I have recently posted the University Administration's first public response to the criticisms of the Wellness Program that culminated in the Wellness Program interactive dialogue at the September 10, 2013 University Faculty Senate Meeting (e.g.,Penn State Responds: A Message From the University President). To some that response appeared to be a welcome first step, but only that. Below I have posted the reply to this Administration initiative from two of the sponsors of the Senate Special Meeting (e.g., Special Faculty Senate Meeting to Consider Penn State Wellness Program: Anouncement of Meeting of Senate Council to Review the Petition Along With Petition Text).
(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2013)
I hope that those with views will make their opinions known either at the Special Senate meeting or otherwise to the parties. As the letter below suggests, there are two intertwined issues that require resolution. The first involves the substance of the Wellness programs itself, one that requires a greater cultivation of sensitivity to the human rights issues involved in the employment relationship especially when it touches on the most personal issues of human dignity. The second involves the continued cultivation of cultures of shared governance. This, in turn, implicates the need to avoid formalism--the appearance of shared governance through the establishment of bodies that appear to include stakeholders--but which have no functional value, either because the selection of stakeholders have been marred by corruption and cronyism or because decisions will have been taken elsewhere and presented ready made for the appearance of consultation and approval. It remains to be seen whether, together, the institutional leadership of the Senate and the university are up to either task.