not be in this predicament. Unfortunately, they along with their supporting administrator in DC lack the experience and barely have the education needed to run a postsecondary institution. What did Dr. Warner do that brought upon her removal? And why is it that the acting administrators who were given a directive not to speak to the media continue to violate it and do so? In the meantime only one side is being heard and Dr. Warner is unable to give her views of the current situation. Is there something wrong with this or am I missing something here?
The current acting administration I am told is undoing everything that would have justified Haskell being a university. I am sure it won’t be long before the RED Center, established for faculty and students to promote research, study abroad, fellowships and houses the visiting Fulbright Scholars program will be on the list to go because it was a Warner initiative. This is just one example, I am sure it will be a matter of time before other initiatives and programs created during Dr. Warner’s tenure will be dissolved. We have seen this acting administration stop the process of getting more 4 year programs at Haskell. The current acting administration recently solicited a call for proposals to aid in redeveloping their strategic plan. You would think there would be enough resources of people at Haskell, within the Bureau of Indian Education and BIA, and partnering organizations that might volunteer their time to assist with this effort. But I guess it is easier to pay out money that they don’t have. Does this make sense? Strong leadership is definitely needed at Haskell, the Bureau of Indian Education and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Danimal 7 years, 11 months ago

The Fed should either close Haskell, or get serious about making it a decent university. With the right leadership in place Haskell could have a satellite campus on every major reservation in the country.

doubledogleg 7 years, 11 months ago

strong leadership at BIE and at Haskell should focus on the fundamentals of educating students to compete in today's world rather than fostering a politically correct environment with little accountability among faculty, employees or student body.

Caesarea 7 years, 11 months ago

(haskellrises09) I don't think it is Dr. Moore. It is still mister. And this editorial seems at odds with LJW's article that says "Warner bypassed for Director job" which would have more accurately been "Warner, Hamley, Martin, Longie, Cook, Stevens bypassed for Director" I guess Mark Fagan has a bit of a bias in reporting the facts; probably the "queen of mean" pissed him off and he knows she can't publicly say anything.

If we assume that everything said about Warner is true (good and bad) and everything said about actings is true (good and bad) then I wonder if it is better to a Queen of Mean or Evil and Incompetent? Just rhetorical, but this is a Blog.

It's too bad Warner can't publicly comment about the vote of no confidence. Especially in light of the fact that her initial vote of no confidence in the Board of Regents caused it. I think it was Warner who took the staff's advice and asked why are we paying all this money for these guys to come at GRaduation and Homecoming to do no business, make no recommendations on how they are going to work to create a university (probably because most have never seen how a real university works) but take their per diem and pester haskell staff to take them to walmart. Isn't there a walmart in every town in this country now?

Give and take all of this speculation, you still can't get past the fact that Stephanie Bighorn is responsible and that makes Larry Echohawk responsible for not supervising her and Ken Salazar responsible for not superivising him. Oh yes, and the President, an office that waits until a Cobell litigation size problem arises before it is addressed. Obama inherited another mess.

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