[Taxacom] Natural History Collections Under Fire

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Wed Mar 29 11:31:15 CDT 2017

With these kinds of issues there is probably no way to really know
externally what is really going on. Point of my post was there there was
more than one perspective involved. But either way, the process seems
pretty typical of many universities with an authoritarian corporate top
down decision making process. And of course it's just another indicator of
how natural history collections are devalued both within and outside the
scientific community.

Curious - who out there would pay 10 million for 1.25 million weevils and

John Grehan

On Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 12:23 PM, Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu> wrote:

> On 3/29/17 8:19 AM, John Grehan wrote:
>> Last week Pani told leaders of the College of Arts, Education and
>> Sciences,
>> which manages the museum, of the decision. He met with them again this
>> week. He said the collections, except for some of the teaching specimens,
>> will be donated and relocated by mid-July. The CAES people asked for 48
>> hours to determine if space on campus could be found and the entire
>> collection retained.
>> Contrast this with what the collection staff stated:
> "The College was given 48 hours to suggest an alternate location for the
> collections so that Brown Stadium can be renovated for the track team." and
> "we were told that if the collections are not relocated to other
> institutions, the collections will be destroyed at the end of July." and
> "They did not have the courage to inform us face-to-face".
> Someone is not telling the whole truth here, and one has to suspect it is
> the administrator, who did not identify where the specimens were to be
> donated, says there was a meeting, and omitted the ultimatum. The staff
> posting, on the other hand, smacks of sincerity and desperation, and says
> there was no meeting; of the two versions of the story, I give it more
> credence, though I stand to be corrected if anyone knows better.
> As a follow-up, I might point something out that no one has mentioned:
> Another recent news item that got significant attention was the donation
> of a collection of 1.25 million weevils and planthoppers to ASU, valued at
> 10 million dollars.
> http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/
> 2017/03/23/green-valley-couple-insect-collection-asu/99470426/
> At that rate, the collections at ULM are worth between 50 and 100 million
> dollars (surely fish and plants are worth more per specimen than weevils,
> at least in the public's perception).
> Let's think for a moment about the Board of Trustees at ULM; *how do they
> feel about ULM administrators saying that if they cannot find a place to
> give away nearly 100 million dollars' worth of ULM assets, that those
> assets will be destroyed?*
> If these people only care about dollars, is this not the exact kind of
> argument that could get them to reverse this decision? Would the Board of
> Trustees not be the first point of contact to start such a reversal in
> motion, if the admins have already made their decision?
> Sincerely,
> --
> Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
> Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
> phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
>              http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
>   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
>         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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