"Leadership questioned as enrollment falters"

Ninth in a series
Retriever (Volume 16, Number 13)
November 23, 1981
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Fall of 1973 came and brought with it a problem UMBC had never faced before.

UMBC had announced for the first time in its brief history that its enrollment projections were over estimated. There were also financial aid problems with the federal government.

In a statement by Chancellor Calvin B.T. Lee to the Retriever, he stated what he believed to be the problem: "The real problem with the drop in enrollment, however slight, is in the financial aid cuts." The federal government allocated $1,000 per student to the school. Thus, UMBC would lose $100,000 it expected to receive. Lee continued, "The original projection for this campus was for 1,000 new students per year. That figure was narrowly missed. UMBC attracted approximately 850 new students this semester, bringing the total full-time enrollment to 4,870." Lee further commented that the enrollment projection for UMBC would have to be readjusted.

In December of 1973, Morton Baratz also found himself a focal point of controversy in a decision that was called a "violation of procedure" by the Social Sciences Division. The debate centered around the teaching of statistics courses. Baratz proposed that statistics should be taught to all students through the Mathematics department. Dr. Rothstein of the Psychology department believed that the teaching of statistics was best left to the departments. Baratz's argument was that only advanced level statistics courses were relevant to the departments.

The Senate debate became rather heated with charges and countercharges being lodged by both parties. Rothstein felt that there was nothing wrong with the Math department teaching statistics, he did however endorse the student having the option to take the course through the department.

At the rally, Baratz addressed several questions concerning promotion and tenure. One issue he addressed was "his adherence to the doctrine of publish or perish.'" Baratz flatly denied adherence to this doctrine stating that both scholarship and teaching were a factor in his decisions.

Lee further defended the administration's stand on promotion and tenure issues. He cited instances of universities around the country which have been 'tenured in' and can no longer meet the rapidly changing demands of their students. "We are not wiping out faculty," said Lee. "In the three years I have been here we have denied tenure in only two instances. We are not inhumane."

Although Baratz was the central focus for the promotion and tenure attacks, Lee had his own troubles with the campus faculty.

"During that same week, March 25, 1974, a motion was introduced into the UMBC senate asking the chancellor to respond to three questions concerning the absolute power he exercises on campus."

The questions were:

  1. What is the source-statutory or in precedent-for the absolute power veto and or directive presently exercised by the chancellor.
  2. Can this absolute power be delegated, if so, to whom?
  3. Can the faculty senate and/or faculty assembly be given the power of modifying this absolute power? If so, how? Must it or they remain in a purely adjusting status?

Lee responded to these comments by quoting a section of the Maryland Annotated Code which stated the power is vested in the Board of Regents. He further cited the president of the university as the ultimate granter of tenure. He further cited, "any change in the delegation of powers would have to be made by the Board of Regents."

The dispute over promotion and tenure procedure continued through that spring as did disputes over the leadership role taken by Lee and Baratz.

Baratz also found himself criticized by students and faculty alike in regard to his promotion and tenure views, especially his view of what constituted scholarship. In a Retriever article published February 18, 1974, presented Baratz's view.

"The Vice-Chancellor insists that the publication is of little concern to him. He further states that the 'visibility' the publishing scholar gives to the University is not, in his consideration, important. In fact, the rather subjective conclusion of whether a person is teaching himself or not seems to be the only effective manner of establishing whether scholarship exists.

During that spring, several promotion and tenure rallies highlighted the campus setting. Two of the major rallies centered around the denial of promotion and tenure to Dr. George Klien. It was argued by Dr. Cy Witte that lesser teachers than Dr. Klien were getting their tenure. He argued that UMBC as a school was being held up by teachers doing research and not mainly concentrating on teaching.

In another rally the following week. Vice Chancellor Baratz appeared before a standing room only crowd. The audience responded to the mounting dissent on campus concerning promotion and tenure policy.

Continue to part tenth, "Lee years end amidst controversy"
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