UM in semester of limbo

It’s better to put off a decision, rather than make a bad one. That’s what we hope happened in the case of the embattled President Philip Williams of the University of Montevallo.

Nonetheless, we are disappointed the board did not make a decision that would have ended this terrible situation for that esteemed university.

Last week, after a meeting that lasted more than three painful hours, the university’s board of trustees decided to grant Williams a sabbatical until Jan. 1, 2010, and to try to mediate issues between him and at least two members of the nine-member board.

We are unsure what kind of understanding the board and Williams will come to during mediation sessions that could not have been forged during the time leading up to last week’s board meeting.

In the meantime, students, faculty and staff are in limbo. One cannot discount the long-term damage a continuing divide between the university’s administration and its board of trustees can cause to the university. At the very least, the situation will be a semester-long public relations nightmare.

Maybe a sabbatical and mediation will lead to the appropriate solution for all involved. That’s what we hope happens.

However, we are disappointed trustees could not have come together to quickly resolve the situation, which would have allowed all at the University of Montevallo to return focus back to the pursuit of higher education.