Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from the Richard Nixon Library

Putting the puppets back in their box

In the Duluth News Tribune, an unedited version of a story that originally appeared in the Strib:

The emails the university released also offer a glimpse at efforts by university leaders to manage the flow of information to the public and the media in the days after Teague’s resignation. In one email to the university’s communications staff, chief of staff Amy Phenix decries statements (Board of Regents Chair) Dean Johnson made in media interviews that she says were “simply not true,” such as saying university leadership had become aware of “red flags” when Teague was selected for the job. Phenix suggested Johnson should start consulting with then-communications director Chuck Tombarge before responding to interview requests and then receive preparation from communications staff.

“We wouldn’t let EWK go out there without sufficient facts and prep time,” Phenix wrote referring to Kaler, “and we shouldn’t let the Chair of the Board do so either.”

And in The Minnesota Daily: 

“I think he (Dean Johnson) simply needs to not make a decision about responding to media calls without first talking to [University spokesman Chuck Tombarge], and, if all agree he should respond, he has to get messages from us and be prepped,” she said in the email.

Turkey of the Year

According to the Strib's Patrick Reusse, it is not:

• Norwood Teague, resigned athletic director, and Eric Kaler, University of Minnesota president.

The Chairman: “You’re right, faithful committee. It’s an impressive combined Turkey contender — a serial sexual harasser and a boss who didn’t want to know the truth about the AD he hired.

“Then again, Norwood did buy $20 worth of Girl Scout cookies from me to assist a relative new to the cookie business, so I’m going to pass on making him the Turkey.’’

With that, the committee washed its hands of the process and left it to the Chairman to reveal his choice for Grand Gobbler.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Kaler on the "toxic environment" for minority students

Minnesota Daily: There was a protest organized by the Black Student Union on Nov. 12 in support of the Mizzou protests. They laid out a number of demands, such as a cluster-hire of faculty members of color and requiring students to take an ethnic studies class before graduation. They said this will fix what they called a “toxic environment” for students of color at the University. What are your thoughts on their demands?

Kaler: We are working very hard to improve campus climate around these kinds of issues. … In particular, there is a hiring initiative in [Race, indigeneity, gender and sexuality] to bring faculty in the ethnic studies area. It is, however, illegal to hire somebody based on the color of their skin, so there is our need to follow the law. At the end of the day, the faculty decide on the curriculum. … I am not sure the faculty would agree to mandate that every student take one of those courses.

Oh yes, President Kaler is working very hard to improve the campus climate.  That's why he is ignoring the faculty's call for him to drop disciplinary charges against student protesters.

Their disciplinary hearing is scheduled for December 11.