The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

July 15, 2013

Our view: Marble's success depends on Board of Governors

JOPLIN, Mo. —

Monday will be Alan Marble’s 10th working day as the interim president of Missouri Southern State University. Since his July 1 appointment following the firing of former president Bruce Speck, Marble’s done a lot of listening, both to faculty and residents of the Joplin area. He knows that on one hand he has a tremendous challenge ahead of him to establish some type of clear vision and restore a sense of leadership.

On the other hand, the retired president of Crowder College, a two-year junior college in Neosho, recognizes the many good things Missouri Southern has going for it.

After all, in the tuition comparison, MSSU is a bargain for both in-state and out-of-state students. Right now, MSSU is the Missouri university that finds itself in the “sweet spot.”

Marble’s performance as interim president could, in our view, go a long way toward getting administrators and faculty talking again. We expect he has the skills to reach out to the community and involve them in the future of the university.

His success with open governance will depend on his bosses, the Board of Governors, which should immediately change the way it’s doing the business of representing the taxpayers and students who support MSSU.

The Board of Governors must:

• Stop relying on its attorneys to set the tone at the university. Instead, the board need only examine Missouri’s open records/open meetings laws to discover that much of what they are holding so close to the vest is information that belongs to the public.

• Provide the public with agendas that include some specifics about what it going to be discussed in an open session. By the same token, the agendas need to cite specific exemptions for going into closed session. The Board of Governors now lists all the possible exemptions as reasons for a closed session. That certainly falls outside the spirit of the law.

• Stop requiring a formal open records request every time a member of the public wants to see a document that is obviously an open document. It sets up an atmosphere of secrecy and bureaucracy for no good reason.

We think Marble is capable of making the transition and establishing strong leadership.

The Board of Governors only needs to swing the doors wide open.

 

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