Experts studying public dispute say the University of South Carolina can easily move forward from the embarrassment that led to the resignation of President Robert Karlsen last month.
But they warn that schools should first pay attention to lessons learned from other major schools across the country so that history does not repeat itself.
Over the last two decades, there has been no shortage of misconduct by higher education leaders. Plagiarism claims that Gregory Vincent lost his job as President of Hobart and William Smith College In New York, it extends to more prominent criminal cases with lasting consequences, such as Jerry Sandusky’s child abuse sex scandal at Pennsylvania State University.
Experts say that large and small examples listen to transparency, concerns from student groups and faculty, and make leaders accountable to regain public confidence and avoid future black eyes. Prove to be an important step in.
“The president’s tendency to do disgrace is about the same as anyone else in society …” said Ronald Smith, an emeritus professor at Penn State University who wrote a book about the Sandusky scandal. “They often step on people on their way up the ladder, but often they don’t tell the truth or hide something.”
Last month, Kaslen Resigned president After it was discovered, he from the USC Plagiarized part of graduation speechSome students, faculty and lawmakers demanded him resign. A lieutenant general who was awarded a medal with more than 40 years of experience in the U.S. Army also called the schoolUniversity of CaliforniaDuring the speech. A series of failures build on the distrust that he had already felt for his administration. It goes back before he was hired.
However, USC officials seemed eager to move on and appointed him immediately. Interim President Harris PastidesLeads the school from 2008 to 2019 and is preparing to find a new school leader.
Experts like Ron Sachs, CEO and founder of Florida-based Sachs Media Group, which specializes in crisis management, have cut off relationships with leaders accused of misconduct by other schools. In the same way, the university said it had done the right thing to accept Kathleen’s resignation.
“If the allegations are true, the horrifying irony is that the principals of higher education institutions value academic integrity, candidness, and integrity … it is a complete breach of prestigious principles. It sets a terrifying example for students and students. The university community. “
University of Central Florida
Promptly eliminating fraudsters from a leadership position sends an important message. This means that cheating is unacceptable at any level, Sax said.
“(Students) have to be encouraged and inspired by leaders like the president of a university. Ironically, if he can (plagiarize), he believes they can do it too. Don’t, “he said.
The best example of a school breaking a relationship with a stakeholder can be found at the University of Central Florida. Curiously, Kaslen was hired in 2019 to help find a new president and financial leadership team. The school was still in recovery mode, according to a study that revealed that the school had abused about $ 85 million in construction projects.
Orlando Sentinel discovered in 2019 that the school was spending the rest of its working capital on a new building. Shortly thereafter, an investigation was conducted by the State Audit Office, and UCF Chairman Dale Whittaker resigned.
Four other employees were dismissed and the school’s director and chief financial officer resigned. Whitaker, who said he didn’t know the money was being abused, confiscated tens of thousands of bonuses before he resigned, the Sentinel newspaper reported.
Experts said the school not only admitted that it had made the wrong decision, but also moved towards a correction.
According to Florida Today, the school’s former chief financial officer then took full responsibility for the negligence, and the school then made “aggressive” changes and reorganized personnel to prevent the problem from recurring. I reported. A case under investigation by the media.
Michigan and Nasar
According to experts, students, faculty and staff must be involved in post-scandal planning, especially when looking for new leaders.
Failure to do so is a serious failure for universities in the recovery phase, they add, citing Michigan as an example.
In 2018, MSU hired interim president John Engler following Larry Nassar’s sexual assault scandal, despite opposition from students and faculty who claimed he was incompatible. Nassar was sentenced to up to 360 years in prison for sexually assaulting at least 265 women and girls in 2017 and 2018.
Only three months after taking office, Engler proved to be a non-conforming student and faculty member feared. He was accused of providing payment to survivors of sexual assault, Interviews suggested that some survivors enjoyed attention From the Nasar controversy. He resigned six days later.
According to experts, listening to the opinions of students and faculty members is likely to improve the presidential election.
“Crisis management has a principle you need to know: a pre-crisis crisis is unplanned, and a post-crisis crisis is mishandling it,” Sax said. Added the damage done to the brand: It’s difficult to measure, but it’s inferior to the crimes and life-threatening crimes committed.
In addition to listening to stakeholders, the president’s investigation must be a professional process, regardless of politics, said Senator D-Richland, Senator Dick Harpootlian. That wasn’t the case when Kaslen was hired by USC, according to a review by the accreditation body of the university that decided it. Governor Henry McMaster was overly influential and criticized for Kathleen’s choice From students and staff.
“Another lesson that universities should learn is that the process (of the University of Southern California) for electing Kaslen was the most blatantly political and opaque process.” “The state was destined to fail. Was
USC and Holderman
According to experts, it is also important to hire a new permanent president who is scandal-free and dedicated to restoring the image of the school.
USC staff can see their own history as evidence.
In 1990, then-President Jim Holderman used his office for personal gain, what to do for luxury hotel stays, travel around the world, gifts to politicians, and gifts to politicians. Probably the school’s biggest scandal resigned for spending a million dollars. Secret scholarships for children. He later On suspicion of sexual assault by four men An article by Charlotte Observer that was investigated and found to be true. He also did not object to the tax evasion of money received through the university foundation and was sentenced to three years in prison for a money laundering program that occurred during his presidency.
He was also stripped of his honorary degree and tenure by the school board.
Holderman’s successor, John Palms, was not afraid of the problems left by Holderman and spent nearly a decade carefully rebuilding the university’s reputation. Observers reported helping him raise more than $ 500 million over the next five years. This is a record of the time, with support from wealthy graduates, including the largest funder, Dara Moore. She felt embarrassed and humiliated in her relationship with USC..
In a 2002 Observer interview, Palms said reestablishing the school’s “moral authority” was his most important task.
“South Carolinas are very sensitive to their reputation,” he told the outlets. “They didn’t send their children to a place full of scratches.”
Harputrian, who charged Holderman with several crimes while working as a county solicitor, proved that Palms’ employment was professional and the best action the university could take after a scandal. Said.
“There was never a scandal or inappropriate activity on his part,” he said.
Get ahead of the story
Experts agree that Caslen is likely to have a silver backing once the dust has settled.
Former West Point coach was not accused of illegal activity. Others have recovered from worse crimes, they add.
Consider the case of E. Gordon Gee, the current president of West Virginia University.
While conducting Ohio State University, Gee jokingly referred to Notre Dame students, graduates, and faculty as “that fucking Catholic,” and teased the quality of schoolwork at other schools. He was asked to resign because of controversial remarks. In 2013, according to The Herald Dispatch.
The school board sent a letter saying that Gee had embarrassed the university. They also announced an action plan that included Gee’s apology to those who were offended by him.
Gee’s time at OSU retired about three months later in July 2013, and eventually ran through that course.
However, he quickly recovered and was hired in West Virginia in December 2013, previously serving as president in the 1980s.
The USC was able to prolong Kaslen’s controversy for months by setting up a committee to investigate plagiarism allegations, but that is unlikely because Kaslen has already admitted wrongdoing.
“(The school) always says,’We want to move forward … and put this behind us,'” Smith said. “In three years, this will all be forgotten, my guess isHe wasn’t that long. Few people know him. The board, which knows him, wants to forget about him and make no statement about him.It all works in much the same way … and South Carolina can continue to lead the institution’s grand fate again. “