ex-deans and former president Jim Duderstadt.
The Chronicle of Higher Education took the story national. Weeks later, Ulaby--a former VP of research who says he's "as apolitical as you can imagine"--was still getting 300 emails a day from faculty at the U-M and across the country.
The storm blew up around the awkwardly named "Administrative Services Transformation," a cost-cutting initiative hammered out for the university by Accenture, a global consulting firm. Among other things, AST would outsource financial and personnel tasks now handled within schools and departments to a "shared services center" on S. State Street.
President Mary Sue Coleman has been working for years to cut the university's costs. The administration had already consolidated other services, including last year's campus-wide move to Google's Gmail. But the IT staff who lost their jobs then were faceless to most faculty; AST threatened people they saw--and relied on--every day. Ulaby's letter called it "a misguided venture that will irreparably harm our cherished institution."