Friday, February 15, 2008


What to do when the rules do not let you recuse yourself for conflict of interest?

My wife conducted herself gracefully in a difficult situation...she kept her calm, stuck to her plan, answered hard questions without a tremor in her voice, and accepted compliments graciously. I am so proud. She kept her dignity and acted with integrity. She is a good cataloger, a good librarian... she looks at and understands the big picture: librarians are educators. What she does is to make resources accessible (findable), balancing the restraints of time and energy against perfectionism. She finds ways to decrease the labor of her colleagues. She educates herself so as to be better at her specialty. She constantly consults colleagues in other libraries in order to make the best decisions possible for our situation. She admits her mistakes and tries hard to make things right with other people.

My sense of integrity feels tired and battered. I was present to support my wife; I did my best. Now I hope to find some sense of peace and forgiveness, but I tell you: the heavy bag took a hard beating last night. Yet I feel right about my decision.


Rikhei said...

I, for one, think it was totally right of you to be there - I admit to some surprise that your decision was questioned so often!

ams said...

It seems to me that *you* did your homework...reading the rules, consulting Counsel and the Senate... and the designated unit head didn't. Even the Dean appears to have appropriately educated herself on this point. I'm sorry that both of you had to go through this, though I'm not at all suprised that you both conducted yourself more appropriately than others present. Two-career academic couples have been around a long, long time and GVSU doesn't seem to have felt a need to address this, so one could safely assume it's a non-issue. If one or two individuals have an issue, then *they* should be doing their own homework and deciding if they want to pursue an attempt to change the rules. But one or two dissenters should be about average for any academic discussion. Try to put it behind and beneath you, where it belongs. You did what was right.

Kim Ranger said...

Thanks, Rikhei and AMS! Funny thing is that the "DUH" was just as educated as we were. I guess her comments didn't go on as long as I felt they did (being in or next to the hotseat changes one's perception of time!). And the GVSU personnel policy committee is working to change the rules so that we could recuse ourselves in the future.