Accountable. For over 40 years at Lehigh, I was held accountable by my department chair, my Dean, other administrators, and by the students I taught and directed. And I held people accountable, such as students, staff members, and administrators. It seems that accountability is a two-way street and very important for the smooth conduct of an institution.
Last October, Lehigh’s Board of Trustees decided that it would take “no action” regarding the request to rescind President Trump’s honorary degree. The Board offered no explanation, nor did it mention any of the considerations involved in discussion before telling our community “no action.”
Did the Board consider the allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Trump or his various misogynistic comments over the years as the Board did when they rescinded Bill Cosby’s honorary degree?
Did the Board look at Mr. Trump’s attitudes toward “scientific inquiry,” whether it is climate science or the effects of coal mining on the environment and human health? Has Lehigh not existed in part to promote science and the scientific method?
Although the Board paid some allegiance to Lehigh’s “Principles of Our Equitable Community,” did it debate and discuss the many instances in which Mr. Trump has broken those principles by bullying and worse?
I would like an explanation from the Board for its reasons for “no action.” Until stakeholders know what the reasons are, I must judge the Board to be avoiding being held accountable. The Board is powerful and bears important responsibilities, but someone has to hold its proverbial feet to the fire.
R. N. Weisman