Getting your facts straight

June 5, 2008

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For some cosmic reason, the Universe taught me a lesson this week: get your facts straight.

I chaired a meeting to discuss a departmental issue. I didn’t have the facts straight, and assembled the agenda that momentarily threw gasoline on the fire. Everything turned out ok but I learned my lesson.

The next day I got a cranky email from a student accusing me of X, Y, and Q, two of which were just false assumptions and the other was just her warm and fuzzy opinion. Get your facts straight before you accuse the Chair (or anyone) of something.

As I mentioned in my “receptive” article from the other day, we often decide something is true whether it is faith, or one’s own construct of some unexplainable event, or fact, or opinion, or accepting a rumor as fact. My lesson this week was to not be so quick to decide that something is true. Be like a newspaper reporter and verify the information.

This kind of decision has to be hard wired into me as long as I am Chair, but ultimately the exercise seems relevant to any civilized person.

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