Tracking the continued pattern of restaurant turnovers on Route 1, we observe that the Maryland Smokehouse is the latest victim. No explanation…. just locked doors and cleaned out interior.
What does this bring the number of failed businesses along Route 1 to? 6? 8? They come and go so quickly it’s hard to keep track.
… but area schools and many local governments are going out for the whole day. Whatever the merits of trying to keep business going here, being out of sync with the rest of the region means staff isn’t going to get much done on campus tomorrow whether or not we’re open. The only difference is that regard for our leadership is going to plummet faster than the temperature over night.
Today’s Washington Post carries an ‘after action’ description of what happened at UM with the Corcoran gallery project – or rather, what didn’t happen. While the writer doesn’t cast it as an overt slam against our campus leadership, he didn’t need to as the facts tell this story well enough.
President Loh and his administration handled this in much the same way as the other big changes to campus – top down, without consultation, heedless of consequences and poor follow through. Big 10, Purple Line, paved golf courses, wholesale replacement of STEM education degree programs – these are all from the same operation, and the only thing which distinguishes one from another is the pace at which the disastrous effects visit our door or the bills come due. With the Corcoran project, they got what they apparently wanted (a great press release about visionary moves) but then (judging from the article) gave next to no diligence in negotiation. They played the hand poorly and in the end were utterly blindsided at the outcome.
What’s worse is the effect in Annapolis. Each new surprise and its big costs to the state flagship erodes trust at the top. Again from the article, it was only a matter of days before the failure that President Loh was assuring legislators about smooth progress and prospects for success. Maybe he thought he needed that spin to get through budget hearings, but the reality is, legislators have long memories and longer knives. They’re seeing what his word is worth.
No matter whose fault or what happened to make things slip through, no elected official will want to be on record as voting to keep paying retail for these debacles – not in an election year. When constituents confront delegates and senators about the expensive and highly-visible failures of the last year, they won’t be happy to hear that their tax money will be used to buy more of the same. There has to be a reckoning. And when our campus is gigged in both budget and policy, there will be only one place to assign responsibility: the desk of our imperialist President Wallace Loh. After all, he never consulted the people in this community who he rules, so he has no place to lay blame.
A quick update you might not get from the campus about their data breach …
As of this morning, we were all told the other day, you can call Experian to find out directly whether our identity credentials were compromised and to sign up for coverage if so. However, not quite two hours into the day, calls to the number given by OIT’s Brian Voss — 866-274-3891 — do not go through. (“We’re sorry. All circuits are busy. Please try again later.”)
Apparently there is a lot of demand! Hopefully, this delay isn’t giving criminals a running start with our data, now a week or more out in the wild.
Campus leadership seems to like important-sounding press releases but is more than a little short on follow through, judging by the latest. The Corcoran Gallery, which had been the subject of grand announcements last year, is now no longer involved with Maryland. Instead, it will handle its uncertainty about the future by partnering with GWU.
Guess we missed any press release from Main Admin where they said “eh, we couldn’t make it work out.”
There is something fundamental missing in this latest development, or at least the reporting of it, which is: why does that matter? According to the article, unnamed representatives of two ACC schools approached unnamed Big 10 schools to invite them to leave. How is the correct response other than “so?”
Let’s not forget the other fundamental missing piece from this picture: the role of collegiate athletics in degree program outcomes. We’re spending how much money to litigate what? A dispute over broadcast rights and revenue? The correct response of real student athletes should be to join an informal intra-campus league, have fun there and let the highly paid coaches (and President Loh) figure out how which of them will cover the various positions on the field.
Well. At least for the coaches, who once again rank as among the most highly-paid state employees in Maryland. And this database doesn’t even reflect what they can pull down through the athletic foundations which largely do not need to report their special deals.
“Suddenly, nothing seems off the table.” That seems to sum up an article about the campus efforts to nurture a sense of community that extends beyond the campus border. There is no news in this piece, from a Sun staff writer and UM alumna, so one wonders why it appears today, but it describes recent failed efforts and projects a rosy future under President Loh.
We can guess what triggers publication, though, since the article also sticks entirely to the Loh talking points and looks no further. The lead: “A gleaming new apartment building with restaurants and bars on the ground floor has replaced an old pizza place and tire shop.” Yup – the concrete examples to illustrate our successes involve providing more places to drink (Jerry’s Subs and Pizza, that was razed to make way, didn’t offer booze) and more high rise investment opportunities to sustain cash-flow for the well-heeled campus players.
The article is short on any detail, other than to mention that any initiative floated by campus in recent history has been shot down just as soon as details appeared. It is all about big dreams.
Also absent from the
Loh talking points Sun article: any mention of football, the driver behind so many decisions shaping campus policy on town-gown relations; the evolving prospect of the Purple Line bisecting our campus, rattling our buildings and flattening our unwary students now and then; and – oh heck, someone has to say it – scholarship. Seriously – doesn’t anyone in Main Admin think that the “vibrant community” we all want might involve the quality of academics and research which might draw us here in the first place?