editorial: Susan Martin and EMU's regents: Questions remain about future relationship
Both are specific outcomes following disclosure last week that Martin was reprimanded by EMU’s Board of Regents in May. The reprimand came in the form of a letter that told Martin she faced firing if she is involved in “inappropriate” incidents involving consumption of alcohol. The letter cited a specific argument from April and cited “prior incidents,” and asked Martin to receive counseling.
Martin responded by denying that she had a drinking problem in a letter dated July 6 and in interviews afterward, then disclosed her plans for counseling and the donation.
This is a situation that remains unresolved. However, as the community, EMU officials and Martin continue to weigh the circumstances, here are some of our considerations:
- Martin did the right thing by saying she’d seek counseling. Taking that step removes that as a point of contention between her and regents.
- The letter of reprimand seems like a surprising and aggressive step from regents, who have supported Martin in her official evaluations.
- We’re troubled by the six-week lapse between the letter and Martin’s response, and we’re concerned about the tenor of their relationship during that time.
- EMU has suffered - in image and leadership - from the public firings of two previous presidents. The community may need to consider whether leadership from regents is both sufficient and effective, given their previous oversight of presidents and their approach to Martin in this circumstance.
- Martin’s accomplishments at EMU and future growth at the university can only be sustained if she and regents are able to resolve this situation - and move forward in a collaborative and respectful way.