Let Dr. Witt fix UAB

Editor’s note: This mailbag idea started as one post, but the answers ended up being longer than I anticipated. I’m breaking them down into smaller posts for your reading pleasure.

Email: Write something about the idiot on Finebaum.

–I take that to mean the Legal Schnauzer guy. I didn’t post anything on Thursday since I took the day off from blogging to take my mom in for some eye surgery. I have to admit, I did hear the interview and immediately made a few notes. I didn’t post it because I decided to force myself to actually stick with my plan to take the day off. Anyway, here was my quick reaction to the assertion that Dr. Robert Witt was a pawn of the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees:

Dr. Witt doesn’t buck the board? I guess the board was all for firing Mike Price?

No? You mean the facts don’t fit what someone on the radio is saying?

Who would have thunk it?

UAB saw a host of bad presidents who followed Dr. Volker and Dr. Hill. Following Dr. Volker isn’t easy. However, arrogance on the part of Dr. McCallum created unnecessary tension between the board and the Birmingham campus. Dr. J. Calude Bennett was treated shabbily by many within the University community. Dr. Reynolds was horrible, and Dr. Garrison worse. It makes sense to hold the board accountable for these appointments.

But I’m sick of everything being blamed on the board of trustees. One trend in Birmingham’s history is to blame everyone else for Birmingham’s troubles. Dr. Tennant McWilliams who wrote New Lights in the Valley, a history of UAB, typifies this problem. McWilliams book on UAB reads as a polemic against US Steel and Wall Street control of southern industry. The book even asserts Birmingham’s lack of progress on civil rights was a legacy of US Steel’s influence on the community. Isn’t life easy when everything is some Yankee’s fault?

The problem is Birmingham’s civil rights problems were an outgrowth of the people of Birmingham. The truth is the people of Birmingham created their own troubles, not Yankees and not the University of Alabama System. The truth is UAB has been given too much autonomy.

You want to fix UAB, fire Dr. Garrison and let Dr. Robert Witt run both campuses. It seemed to work very well when UAB was subservient to UA in the past. Look at the growth on Southside since the extension center was first opened. Look at the mess created post-Volker.

The record speaks for itself. Save UAB from itself. Let Dr. Witt run it!