There is a highly disturbing story out of Mount St. Mary’s University where the adviser to the school newspaper was fired after the newspaper ran a story of how university’s president, Simon Newman (left), had said that the school had to tighten its standards and get rid of less competitive students. He mocked colleagues who were resisting by reportedly saying “This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t. You just have to drown the bunnies.”
The article, by Rebecca Schisler and Ryan Golden, was published in The Mountain Echo. It also quoted Newman as telling faculty to “Put a Glock to their heads.”
The school says that Newspaper Advisor Ed Egan was fired for violating the “code of conduct and acceptable use policies.” However, it seemed clear that the newspaper coverage was the impetus for both Egan and his supporters. They point to the fact that, on the same day that Mr. Egan was fired, Thane Naberhaus, an associate professor of philosophy was dismissed after criticizing Newman’s policies. Three days earlier, David Rehm, was stripped of his role as provost after questioning policies.
The dismissal letter to Naberhaus was reportedly signed by Newman and said “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. However, your recent actions, in my opinion and that of others, have violated that duty and clearly justify your termination.”
My greatest concern is obviously with academic freedom and free speech. The timing of these actions raises a legitimate question over retaliation for academic and journalistic functions. If found to be true, it is Newman, 51, that deserves to be fired. Newman’s background is in business not academics. He has a bachelor of arts degree (with honors) and an master of arts degree in natural sciences from Cambridge University. However, he spent 30 years working as an executive in private equity, strategy consulting, and operations. He is the former managing director of the private equity fund JP Capital Partners, as well as president and CEO of Cornerstone Management Group, founded in 1997.
Source: New York Times