Staff Reports

kscope logo circleFollowing the calls for President Ray L. Watts, M.D.’s resignation from the UAB National Alumni Society (NAS) and AL.com, Kscope feels that as an outlet for the student voice, we must issue an editorial letter of opinion as well. However, our voices are not unanimous like the vote by the NAS. We represent the student body as a whole, and the students are not all chanting “Fire Ray Watts.” As you can see from the online content, students are torn.

This university needs a strong leader, one that will own up to mistakes and be transparent with the community about decisions. No matter when the decision to cancel football, bowling and rifle was announced, it was impossible to mitigate the blow back. Morale has not been lost following this decision; morale has been boosted as we unite in the cause to save our university. As the satirical article by Teresa Davis last issue thanks Watts for “making UAB great,” we have to realize the truth behind the humor.

We did not take the important decision about the future of our student life lacking student input lying down. We rallied, we chanted and we united for our university. Certainly, no one predicted that as an outcome, but that is what happened.

However, we don’t thank Watts. Instead, the Kscope Editorial Staff calls for his resignation, despite knowing that we cannot hope for a replacement that will stand up to the UA system Board of Trustees and fight for UAB as long the BOT is the one who cuts the paycheck for every faculty, staff and student worker. Regardless of what the PR spin “UAB Forward” says, we cannot move forward without remembering the past, and the Dec. 2 decision is hardly in the past. The rifle team only fired their last competitive shots a few weeks ago.

However, the kickback from this decision is our present and will be our future, even without Watts as president. This decision is a lesson to past, future and present students: make administration hear our voice and see us as equals who deserve input in all major decisions that effect our community. Students were considered external stakeholders in the Carr Report, despite the fact that football is an integral part of student life, especially in the state of Alabama.

UAB needs a president who realizes the strength of the students across all disciplines and makes a real effort to get to know them. We are not just a renowned medical school. We have a thriving campus community, and we all have our own interests.

We need a president who realizes how unique this campus is and wants to be a part of it, know it and truly live it, helping all aspects of the campus to succeed and fulfill a mission that unites the university and the surrounding community.

We need a president whose priority is attending the university events, not attending an oncology conference (though we certainly support oncology conferences). We don’t need an M.D. for president, because the one we have now hurt our health by making a decision without proper input, and sought a second opinion only after the uproar and national attention pointed out potential flaws in the report.

We need a president that has the confidence to be an active part of our community, not one with tarnished image beyond PR spin repair.

As a newspaper, we do not wish to tell you what to think. This editorial simply tells you what we think. We encourage each and every reader to make their own decisions. Our main story Blazergate is dedicated to presenting an unbiased account of what unfolded over Spring Break. We hope that whatever happens, our university continues to make a name for itself in a variety of disciplines, and that our students continue to invest themselves in the betterment of the community.

This needs to be a community where we are all for all of UAB, led by a president invested in transparency, shared governance and involved in all aspects of the university. It is the only way to move forward.

Kscope Editorial Board

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