Friday, September 25, 2009
And the Rose affair takes down Reinharz
Someone send Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz some roses.
He has just announced his resignation, no doubt due to the ongoing Rose Art Museum affair - actually, make that his resignation has just been announced, as his resignation letter, it turns out, is dated August 31. Apparently the leak had to wait for the publication of the oddly non-committal report of the university's "Future of the Rose" Committee - which stated that “The Rose Art Museum [should] remain the Rose Art Museum. It should remain what it is and what it has been since its beginnings: a university art museum open to the public,” without ever stating anything specific about the works of art that were in that museum.
Needless to say, today everyone is crazily reading the available tea leaves for some sign of the university's direction on the fate of that collection. Odds seem good that much, if not all, of it will be sticking around, but I wouldn't bet the farm on that quite yet. Indeed, it's possible that Reinharz may be serving as the scapegoat for a decision that's going to go through anyway; organizations have a penchant for working that way. I do think the best parts of the collection will stay off the block until a new President is installed, and by then, a new financial picture for Brandeis could well emerge.
As for Reinharz, something tells me that it was the collateral damage from the Rose brouhaha that brought him down at least as much as the initial decision itself. To be blunt, what has emerged over the past few months is that Brandeis's financial situation is a mess, and its long-term budget planning nearly non-existent; the Rose situation was merely an unfortunate off-shoot of that larger problem. And Reinharz's subsequent maneuvering revealed him as clumsy and maladroit, if not openly dishonest - not good things for the public face of a major university to be. So his days were definitely numbered. Let's hope the days of the Rose Art collection aren't.