What happened to “honoring his legacy?”
One of the central issues revolving around the budget cuts and transition in administration last year was the stepping down of Norris Friesen, Ph.D., from the position of Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty. He is now listed in the Huntington.edu website as the Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Professor of German.
When the transition with Friesen was announced, there was a proposal to rename the Joe Mertz Center after Friesen.
In an email to the campus Dec. 6, 2011, President G. Blair Dowden, Ed.D., said, “to honor Dr. Friesen for his 26-year ongoing legacy on our campus, in January I will propose to the Board of Trustees that we rename the JMC as the ‘Friesen Center for Volunteer Service.’ I think this will be a very fitting tribute to a man who has always put others’ needs ahead of his own.”
It has been over a year since that email announcement. There has been no public update to the status of this project.
When recently asked about the name change process, the president’s office offered this response in an email reply: “At this time, Dr. Dowden does not have anything to report regarding the name change of the JMC. Thank you for your inquiry.”
If the name change isn’t going to happen, that is fine. The JMC has established a respected name for themselves as it is. The students and campus community, however, deserve more transparency with what has transpired in the last year.
Either something happened — such as the board of trustees not approving the proposal — or perhaps the name change was never a serious suggestion in the first place, which is a whole different issue.
Whatever the status, please just let us know. While it may seem petty in this circumstance, it is a representative microcosm of why some people have expressed dissatisfaction toward the administration.
Inactions like this cause people to suspect that there is more behind everything announced by the administration than meets the eye.
A little bit of transparency in minor issues like this would be beneficial for both sides.