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An Open Letter to Ray Watts, MD
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58-56 Offline
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An Open Letter to Ray Watts, MD
My brothers, my sisters,

As this board is monitored by the President’s Office, I felt it the best place to make sure that the following is read by Dr. Ray Watts. I apologize for the intrusion and will now depart again.

Dear Dr. Watts,

As you and many others are aware, the uncertainty surrounding the future of UAB football has caused a great deal of distress among the university’s alumni and other supporters. I, like you, am an alumnus of UAB and I greatly value the education I received there. And I am also greatly concerned about recent news, though I have come to believe that the future of the football program is among the least of these worries.

And so, I would like to ask you for clarification on a number of issues. If I am mistaken in any of the underlying assumptions, I would beseech you to set them straight. I only seek to clarify, not to accuse.

First, there is the issue of FY 2016 budgeting for the undergraduate side of campus. I have been told that not one single dean has seen a proposed budget for the next fiscal year, badly crimping any future planning. Is this claim accurate? If this is accurate – which I personally find hard to credit, but the claim is out there - how do you expect your subordinates to carry out a wealth of changes on little to no warning?

Second, you have been charged by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees to, in the words of Trustee Finis St. John IV, return the School of Medicine to its former national prominence. This is a fine goal and I applaud Trustee St. John for making it a priority. However, nowhere in that charge – at least to my knowledge - is a command to do so by degrading undergraduate education at UAB. The undergraduate side provides a massive funding subsidy to the School of Medicine, which, as opposed to the hospital system, has never been “profitable” and never will be. Graduate schools, like college football teams, do not exist to turn a profit, as you and I are both aware. So I would request clarification on this issue: how do you intend to build the School of Medicine’s international profile without a vibrant undergraduate program at UAB?

Third, you have been charged by University of Alabama System Chancellor Robert Witt to double the undergraduate enrollment of UAB, in large part to help fund the expansion of the School of Medicine. How do you intend to do so while eliminating or reducing the amenities that attract students and foster a spirit of community among alumni, thereby cementing long-term loyalty? That would be a reference to athletics, football in particular, if I was not clear.

Fourth, the Campaign for UAB has faltered, barely reaching half of its goal. I know that I intend to withdraw my own pledge this week, and suspect that I am not the only individual to do so. How do you intend to revive this laudable fund-raising program while enraging donors at the same time?

Fifth, you apparently have cloistered yourself in your offices with little contact with those who are expert in undergraduate administration, university finance or, perhaps worst of all, public relations. Do you intend to continue to chart this solo course, or will you listen to the deans, faculty and others who have so much to offer on these issues?

Sixth, I have heard it claimed that you intend to re-direct the president’s discretionary funds from athletics to the School of Medicine, and have re-directed leftover monies from various schools and departments to your discretionary fund in order to further this purpose. Or this may have already happened – I am not clear on this. Is this claim indeed accurate?

Seventh, we alumni and supporters have heard nothing from University Relations on these issues. Your sole communication has been a badly-written letter filled with bureaucratic jargon, issued once in your name and a second time with slight modifications in the name of Athletics Director Brian Mackin, a letter that surely did not pass across the desk of anyone in University Relations. Will you allow your subordinates to freely address the concerns of alumni, supporters and taxpayers about the future direction of the state of Alabama’s largest public institution, or do you intend to continue to conduct the public’s business in private?

Trustee St. John and Chancellor Witt have laid out achievable, admirable goals that will make UAB a stronger, greater university than it has ever been. You have apparently responded by taking the university in the exact opposite direction, with the apparent intent of starving the university’s undergraduate programs and destroying its most effective means of fostering a connection to alumni and the community at large (that would be football, again, if I was not clear). You will not double undergraduate enrollment without making serious investments in faculty and facilities: no sane person is going to send their child to UAB when they can get the same educational value – taught by the exact same adjunct faculty – at a junior college for a fraction of the price. Any of the experts on your staff whose advice you have apparently ignored will tell you that. And any of the marketing experts you employ could describe the value of football to this effort far better than I. And finally, those same experts will inform you that the School of Medicine will not survive without the funding base provided by the undergraduate side of UAB, and has no future without the support of alumni donors.

Sometimes, we all find that we face difficult issues beyond our capability. You were once a fine researcher, and a respected dean. If you are unable to lead UAB into the future as the comprehensive university envisioned by Joseph Volker, I urge you to resign for the good of the alma mater you and I share. If you instead feel that you can accomplish this mission, I look forward to hearing, in public, how you intend to complete it.

And once again, if any of the above is mistaken, I eagerly await correction. I sincerely want to best for UAB, as I believe you do, and extend this dancing carrot in token of my good wishes: COGS

Thank you for your time spent reading this.
11-11-2014 07:27 PM
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Matrix Offline
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Post: #2
RE: An Open Letter to Ray Watts, MD
Yes!
11-11-2014 07:30 PM
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the_blazerman Offline
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Post: #3
RE: An Open Letter to Ray Watts, MD
If you do not mind, I plan on linking to this via twitter.

We all want what is best for UAB as a whole.
11-11-2014 07:33 PM
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blazr Away
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Post: #4
RE: An Open Letter to Ray Watts, MD
04-bow04-bow

[Image: ali-vs-liston.jpg]
11-11-2014 07:34 PM
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Matrix Offline
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Post: #5
RE: An Open Letter to Ray Watts, MD
(11-11-2014 07:34 PM)blazr Wrote:  04-bow04-bow

[Image: ali-vs-liston.jpg]

03-lmfao
11-11-2014 07:36 PM
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B'ham Blazer Offline
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Post: #6
RE: An Open Letter to Ray Watts, MD
That was AWESOME!.....probably the best one yet!
11-11-2014 07:37 PM
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KSUBlazer Offline
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Post: #7
RE: An Open Letter to Ray Watts, MD
That has to be the best-articulated commentary, albeit in open letter format, that has crossed this forum in many, many moons.

Huzzah, my friend. May it bring forth the answers we all crave.
11-11-2014 07:39 PM
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JxGx78 Offline
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Post: #8
RE: An Open Letter to Ray Watts, MD
Excellent post and letter!!!
11-11-2014 07:45 PM
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FNblazer Offline
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Post: #9
RE: An Open Letter to Ray Watts, MD
[Image: 020.gif]
11-11-2014 07:50 PM
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BlazerPhil Offline
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Folding@NCAAbbs
Post: #10
RE: An Open Letter to Ray Watts, MD


11-11-2014 07:52 PM
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