The Cleveland Stater is published online and in print by students enrolled in the School of Communication at Cleveland State University.
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From the Stater Desk: Give Berkman a Fair Chance
Even before the Ronald M. Berkman presidential era began at Cleveland State University, local newspapers, students and the print and electronic media had already begun criticizing the new leader.
People condemned his new $400,000 per year salary along with his blundered introduction of Hall of Famer Isaiah Thomas, the new head basketball coach at Florida International University, Berkman’s former employer, whom he called “Thompson.” Berkman’s new ritzy pad in Shaker Heights has faced scrutiny lately and now even his overall credentials to become the sixth president in CSU history has come into the mix.
Wow! What a welcoming! We are sure he is just oozing with excitement to take over for arguably one of the most successful presidents in this institution’s history.
The fact is, all this recent criticism of the university’s new leader is simply unfair. This is the commencement of his first week in office and besides a basic introductory press conference hosted by the board of trustees, Berkman has not received the proper welcome the leader of a respected institution should be afforded.
He has arrived from Florida to advance, not set back, this institution. In the years he spent at City University of New York and FIU he faced his share of adversity but rose above it, advancing through the ranks to become a vice president and provost.
While holding those respected positions, Berkman changed the face of FIU, raising academic standards and becoming a prominent sounding board to businesses in the heart of Miami. He has vowed to do the same with CSU and even more.
The construction projects he has overseen on campus, the higher standards he has set in the world of academia, an athletic department that has finally received acclaimed attention, partnerships with prominent businesses in the Cleveland area and an overall better look and feel to CSU are all important pieces to this complicated puzzle that Schwartz has helped create.
Now it is Berkman’s turn. And while the 62-year-old avid golfer has more to live up to than Schwartz did when he took over as president, he needs to be given a chance.
CSU is quickly becoming a prominent institution not only within the Cleveland area, but in the entire state of Ohio. Professors at this institution need not take a back seat to anyone. CSU has projected a new image, it has become attractive to local business partners and surrounding ones as well.
A firm foundation was put into place for this university by Schwartz who ended his seven-year stint this week. Now a new leader has arrived who has vowed to take the university to new heights.
Is the new leader being paid too much to do so? Perhaps. Has he made mistakes like any of us in the past? Absolutely. But it is time to welcome him appropriately. Berkman says he will make this university better than it already is in many facets.
Don’t believe him? He’s done it before, and all the pieces are here for him to do it again.
Journalist's mission: To present the facts, tell the truth
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In appreciation of Michael Schwartz's vision and in anticipation of Ronald Berkman's plans
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