Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Gamble, Clinton, Jefferson, and St. Paul

Well, it's official. Erie native Thomas Gamble took office as president of Mercyhurst College on March 1 and a reception was held in his honor at Mercyhurst North East today...I just got home from the event.

Everything I've seen about Dr. Gamble has been positive. He seems very capable and knows Mercyhurst well. Plus, he is an Erieite, which I think is cool. He will do well in the job.

During his inaugural address, Gamble cited Thomas Jefferson and epistle writer St. Paul. The Jefferson quote was from Jefferson's inaugural. I found the speech on the Web and it's worth reading . It's particularly interesting to see how opposed Jefferson's thoughts are to the current Bush Administration (he was certainly more like Bill Clinton [whose middle name was "Jefferson"] than anybody else in politics these days).

First off, I don't think that Dick Cheney or George Bush could write as well as Jefferson, at least I haven't seen anything to suggest that they could. Maybe I'm wrong, but don't they have speechwriters do that these days? That, in itself, is fairly devious--certainly ingenuous--and it goes on all the time in both parties.

And this is not to attack Cheney and Bush; I don't hold any hatred for them personally. I just think that most of the men governing the United States in 2006 are not particularly great men. Cheney is a heck of businessman (a 21st Century robber baron), but he's not a great statesman, and Bush has received help at every step of his life. If Bush was born to an average, middle-class family, he would have amounted to very little in life. He may have been killed in Viet Nam, he wouldn't have been accepted to Yale, and he certainly would not be president. So there it is: power is everything (except in Clinton's case, as he was born to humble beginnings).

But this entry is about Gamble, not Cheney and Bush and Clinton. So far, Dr. Gamble has spoken of his plan for the "first 1000 days." As part of this plan, he plans to take the school from a trimester schedule to a semester schedule, and he plans to put his weight behind the development of the Mercyhurst West County campus (MWC?).

I support the move to a semester schedule, particularly at Mercyhurst North East, because it is an opportunity school. Let's face it, the real learning in a college course takes place between weeks 10 and 15. That's when the students finally understand the teacher and the teacher understands the students. To chop it down to ten weeks---no matter how long the classes are and how often they meet---just doesn't have the same effect.

I have to sign off for now, but I want to take this up again. I want to dig out that quote from St. Paul that Dr. Gamble cited, but my notes are at school and I'm at home.

More later,



Anonymous said...

Was that child molestor Dr. William Garvey at the event?

DocTorDee said...

Who wants to know? Do you have a serious interest in Dr. Garvey's daily life or are you just taking an anonymous shot?

To answer your question: No, Dr. Garvey does not participate in Mercyhurst events any longer.

Thanks for asking.


Ralph said...

I believe the first comment was posted by Matt - who also posted a comment under the Erie-Millcreek debate section. He seems to be crusader against Dr. Garvey - and I am not unsure that this type of activity is not appropriate. Judging from the links he included in his previous post, he appears to dislike Gamble as crony of Dr. Garvey. I wish Garvey would just come clean and write a book where he explains himself. The whole controversy and dual-role (child molester and civic leader) thing is driving me crazy. It would be a fascinating psychological study. And isn't this guy supposed to be a Catholic. Has he confessed any of this stuff? Would a confessional book help heal him. If anyone knows Dr. Garvey, ask him if he'd like to work on a book with me.
For now, the whole thing kind of mirrors the Barry Bonds thing - neither Barry or Dr. William has admitted anything although the evidence is stacked against them. But, because they haven't admitted it, they seem to be given the benefit of the doubt. Even though our society pretends we would like people to be honest, as soon as either admits wrongdoing - they will be crucified. However, as Ellen Degeneres (I know I mispelled her name and I'm not saying that being a lesbian is wrong -) has proven, redemption is possible.

DocTorDee said...

Yes, after some poking around, I figured out that Matt left the anonymous comment...

I do understand the anger that people feel for Dr. Garvey, particularly because there are so many unanswered questions, but I don't understand what Dr. Gamble has to do with any of Dr. Garvey's personal activities. Nothing, as far as I can tell.

Guilty by association? Nonsense.

Additionally, I visited Matt's site and I saw many heated opinions. Yes, it appears that the Mercyhurst Board swept the matter under the rug...they should have shown more backbone, but they were also afraid that any further negative news on this matter would have an adverse affect on the college. And they were right about that. It is their job to protect the college.

But really, other than releasing the contents of the report, what could they do? It is not up to Mercyhurst College to pursue legal action against Dr. Garvey. That's up to law enforcement officials, and since the statute of limitations has passed, their hands are tied as well.

I'm not defending the Board or Dr. Garvey; I'm simply trying to point out that this issue is incredibly difficult, painful and complicated. Mercyhurst's response, one marked by fear and denial, is not extraordinary for any institution.

It was as though they wanted to wish the problem away as fast as possible--particularly when the evidence looked bad--but that's how people behave during times of stress. They revert to survival mode and toss the higher values out the window. It's not pretty, but it is human.

And, yes, maybe Dr. Garvey should work with Ralph to write a book that tells his side of the story...what does he have to lose? He's already been publically crucified by the Times-News, who ran 31 column feet of damnation.

What else needs to happen?

Finally, let's not confuse the situation of one person with the daily activities of the remainder of the college. Each day, I--and other like me--come to work at Mercyhurst with the goal of giving as much energy as possible to helping students reach their goals.

I am proud of the work that I do and see no reason to stop my work and pursue a personal vendetta against Dr. Garvey. That doesn't make any sense.

So please don't condemn the entire Mercyhurst community. We are trying to move forward and educate students.

Ralph said...

Well spoken Bruce (DocktorD). I guess that Dr. Gamble's professional relationship with Garvey does not mean knew about Garvey's private activities - especially stuff that seemingly all ocurred before he was influencial at Mercyhurst. And professionally, Garvey did a great job with Mercyhurst, so why not try and continue that by hiring someone who shares some of his professional views. It may be a hit hard to stomach for some, but really, we are not a Salem witch hunt here. Keep up the good work on the Hill.


Matt said...

Yes, it was I who left the comment, as should have been obvious. Doctordee, you wrote about the reaction of Mercyhurst:

"I'm not defending the Board or Dr. Garvey; I'm simply trying to point out that this issue is incredibly difficult, painful and complicated. Mercyhurst's response, one marked by fear and denial, is not extraordinary for any institution. It was as though they wanted to wish the problem away as fast as possible--particularly when the evidence looked bad--but that's how people behave during times of stress. They revert to survival mode and toss the higher values out the window. It's not pretty, but it is human."

Sorry, but being "human" and "wishing the problem away" doesn't involve the kind of cover up that went on up there.

Not when you have a high college offical (Mary Daly) removing Erie Times Newspapers from newspaper boxes near the student dorms in the middle of the night on the Sunday morning the Garvey story first broke in October 2004. What a disgusting display of behaviour from ANY college official.

Did Ms. Daly believe that the student residences were on a deserted island, and that the students wouldn't learn of the news some other way?

What Daly (a close Garvey associate for years) did was inexcusable, and she should have been fired. Yet, Ms. Daly continues to hold a high position at the college, and enjoys respect and esteem at Mercyhurst.

Likewise, then you have Marlene Mosco, the President of the board of Directors. When The board didn't like the allegations against Garvey, they hired retired Judge Michael Palmisano, a much respected person in Erie and someone whom Mosco publically called "a man of impeccable character".

So what does Mosco and a small group from the board do when Palmisano reports back to them that the "allegations appear to have merit"? They didn't like what Palmisano was telling them, so they fired him and ended his investigation while hiding the contents of the "Palmisano Memo" from the remainder of the board.

Jeez, I thought Palmisano was a man of "impeccable character"? I guess not when he gave Mosco the bad news about Garvey.

To this day, Mercyhurst has hidden the remaining contents of the Palmisano investigation from the Erie public. What was done at Mercyhurst was a shameless
cover-up, not "being human" or "wishing the problem away".

In addition, why has the Mercyhurst Community continued to allow Marlene Mosco to remain President of the Board and continue to be held in great respect and esteem at the college?

After Mosco was exposed as a liar, why wasn't she ousted? Mrs. Mosco did more to tarnish the reputation of Mercyhurst than anyone but Garvey himself.

But instead of getting rid of her, Mercyhurst allowed Mosco to be a major part of the Presidential selection process. The Mercyhurst faculty Senate had considered a vote of "no confidence" against Mosco, but than backed down.

The Presidential search was a sham as well. Mercyhurst's claim that they were conducting a nationwide search to find the "best possible candidate" was nothing more than a public relations stunt to convince the Erie public that they were doing the best they could to move past the Garvey crisis.

Gamble was picked because of he was an insider up there who would do the least to "shake things up" at Mercyhurst. Gamble (on his own) may be a good guy, but let's not kid ourselves on why he was picked.

Gamble was selected because of his closeness to the top group at Mercyhurst, Garvey, and because he was the most likely candidate to preserve Garvey's "legacy" at the campus.

Notice how both Thomas Gamble and interim dean (and lapdog) Michael McQuillen both expressed contempt for the idea that Garvey's name be taken off of Garvey Park?

Any "outsider" selected probably would have cleaned house of the corrupt Garvey lackeys and stooges on the board. An "outsider" also would also have had the insight to remove a pedophile's name from one of the most beautiful areas of the campus Garvey Park).

Nothing has really changed at Mercyhurst. The same group that tried to cover-up and protect a child molestor are still in charge at "the school on the hill".

Although Mercyhurst to this day likes to believe it is a community unto itself, no college is bigger than the community it resides.

Matt said...

Ralph, if you follow this link it will take you to an additional thread that talks about the Garvey scandal. Feel free to read it and contribute if you like. You too Doctordee.


Matt said...

Some points of clarification.

First, neither of the websites I linked to are mine. If anyone assumed that, I needed to set that straight.

Secondly, this is to Ralph. You wrote that:

"The whole controversy and dual-role (child molester and civic leader) thing is driving me crazy. It would be a fascinating psychological study."

Your comment hits on one of the fundamental points of the Garvey situation.

Garvey's power, influence in the community, and "civic leader" status are exactly the things that allowed him to live this dual life and escape consequences for what happened.

Garvey built a vast power base in Erie thru his friendships with business leaders, politicians, police chiefs, civic leaders, etc.

And it was exactly this "power base" and Garvey's ability to do favors for people that allowed him to keep it all under wraps for so many years.

People seem to have a misconception that all child molestors and pedophiles look alike, or come in a "cookie cutter" mold.

People have a harder time
believing that a pedophile could
be someone thought of as one of the "pillars of the community" or an influential or civic leader.

Garvey was able to capitalize on this misconception. That's also why it was harder for victims of Garvey to come forward than it would have been if Garvey was just an average joe.

But don't kid yourself. There were influential people in the community who KNEW about what Garvey had done. There are also those who either know about it now and continue to embrace Garvey, or who just don't care.

That's why I've always said that the Garvey case is not just about Garvey and his victims. It's about the soul of Erie.

The continued embracing of William Garvey as a "civic leader" in Erie should give you a clearer picture of a not-so-pretty side of Erie.