As striking university workers joined forces with Detroit’s labor community at the annual Labor Day Parade, WSU president David Adamany took the Board of Governors by surprise when he called an emergency meeting to give notice of his immediate resignation.
Board members speculated that the cause of Adamany’s hurried departure was due to intense public pressure and the realization that he had become “the most hated man on campus”. Betty Carlton, a WSU student, expressed anger at Adamany’s policies when she said “He’s gutted every Liberal Arts program at the University and turned it into a techno-research factory. He’s turned union against union, professor against professor and student against student.”
Opposition to the outspoken administrator recently escalated when Adamany declared campus private property and ordered striking clerical workers arrested for carrying picket signs on campus. Labor and civil rights organizations joined forces to support the workers in their two-week-old strike and to help combat Adamany’s curtailment of free speech.
Also contributing to Adamany’s dilemma was the possibility of total university closure as two other unions representing 1700 faculty, professional and administrative staff authorized a strike on the first day of classes.
The controversial president fell from public favor soon after his 1982 appointment, when his union-busting intentions became clear. In contract negotiations this year, a mere two percent increase was offered to employees, while Adamany himself took a six percent increase on his $126,970 annual salary, making him the highest paid university president in the country. Facing union demands for substantial wage increases, Adamany declared that the University is in serious financial trouble, a fact denied by a report prepared by Financial Analyst, Dr. Richard Weber, released at a July 14 campus lecture. The information, obtained by Weber through analyzing the University Budget Reports, showed the University at a near $20 million in surplus funds.
“The bandits call it Funds Transfers,” said Diana Walls, a UAW 2071 member. “Dollars are transferred round and round from the Current Fund, to the Plant Fund or to nine other funds in the University budget until no outsider quite knows where or how much money there really is.” Union activists charge that Adamany made “unaccounted-for transfers of funds for building improvements and construction.”
Immersed in the most bitterly heated fight with University employees in years, Adamany succumbed to the pressure. In an exclusive statement to the South End, Adamany said he “felt like a new man, like Scrooge on Christmas Day.”