(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2017)
"As you know, it was only because of my kindness and indulgence that I allowed you to accept a grant that afforded you a buy out of your courses last year. I should tell you that this really put me out; I had to go to the trouble of finding substitutes for you just so that you could do this research funded by the grant rather than teach. Reluctantly I also lose you because of your duties as an elected member of the University Faculty Governance Organization. There is nothing I can so about that. But I will insist that those duties are in addition to and should be undertaken only after you have complied with all of the service and committee work that I need to impose on you. That is your primary job. So you figure out how to fit in your University service; I have a unit to run. I still need you to fulfill your service responsibilities to this unit first, which include advising students, serving as a peer observer of teaching for faculty, and serving on unit committees as I assign you. And be sure to remember that your year end evaluation for me will be weighted heavily in favor of your unit service.
For faculty elected to university service--especially university level faculty organizations--hypothetical emails like this are not unusual. And they effectively shut down effective service on university faculty organizations. And that, in turn, helps kill university shared governance. It is not destroyed by high level decisions based on principled objectives--shared governance is killed by the exercise of lower level administrative discretion by middle and lower level managers eager to protect their "resources" and to punish, through the exercise of that discretion, those of their "staff" who presume to provide service outside their unit.