By Ralph Harbison
So, somehow, against all odds, the UAB administration has flipped positions and is now supposedly working to restore the previously terminated football, rifle, and bowling teams. This is due to several factors, the largest of which being the Birmingham Area Business community getting involved.
Mr. UAB 1994
Yes, the “vocal minority” that raised all sorts of Green and Gold hell helped, but, truth be told, we just kept the story in the news to the point that reinforcements could arrive. We were, to be frank, much like the 101st Airborne holding the Bastogne, answering the call to surrender with “Nuts,” and holding the line for Patton to come in and rescue us. And, much like Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe’s bunch, we did just that.
And yet, we do not feel quite like those brave men back in that cold December battle. Or, I should say, those of us who understand the fight in which we are engaged do not feel the same.
While we have broken the siege in a way and forced a change, the underlying issues remain. Ray Watts is still president. The administration is still obfuscating and refusing to be clear about the needs and current position of the fundraising. The University of Alabama Board of Trustees has yet to discuss or even acknowledge the litany of no confidence votes. There is still an overall feeling that, to be blunt, all of this was done for show and nothing is going to change in the end.
The corrupt and ineffective administration is still in place at UAB. For example, AL.com exposed Kahn of no fewer than five years of fraudulent ethics forms being submitted and she is still in charge of the Vichy National Alumni Society and fundraising. The National Alumni Society changed rules to minimize the reach and influence of the alumni, refusing to teleconference and changing the election rules DURING THE ELECTION. We have more information now about the dangerous financial situation facing our sister campus in Tuscaloosa, thanks to Dr. John Knox (a man that could teach Watts no small amount about leadership in academia). And we know what we did not know, although not all of it has been made public at this time.
How do we go from a win in game one to a series sweep? This is where the answer will upset many, if not most, of the UAB Family.
We will not.
There is no way for us to sweep the series. We will not restore the programs fully, rid ourselves of Watts and the other anti-UAB people in office, and gain freedom from the University of Alabama Board of Trustees without a long, hard struggle. That does not mean that we cannot WIN, in fact, we have no choice but to fight until we do. It just means that it will not be a four game sweep. This series will go seven games to say the least.
So what are the next steps? From what I can tell, we actually are still in game one. We just hold a decent lead in the game. We cannot drop into a prevent defense pattern, nor can we run the ball control offence.
What we need to do is to finish this game out by continuing the attack for more openness from the Administration. We need to demand updates on the process. We need to demand a joint presser from Ingram and Clark so that BOTH men are there when certain questions are asked. We need to demand updates on the financial situation as pledges are acknowledged by the university.
In the age of computers, there is no reason that a “running total” cannot be created and presented to us. That way, we can see a DAILY update to the size of Watts’ mythical doughnut hole.
Anyway, we need to press for information, which has been the one thing that Watts has hated to release. This administration is as averse to shared governance and transparency as a vampire is to sunlight, and for the exact same reason.
What about cleaning house in UAB? What about a truly Free UAB? Those take more time. Major steps have been taken and are being taken to accomplish those goals. We cannot discuss all of that at this time for several reasons. Just know that the time will come when the next step is taken.
Until then, we keep the pressure on for information. We must demand openness and clarity from Watts and UAB. That is our new focus.
Yes, we had a huge win. It feels like a loss because the game isn’t over and we realize that the one huge play is not going to be enough to win it all. We cannot give up hope now. We cannot give up the fight now. We must continue to press. We must continue to attack on all fronts. We cannot score again if we are trying to run out the clock and hope the other team has given up.