How to Be Malignant and Sound Benign

ACADEME BLOG

In a recent post, “Faculty Become Drowned Bunnies, Too” [https://academeblog.org/2016/02/09/faculty-become-drowned-bunnies-too/] Aaron Barlow reported and commented on the words and actions of Simon Newman, president of Mount Saint Mary’s University. Newman, whose previous professional experience was with private-equity firms, abruptly fired two professors, one tenured, and demoted a dean after his remarks about actively culling marginal students to improve retention rates were reported in the student newspaper.

What made all of this newsworthy nationally was that Newman had advised the academic deans that they had to stop coddling those marginal students as if they were bunnies—that they needed, instead, to “drown some bunnies.” What is ironic, to me, is that his choice of words, rather than what he was telling the deans to do, has been deemed especially outrageous. The annual cost of attending the university is $51,610, and even with scholarships and grants averaged in, it is $28,326…

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