Written by Joe Kleinsasser Wednesday, 13 February 2008 11:14
You may have seen it coming, but I didn’t. I thought you’d complete your long career at Tabor as athletic director before riding off into retirement. But I didn’t know someone in administration wanted you out. And I know that you know that even if 99 percent of the people think you’re doing a good job, one higher-ranking administrator trumps everything.
Of course, you aren’t the first, and probably won’t be the last, to be reassigned to other duties at Tabor College. However, I believe you’re the first to be reassigned after serving with distinction, commitment, sacrifice and success at Tabor for more than 30 years.
Many faculty and staff have come and gone, usually looking for greener pastures and more pay, but you let opportunities pass and chose instead to give your heart and soul to Tabor. If you leave, Tabor will have lost a piece of its soul.
Are you bothered more by the reassignment or the isolation that you’ve felt from many faculty and staff? I’m thinking that if you can be reassigned, anyone at Tabor can be reassigned.
While there are no guarantees, a crucial part of the equation that allows the college to operate is the trust and goodwill on the part of faculty and staff that they will be treated equitably. The college can’t afford to squander that kind of institutional capital.
Historically, there have been many faculty and staff at Tabor who have been the cornerstones of the campus—dedicating most of their lives to the mission of the college. They have been overworked and underpaid, yet they soldier on because they believe in Tabor and what it stands for in terms of furthering the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Richard Kyle, Frank Brenneman, Allen Hiebert, David Faber, Jonah Kliewer, Clarence Hiebert, William Johnson, Max Terman, Gary Myers, Vernon Wiebe, Walt Kleinsasser, Katie Wiebe, Malinda Nikkel and Del Reimer—just to name a few — are among those upon whom the reputation of Tabor has been built because they stood the test of time. Many alumni would add your name to that list. Referring to your situation, one person said, “These people should be shown the respect that they deserve for their service. Tabor owes them a huge debt, not a demotion and job offer that they know is an insult.”
Don, if it’s any consolation, you have many friends who are unhappy with your plight, and some alumni think your situation, not to mention the timing of the reassignment between presidents, stinks.
A former basketball player said, “Obviously because of my relationship with Don, I feel even more strongly about having this happen to him, but I can say that if this was happening to any of them (distinguished, longtime Tabor faculty and staff) I would be absolutely certain that it was wrong and not a decision that is in the best interest of Tabor. I would also be absolutely certain that the person responsible for making such an egregious decision should be terminated and replaced with someone who had more respect for what these people have meant to this institution.”
Although I don’t expect the Tabor board of directors to micromanage or second-guess an administrator’s decision, the responsible parties should know that many people who love and support Tabor want the college to take a closer look at the process resulting in your demotion.
Some years ago, Tabor’s football stadium was named Reimer Field in honor of former athletic director Del Reimer. The soccer field was named in honor of Vernon Wiebe. In time, likely under a different administration, Tabor will add you to its athletic Hall of Fame and, if there’s any justice, name the gymnasium in your honor.
After all, as Lawrence Ressler, vice president of academics and student development, said in a news release, “Many lives have been changed because of Don Brubacher’s coaching and his teaching. He is passionate about faith and the mission of the college. Don has served Tabor with distinction for many years.”
On that much, we can agree.
Keep the faith,