Op/Ed: The Prosperos takes the road most travelled

Thane Walker and some Prosperos

At The Prosperos trustees meeting on November 21, William Fennie, H.W., M., was elected as the Acting Dean to fill the role of departing dean Al Haferkamp, H.W., M. effective January 1, 2022. A permanent dean will be elected at the annual meeting of the trustees over Labor Day weekend 2022.

There wasn’t even any competition for the spot.

And with its usual sense of creativity and welcome to change, the trustees will undoubtedly elect Mr. Fennie as permanent (and I do mean permanent!) dean at the Labor Day annual meeting. (What happened to Pluto in Capricorn?)

The trustees have had bellicose members before and now they’ve chosen one as the leader of the Executive Council. (Just to catch you all up, the Executive Council is a three member body that is separate from the trustees and that has absolute power over everything the school is and does. The trustees, like the High Watch and the Mentor’s Association may make suggestions, but it is the Executive Council which makes all the decisions related to the school. )

In most academic settings, the dean is answerable to a board of directors of some sort. But in The Prosperos, the Executive Council (the dean plus two others members chosen by the trustees) is not answerable to anybody but itself.

The one check on the power of the dean is that all three members of the Executive Council must agree upon any decisions made. But these people (the Executive Council) were chosen because they already are, in effect, in agreement with the dean of the school.

So, though The Prosperos teaches all about group dynamics, it has never been an exemplar of it, at least at its governing level.

When Thane Walker was the dean (and therefore head of the Executive Council), everybody knew that it was Thane who ran the school and all things related thereto. Thane was not only the dean, he was a 4th way teacher,. He was the equivalent of Gurdjieff at Gurdjieff’s school at Fontainebleau.

But Thane died in 1989. There have been several deans since Thane’s death, and they’ve all had the same absolute power that Thane had when he was dean. Fortunately none of have abused that power to any great degree, at least that I am aware of.

But with our new Acting Dean, that benevolent leadership may no longer be assumed.

To be frank and to be clear, Mr. Fennie is a bully.

And he’s bullied his way into the deanship of our school.

–Mike Zonta, BB editor

2 thoughts on “Op/Ed: The Prosperos takes the road most travelled”

  1. Wow. I had no Idea there was that perception of him—I’m assuming that you, Mike, are not the only one in the community that thinks so.

    Well, thanks for explaining!

    We will indeed see what we shall see.

  2. You know it seems to me that really since Thane’s passing (and I really don’t know what the inner workings of the school were in his time) that The Prosperos has been more about creating more administration rather than really doing anything about anything. I have no idea about the personal flaws of William Fennie. I’ve always known him as a friend like I do most everyone I met in those years when I was active. But being active inside the Prosperos seems to me like a total waste of time. We are a diverse group and only loosely held together by the common foundation we got from Thane. But the school resembles Congress more than it does any kind of spiritual institution that can make a difference in people’s lives any more. Lots and lots of talk about what should be done but nothing ever really gets done. My God, offering tape classes that are 50 years old and expecting to survive in the 21st century as a viable educational institution is insane. It just seems to me that if the primary focus is on “preserving” the “teachings” then the school is “doomed”. I’m glad to see this discussion on BB instead of the HW list.

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