Last month, a student newspaper published a shocking story: Reporters at the Mountain Echo wrote that the new president of Mount St. Mary’s University planned to cull 20 to 25 students from the freshman class deemed unlikely to succeed in the first weeks of school in order to improve the college’s retention numbers and thus its rankings.
And when discussing the plan with professors who objected to it, President Simon Newman told them — in a conversation that was independently confirmed by The Washington Post — that they needed to stop thinking of freshmen as “cuddly bunnies,” adding: “You just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads.”
On Monday, the faculty adviser to the Echo was fired.
So was another member of the faculty, Thane Naberhaus, a tenured professor of philosophy who had expressed concerns about that and other proposals by the president.
Edward Egan, the campus newspaper adviser, was a professor of law and a former trustee of the university….
Naberhaus, the former director of the university’s honors program, whose doctorate is from Georgetown, said the reasons given for his firing were vague: that he had been disloyal to the university. He disputed that. “If anything, I’ve shown tremendous loyalty,” he said. He has been outspoken in recent criticism of the president’s policies, concerned about its mission and identity. “I care about the institution. I”m trying to save the place.
“Who’s to determine what’s loyalty, and who’s to define that?” he asked.
It was completely antithetical to the principles of academic freedom, he said.