You'll recall that when the Soviets ruled Russia, foreign analysts (including Dr. Papp) had little in the way of public information to go on. The best way of determining the pecking order of power was by seeing who was standing next to whom on top of Lenin's Tomb during the annual May Day Parade.
Papp has had nothing to say about Chandler's status since Saturday's bombshell Around Town report about the contents of an article Chandler and another professor wrote for The Journal of Higher Education in 1998. The paper advocates various university governance reforms, but is replete with Marxist-style verbiage and scathing remarks about capitalism. It also describes the United States as "the most violent nation-state in history."
Chandler told AT on Friday that he is not a Marxist, but admitted that they had written the paper through "a Marxist lens."
AT called him again on Monday at his home in Ohio, where he was senior associate provost for Kent State University, to ask his opinion on the uproar and whether he had been rethinking his plans
"I have certainly been thinking about my position, yes," he answered.
But Chandler, who was loquacious on Friday, was tight-lipped on Monday, telling us he would have no more to say about the $228,000-a-year job until after we had talked with Papp.
"I think it would be more appropriate for him as my potential boss to speak first before I do," he said.
That would indicate he is still interested in the KSU job and that the next step is Papp's.
But Papp did not return calls Monday and was said by his underlings to be traveling.
Papp said on Friday that the hiring was "a done deal." But is it? It's unclear whether Chandler has been offered or has signed a contract, or whether the state Board of Regents would have to approve the hiring.
What is clear, however, is that Papp hasn't exactly rushed to Chandler's defense. It's also clear that a backlash is building against both Chandler and Papp. One seasoned local politico said that even a "mea culpa" by Chandler might not be enough. Yes, the paper was written 13 years ago, and people's politics do evolve, but his don't seem to have done so.
That politico added that Chandler would be a hindrance, not a help, when it comes to Papp's all-important job of raising donations and other funding for KSU. Another noted that Papp had scored a touchdown with his appointment of legendary retired UGA Coach Vince Dooley to head the committee laying the groundwork for a KSU football program - and wondered how Papp could have fumbled so badly on the provost pick.
"I just don't think he can sell him to the community," said one.
Agreed. Papp will find that selling pigskins is much easier than selling the baggage that Chandler is bringing.
As one KSU professor told Around Town, "Every college needs a couple of good Marxists on campus, just not as the provost ... the No. 2 man in command."
WILL THE HIRING of an apparent Marxist sympathizer have an effect on alumni giving? It's too soon to say, but one prominent KSU grad - Tricia Pridemore, a leading candidate to be elected chairwoman of the Georgia Republican Party - told the MDJ during a February interview that she had already decided to withhold future donations, which was well before she'd ever heard Chandler's name.
"I will say that I was asked to donate money to the university a few years ago, and I asked them why they used the word 'progressive' in their boilerplate of their press releases, you know, 'Kennesaw State University is a progressive institution,' because that word has so many meanings," she said. "It has a very socially liberal bent to it. I never did get an answer, and they never did get a check. It was surprising to me that here in Cobb County why they would they want to position themselves in that way."
SATURDAY’S AT prompted a barrage of angry responses from readers on the MDJonline.com website.
“TimeToMoveOn” wrote, “May I suggest Chandler consider moving to another University that might be more agreeable to his viewpoint, say in Cuba, Venezuela or North Korea! I am sure he will have all the academic freedom these governments will allow and he will be afforded an up close and personal view of Marxism at its best.”
“Swooper” wrote, “So Mr. Chandler does not like capitalism. He apparently believes, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Does anyone really “NEED” $228,000 a year? Let’s see if he practices what he preaches. Offer him $100,000. If he does not accept, he is obviously a hypocrite, and should be shown the door.”
The readers were not totally one-sided. “An Alumnus” wrote, “It doesn’t bother this KSU alumnus one bit and won’t change my donations one iota. The thought that one professorial paper from 1998 makes the new provost a Marxist is ridiculous. Attempting to paint him as such, as seen in this article, based on that one paper is equally ridiculous.” But the critical comments far outpaced the favorable ones.
The column also attracted comments when it was linked to AT co-editor Joe Kirby’s Facebook page. Wrote Marietta High School principal Leigh Beggs Colburn, “A pretty lousy Southern welcome to a new member of our community.” Cookie entrepreneur Allen Koronkowski, on the other hand, noted that Chandler’s “right to print his opinion does not mean that we are to accept or ignore it.”
PLANS by Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee and County Manager David Hankerson to hire former city of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management deputy commissioner Sheila Cook Pierce may be down the drain. Sources tell AT that Lee was still trying to find the three votes needed to approve the hiring and predicted that Lee might pull the item from today’s commission meeting agenda rather than risk a public defeat.
Lee and Commissioner JoAnn Birrell are said to favor hiring Pierce, but Commissioners Helen Goreham, Bob Ott and Woody Thompson are said to be against her for the $100,000-a-year job, according to sources.
Pierce was recently fired by Mayor Kasim Reed as he attempted to clean house in a system some have called “disastrous.”
Ever since the MDJ ran a story on Pierce in Friday newspaper, reader comments on the newspaper’s website have encouraged commissioners not to appoint one of “Atlanta’s rejects,” as several put it.
Some were also troubled by Pierce’s financial past, as the county confirmed she recently resolved a tax lien against her, and questioned why the county could not have promoted someone within the 4,000 county employees.
A PAIR OF LOCALS have earned two of the highest awards that Georgia Tech gives alumni.
Hubert L. “Herky” Harris Jr., Class of 1965, of Vinings, was named a recipient of the Joseph Mayo Pettit Alumni Distinguished Service Award. Harris, retired CEO of Invesco North America, was chief lobbyist for the old C&S Bank and then served in a similar capacity during the Carter Administration for the Office of Management and Budget. He is a past chairman of the Georgia Tech Foundation and a former member of the Georgia board of the American Cancer Society, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games Advisory Board, and currently serves as a member of the Carter Center Board of Councilors.
Goodman B. Espy III, M.D., Class of 1957, was the recipient of the Dean Griffin Community Service Award. Dr. Espy, an OB/GYN, traveled to Kosovo in 1998 to deliver babies and do surgery on war refugees. More recently he has traveled to Iraq to open a mammography clinic and train Iraqi physicians. He pays to have the mammography films flown here to be read because of the lack of facilities in Iraq. Espy lives in Buckhead but practices in Cobb.
Among those on hand for the annual Gold & White Honors event were Espy’s brother, dermatologist Dr. Paul Espy, and Georgia Supreme Court Justice Harris Hines, Harris’ life-long friend, and wife Helen, all of Marietta.
ONE OF NEW state Attorney General Sam Olens’ first appointments was Marietta lawyer Sara Clay as a special assistant AG in Cobb Juvenile Court. She will continue her nationally recognized fertility practice, as well as representing the state and Department of Family and Children Services in court. She is the wife of fellow Marietta attorney Chuck Clay.