11 February 2016

Remember When I Wrote About a College President Who Described Shooting His Student and Drowning Them Like Bunnies?

Basically, it was his plan to game the college ratings.

Well, as I mentioned in the above link, the President of Mount St. Marys University used these analogies for his plan to artificially boost the retention numbers throwing out higher risk students in the first 3 weeks of class, when they don't count:
You just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads.

It made the national news, and the college, and its President, former bankster Simon Newman, were held up for condemnation.

Unsurprisingly, President Newman is handling this like the guardian of capitalism that he is: killing he messenger:
When student reporters at Mount St. Mary’s University, a small Catholic institution in Maryland, published an article in January that quoted the university’s president likening struggling freshmen to bunnies that should be drowned, they knew it might get a big reaction.

It finally came this week, it appears — in the form of a pink slip for the faculty adviser of the campus newspaper.

The university informed the adviser, Ed Egan, that he had been disloyal and was now fired, a move seen by many on the campus in Emmitsburg as a retaliatory strike.

The decision, along with other recent punishments of faculty members at Mount St. Mary’s, has triggered outrage well beyond its rural campus in northern Maryland, earning condemnation from thousands of academics across the country as well as national monitors of academic and journalistic freedom.

The article, by Rebecca Schisler and Ryan Golden, was published in The Mountain Echo under Mr. Egan’s tutelage on Jan. 19 and presented two explosive pieces of news.


The report said that the administration was planning to cull struggling freshmen from the institution as part of an effort to improve retention numbers — a big factor in rankings published in outlets like U.S. News & World Report — and that the university’s president, Simon Newman, had used disturbing language to sell the idea to a skeptical professor last fall.

“This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t,” Mr. Newman is quoted as saying. “You just have to drown the bunnies.”

He added, “Put a Glock to their heads.”


“Ed, as the faculty adviser, could really frame the battlefield, if you will, around what the issue was,” Mr. Coyne said. “We had a president in a private conversation with a colleague says the bad-metaphor-hall-of-fame statement, and that was the story. And the position behind it about a retention program that was never enacted, was suddenly lost in the conversation.”

Mr. Egan and both student reporters, who said they had spent weeks investigating their article, rejected Mr. Coyne’s depiction of editorial manipulation. (The private conversation, the students reported, was relayed by two professors who were there.)

“There was no pressure at all,” Ms. Schisler, a junior, said. “We are a student-run paper. All of the articles are the ideas of students, and all of them are written by students.”

Mr. Golden, a senior who is also The Echo’s managing editor, said the newspaper’s staff members had been blindsided by the administration’s move to fire Mr. Egan, who, he said, had been a staunch advocate of their work.

“We were really appalled by it,” Mr. Golden said. “He’s really a good mentor for a lot of students at this school. He absolutely encouraged us to pursue journalistic integrity, absolutely encouraged us to be ethical, to be fair, to be thorough, to be objective and to do the best work that we could.”

Mr. Newman, a former private equity chief executive, was hired last spring to help raise the college’s national profile and increase its endowment. Some faculty members have since pushed back against what they see as his sharp-elbowed business approach.

Mr. Egan’s dismissal was the third case in less than a week of faculty members’ facing censure from Mr. Newman’s administration. The cases were being portrayed by some professors and alumni as a concerted effort to purge the faculty of those with dissenting views.
There have been two other people fired, including a tenured faculty member, and get a load this bit from his dismissal letter:
“As an employee of Mount St. Mary’s University, you owe a duty of loyalty to this university and to act in a manner consistent with the duty,” read the letter addressed to Dr. Naberhaus and signed by Mr. Newman. “However, your recent actions, in my opinion and that of others, have violated that duty and clearly justify your termination."
Between potential lawsuits, bad PR, and what I am sure is quite a few enraged alumni, Egan is a 2nd generation alumnus, it does appear that I was being prophetic, and not just sarcastic, when I suggested that when Simon Newman wanted to run the University like a business, it meant, "Burning it down for insurance money."

This is what happens when you hire finance types to do real jobs, BTW.


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