Now We’re Abstract
By John Dillon
To be sure, this piece is about a speech given on Friday the 13th of August by Murray State University President Randy Dunn and this writing is not intended to criticize President Dunn’s speech, but simply to note how ethereal a presence this communication was. To me, anyway. So it’s a bit narrow in focus toward the MSU community. Readers be warned…
I understand the specifics of tight budget years; yes, we can expect little in the way of pay raises for university employees; also, the tough mandate to increase student enrollment and retention at each of the Commonwealth’s higher education sites.
But the president’s message was essentially an enigma — allegorically hung in the air before us. There could be no specific answers to many of the rhetorical questions posed.
Ever been faced with a DETOUR sign that takes you to a mere patch of grass? Nice grass. But as Curly the Stooge used to say, “What do we do now?”
As to the answers: We must reinvent what we do. It will be exciting. But what must we do? Boxed in by financial and demographic realities, perhaps it is a conundrum — a riddle having only a conjectural answer.
I will argue that President Dunn showed high acumen in delivering these thoughts. Well stitched together, mediated by his statesman approach. That’s what troubles me. And that’s why we in the university community really need to ponder the next few years. They will likely arrive helter-skelter in spite of even our best efforts to control them.