No name, no position, no fair

Marilyn Harris

I am writing to express my concern and dismay in the way you reported the membership of the search committee for the expedited replacement of outgoing Provost Steven Leslie. I read the names and positions of four of the five very important and high-ranking people who make up the “five other members” (besides President William Powers Jr.) of this committee — name, comma, rank, semicolon — followed by “and a staff member from the provost’s office” (no name, no position). I cannot begin to tell you how that dismissal affects my morale as one of thousands of nameless, invisible, but dedicated and indispensable staff members University-wide. 

I realize that there could be many reasons why the staff member was not named. Perhaps the staff member wishes to remain anonymous. Perhaps the staff member’s identity needs to remain anonymous for internal reasons in the provost’s office. But if you don’t name the staff member who is important enough to be one of the five other committee members, you must tell your readers why that staff person is unnamed. Omitting the name of the staff member in your article without this explanation sends the wrong message. Please make sure in future articles that the same parallel information, if mentioned for one, is included for all.

Marilyn Harris
Administrative associate
Division of Statistics and Scientific Computation