People get angry at leaders and accuse them of things. I know this about teaching and about being a department chair. New teachers are shocked when students oppose them because they are the teacher, and new chairs are surprised at the hostility they discover–especially when really, they are working hard to support the department and have good will.

I am always surprised when people get angry because I am a committee chair, or when I am a committee member and come through on what I said I would. It is the same problem, though: people get angry at leaders and accuse them of things. (I believe have made an error with some new department chairs, expecting them to have the kind of experience a more seasoned one would.)

In my AAUP chapter, about Committee A, it has been: “Do you even have a copy of the Red Book?” About the presidency, it has been: “I am merely reminding you of your constitutional responsibility!” I could have said back: “I am following it, are you?” and “When have you lived up to yours?” But I have not, because it would not be solidary.


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