The resignation of Executive Vice President Mary DiStanislao marks yet another abdication of a top tier university administrator.
DiStanislao’s resignation was announced in the University News Briefs sent out Thursday. The resignation of one of the university’s top executives following the Rev. Scott Pilarz’s resignation did not merit being the first item listed in the news brief and was conveniently placed second to graduation applications becoming available online.
Yet another resignation was conveniently slid into the third paragraph of the brief about DiStansilao.
“Tom MacKinnon, Father Pilarz’s chief of staff, also left the university last week,” the brief announced. No more information was given.
Announcing the resignation of one university official within a brief about another’s marks a new low for university transparency.
Furthermore, DiStanislao left the same day that students were notified of her resignation, giving no advance notice that yet another senior official resigned.
The method the university used to announce these resignations to the student body has been uncouth and underhanded to say the least.
From the first, unsigned email about Pilarz to DiStanislao’s resignation last week, the administration has been tactless in the manner it has gone about informing students of resignations, perhaps lacking the necessary leadership to do so correctly.
As the university tried to navigate the rough waters of high-up administrators’ resignations, it resorted to insulting students’ intelligence by trying to announce them with as little publicity as possible.
For instance, the announcement about Pilarz’s resignation came at 6:20 p.m. on a Friday. Releasing important news on a Friday evening is something colloquially known as “throwing out the trash,” a euphemism that essentially means releasing all of an organizations “bad” news at the end of the week. By doing this, organizations hope the information will likely be lost in the weekend news cycle and in the mind of the average person. The university’s apparent reliance on releasing resignations under the radar speaks for itself when discussing university transparency.
The position of executive vice president, one that was discontinued before Pilarz hired DiStanislao to take the position, is in charge of overseeing university administration and staff, student affairs and strategic planning.
DiStanislao’s resignation marks yet another Pilarz appointee who has resigned following his leaving. Students now wonder how many other administrators will leave in Pilarz’s wake and whether the administration is suffering from a collective brain drain.
DiStanislao’s resignation now means the university’s top three positions — president, provost and executive vice president — are not filled by permanent administrators, leaving Marquette without substantial leadership.
Since the announcement of Pilarz’s resignation, the university has been unclear at best, and downright opaque all too often.
As the university searches for a new administration, it should strive to mirror the transparency valued during Pilarz’s tenure. So far, the only transparency the administration has shown since the president’s resignation is the fact there isn’t any.