Three years ago, November 19, 2019, the campus community at Bluefield State gathered together in the student union for a frank talk by my office and the Chair of the Board of Governors regarding the status of the college. The general consensus among those attending was that mass layoffs or even closure was inevitable.
Their assumptions were well-founded. Enrollment had dropped 40% in the previous eight years and the financial state of the college was dire - by far, the worst in the state.
Yet, on that date, both my office and the Board Chair stated our belief that the foundation of the institution - its people, its programs, its purpose - was solid and that we were prepared to move forward. However, substantial improvements were critical.
Last week, our post on The Campus Maverick set forth the progress we’ve made since that day. Working together, we’d began to solve a lot of problems. We sent the post out to the campus as a Thanksgiving message and included our achievements. The message concluded by saying:
“These achievements are directly related to the vision and guidance of our Board of Governors. For their leadership, we are truly grateful. Also, these achievements are due to the hard work and dedication of our leadership team, faculty, staff, alumni and benefactors. Again, we are grateful. We are also a product of the Lord’s blessings without which none of this would be possible. Happy Thanksgiving!”
Within moments of receiving our message, one faculty member responded:
“Typically, Thanksgiving is about showing thanks to others - not thanking oneself for ones (sic) own prideful leadership.”
Our first thought was “he didn’t even read the message.” Clearly, the message rightfully attributes the college’s progress to the entire campus.
On second thought, though, consider the source. The comment was offered by one of the small group of faculty members who pushed a “no confidence” vote on the Board of Governors, President and Executive Vice President by peddling false narratives and ignoring the advancements made in the past four years.
These are the lost souls - those individuals who are chronically miserable - and aren’t happy unless they're unhappy. We all know these kind of people. While you find lost souls everywhere, higher education is uniquely endowed with more than its share.
The lost souls share most - if not all - of the following attributes:
They feel entitled to everything. They don’t need to prove or earn anything. They just deserve it because they do.
They want everything immediately. They have a right to have what they want and they want it now.
They’ve never been told no - and why should they. They’re always right. They’re infallible.
They are spiritually disconnected. What’s God got to do with it? I’ve done it all myself.
They give little time to other people. The time they do give other people is to tell them what they’ve done wrong or how smart they are.
They don’t hold themselves accountable. It’s everyone else’s fault. I couldn’t have possibly done anything wrong.
They attract other miserable people. They gather in a toxic bubble to talk about how bad things are. Misery truly loves company.
They don’t live for the moment. They don’t really understand what’s going on around them. They live in the past. They can also live in the future because they’re so smart, they know everything that’s going to happen. But as for today - it’s just too miserable to think about.
They let everything get to them. They are consistently negative and constantly annoyed by and angry about everything.
They are ungrateful. They are incapable of feeling any sense of appreciation no matter the extent that they are positively affected by the actions of others.
We truly feel sorry for these people. We can’t imagine what it’s like to just be so unhappy all the time.
While there has been a lot to celebrate at Bluefield State, there is so much more to do. At the November Board meeting, Chair Charlie Cole invited them to come, contribute and be a part of the university’s future.
We wish they would. At this point, however, it appears that they’re only going to be happy staring at their half-empty glass.
One of my great disappointments, they only see the pie as half eaten, they neglect to see that we can make more pie. No one has to go home with the box and eat the crumbs in it and later save the box and eat that too. We can and will make more pies no need to eat the crumbs and box. I am new to here and I have come from places where they hoped to save their ship, which hit the proverbial iceberg, and trying to save it with teaspoons. They have so many things going on that the ship sinking is a mere distraction. All students, faculty, and staff have to rearrange the deck chairs, by trying to get much needed funds. We have not been asked to travel to donors and beg for monies. We are stable, we are afloat, we have overcome. They feel wrongfully that it is not reasonable what is being asked of them. We are in competitive field now, our students can go anywhere and they came here. We have to hold ourselves accountable, which you have done President Capehart. You have said it best , I am not the smartest person in the room but I know how to find people who are....Keep up the great work !