10 September 2008

'Tis bureaucracy, m'lord. Simple, hog-rotting bureaucracy.

A few minutes ago, I checked my Broward College e-mail account. I tend to do this at work when I get hung up on a project. It's one way to take a mindless break from the constant thinking that non-pleasure writing requires. Normally, these BC e-mail excursions do not last very long. I do a quick pan with the eyes, followed by a vast sweeping highlight before I purge the inbox of the many college-wide e-mails that have gathered since my last work day.

Today was different. I saw all these e-mails about polo shirts, so I'm thinking to myself I can understand college-wide e-mails about Hurricane Ike or maybe phishing scams and other notable scandals, but polo shirts? I had to read them...

Here's the seed crystal e-mail, sent 9/9/2008 4:22:24 PM:

I have had a couple of inquiries about who is eligible to receive a shirt...any full-time employee of the college can have a shirt.


And the downtrodden respond:

1. Jillian, I truly believe that the college was remiss in not offering the shirts to those of us in Adjunct positions. Some of us have been serving (and successfully so) the college for a significant number of years. I have just begun my 17th year of teaching at the North Campus. The tenure of many of the Adjuncts far exceed that of the relatively-new or recent full-timers.

We have heard at almost every one of the Adjunct meetings and seminars over the years that the college would not be able to function effectively without us.

Why then, are we now being snubbed?


2. I would agree. I have just begun my 18th successful year as an Adjunct.


Fortunately, there is hope:

1. Good Morning! Never shouldl 'anyone' should be slighted, after all we are a 'TEAM' and Together as a TEAM we make BC.
This is not much, however, I would like very much to donate my Polo shirt to the adjunct community.
Thank you,

2. I second the thought. Adjuncts, feel free stop by my office, Bldg. 71, Rm. 121 (south) for a medium T-shirt. I am guessing I will have it in a few weeks. First come, first fitted.


The most recent e-mail, from Gary, was sent 9/10/2008 12:49:51 PM. In the course of less than a day, I have borne witness to the tension brewing at Broward College: the uprising of the masses, having found their issue upon which to declare their equality, and whose pleas do not go entirely unheeded, for they find sympathizers in positions of power who are quick to dismount their full-time horses, seeing it as their duty to offer alms to the adjuncts. The revolution has been avoided.

Or has it? I will keep you updated when I know more about the Polo Shirt Situation of 2008. After all, I'm at work. What else should I focus on?


Since I posted this entry, two more e-mails have come along. Now I actually look forward to checking my work e-mail!

This e-mail is directly addressed to a previous participant, Steve, whose heated reply (cited above) opened widespread debate on the topic of a college's moral obligation to provide polo shirts for adjuncts. In his reply to Steve, James aligns himself with the adjuncts using Bill Clinton's famous message of 'I feel your pain':

I believe it is generous to offer workers free garments, but if there aren't enough to go around, and that prompts exclusion, then maybe it is something to be re-thought. I often hear that BC is a family. Does this mean adjuncts and part-timers are its stepchildren? I certainly hope not. I know and work with many adjuncts and part timers who are some of the most dedicated people in this college, and that I have ever had the good fortune to work with, and also believe they should not be treated as second class citizens. Suggestion: If there aren't enough shirts for everyone, perhaps they should be donated to a charity that feeds and clothes the needy. If my words come across as soaked in umbrage, perhaps it's because I was a stepchild myself who was often overlooked during gift-giving occasions -- so I know the feeling. I think what you guys do make BC the wonderful institution that it is, and know you will continue to do so, freebee or not. Another suggestion: A shirt only for Adjuncts and part-timers that reads: "Unsung Heros," or better yet: "Backbone of the College."
Just a thought.

One thing's for sure. If the college does make "Unsung Heros" t-shirts for adjuncts and part-timers, I say leave the misspelling of heroes. I think it means something.

Next, the most recent e-mail wins the Hypocrisy Award, considering I received it:

And so it begins.

Please stop with the 'reply all' snarky comments.

Just. Please. Stop.


Will more Broward College employees enter the e-mail coliseum to do battle wearing only their perspectives on the issue of polo shirt distribution among faculty? As we approach the 24-hour-versary of the Polo Shirt Situation of 2008, I vow to do my duty as news correspondent to remain fair and balanced in these trying times....


Your humble reporter is back on the case of the Polo Shirt Situation of 2008: A Symbolic Debate for Equality. Since I last did any news corresponding, only two more e-mails have been sent campus-wide.

In the first one, Shirley writes to Barbara and Gary, those humble souls who previously announced a humble willingness to donate their rightfully earned polo shirts to desiring adjuncts:

Thank you so much for your generosity. I am an adjunct who would love a polo shirt. Unfortunately, though, I would need a Large!
Any other kind soul out there with one to spare?
Thanks in advance!

As you can see, the plot thickens. We discover that generosity is not always enough. For selfless giving to meet a practical outcome, the right people must express generosity to fated counterparts. Otherwise, generosity will see none who can benefit.

The second polo shirt e-mail proves that campus-wide e-mails function based on synergy. From the generosity of full-time staff members willing to acknowledge the broader base of adjuncts beneath them, a new hope for the future of these polo shirts has come to being. As if on cue, the next e-mailer brings the light of Christian love into the discussion by illuminating the greater sense of urgency for generosity.


For the past couple of days I have the read various e-mails about these POLO SHIRTS for faculty and whether the adjuncts should be entitled to them, as well. As I read each e-mail I thought to myself, "Would it not be a GREAT idea that these BC POLO shirts be put to better use? Why not donate them to those that REALLY need them. How about those victims in HAITI, CUBA and the TURKS and CAICOS Islands?"

Well, just my humble thoughts and opinion.

God Bless,

Yes, Andrew. God bless indeed. Thank you for being the voice of reason--and for reminding us that state institutions such as Broward College run on the fuel that is the love of the Christian God. If only God had thought to send those shirts directly to those in need, all this squabbling within the BC family--um, er, TEAM, might have been prevented.

I wish I could tell you more about the end use of these much-debated polo shirts, but it seems the faceless institution of bureaucracy has stepped in to bring our polo shirt democracy to an end:


The preferred method of group discussions at Broward College according to policy is the college forums at: https://forums.broward.edu//. Please consider not using the collegewide distribution list (BCC) for group discussions.

Thank You

Technology Support
Information Technology

If only this entity, this "Technology Support/Information Technology," had not stepped in to make a soft-worded suggestion for us to [p]lease consider not using the collegewide distribution list (BCC) for group discussions, we might all get to know a little more about how free clothing influence us all. It now seems clear that the distribution of swag polo shirts speaks to more than just job title. The question of who gets a free polo shirt is a deep one, and one better left to the higher powers, like God Himself.

I now see the error in my ways, blaming God for not distributing these BC polo shirts to those in need. He wanted us to learn the lesson our way. One can only assume these humble humans of Broward College made the right choice. Via God's loving hand, they have made the first hesitant step toward ensuring that their unwanted polo shirts make it to those ravaged by the very storm that God Himself invented.

To those who followed me through the many days of this emotional story, I wish only to say, God bless you, and God bless the institutions of America. And God Bless America, and all those who live here. And, I guess, God bless those upon whom we wish to bestow our charity and polo shirts (even though God obviously doesn't like them, because why else would He send Hurricane Ike their way).

In closing, I have only one more thing to add:

Please Note: Due to Florida's very broad public records law, most written communications to or from College employees regarding College business are public records, available to the public and media upon request. Therefore, this email communication may be subject to public disclosure.


Xander and Alana (but mostly Alana) said...

Wow. And I thought we had real problems. Like, you know, how to contend with the "mavericks" in the states . . . .

zimdog said...

No, the Polo Shirt Situation of 2008 is where you want to direct your attention. Just trust me on this one, and listen to everything I have to say. Ev-ree-thing.