The straight arrow

  • Frank Gregg

    Samual Losh
 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, Making a mountain into a starbase.

"The university has no choice except to tilt the rewards system toward faculty and departments that can generate the most money. And that's bad."

Frank Gregg, head of the BLM under President Jimmy Carter, was a U of A professor from 1981-1992. For four of those years he directed the school of renewable natural resources. In the mid-1980s, when it appeared imminent that the Mount Graham red squirrel was going to be listed as an endangered species, Gregg met with an adminstrator and an attorney hired by the university. Gregg's advice, which he'd discussed with a senior wildlife faculty member, was that the university should make the first move:

"We said we shouldn't wait to be told it's endangered. We should just announce that we think it's endangered, and we're not going to proceed with the Mount Graham thing until we can satisfy ourselves that a realistic recovery plan can be developed. Let's announce that, and everyone will be astonished with our integrity.

"I said, 'We're going to play it absolutely straight ...'

"They thanked us, were gracious, and turned elsewhere.

"My faculty said, 'You horse's rump; we'll never get another dollar.' Which was true. But we'd never been treated generously in the past - I mean by the college of agriculture, not by the university. We were trying to run an environmentally sensitive natural resources school at the ag school. Which is an oxymoron, because modern agriculture is organized around the high-tech, scientific, chemical fertilizer production model. There are plenty of good scientists in the ag school, but the political atmosphere there is about the 1883 model. About the same as the repeating rifle ...

"(The Mount Graham controversy) wasn't a particular failing of the University of Arizona. What's going on here is typical of almost all public universities that had a serious interest in research ... The university has an imperative, and that is to maximize the generation of extramural research dollars. The university has no choice except to tilt the rewards system toward faculty and departments that can generate the most money. And that's bad.

"The administrative model that came to be admired is an authoritative top-down model, not a collegial model in which (the dean is) elected by colleagues. This worked some centuries ago. The authoritarian model is much stronger in the public universities, and perhaps especially in the land-grant universities."

High Country News Classifieds
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Executive Director Position Announcement POSITION TITLE: Executive Director ORGANIZATION: Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument REPORTING TO: Board of Directors EMPLOYMENT TYPE: Part-time - Full-time, based...
  • HEALTHY CITIES PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Healthy Cities Program Director leads and manages the Healthy Cities Program for the Arizona Chapter and is responsible for developing and implementing innovative, high...
  • CONSERVATION PROGRAM MANAGER
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) Conservation Programs Manager Job Opening Our Mission: Honoring the past and safeguarding the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument through...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) Associate Director Job Posting Our Mission: Honoring the past and safeguarding the future of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument through science,...
  • UNIQUE, ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME ON ACREAGE NEAR MOSCOW, IDAHO
    Custom-built energy-efficient 3000 sqft two-story 3BR home, 900 sqft 1 BR accessory cottage above 2-car garage and large shop. Large horse barn. $1,200,000. See online...
  • OUTDOOR ADVENTURE BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures (MOLA) - established and profitable outdoor adventure & education business in Missoula, Montana. Summer camp, raft & climb guide, teen travel,...
  • OJO SARCO FARM/HOME
    A wonderful country setting for a farm/work 1350s.f. frame home plus 1000 studio/workshop. 5 acres w fruit trees, an irrigation well, pasture and a small...
  • STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR
    Join Skagit Land Trust (the Trust), a not-for-profit conservation organization based in Mount Vernon, Washington, and help protect land for people and wildlife. Skagit Land...
  • 2022 SEASONAL SCIENCE EDUCATOR
    The Mount St. Helens Institute Science Educator supports our science education and rental programs including day and overnight programs for youth ages 6-18, their families...
  • POLICY DIRECTOR
    Heart of the Rockies Initiative is seeking a Policy Director to lead and define policy efforts to advance our mission to keep working lands and...
  • CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
    Self-Help Enterprises seeks an experienced and strategic CFO
  • CONSERVATION SPECIALIST - LAND PROTECTION FOCUS
    View full job description and how to apply at
  • RIVER EDUCATOR & GUIDE
    River Educator & Guide River Educator & Guide (Trip Leader) Non-exempt, Seasonal Position: Full-time OR part-time (early April through October; may be flexible with start/end...
  • LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    The Land and Water Conservation Director is a full-time salaried position with the Mountain Area Land Trust in Evergreen, CO. The successful candidate will have...
  • FOOD SYSTEMS ENVIRONMENTAL FELLOWSHIP
    If you were to design a sustainable society from the ground up, it would look nothing like the contemporary United States. But what would it...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) is seeking an Executive Director who will lead RiGHT toward a future of continued high conservation impact, organizational...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Help protect Montana's water quality, family farms and ranches, & unique quality of life. Work hard, meet good people, make the world a better place!...
  • NEW BOOK:
    True Wildlife Tales From Boy to Man. Finding my voice to save wildlife in the Apache spirit. 365+ vivid colorful pictures. Buy on Amazon/John Wachholz
  • CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
    with Rural Community Assistance Corporation. Apply here: https://www.marcumllp.com/executive-search/chief-operations-officer-rcac
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...