Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Thanksgiving Massacre

The NYTimes has reported on the terrible Thanksgiving Massacre at Interlochen.
(click on the title of this post to link to the NYTimes article)

In a recent post, I suggested that there’s a problem with bringing in the outsider CIO to come in and give the arts community the efficient business model. I regret that Interlochen has made itself a prime example. They brought in Kimpton and he showed the door to the musicians. How did he decide whom to fire?

These firings are personal and not professional. Some of the people who lost their jobs were the finest teachers and leaders that Interlochen had to offer students. Certainly, they fired the most loyal to the camp, the ones who had been giving their summers to Interlochen for decades. Why? Personal vendettas? Either the thought that was put into this was malicious and abominable or it was thoughtless. Either way, it had the spirit of Stalinism.

As a mental exercise, I’ve imagined reframing the situation in an academic setting. What if Kimpton had come to a university and axed the faculty that he thought didn’t like his policies regardless of ability, tenure, rank, or service. Imagine that he didn’t stop until over half of the faculty was gone. Of course, that’s all quite unimaginable because academia has checks and balances to prevent such nonsense. Evidently, Interlochen does not.

I was a student at Tanglewood when Seiji similarly decided to tear the place apart on his way out. The effect wasn’t positive. I wonder if Kimpton knows about that lesson already learned?

As a former member of the faculty, I stand in solidarity with those holding pink slips. Although I haven’t been ‘up north’ for several years, I understand how difficult this will be for you come June.


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4:16 AM  
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3:40 AM  

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