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Tue Mar 1, 2016, 01:10 AM

 

Mount St. Mary’s University president "drown the bunnies" resigns

Simon Newman, the Mount St. Mary’s University president who astonished many with a brutal remark, inspired some to a new vision for the university, and set off an intense national debate about academic freedom, will step down effective immediately.

Karl Einolf, the dean of the Richard J.Bolte, Sr., School of Business at the university will serve as acting president, the board of trustees announced Monday night.

The change came after weeks of turmoil at the country’s second-oldest Catholic university, which faced questions from its faculty, alumni and national groups — including the organization that provides the crucial accreditation for the university — over its future direction and leadership. Some saw it as a clash between those open to change and those mired in tradition. Others felt it had become a debate over the very soul of the university: Catholic or corporate?

“I am proud of what I have been able to achieve in a relatively short time particularly in helping the University chart a clear course toward a bright future,” Newman said in a statement Monday evening. “I care deeply about the school and the recent publicity relating to my leadership has become too great of a distraction to our mission of educating students. It was a difficult decision but I believe it is the right course of action for the Mount at this time.”

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But the real turmoil began this year after the student newspaper, the Mountain Echo, reported that Newman had planned to cull struggling freshmen early in the semester, before a federal reporting deadline, to improve the university’s retention rate.

No students left the school as a result of the survey, but Newman’s remarks after some faculty members expressed concerns about the plan shocked many; he said a professor was thinking of the students as cuddly bunnies but that they had to drown the bunnies, “put a Glock to their heads.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2016/02/29/mount-st-marys-future-direction-on-the-table-as-leaders-meet-today/

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