Talking about saving trees and saving lives with the folks at Urban Ashes, the controversial EMU presidential search, and Cultivate Coffee and Tap House… on this weekend’s episode of the Saturday Six Pack

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While a few elements are still coming together concerning this Saturday evening’s show, I wanted to share couple of items with you so that you can start thinking about the things we’ll be discussing, and perhaps share this post with others who you think might be interested. Before I get into what we’ll be discussing on the show, though, I wanted to first thank our recent guest Frank Allison, who just sent in an awesome new theme song for the show, which we’ll definitely be opening this Saturday’s episode with. My favorite part about doing the show, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, is when people take it upon themselves to contribute, whether it be through the writing of a new theme song or a well-thought-out prank call to the show, and it makes me incredibly happy to know that Frank took the time to write and record something for us.

As for our in-studio guests this Saturday, we’ll be joined in the 6:00 hour by Paul Hickman and Calvin Evans from Urban Ashes, an Ann Arbor-based producer of hand-made photo frames, custom-made furniture, and the like. While we never know exactly where the conversation will lead us, I imagine quite a bit of our time will be spent discussing their dedication to using salvaged materials and their commitment to hiring ex-felons. Following, to give you a sense of where the conversation may lead us, are a few short bios for Hickman and Evans.

PAUL HICKMAN: As a designer, artist, project/production manager and business owner, Paul has 35 years experience creating things from billboards to environmental graphics to retail store displays to furniture and picture frames. 15 years into his career, Paul hit a wall with the materials he was working with; they no longer made sense to him. In seeking answers, he discovered the world of working with sustainable materials and production practices. Since 1996 he has been a leader in the green building and the local movements. Forming Urban Ashes in 2009, he has been able to use his extensive experience to build a company that focuses on the empowerment of ex-felons through meaningful employment, and in reclaiming urban salvaged and de-constructed wood to produce picture frames and furniture your grand-children will fight over.

CALVIN EVANS: On January 29th, 2013, Calvin was released from prison after having served 24 consecutive years. Since his release he has become the HR/Operations Manager at Urban Ashes; a member of the Washtenaw County Workforce Development Board; a Violence Intervention Specialist for Wayne State Sinai Grace Hospital; and a highly sought after speaker including going back into the very prison system (twice) where he had done time, to speak directly to the inmates. Calvin’s mission is to be the face of what prisoners can become upon their release.

And, at 6:45, we’ll turn our attention toward the controversial Eastern Michigan University presidential search, as we’re joined Judith Kullberg from the EMU Faculty Senate and Howard Bunsis from the EMU chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), who, as you might expect, are not happy about being kept in the dark about the candidates being considered to lead their university… Here, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the issue, are the comments made by EMU Professor Howard Bunsis at the October 13 EMU Board of Regents meeting.

I am speaking today about the Board’s misguided, shortsighted, and unfortunate decision to make the presidential search a closed and secret search, ensuring that the campus community will not have any significant input into the selection of the next president of Eastern Michigan University.

This decision makes clear that the Board does not believe in shared governance. This is not a surprise; most of you come from the private sector, which is very different from a university. Colleges and universities are different, and public universities especially so – faculty and other voices need to be heard, for the simple reason that we teach the students, and we are the ones how are closest to the core mission of EMU.

AAUP statement on presidential searches and campus visits:
“There should be Campus visits where the candidate will meet with different constituencies, particularly faculty and students. These open visits are crucial in the success of the search process because they permit members of the campus community to participate in providing impressions, as well as to contribute to the candidate’s understanding of the culture of the institution. In this final phase of the selection process, open visits present vitally important opportunities for both the campus community and the candidate to determine each other’s suitability. This final step is extraordinarily useful to the search committee in making its final recommendation to the board.”

Shared governance does not mean that we decide – you are still the bosses. You are still the deciders. But you have to listen to us first. By not allowing the candidates to meet with faculty and others before a selection is made, you eviscerate shared governance here at EMU.

Transparency and honesty should be core values that you, the Board adhere to. Instead, you have chosen secrecy and duplicity. You are just going to announce, without any input from the campus community, that our president is ______. And if you bring the one final candidate to campus before formally being named, that is the furthest thing from shared governance you could find.

So why are you doing this? Because the search firm you hired got burned at the University of Iowa. What happened at Iowa? The final candidates were brought to campus, and the campus community was able to see how wrong the preferred candidate was. So in reaction, this search firm now advises: “no more candidates to campus.” This is the same search firm that got paid $200k at Iowa, and could not even discover their preferred candidate lied on his resume.

And this is NOT about hiring a non-academic for the position. We do not demand that an academic be hired. Not even close. This is not what this is about. This is about a process where you violate the basic principle of shared governance for faculty and other employees.

In addition, your process is not to designed to get the best candidates. Once candidates see that this is a secret process, they will know they are considering a campus where shared governance does not matter.

Lastly, despite your claims that everything U of M does is the gold standard and therefore automatically perfect, we believe that this secretive process violates the Michigan Open Meetings Act. Newsflash: U of M is not perfect. Newsflash: EMU is not U of M.

For these reasons, the All Union Council voted unanimously to pull our representative, Mike Shumaker, the president of the All Union Council, from the search committee. We refuse to be involved in such a flawed and secretive process. Go ahead and pick a president in secret – but you will not do it with our consent or support.

And, at about 7:15, we’ll talk with Billy Kangas about Depot Town’s most recent startup Cultivate Coffee and Tap House.

And, here, thanks to AM 1700 senior graphic designer Kate de Fuccio, is this week’s poster, in case any of you want to print copies and put them on every seat at U-M stadium.

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FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NEVER TUNED IN TO THE SIX PACK BEFORE, HERE ARE THE DETAILS ON HOW TO LISTEN:

Unless you live inside the AM 1700 studio, chances are you won’t be able to pick the show up on your radio. As that’s the case, I’d recommend streaming the show online, which you can do either on the AM1700 website or by way of TuneIn.com.

And for those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the show, and need to get caught up, you can listen to the entire archive on iTunes. If you start right now, and listen to everything at double speed, but you can do it.

One last thing… If you’d like to tell your friends and neighbors about the program, feel free to share the Facebook event listing.

And do call us if you have a chance. We love phone calls. So please scratch this number into the cinder block wall of the recreation room of whichever facility you’ve been assigned to… 734.217.8624… and call us between 6:00 and 8:00 this Saturday evening. The show is nothing without you. Sure, sometimes it’s nothing even with you, that’s true, but usually you make it better.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted October 16, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    I hope you ask whoever comes from the EMU-AAUP or the Faculty Senate what they hope to achieve by taking their ball and going home–e.g., bailing out of the search committee. I completely agree that the search ought to bring the finalists to campus for an opportunity to interact with the EMU community, both because faculty/students/staff/everyone else at EMU ought to have a chance to see these folks and also because these folks ought to have a chance to see us. But I am at a loss as to what the union and the faculty senate hope to achieve in this process by not participating at all.

    Or another way of putting it: I’m a professor at EMU, and I think this move by the union and by Faculty Senate is pretty much the opposite of representing my interests in the search process. Pulling out of the committee is a bad idea, and it make the faculty look like a bunch of pouty brats.

    So again, I hope you ask them about this on Saturday. I probably won’t be listening live, but I’ll be curious to find out what they say when you write you wrap-up and post the episode online.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    If the regents of EMU really want to be like UM, as Bunsis suggests, they’d lobby to have the state constitution changed so that EMU’s regents, like UM’s, are elected, and not appointed.

  3. Huron
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Given the track record at picking presidents at EMU, they need to do something differently.

  4. Mary Z.C.
    Posted October 16, 2015 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    I love my two Urban Ashes frames. They are very well made. Great story and product.

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted October 17, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Paul Hickman is one of the few business people I know who runs a truly triple bottom line — people, planet and profit– business. He’s relentless and talented and also wise enough to make room for Calvin Evans to develop and run a de-facto re-entry program. I’ve only met Calvin twice but he seems rock solid– committed, determined, smart. It shows in the work. They started this thing because it needed to be done. They did not design it before they ran it. The responded to a need and worked out the how by being responsive to those they served. It’s a model worth duplicating/expanding (and akin to some successful veterans re-entry programs). It works. Paul has allowed it to work. It’s no surprise to me when workable public benefit solutions arise from businesses, or encorporate entrepreneurial initiatives. Imagine if social service programs were informed more by the client than the funder? Kudos to you Mark for focusing on solutions that are work. I hope people listen in.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted October 17, 2015 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Apologies for typos etc. I’m blaming the phone.

  7. charlieRomeo
    Posted October 18, 2015 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Susan Martin hasn’t had too many “encounters of the sobriety kind”. The president before her should have been indicted as an accomplice to murder for trying to cover up a murder. This is what the board of regents are responsible for in “selecting” a president. But what else can be expected from the fetchdog lackeys of Rick Snyder ?

  8. Peter Larson
    Posted October 19, 2015 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    I’m glad to see that there are still some people making comments on this site.

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