Bruce Speck’s Greatest Hits #5: Who’s the VPAA today?

Jack Oakes was Boo Boo for only 18 days.

Less than three weeks after accepting the post as Missouri Southern’s chief academic officer, Oakes resigned publicly and gave the most complete glimpse inside the Speck administration we have had to date. He authored an infamous letter to colleagues in August 2009. The Oakes resignation was just one panel in the revolving door that was the VPAA office.  Speck finally brought AJ “Odious Motherfucker” Anglin out of retirement to be his hatchet man. It was a last gasp at academic despotism after even Brad Kleindl couldn’t stomach being such a dick for Speck. And Anglin would later rediscover his “love for the classroom.”

Here are some highlights of the Oakes letter that tell the story.

The series of events that Bruce refers to made me feel that, if I had stayed in the VP position, I would be acquiescing to a management style that violated each one of the above four principles, which I could not do. Had I done so, going forward I would not been able to look two of my colleagues, two of your colleagues, in the eye. (Emphasis ours)

Wow. But it gets better.

He is all class about the guy who came next.

I urge you to provide Brad Kleindl the same level of support. He deserves and he is going to need a lot of help. It is in the best interest of MSSU that he succeeds.

And the concluding paragraph shows that documents and information about the VPAA office were important enough to share with the university’s governing board. But with Mighty Dwight still around, that all fell on deaf ears.

Via a group of documents, I have shared with members of the MSSU Board of Governors details of the events that occurred, starting with the Thursday morning June 18 meeting with Bruce and John Messick at which Bruce asked me to consider accepting an appointment to the Academic VP position and ending with my request on Monday morning July 13 to return
to full-time teaching-faculty status. I trust in their judgment and I am confident that they will handle this matter in a way that is in the best interest of Southern.


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