Ode to an Antique Olive Jar:
"O Olive Jar! You are empty while I am sad.
I cannot afford to fill thee with expensive imported olives."
The poem, written by University of Akron graduate and retired educator Wendy Duke, was intended to symbolize the feeling of disgust that many are attaching to an $556 decorative olive jar recently purchased for the university-owned presidential residence.
Duke and dozens of others waited nearly two hours outside the doors of room 339 inside the Student Union. UA Board of Trustees were scheduled to meet in a public session around 9 a.m. The nearly two-hour wait was plenty of time for protesters to voice their opinions and express their concerns surrounding UA's recent budget cuts, including the elimination of 213 jobs.
Protestors chanting outside the doors of the UA board of trustees meeting... pic.twitter.com/MzkaUB07XT— Amani Abraham (@AmaniAbraham) August 12, 2015
28-year veteran English professor Antonia Forster made it very clear why she showed up.
"Generalized rage about the way the university is being destroyed by this attitude that money is the only thing that matters," said Forster.
People like Forster are mad about the elimination of staff and proposed reconfiguration of the UA Press, EJ Thomas Hall and the hiring of an inexperienced company to provide success coaches to students.
"The faculty is being treated like morons and lied to all the time and each time one lie gets pointed out, they come up with another one," said Forster. "There's a pattern of getting rid of all the people who know how to do things and replacing them with cheap people who don't know what they're doing."
Kristie Kern and her 10-year-old son, Kenton, were also in attendance outside the board of trustees meeting, using their violins as a way to express their concerns and present a symbolic message to represent the changes and job cuts at EJ Thomas Hall. Kern's husband, Kevin, is a UA history professor and also a member of the UA Press board.
"We, most especially, are upset about the situation with EJ Thomas Hall," said Kern. "This is why we brought our violins, my son and I, to represent the loss of performance opportunities at EJ Thomas."
But much of the attention was placed on the support offered for president Scott Scarborough, drawing snickers from people who were hoping to hear the opposite.While it was business as usual inside room 339 as UA board of trustees.
"We believe Dr. Scott Scarborough has appropriately and effectively addressed the issues presented to him," said Pavloff, who was then interrupted by the crowd's laughter. reconvened following an executive session Wednesday morning, Scarborough and Board Chairman Jonathon Pavloff did admit to making mistakes -- saying the administration could have done a better job delivering the message.
The board of trustees did not hear or answer questions from the public.