Rev. Edward Glynn SJ, the Rev. Julio Giulietti’s only Jesuit friend in maybe the whole wide world (at least his sole supporter among four Wheeling Jesuit U. trustees) has provided a paper trail that helps to unravel the mysterious story of how and why Giulietti was ousted as WJU president.
An email trail, that is — our age’s inexorable friend of tell-all revelation and foe of apocalyptic meandering — posted at the “Save! Wheeling Jesuit University” blog. Glynn, also a WJU director, wrote on Aug. 1 to the 19 directors, excusing himself from a “special meeting” set for Aug. 5. His brother was dying, and he would be attending wake, mass, and burial back in Clark’s Summit PA.
He had been “looking eagerly forward to participate”; so he filled the directors in on his thinking. This included his July 13 email to board chair Bill Fisher (who doubles as financial officer for the Wheeling diocese, a position directly responsible to the bishop) asking
“what else is on the agenda for the special August meeting. If it is only the assessment of the president, how can we do an accurate assessment and one helpful to the institution if we don’t have input from the faculty, administration, staff, students and alumni/ae?”
The fat was in the fire for Giulietti, and Glynn was prodding.
Fisher got back the same day: Nothing else was scheduled. His language was typical email shorthand and mysterious:
“ This is the only agenda item. I copy Mr. [Tom] Scheye [not the lawyer, as earlier stated, but facilitator (consultant) as elsewhere designated] as he is contracted to [sic] all of what you mentioned , the time table I am not sure.”
Pronto, Glynn to Scheye, seeking wisdom in the matter:
“Bill without answering my question sent you a copy of my question to him. Do you have an answer to my question?”
Fisher explained further:
“I was hoping Tom Scheye would answer your question. We are going to discuss what is complete at that time.”
So. Scheye is working on it, namely how the directors can assess Giulietti without anything to go on from the university community.
Scheye got back the next day in workmanlike fashion:
My assessment will not be complete until I have had the chance to interview members of the faculty, staff and student body, and those interviews will wait for the beginning of the new semester. However, I wil l send the Directors an edited version of their own comments in time for the August meeting, and I have suggested to Julio that he complete his self-assessment so that might be available to provide context for the Directors’ comments. In short, the Directors will not have my assessment in August, but they will be able to see what their fellow Directors’ comments are. Hope that helps.
As emails go, this is brilliant. And in fact, revealing. He would be advising the directors about what they were on record as saying and was waiting to hear from “Julio.” His own assessment (does he mean his summary? he is to assess the president?) would not be ready for the coming meeting, however.
Glynn, unsatisfied, got back to Fisher:
I still have my question. Why are we having a special board meeting that has only one agenda item and this agenda item will only be half prepared? It seems weird to me.
Two days later, having heard nothing, he asked again. Re-sent the email. I have done that. You jog memory or conscience of intended recipient. Bill responded. My way or the highway, he said:
Serious decisions need to be made about the direction of the University. You will receive a packet of information that might clarify things.
I exercise my right as Board Chair t o call the meeting a majority of the board has told me they want one.
If you feel strongly it is a waste of time, you may ask to be excused.
Stay with your dead brother and stop bothering me.
The response tore it for Glynn. Commenting to the board on Aug. 1:
I judge Bill’s sending out a second set of directors’ comments indicating in red and blue unfavorable and favorable comments respectively to be highly manipulative and insulting. Each director can read and can make his or her own interpretation. We do not need the chair to do each director’s interpretation. Otherwise WJU might as well have a board of one director.
Furthermore, as to [not Scheye’s assessment, etc., but the unnamed lawyer’s role]:
Since this was supposed to be the evaluation of the directors I find the lengthy comments of the university’s lawyer to be very inappropriate. Legal counsel is not a member of board of directors.
Glynn had already voiced his opinion of [not Scheye, but the lawyer].
If I were the WJU president, I could never in the future trust the board’s legal counsel personally nor professionally. His phone call to the administrative assistant to the president to ask her whether in his phone call with the president that had just concluded there had been anyone else in the president’s office was politically crude and personally dumb.
This was not Glynn’s first turn around the block, he explains:
During the last four decades at a dozen and a half institutions of higher education located all over the United States [among them John Carroll U., Cleveland OH, where he was president from the midddle or late ‘90s to 2005] I have been working as a faculty member and administrator or serving on their boards. All these institutions are larger and more complicated than Wheeling Jesuit University. During these nearly forty years I have not experienced such a similarly inappropriate presidential evaluation and calling of a special board meeting to consider the half completed presidential evaluation.
As for the coming meeting:
This special board meeting that is being called to consider the not yet completed evaluation of the president (Only the directors’ evaluations have been received and none from other major constituents of the university, such as students, faculty members, administration, staff and alumni/ae.) is a continuation and an institutionalization of the dysfunctionality of the WJU board of directors and is a grave disservice to Wheeling Jesuit University by the board of directors.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the trustees, Rev. Gerard Stockhausen, S.J., Ph.D., President, University of Detroit Mercy, on July 25 informed his fellow (Jesuit) trustees that he was
calling a special meeting of the WJU Board of Trustees by conference call at 1:45 PM EDT on August 5. The only agenda item will be to discuss any action(s) taken by the Board of Directors at its August 5 meeting, and to take whatever action the Board of Trustees needs to as a result of action(s) taken by the Board of Directors.
As a result? Such as unfavorable evaluation? They were to endorse or not endorse it? As it happened, the directors on Aug. 5 failed to register a 2/3 majority in favor of ousting Giulietti, which dictated the action to be taken. It was to oust Giulietti themselves, by a 3–0 vote, Glynn and Giulietti being absent. This they did.