Phi Beta Cons

What’s Second?

In July, Eastern Michigan State University fired its president, John Fallon III, for lack of curiosity.  He had protested for many months that he didn’t know that a student, Laura Dickinson, who was found dead in her dorm room last December, was the victim of rape and murder.  President Fallon stuck to his story that he hadn’t led a cover-up, but had instead remained uninformed about the situation—and therefore willing to stick with the University’s official patently false statement that there was “no reason to suspect foul play.”   In February, county officials arrested another Eastern Michigan State student, Orange Amir Taylor III, for the rape and murder of Miss Dickinson.  Eventually EMSU Board decided that President Fallon’s strong assertions of ignorance of the situation were themselves grounds for dismissal.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the University is now intent on repairing the damage to its reputation.  How?  By spending $1 million to emphasize a new tagline, “Education First.”    
That’s nice.  I wonder what comes second? 
Eastern Michigan State University is, of course, not alone in reaching for a silly public relations campaign to improve it standing.  Consulting firms have been hawking ideas like this to college administrators around the country, a development that attests to two realities.  First, colleges that have money to waste on high-priced sloganeering campaigns are clearly overfunded.  Second, the college presidents who buy such clownish nonsense really have no understanding of what a college is and are as ill-equipped for the position as the incurious Mr. Fallon III.

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