It is not okay for a small group of people to change forever the soul of Chatham College for Women
The following is a guest blog from Dr. Nancy Chubb, Chatham College alumna, Class of 1973. Nancy gave an impassioned plea to save Chatham at one of the Pittsburgh town halls, and she’s has gladly agreed to follow that up with a guest blog, providing more of her personal reasons for supporting the Save Chatham movement.
My name is Nancy Chubb, proud member of the class of 1973. Since I left Chatham I taught for the Pittsburgh Public Schools, earned my MBA in Finance from Pitt, worked at Mellon Bank as a financial analyst and credit policy officer, returned to Pitt and earned my PhD in Counseling Psychology and have had a psychology practice in downtown Pittsburgh and Shadyside for 20 years which includes executive team building and executive coaching. I have been a Board member and President of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association.
I have followed Chatham’s changes and expansions over the years, read my Recorder, and attended reunions and events. The first I heard of trouble in paradise was the February letter. Since then, I attended both Pittsburgh Town Halls, speaking at the second one, joined the Save Chatham Facebook page, read the postings on Chatham.edu’s feedback page, attended the informal meeting with the Alumnae Board of Trustees, and conversed with classmates via emails and a separate Facebook page.
This is what I have learned so far:
- There is no interest by Dr. Barazzone in finding a way to not go co-educational.
- Dr. Barazzone has established a Board of Trustee’s over 22 years that does not challenge her thinking and decisions. It is their job to oversee her performance and they have only affirmed her decisions without deeper thought of consequences.
- Dr. Barazzone has not been able to keep good faculty, directors, and managers to run the programs because she does not share power and does not accept ideas different from her own. Then she blames the all-women’s structure for recruitment problems instead of the high turnover rate of people implementing programs.
- Dr. Barazzone has neglected Chatham College for Women while investing time and energy and money in graduate programs and Eden Hall Farm.
- Dr. Barazzone does not truly appreciate the special experience of a women’s only undergraduate education. If she did, she would have been talking with alumnae about the “problems” a long time ago so that their expertise could be engaged.
- The plans to go co-educational seem to be many months, probably years, in the making. The goal appears to be to create vertical programs that join undergraduate to graduate programs and to have all of these be co-educational. Chatham College for Women does not fit this design so it has to go.
- Ideas suggested to save Chatham College for Women have largely been unwelcomed and this has been noticed. Alumnae consistently voice the opinion that this is a “done deal”.
- The Board of Trustees somehow ended up with the four Officers being ALL men… at a Women’s College. Explain to me how they “get the value of a women’s college”? That feels wrong in so many ways. And this is the inner circle that supports Dr. Barazzone in her decisions.
- The Board of Trustees has not done their due diligence around the hostile work environment Dr. Barazzone has created for the employees of the University who may not always agree with her. For those who are employed at Chatham, there is a culture of silence that is maintained for safety.
- The Board of Trustees has allowed Dr. Barazzone to gradually control all publications of the University, including student publications.
- The Board of Trustees has allowed the quality of the faculty and academics at Chatham College for Women to suffer while resources were provided to Eastside and Eden Hall.
- Chatham does not belong to Dr. Barazzone and her small executive team. It belongs to all of us. It is not okay for a small group of people to change forever the soul of Chatham College for Women.
This is what I propose to the Board of Trustees:
- Ending 145 years of tradition and history in a matter of months is crazy. You must know this. Defer the vote for 3 years.
- Spend the next year putting together an Adminstration and a Board who BELIEVE in the value of a women’s only college and let them see what they can do.
- It is time for Dr. Barazzone to retire. She no longer has the passion she needs to lead Chatham College for Women. Even the President of the United States needs to move on after 8 years.
- In 2017 let’s all look at where we stand. If people who “get” Chatham and are not under Dr. Barazzone’s control tell us that this is the only option left, we are much more likely to accept and support change moving ahead.
- Chatham College for Women needs you now to not give up on her. Vote “no” on co-education.